Salus University’s founding college, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, was established in 1919 and the history of PCO includes a long list of firsts in the history of modern optometry. (Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University).
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 twenty 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. (Salus University College of Education and Rehabilitation).
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. (Salus University).
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. (Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Center for International Studies).
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. Our inaugural class of residential audiology students graduated in 2007. (Salus University George S. Osborne College of Audiology).
In 2007, we welcomed the inaugural entering class of Physician Assistant 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. (Salus University College of Health Sciences).
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 three continents.
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.
Also in August 2012, the first class of Occupational Therapy students were welcomed. The MSOT degree program can be completed and credits applied to a new Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree program also offered by the University.
In December 2013, the University was awaiting conditional accreditation for its emerging Speech-Language Pathology master’s degree program and hoped to begin enrolling students for the 2014-2015 academic year after receiving the accreditation from CAA/ASHA.