Dr. Kelsy Steele with a young research patient examining his eye

Doctor of Philosophy

The College of Optometry offers a traditional Doctoral degree in Vision Science. This is typically a five-year program that provides vision science research training and experience.

Question Can I request a waiver of the application fee?

The Vision Science graduate program does not provide any fee waivers for the application, so you will need to pay this fee to apply to our program.

Question Can you waive the English language or GRE testing requirement?

The only instances by which these application components are waived is listed on this webpage.

Question Should I seek out an advisor prior to applying?

All interested applicants should apply to the program first rather than contacting individual faculty to seek a position in their lab. Placement with advisors is conducted after an offer of admission is made.

Question My transcript from University 2 shows the courses that I took at University 1, so do I still need to submit a transcript directly from University 1?

Yes. The Ohio State University Graduate School requires transcripts from every institution where you received college credit, whether or not you graduated. We must have stand-alone transcripts for each university where credit was earned.

Question Do you have funding to support my education, or is there a separate application process to be considered for funding?

We consider all applicants for potential funding, so there is no separate application. If funding is available, you will be notified at the time an offer of admission is made.


  • All students must have a cumulative GPA equivalent of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all prior undergraduate and graduate work.
  • Earned baccalaureate or professional degree from an accredited college or university by the expected date of entry.

Application Procedures

  • Must apply to the graduate school.
  • Must have application and all documentation submitted by February 1st for admission in autumn semester. Off cycle applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Application Requirements

Do not mail any application documents directly to the Vision Science program. 

Degree Requirements

In consultation with their advisor, students select coursework according to their interests. However, coursework must include:

  • 80 graduate credit hours (or 50 graduate credit hours beyond the Master’s degree); no more than 40 credit hours of Vision Science 8998 and 8999 (pre and post candidacy research credits) count toward the degree
  • Vision Science 8001 (Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye)
  • Vision Science 8002 (Ocular Motility and Binocular Vision)
  • Vision Science 8003 (Visual Sensory Processes)
  • Vision Science 8004 (Optics of the Eye and Specification of the Visual Stimulus)
  • Vision Science 7960 (Ethics in Biomedical Research)
  • Vision Science 7980 (Statistics for Clinical Research)
  • Vision Science 7970 (Grantsmanship)
  • Vision Science 7101 (Basics of Graduate Work)
  • At least two semesters of teaching experience, including at least one semester of teaching a laboratory course
  • Vision Science 7940, annual presentation of a research talk during the Vision Science 7950 seminar series, beginning 12 months after matriculation into the PhD program
  • Candidacy examination which includes written (13-page NIH-R01 type application plus a 20-page, double spaced critical review of the literature on the same topic) and oral examinations
  • Completion of an independent research project and dissertation is required