Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Doctor of Optometry

Scholars Program

The Scholars Program at Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) is an opportunity for highly motivated and well-qualified applicants to earn a Doctor of Optometry degree designed specifically with them in mind. This program provides students the opportunity to complete their optometry degree requirements in an accredited 36-month, year-round, campus-based program.

Each year, an entering class begins on July 1. Students enrolled in the Scholars Program earn the credit equivalency of students in the traditional program.

Drawn from features of our Traditional Program and consistent with PCO’s reputation for innovation and commitment to excellence, this unique curriculum emphasizes:

  • guided independent learning
  • lecture and laboratory instruction
  • small group learning
  • case-based learning
  • online and web enhanced instruction

The program’s structured patient care experiences and small student-to-faculty ratio provides close faculty mentorship, as students develop the critical thinking and clinical competencies necessary for optometric practitioners. To enhance this learning experience, the student cohort will be immersed in patient care at the beginning of the program.

The Scholars Program recognizes and develops individual student learning styles and leadership skills. Academically talented and motivated applicants will be carefully screened and accepted based on qualifications, history of academic performance and career path. If you are highly motivated to complete your studies, have a strong academic record, are disciplined enough for guided independent learning, and want to begin your optometric career as soon as possible, the Scholars Program at PCO might be the best pathway for you.

Interested applicants who would like to be considered for admission into the Scholars Program may contact Salus University Office of Admissions at or 800.824.6262.

*Guided Independent Study Definition

Guided independent study (GIS) provides students with the opportunity to work individually and in small groups with faculty mentors. 

Each course that uses the GIS model provides materials and reference resources to help the student achieve clearly defined course objectives.  As in traditional lecture courses, a GIS course describes the methods of evaluation used to determine the student’s grade.

Guided independent study provides students with opportunities for close one-on-one interactions between other students and their mentors through regularly scheduled meetings.   This level of supervision assures that the student has sufficient guidance and is making appropriate progress through the course materials.

In this learning process the student must be able to make a commitment to working on the course goals and to maintain continuous self-motivation.