The OD/MS combined degree program at the UAB School of Optometry prepares students for careers that combine clinical optometry and clinical and/or basic research in vision science. The program, which involves a combination of basic science, research and clinical training, is for students who have outstanding scholastic qualifications and are highly motivated to pursue careers as clinician-scientists.

Learn more: OD/MS Degree

The combined degree can be completed during the four years of optometric education at the UAB School of Optometry. Students must have a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled or accepted into the UAB School of Optometry professional degree program.

  • Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours
  • Select a formal graduate committee
  • Advance to candidacy (receive approval of research project proposal)
  • Make a formal public presentation and receive approval of thesis

Degree Outline

Timing is important in the combined degree program. Meeting the following guidelines will help you to plan for successful progress.

Year 1
Fall: Search for lab/mentor (3)
Spring: Search for lab/mentor and select by end of semester (3)
Summer: Select project by end of term and form graduate committee (3)

Year 2
Fall: Work on proposal (3)
Spring: Defend/present proposal (3)
Summer: Collect data (6)

Year 3:
Fall: Write thesis (4)
Spring: Write thesis (4)
Summer: Defend thesis (4)

Application Process

Students interested in pursuing the dual OD/MS degree must complete an application through the UAB Graduate School and be accepted into and enrolled in the UAB School of Optometry Doctor of Optometry program. 

Contact Us

For more information, contact Stefanie Varghese, PhD, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..