Salus University’s founding college, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), was established in 1919 and the history of PCO includes a long list of firsts in the history of modern optometry.
In 1932, PCO's growth requires a move to a large, 32-acre campus in the Oak Lane section of Philadelphia.
Construction on The Eye Institute-the College's main clinical facility-began in 1975 and officially opened in 1978 providing a valuable vision care resource to the community at large and the primary training site for optometry students.
The institution remained a single purpose institution until 1983, when our Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment programs were established, the first of their kind. For more than 20 years, we were the only institution in the United States to offer this combination of four master’s degrees and certificates designed for the education and rehabilitation of the visually impaired.
In 1990, we were the first school or college of optometry to utilize an excimer laser for research and training. In 1994, we became the first optometric institution to serve as a clinical trial site for a disease-oriented study from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The scope of our research is broadening and now includes audiologic research and non-optometric inter-cellular research.
In 1995, we became the first school or college of optometry to graduate an entire international class in a Master of Science in Clinical Optometry Program.
In 2000, with the advent of our distance education doctoral program for experienced, licensed practitioners, we became the first school of optometry to offer a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree. In November 2004, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute-the clinical practice for the Osborne College of Audiology-opened and later expanded in size. Our inaugural class of on-campus audiology students graduated in 2007. Today, Salus alumni comprise more than 23% of all Doctors of Audiology (AuD) in the United States.
In the early 2000s, The Eye Institute added two satellite locations to provide more opportunities for students and better serve its surrounding communities in Philadelphia.
In 2007, we welcomed the inaugural entering class of Physician Assistant Studies students to our campus. Our program is unique in that we are one of the few programs in the country to offer cadaver-based anatomy.
In 2008, PCO was granted University status and Salus University was born.
In 2010, the University added a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program and Public Health certificate programs. These programs are distance education, with students currently located on four continents.
After a multi-million dollar renovation, The "New" Eye Institute opened in May 2011 with a state-of-the-art design for high quality patient care. Renovations of the second floor, which houses administrative and faculty offices, a classroom, two conference rooms, and a small cafe were completed in late 2011.
In December 2011, the University received authorization from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Graduate Programs in Biomedicine leading to an accredited Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Science degree (MSc). The University welcomed its inaugural class of PhD students in August 2012 and we celebrated our first PhD graduate in May 2015.
Also in August 2012, the first class of Occupational Therapy students was welcomed into the Master of Science Occupational Therapy Program.
In July 2015
, the University’s Master of Science (MS) degree program in Speech-Language Pathology
was awarded Candidate for Accreditation status by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association. The inaugural class of Speech-Language Pathology students, Class of 2017, began their program in August 2015. The Speech-Language Institute
-the clinical facility for graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology-opened for client care in July 2015
In the Fall 2016
, the first class for the University's Doctorate of Occupational Therapy