Graduate Education and Research

Graduate education can lead to satisfying careers in academia and research, as well as in industry, the military, government and private practice. The chart below shows a variety of paths to graduate training. Scroll down to see descriptions of research classifications, funding opportunities, and a list of research by topic that’s going on now at optometric institutions.

List of Graduate Programs

List of graduate programs at optometry schools and colleges

Graduate Programs & Enrollment Figures

More detailed descriptions of graduate programs and enrollment figures

Careers in Optometric Research

Watch a video to learn more about careers in optometric research

Research Topics

Schools or College of Optometry with Graduate Research Training Programs
(MS/ PhD) 
Program Program Contact Focus Topics T35 (Yes/No)
Arizona College of Optometry/Chicago College of Optometry,   Alice Chapman, DVM, MPH, DACVPM  (achapm1@midwestern.edu) Public Health No
Midwestern University
Indiana University, School of Optometry Dr. Steve Burns (staburns@indiana.edu) Molecular Biology, Systemic Diseases and the Eye, Contact Lenses, Cornea and Anterior Segment, Imaging and Instrumentation, Optics, Refractive Error, Visual Neuroscience, Retina and Posterior Segment, Glaucoma, Optic Nerve, Pharmacology, Binocular Vision, Low Vision and Visual Development, Pediatrics, Acquired Brain Injury Yes
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Optometry Carly Levy, MPH (carly.levy@mcphs.edu)
Nancy Coletta, OD, PhD (nancy.coletta@mcphs.edu)
  No
Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University Daniel Taylor, OD, EdD, MS (DanielTaylor@ferris.edu)   No
New England College of Optometry Jane Gwiazda, PhD (gwiazdaj@neco.edu) Anatomy and Physiology, Contact Lenses, Cornea and Anterior Segment, Imaging and Instrumentation, Optics, Refractive Error, Visual Neuroscience, Retina and Posterior Segment, Binocular Vision, Low Vision and Visual Development, Pediatrics, Public Health, Amblyopia, Acquired Brain Injury, Oculomotor Function Yes
NOVA Southeastern University, College of Optometry  Bin Zhang, MD, PhD (bz52@nova.edu) Amblyopia, Myopia Control, Ocular Motility, Electrophysiology, Color vision No
The Ohio State University, College of Optometry Heather Anderson, OD, PhD (Anderson.3881@osu.edu) Histology, Anatomy and Physiology, Molecular Biology, Systemic Diseases and the Eye, Contact Lenses, Cornea and Anterior Segment, Dry Eye, Imaging and Instrumentation, Optics, Refractive Error, Visual Neuroscience, Retina and Posterior Segment, Glaucoma, Optic Nerve, Pharmacology, Binocular Vision, Low Vision & Visual Development, Pediatrics, Sports Vision, Public Health, Optometric Education, Amblyopia, Acquired brain injury, Oculomotor function Yes
Pacific University, College of Optometry Yu-Chi Tai, PhD (ytai@pacificu.edu)
Linna Armstrong (linnaso@pacificu.edu)
Ryan P. Garcia (garcia@pacificu.edu)
  No
Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University Mitchell Scheiman, OD, PhD, FAAO (Dipl) (mscheiman@salus.edu) Pediatrics, Binocular Vision, Amblyopia, Acquired Brain Injury, Oculomotor function, Low Vision No
Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University William H. Ridder, III, OD, PhD (wridder@ketchum.edu) Cornea and Anterior Segment, Dry Eye, Visual Neuroscience, Retina and Posterior Segment, Pediatrics, Amblyopia, Acquired Brain Injury No
State University of New York, College of Optometry Dr. Stewart Bloomfield (sbloomfield@sunyopt.edu) Molecular Biology, Genetics, Contact Lenses, Optics, Eye Growth and Refractive Error, Visual Neuroscience, Glaucoma, Binocular Vision, Traumatic Brain Injury, Pediatrics, Clinical Trials Yes
University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Optometry Lawrence Sincich, PhD  (sincich@uab.edu)   No
University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry  Dr. RowlandTaylor (wrtaylor@berkeley.edu)  Patrik Donahue (vision@berkeley.edu) Anatomy and Physiology; Molecular Biology; Contact Lenses; Cornea and Anterior Segment; Dry Eye; Imaging and Instrumentation; Optics, Refractive Error, Visual Neuroscience; Retina and Posterior Segment; Glaucoma, Optic Nerve; Pharmacology; Binocular Vision; Low Vision & Visual Development; Pediatrics; Sports Vision; Amblyopia; Acquired Brain Injury; Ocularmotor Function; Public Health; Systemic Diseases and the Eye; Optometric Education Yes
University of Houston, College of Optometry  Dr. Laura Frishman (lfrishman@uh.edu) Histology, Anatomy and Physiology, Molecular Biology, Systemic Diseases and the Eye, Contact Lenses, Cornea and Anterior Segment, Dry Eye, Imaging and Instrumentation, Optics, Refractive Error, Visual Neuroscience, Retina and Posterior Segment, Glaucoma, Optic Nerve, Pharmacology, Binocular Vision, Low Vision & Visual Development, Pediatrics, Public Health, Optometric Education, Amblyopia, Acquired brain injury, Oculomotor function Yes
University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry Jeffrey Rabin, OD, PhD (rabin@uiwtx.edu)  

No

 

NIH/NEI (T35) National Research Service Award, Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grants: The goal of this training program is to support short-term research training for students in health professional schools during the summer, or for predoctoral and/or postdoctoral training in focused, often emerging scientific areas: researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/training-grants/T35

Research Types

Research Classifications Descriptions
Basic Scientific research to improve understanding or prediction of phenomena
T0 Basic biomedical research, including preclinical and animal studies, not including interventions with human subjects
T1 Translation to humans, including proof of concept studies, Phase 1 clinical trials, and focus on new methods of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention in highly-controlled settings
T2 Translation to patients, including Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, and controlled studies leading to clinical application and evidence-based guidelines
T3 Translation to practice, including comparative effectiveness research, post-marketing studies, clinical outcomes research, as well as health services, and dissemination & implementation research
T4 Translation to communities, including population level outcomes research, monitoring of morbidity, mortality, benefits, and risks, and impacts of policy and change
Clinical Scientific research on clinical healthcare practices to establish or implement safety and efficacy of devices, medications, or interventions.
Education Scholarly activates related to improving optometric pedagogy

Reference: https://ncats.nih.gov

Funding Your Graduate Training

Optometry Students      Grad Students          Faculty            

Organization Opportunity Website
American Academy of Optometry Jill and George Mertz Fellowship ttps://www.aaopt.org/home/aaof/programs/programs-faculty/aaof-mertz-fellowship
Joe and Janet Barr Early Career Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award https://www.aaopt.org/home/aaof/programs/programs-faculty/aaof-mertz-fellowship
Travel Grants https://www.aaopt.org/annual-meeting/students/students-stf
William C. Ezell Fellowship https://www.aaopt.org/home/aaof/programs/programs-for-graduate-students/programs-graduates
Fight for Sight Post-Doctoral Awards https://fightforsight.org/
Lions Eye Research Foundation Eye Research Grants http://www.ohiolionseyeresearch.com/
National Institutes of Health F Award https://www.nichd.nih.gov/grants-contracts/training-careers/extramural/individual
K08 Award https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/research-education/K08
K12 Award https://www.nichd.nih.gov/grants-contracts/training-careers/extramural/FAQs/K12
K23 Award https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/career-development/k23
Loan Repayment Program https://www.lrp.nih.gov
T32 https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/training-grants/t32
T35 https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/research-education/T35
Schools and Colleges of Optometry Many MS and PhD programs have funds to pay for tuition, stipends, and experiments See each school for details.

Other funding resources can be found at ARVO’s funding guide: https://www.arvo.org/journals-and-publications/arvo-funding-guide/

Training Pathways

The full spectrum of biomedical research ranges from basic laboratory discoveries to clinical applications and public health policy. Eye and vision research programs at schools and colleges of optometry span the entire range of translational research possibilities—from the fundamental basis and mechanisms of vision, to eye diseases, their diagnosis and treatment, and the impact of public health policies on our communities.

NIH Graphic: https://ncats.nih.gov/translation/spectrum#translational-science-spectrum