Pennsylvania College of Optometry

Optometry Programs

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University has an unparalleled legacy in the education of competent and compassionate Doctors of Optometry. We have pioneered standard setting innovations in optometric education since 1919. Today, Salus University continues to offer more choices for our students.

PCO students can qualify for one of two pathways to a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Each program provides students with the knowledge and clinical experience necessary to enter the profession or complete a residency after graduation. No matter which program is chosen, all PCO students receive an optometric education with a strong biomedical foundation and a primary care focus.

Traditional Program

A cohort curriculum with ten overlapping education modules, this program pioneered our integrated curriculum, where students learn in the classroom, practice what they have learned in a lab, and apply their knowledge and skills in caring for actual patients under the guidance and supervision of faculty. Many students choose the traditional program for the extensive clinical skills training that begins in year one and culminates in a 16 months of externships. Other features include small group learning experiences, and traditional semester breaks.  

Students can complement the Traditional Program with advanced studies courses and/or a residency program. Qualified students gain additional expertise in distinct areas of practice as they develop enhanced knowledge and experience beyond entry to practice.

Additionally, qualified undergraduates can enter a seven year program that begins at a participating undergraduate institution for three years. The next four years are spent at PCO in the traditional program. After the successful completion of their first year at PCO, students will receive their undergraduate degree.

Scholars Program

An innovative program for highly qualified students, this program offers an alternative pathway to the OD degree. Through guided independent learning (GIL), the Scholars Program is able to accommodate a variety of student learning styles. Utilizing a maximized 36 month academic calendar, this year-round curriculum for highly motivated and well-qualified students is educationally equivalent to PCO’s traditional OD degree program. 

Additionally, students can complement the Scholars Program with advanced studies courses and/or a residency program.

Each of these programs features our innovative biomedical based curriculum as well as early and extensive clinical education for which PCO is recognized. So whether you want to earn your undergraduate and OD degrees in seven years; experience a traditional four year program with semester breaks; enhance your knowledge and skills with Advanced Studies courses; or complete your OD degree in a uniquely designed learning format, PCO can help you meet your goals and take your place in a dynamic and growing profession. 

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