Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Doctor of Optometry

Traditional Program

Students in the Advanced STudies Program.

Current Advanced Studies in Anterior Segment students pose during an observation/teaching session held in the office of ophthalmologist and PCO adjunct faculty member James S. Lewis, MD. 

Advanced Studies Program

The Pennsylvania College of Optometry curriculum, like those of other schools and colleges of optometry, prepares graduating students to competently practice Primary Care optometry at an expected “entry level.” PCO is the only optometric institution to offer Advanced Studies certificate programs to those students who wish to be trained beyond this level in specific curricular areas for their personal and professional goals.

Advanced Studies programs offer an option for preparing students beyond the entry level, enhancing their knowledge and skills in distinct areas of practice or research, and expanding their breadth and concentration in selected knowledge bases. The PCO graduate with an Advanced Studies program certificate is able to apply these competencies and advanced technologies confidently, at a level of proficiency that surpasses basic entry-level expectations.

Current Advanced Studies Programs include:

  • Advanced Studies in Retina
  • Advanced Studies in Clinical Medicine
  • Advanced Studies in Anterior Segment
  • Advanced Studies in Contact Lens (new for Class of 2014)

PCO students who elect to apply for an Advanced Studies program and are accepted into a program will have the opportunity to participate in on-campus and distance education courses involving their chosen area of study, and to also have one of their clinical externships devoted to their Advanced Studies content area of interest.

. To view the current brochure PDF

To Apply PCO student applicants must:

  • Be in their third year of study;
  • Be in good academic standing within the core curriculum program at the time of application and maintain that standing throughout the application process;
  • Demonstrate interest and the potential of succeeding in the program through previous above average didactic and clinical performance in the PCO curriculum;
  • Submit any required HIPPA compliant case reports or projects involving a patient who presents with a disease or dysfunction within the advanced specialty area. The selected clinical case will have prior approval by and be submitted to the Primary Course Instructor;
  • Must successfully complete any required interviews by the Selection Committee of the Advanced Studies program;
  • Achieve a minimum grade of “B” in the basic core curriculum course related to the Advanced Studies program, as defined by the lead course instructor;
  • Achieve a grade of “Pass” in the Evidence Based Medicine course;
  • Provide acceptable documentation determined by the Director of the Advanced Studies program. 

Advanced Studies course offerings currently in the planning stage include programs in Advanced Glaucoma, Advanced Neurology, Advanced Low Vision and Advanced Gerontology.


For academic year 2014-2015: $948 per credit

For questions about the Advanced Studies Program, please contact the program’s Director, Dr. Melissa Vitek at or 215.780.1527.