OD/PhD Dual Degree Program with Boston University School of Medicine

Program of Study

The Division of Graduate Medical Sciences of the Boston University School of Medicine (GMS), and The New England College of Optometry (NECO) have established a combined Doctor of Optometry (OD) and PhD program. The core curriculum for the proposed program incorporates the professional curriculum of the New England College of Optometry and adds the requisite curriculum of the post-Master’s graduate programs of the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at the Boston University School of Medicine. This sequence is similar in its programmatic elements to the Boston University MD/PhD program.

Students in the combined degree program will complete the first two years of the optometry professional program. Assuming satisfactory academic performance standards have been met during these two years, the student will then begin the post-Master’s Ph.D. curriculum at Boston University as proscribed by the department or program into which they have been admitted. Depending upon the department and the major advisor chosen among the primary faculty, individual trainees of this program can qualify in any of the following disciplines: Anatomy, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Molecular Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience, Biomedical Neuroscience, Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Biophysics or Nutrition & Metabolism.

Upon completion of this program and satisfactory defense of the dissertation, the student will return to the New England College of Optometry to complete their clinical training. Upon completion of the requirements for the Doctor of Optometry degree, both degrees will be conferred at the respective commencements of the two participating institutions.

Institutional Profiles and Research Facilities

Admissions to the OD/PhD Dual Degree program

The Admissions Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee of the New England College of Optometry will review all applications earmarked for the combined OD/PhD degree program on an early action basis, with a decision by December 15th. OAT scores are required for admission to the professional program

If acceptance into the professional program is recommended, the names will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee of the OD/PhD Program at Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. The Admissions Committee for the PhD portion of the combined program will render a decision by February 15th.

Matriculated students at the New England College of Optometry may also be admitted to the combined program during their first professional year by submitting a complete application.

Application for the OD/PhD dual degree program

Cost of Study for the OD/PhD program

Tuition and fees for the first two years of the OD professional program can be found here:


Tuition for the first year of the BU graduate program is covered through GRASP Credits of the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. The New England College of Optometry will provide a first year stipend in exchange for laboratory assistant teaching. Following completion of the Ph.D. qualifying examination, continuing student fees are covered by the BU department in which the student is enrolled, while ongoing stipend support is provided by the student’s mentor.

Upon completion of the dissertation, annual tuition for the remaining two years of the professional program at NECO will be the same as that which the student would have paid if he/she continued with the class in which they began the professional program.

For additional information and an application packet for the MS or OD/PhD programs, please contact the Office of Admissions at 1-800-824-5526 or admissions@neco.edu.