Graduate Program: Doctor of Philosophy


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

List of FAQs

A list of Frequently Asked Questions from The Ohio State University Graduate and Professional Admissions can be found here.


  • 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

  • Statement of Purpose: A brief autobiographical statement describing the applicant’s educational and professional objectives. The SOP must include information on your area of research interest.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV): A written overview of academic, research, and work experiences and other qualifications.
  • GRE Scores: Must have testing agency report Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores to The Ohio State University (ETS institution code #1592). There is no minimum GRE score requirement for admission. However, your scores will be used to compare you to other applicants. All GRE scores must be received by February 1st.  To be valid, the GRE test must have been taken in the past five years.  
  • Letters of Recommendation: You must provide three letters. These should be written by close colleagues, instructors, or others who are familiar with your work, classroom performance, and/or research experience. Letters of Recommendation will not be accepted from family or friends. You must complete page 1 of The Ohio State University Graduate School Reference Form before sending it to your recommenders. Each recommender must then complete the second page and submit this, along with the recommendation letter on letterhead to the Graduate School. The applicant cannot submit the letters.
  • English proficiency testing: The Graduate School requires any applicant whose native language is not English, and who has been educated primarily outside of the U.S., to submit recent (within 2 years), official scores from TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS.
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), paper version at least 550; internet version at least 79
    • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery), at least 82
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System), at least 7.0

Applicants who have been educated primarily in one of the following countries are exempt from the language requirement: Australia, Belize, the British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States.

Official Transcripts: Submit copies (front and back) of official transcripts from ALL institutions attended where college credit was earned – even if you attended while in high school – to GP Admissions.  These can be uploaded with your other documents. Transcripts you submit from your personal official copies will be considered unofficial by GP Admissions, but will be accepted for application review purposes.  If you are admitted to the program, you will need to have official transcripts submitted. 

Official transcripts are those submitted directly from one institution to another.  Institutions should send transcripts to OSU electronically at or by US Mail to: The Ohio State University, Graduate/Professional Admissions, PO Box 182004, Columbus, OH 43218-2646.

Send only scanned images of paper official transcripts issued by your institution’s Registrar or order electronic transcripts. Make sure to mark out all U.S. social security numbers before scanning. Ohio State will not accept web reports, advising reports, self-reported scores, or transfer credit on another school’s transcript.

If you are admitted to the university as a graduate student, you will be required to submit final official transcripts. Do not send the Graduate and Professional Admissions Office paper official transcripts unless specifically requested by our office.


Do not mail application documents directly to the Vision Science program.  Transcripts should be sent as noted above.  For other application documents, the regular postal address for mailing within the US is Graduate and Professional Admissions, PO Box 182004, Columbus, OH 43218-2004.  The express mail address for mailing from outside the US is Graduate and Professional Admissions, Student Academic Services Building, 281 W. Lane Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1132

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 8999 (research credits) count toward the degree
  • Vision Science 8001, 8002, 8003 and 8004
  • Vision Science 7960 (Research in Ethics)
  • Vision Science 7980 (Statistics in Clinical Research)
  • Vision Science 7970 (Grantsmanship)
  • 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


Jeffrey J. Walline, OD PhD
Associate Dean for Research
338 West 10th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1240
Phone: (614) 247-6840
Send email to Graduate Program