New England College of Optometry 2014-2015 Catalog
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Department of Graduate Research Studies

Biostatistics I: Introduction to Biostatistics and Experimental Design

This course is intended to provide a better understanding of data analysis and statistical issues in design of experiments, as well as the techniques and terminology commonly used to elicit and communicate evidence concerning scientific hypotheses. Students will learn to properly interpret the strength of statistical arguments made by researchers, and how to weigh statistical and clinical evidence in assessing a scientific hypothesis. Emphasis will be placed on conceptual understanding of issues.

Biostatistics II: Introduction to Implementing Statistical Tests and Procedures Using Excel and JMP

This course is intended for students interested in learning how to conduct data analysis and how to interpret the output of statistical software. The implementation of these techniques through Excel and JMP will be illustrated by real datasets taken from clinical and public health studies. Students will learn where to find the relevant information from the statistical output tables generated by the software. Emphasis will be placed on application of statistical methods to real datasets.

Laboratory Research Survey

This course provides an overview of the basic areas of research conducted at the College and potentially available to students in the MS program. In separate lectures, graduate faculty will discuss the details of their research, including the major hypotheses and findings, and representative research designs and procedures. OD students may take the course for additional credits. A short paper is required for credit; the course is graded Pass/Fail.

Research Lecture Series

Colloquia are held throughout the academic year. The series features invited lectures on a wide variety of topics by an international group of researchers. Whenever possible, graduate student participation will include reading and discussion of topical papers in advance of the lecture and meeting with the speaker as coordinated with the Graduate Research Seminars. Additional lectures will be held each year on Research Ethics, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) functions and procedures. These courses are graded Pass/Fail.

Thesis Proposal Development

Thesis Proposal Development is an independent tutorial conducted by the student’s advisor, and involves a comprehensive literature survey of the chosen research area. Through regular meetings, the student and advisor discuss this literature in detail, and the student writes a paper, reviewed by the advisor, summarizing the literature. This paper should help in the development of the thesis proposal and thesis. The course is graded Pass/Fail.

Thesis Proposal

At the end of the semester in May of the second year (OD/MS program), or at the end of January of the first year for the stand-alone MS program, each student must submit to the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC), with the signed approval of the advisor, a thesis proposal defining the thesis project, the methods and design of the experiments needed for completion, the progress to date, and plans for completion. The GSC reviews the thesis proposals. The course is graded Pass/Fail.

Graduate Research Seminars I-IV

These seminars present graduate-level material in each of the three major core content areas (biological science, optics, and visual psychophysics) in which MS students may conduct their research projects. In addition, there is a seminar on selected topics, usually on the development of refractive state and myopia, reflecting a large proportion of the research currently being conducted at the College. Students will be letter-graded on participation in the seminars and the quality of required presentations and/or papers. The general seminar topics are as follows:

Graduate Research Seminar I: Biomedical Research in Vision
This seminar examines selected areas of recent biological research in vision. Current advances in methodology, specifics of research design, and impact of research findings will be emphasized. Selected topics are based on participating faculty expertise and include ocular immunology, diabetic retinopathy, nutrition and the eye, ocular circadian rhythms, anterior segment physiology, regulation of IOP and glaucoma.

Graduate Research Seminar II: Optics in Vision
This seminar discusses current research in visual optics with concentrations on theory and method of non-invasive techniques for measuring the optical characteristics of the eye and the functional characteristics of the eye’s optics. Topics include optical aberrations of the eye and their role in vision, optical characteristics of blur, optical limitations on neural processing, and optical imaging methods.

Graduate Research Seminar III: Special Topics – Eye Growth, Emmetropization, and the Development of Myopia
This seminar surveys and critiques the recent experimental and epidemiological research on the control of eye growth and the development of refractive state. Topics include the visual regulation of eye growth, emmetropization and refractive error development, animal models of myopia, the biochemistry and biomechanics of eye growth, and the genetics of eye growth and refractive error development. Occasionally, other special topics in vision science may be selected.

Graduate Research Seminar IV: Visual Neurophysiology and Development of Vision
This seminar covers a wide range of material examining recent work on the neurophysiology of the visual system in health and disease. Emphasis is placed on the development of visual system functions. Topics include binocular vision, strabismus and amblyopia, control of eye movements and accommodation, color vision and color vision defects, retinal processing and spatial vision.

Laboratory Research I-IV

The MS program at New England College of Optometry emphasizes the development of the technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills necessary for successful research in vision science. Accordingly, actual hypothesis-driven experimental research in the laboratory or clinic is the centerpiece of the program. This research is oriented toward the development, execution, and completion of a Master’s thesis. The courses in the Laboratory Research I-IV sequence are essential for carrying out the planning, data collection and data analysis necessary to complete the thesis research project. Each course is graded Pass/Fail.

Laboratory Research I
Four hours/week minimal lab work is required for Laboratory Research I. FWS and non-FWS funds may be available for additional hours. The student should be working with the advisor in the planning of the thesis research project, including obtaining permission for use of human or animal subjects by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), respectively. By the end of the semester, the student should have a clear understanding of what the laboratory does and the potential research projects available. Plans for the summer research project should be formulated. Any laboratory changes should be requested before the end of the semester.

Laboratory Research II
Four hours/week minimal lab work is required for Laboratory Research II. FWS and non-FWS funds may be available for additional hours. The student should be collecting and analyzing data for the thesis project and be planning for additional data collection with the MS advisor. By the end of the semester, the student should know what needs to be done to collect the remaining data for the project.

Laboratory Research III
Four hours/week minimal lab work is required for Laboratory Research III. FWS and non-FWS funds may be available for additional hours. The student should be collecting and analyzing data for the thesis project and reviewing results with the MS advisor. By the end of the semester, data collection should be complete or near complete. The student should start working on thesis organization.

Laboratory Research IV
Four hours/week minimal lab work is required for Laboratory Research IV. FWS and non-FWS funds may be available for additional hours. The student should be finalizing data analysis for the thesis project and reviewing results with the MS advisor. The student should continue working on thesis organization and begin preliminary thesis writing.

Thesis Preparation I and II

The MS degree in Vision Science from the New England College of Optometry establishes that the holder has undertaken and reported a substantial piece of original research under the supervision and guidance of a graduate faculty advisor. All MS degree candidates are required to submit a written research thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for award of the degree. The thesis must provide evidence that the candidate is capable of independently conceiving, designing and carrying to completion a research program or project.

Thesis Preparation I

This course is an independent study involving preparation of the thesis. The thesis must include a cover and title page, abstract, table of contents, introduction of the thesis topic with a comprehensive review of the literature, appropriately organized methods, results, and discussion sections for the experiments performed, and a final conclusions section summarizing the outcome of the project. The student should submit a draft of the thesis to the advisor by the end of the semester. Plans should be in place for the thesis examination to be held in the spring semester. This course is graded Pass/Fail.

Thesis Preparation II

This course is an independent study involving final preparation of the thesis. A completed thesis, ready for binding, must be submitted to the thesis advisor, thesis committee members and to the Director of Library Services. For the MS student to be recognized at commencement, a thesis examination must be completed by March 31 and the final version of the thesis must be submitted by May 15 during the spring semester of the fourth year for the OD/MS program, or the second year in the stand-alone MS program. This course is graded pass/fail.