Application Instructions

College of Optometry Application for Master of Science | Doctor of Philosophy in Vision Science Graduate Program Application Instructions

  • Application Fee: $40.00 (U.S. funds) Check or money order payable to Pacific University
  • Application Cycle: September 15, 2019 – March 15, 2020
  • Priority Application Deadline: January 15, 2020
  • Final Application Deadline: March 15, 2020

Thank you for your interest in Pacific University College of Optometry Vision Science Graduate (VSG) program. The VSG program offers two degrees: Master of Science in Vision Science (MSVS) and Doctor of Philosophy in Vision Science (PhDVS). Applicants must have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution to be eligible for admission. Fulfillment of the prerequisite requirements, and coursework appropriate to the areas of vision and human science are preferred.

The accuracy, completeness, and neatness of your application are determining factors in the admission decision. Failure to submit a complete and accurate application may result in disqualification for admission. The Vision Science Graduate Programs Committee will not evaluate an incomplete application.

Submitting your application on or before the priority deadline (by January 15) will allow you to be considered for an early interview. All applications submitted after the priority deadline will be scheduled for an interview in the spring after the final application deadline (March 15).

If you have questions regarding the application process once you have reviewed the instructions, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at

Application Checklist

Complete all information requested on the Vision Science Graduate Program application. Your signature is required to validate the information you provide.

Obtain two letters of recommendation from individuals who know you well and can comment objectively about your qualifications for graduate level study and research. At least one letter must be from a professor who has taught you in college.

Please ask the recommenders to write you a Letter of Reference and fill out the Reference Form available on the application.

The letters must be submitted on official letterhead with the written signature of the recommender. Letters must be submitted using one of the following methods:

  • Provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope to each recommender. Ask them to enclose the Letter of Recommendation and the Reference Form in the envelope, sign it across the seal, and return the envelope to you. You should mail these envelopes, with seals unbroken and the signatures intact, to Pacific University Office of Graduate Admission along with your other application materials.
  • Ask the recommender(s) to send the letter and the Reference Form as a scanned email attachment directly to the Office of Graduate Admission at

Type the essay as instructed in the application form. It will be evaluated as a sample of your writing ability.

  • Carefully follow the instructions at the top of the Prerequisites Worksheet section of the application. Enter coursework you have completed or plan to complete by the start of the program in August. All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last seven years.
  • Applicants with a bachelor's degree or higher in Optometry or related clinical fields from a regionally accredited institution are considered meeting the prerequisite criteria for the VSG program.

Submit official transcripts with all current grades from each college or post-secondary education program you have attended. A final transcript for any course(s) in progress will be required, including graduation verification if applicable, before an admitted student will be permitted to enroll in a VSG program. Transcripts must meet one of the following criteria to be considered official:

  • A printed transcript must contain the seal and signature/stamp of the registrar office of the institute, sealed inside an envelope (do not open this envelope), and include in the application packet which you will mail to Pacific University.
  • An electronic transcript is a PDF file secured with a digital certificate by the institute or sent directly from the institute to Pacific.
  • An official copy of your evaluated foreign transcript from an accredited transcript evaluation service.

Applicants that have attended an institution outside of North America are required to submit an official copy of your evaluated foreign transcript from an accredited transcript evaluation service. There are several third-party organizations that provide this service to students, like World Education Services (WES). Course descriptions, course syllabi and/or a course catalog from your former degree program may be requested on a case-by-case basis.

  • Official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or other qualifying English language test (e.g., IELTS), are required for applicants whose first language is not English, except for applicants who have completed a bachelor's, master's, doctorate or professional degree at a regionally accredited institution where English is the only language of instruction, and English is one of the official languages. However, the Vision Science Graduate (VSG) program reserves the right to require a qualifying English language test score from any applicant, regardless of the applicant's country of origin.
  • The minimum acceptable score for the paper-based TOEFL test is 550 (Internet-based test 80; IELTS 6.5). The official qualifying English language test score is preferred to be received by the application deadline. Offers of conditional admission may be given to qualified applicants who have not met the English Language Proficiency requirement prior to the application deadline, but the requirement must be met before matriculation into the program.

Have the Educational Testing Service (Institution Code 4601, no department code) send an official copy of your GRE scores (General). GRE scores must have been taken within the last 5 years. MS applicants do not need to but are encouraged to submit GRE scores. The GRE is waived for:

  • Applicants with (or enrolled in) a doctorate degree in optometry from an ACOE-accredited OD program in North America.
  • Applicants with a master's or doctorate degree in a clinical discipline or a field related to optometry or vision science.
  • Current MS students in Pacific University Vision Science Graduate program.
  • Applicants who have graduated from an institute with special institutional memorandum agreement on GRE.
  • The VSG Committee may choose to waive GRE requirement for some individuals in exceptional cases. Approval of the GRE waiver does not guarantee admission to the VSG program.

Submit a non-refundable application fee of $40.00 (U.S. funds) at the end of the application when prompted.

The VSG Committee may contact you to schedule a video-conference interview. Applicants are required to have a Skype account for the video-conference. In rare cases when internet connection is not plausible, a phone interview may be conducted.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office directly at: or via phone at 1-800-933-9308.

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