Dual Doctor of Optometry (OD) and PhD program

Graduate Medical Sciences in 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.

Core Curriculum

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 Graduate Medical Sciences in 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 three years of the optometry professional program. Assuming satisfactory academic performance standards have been met during these three 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 final year of 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.

Admissions to the OD/PhD Dual Degree program

Matriculated students at the New England College of Optometry are able to apply to the combined program during their first professional year by submitting a complete application.

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 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 year 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.

Application Process

  • Students are eligible to apply to the dual degree program once enrolled at NECO.
  • Submit your completed NECO Graduate Programs application by December 15.
  • Candidates will be notified of a decision by January 15.
  • If you are recommended for admission to the Program, you must complete the BU online PhD program application by February 15.
  • You will be notified of a decision from BU by March 31

For additional information and an application packet for the MS or OD/PhD programs, visit http://www.neco.edu/admissions/programs/od-phd or contact the NECO Office of Admissions at  admissions@neco.edu.