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International Programs

The Center for the International Advancement of Optometry

The New England College of Optometry officially adopted an international agenda in 1994 with the establishment of the Center for the International Advancement of Optometry (C.I.A.O.).  Over the ensuing years, the Center has acquired an experienced staff with expertise in international program development.  Projects are developed with sensitivity to regional needs and carried out in collaboration with local eye care practitioners and educators. 

The C.I.A.O. currently provides faculty teaching expertise in established international optometric programs in China, Germany, Spain, Israel, and South Africa that ranges from advanced training for optometrists in a focused area of study to partnering in graduate level education with foreign universities. N.E.C.O. faculty have been involved in international teaching by personal invitation in such countries as Italy, Thailand, and Colombia.

The C.I.A.O. is notable for:

  • Being the first college of optometry to deliver an accredited doctoral degree program overseas in the 1990s. 
  • Establishing the first and only international joint health care degree program (M.S./O.D.) in China with Wenzhou Medical College.
  • Providing international clinical externship opportunities for optometric students at Wenzhou Medical College (Wenzhou, China), at Centro Boston (Madrid, Spain), and in several Canadian locations.
  • Providing an elective opportunity in dispensing optics for 2nd year students in Aalen University, Germany.

The Advanced Standing International Program

The Advanced Standing International Program (A.S.I.P.) is one component of the College’s ongoing commitment to international optometry and its efforts to develop highly educated professionals who may then contribute to the development of optometry in their home countries. Through C.I.A.O., graduates of foreign optometry programs may be admitted with advanced standing to the Doctor of Optometry degree program. Approximately 150 foreign-educated optometrists from 22 countries have received their Doctor of Optometry degrees from the College's Advanced Standing International Program (A.S.I.P.). 

Graduates of the program have gone on to become faculty at optometric institutions, have been involved in curriculum development, and have become contributors, authors, and editors for journals and articles. A.S.I.P. graduates are involved with legislative issues, are active in providing lectures of continuing education programs, have established international clinical externships, and have gone on to sub-specializing in residency programs, clinical research, and humanitarian work.

The A.S.I.P. application process is described in detail on our website, however, additional information and an application packet can be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Admissions at 1-800-824-5526 or

The New England College of Optometry is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) of the American Optometric Association and by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc. Both ACOE and CIHE and their respective associations are recognized by the Council of Post-Secondary Accreditation.