Oct 02, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Physiological Optics, PhD - Vision Science

College of Optometry  > Physiological Optics, PhD - Vision Science

The graduate program in Physiological Optics/Vision Science is structured to provide a broad base of scientific knowledge about both human and animal visual systems.

The program is appropriately flexible to permit students to develop expertise in areas of special interest. Students will join the labs of faculty mentors who are studying normal and abnormal visual processes, diseases and disorders of the eye and visual pathways and the development of treatments to prevent loss of vision using a variety of approaches ranging from molecular and cellular, to behavioral and optical. Thirty-one faculty members with diverse academic backgrounds and scientific interests participate in the program, which currently has 40 graduate students.

For more information, please visit the College of Optometry Graduate Programs website: http://www.opt.uh.edu/future-students-residents/programs/graduate-program/.

Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or an undergraduate Engineering degree from an accredited academic or professional institution comparable to the degrees awarded at the University of Houston in biological or physical sciences and engineering, or a B.S. or doctorate (or equivalent) degree in optometry or medicine
  2. Sufficient training to undertake graduate level study in physiological optics/vision sciences
  3. A grade point average of B (3.00) or above in all previous college-level or higher work with particular attention being given to science courses
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test (details are below in Required Materials)
  5. Satisfactory evaluation and recommendation by three teachers or others familiar with the applicant’s scholarship and research potential
  6. Proficiency in speaking and writing English (details are below in Required Materials)

Full details on how to apply are found at www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/how-to-apply/. Completed applications with all required documentation should be submitted between October 1 and February 1 preceding the fall semester of expected entrance.

Required application materials:

  • Completed Electronic Application
  • Official Transcripts
    • Scanned copies may be uploaded as PDFs for admissions decision. However, if admitted, the applicant will not be able to enroll without an official transcript(s) showing undergraduate degree conferral on file.
    • Official transcripts should be sent by regular mail, express mail, or electronically as described on the University of Houston Graduate School Website: http://www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/how-to-apply/
  • Recommendation Letters and Form
    • Submit the names of three persons who are familiar with your competencies and your potential for doctoral education on your application.
      • It is recommended that two (2) of the letters be from doctoral-degreed tenure track faculty (i.e., current and/or former graduate level professors from your previous college or graduate program).
    • Your references will receive an email with instructions for completing an online recommendation form. Please inform your references that they must use the online form and also to attach a scanned reference letter to accompany the form.
  • Personal Statement of Purpose/Interest explaining why you want to join the UH Physiological Optics/Vision Science graduate program and your career goals.
  • GRE scores officially submitted to the University of Houston.
    • (≥300 V+M to be competitive) The University of Houston’s ETS institutional code for the GRE is 6870.
  • Curriculum Vitae / Resume
  • International students have additional documentation and/or score reporting requirements.
    Visit http://www.uh.edu/graduate-school/international-students/ for more information.
    • Application Fee for international applicants
  • Additional information including information on a new dual OD/PhD program can be obtained by contacting the graduate program phopgrad@uh.edu or (713) 743-1885.

Acceptance into the full-time PhD program is often accompanied by program financial support, teaching or research assistantships.

Degree Requirements

The doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree requires four to five years of study, including 60.0 Credit Hours of

  • courses,
  • teaching experience,
  • reading knowledge of a foreign language or research/technical skill, 
  • written and oral qualifying examinations, and
  • original research,
  • writing and defense of the Dissertation Proposal and the Dissertation. Written dissertation must be approved by the dissertation committee. 
    • The dissertation committee must consist of a minimum of four faculty members, at least three of which are within, or affiliated with the graduate program; one member must be external, from academia or industry, and approved by the graduate program: see College Resources at https://www.opt.uh.edu/current-students/.

These requirements are described in the Physiological Optics and Vision Science Graduate Program Handbook.

Basic Vision

6.0 - 7.0 Credit Hours

Advanced Module

4.0 Credit Hours (two of the following)


Each Semester

Elective Course Options

Minimum 5.0 Credit Hours

As needed to strengthen student’s education and/or skill in a particular research area, e.g.

  • Courses in other colleges or approved universities in Houston; Engineering, Natural Science and Mathematics, Psychology, Technology, Education, Public Health

Research Hours