The program requirements for the Master of Science degree with the Vision Science Graduate Program can be completed in an average of two to four years.

Learn more: Master of Science Degree Program

Degree Requirements

  • Enroll in two of the four VIS courses (VIS 743, 744, 745 or 765), a research ethics course (GRD 717), a journal club/literature review course (VIS 700/790)*, a minimum of 4 semester hours of approved electives and non-thesis/thesis research hours (VIS 698/699). 
  • Complete three 10-week lab rotation in labs of choice. Students use their classroom and laboratory experiences during the first year to help them further define their research interests. The lab rotations allow students to choose areas and advisors that are of interest to them with the idea that at the end of the third rotation, a student will be prepared to select a permanent lab/advisor in which to carry out his or her dissertation research.
  • Students may choose to take additional electives.
  • Select a thesis committee.
  • Propose, conduct and defend thesis research.

*Students must enroll in a journal club/literature review course every semester until semester of graduation.


Courses are offered through the Department of Optometry and Vision Science and are taught by research faculty.

Vision Science Graduate Level Courses

VIS 700 Vision Related Literature Review
Course Director/Instructor: Alecia Gross, PhD
Vision Related Literature Review - preparing for giving public presentations.

VIS 743 Optics and Imaging - Optical properties of the eye
Course Director/Instructor: Roderick Fullard, PhD
Transparency, aberrations, modulation transfer functions of the eye. Use of coherent optics (lasers) in vision science research, MRI in vision research.

VIS 744 Ocular Anatomy, Physiology & Biochemistry
Course Director/Instructor: Om Srivastava, PhD
Anatomy of the eye, biochemistry and physiology of ocular tissues, including tears, cornea, aqueous humor, lens, vitreous and sclera.

VIS 745 Biology and Pathology of the Posterior Segment
Course Director/Instructor: Steven Pittler, PhD
Examination of the structure, function, biochemistry and disease of the posterior segment including the retina and sclera.

VIS 756 Visual Neuroscience
Course Director/Instructor: Lawrence Sincich, Ph.D.
This course introduces the student to the anatomical and physiological underpinnings of visual perception, stepping from single photoreceptors in the retina on through the cortical neural circuits devoted to capturing every facet of seeing the world. Lectures are supplemented with hands-on sessions where students can test their own vision.

VIS 790 Ocular Surface Journal Club
Course Director/Instructor: Jianzhong Chen, Ph.D.
Literature review of topics pertaining to the ocular surface.

VIS 698 Masters Level Non-Thesis Research
Thesis level research hours prior to candidacy.

VIS 699 Masters Level Thesis Research
Thesis level research hours after admission to candidacy

VIS 798 Doctoral Level Non-Dissertation Research
Dissertation level research hours prior to candidacy

VIS 799 Doctoral Level Dissertation Research
Dissertation level research hours after admission to candidacy

Non-Vision Science Graduate Level Courses

GBS 707 Basic Biochemistry and Metabolism
This course is intended to provide students a rigorous background in the principles of biological chemistry. The principles taught are those we believe student should master and include the application of these principles to research protocols and performance.

GBS 708 Basic Genetics and Molecular Biology
This course is intended to provide students with a strong foundation in basic genetics and basic molecular biology so that students are able to apply and understand fundamentals in their lab research.

BST 621 Statistical Methods I
Mathematically rigorous coverage of applications of statistical techniques designed for Biostatistics majors and others with sufficient mathematical background. Statistical models and applications of probability; commonly used sampling distributions; parametric and nonparametric one and two sample tests and confidence intervals; analysis of two-way contingency table data; simple linear regression; simple analysis of variance designs with equal or proportional subclass members; use of contrasts and multiple comparisons procedures; introduction to survival analysis; multivariate methods. Interested students must have a year of calculus sequence before enrolling in BST 621.

GRD 717 Principles of Scientific Integrity
Surveys ethical issues and principles in the practice of science.