Doctor of Optometry –  Accelerated Scholars Program

The Accelerated Scholars Program at Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University 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 all of the same traditional program optometry degree requirements in an accredited 36-month, year-round, campus-based program.

Each year, an entering class begins in July, and students enrolled in the Accelerated Scholars Program earn the same credit equivalency as that of students in the Traditional Program.

Drawn from key 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 structured patient care experiences and small student-to-faculty ratio of this accelerated program 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 is immersed in patient care at the beginning of the program.

The Accelerated Scholars Program recognizes and develops individual student learning styles and leadership skills. Academically talented and motivated applicants are 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 may be the best pathway for you.

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

What is Guided Independent Learning?

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.