The Accelerated Optometric Degree Program, AODP, is a twenty-seven month program for scientists and physicians who hold a doctoral degree (PhD or MD) in science or medicine. Applicants demonstrate high scholarship in previous graduate study, as well as a firm career commitment to optometry. The program was established in 1972 to attract highly qualified candidates who can provide unique contributions to the profession of optometry through teaching, research and clinical care.
An Accelerated Program
This program is designed to provide an accelerated education for qualified applicants with either an earned doctorate in one of the biological, behavioral, or physical sciences; or a doctoral-level health profession degree. Once admitted, AODP students follow an intense twenty-seven month curriculum, which includes one year of clinical externship rotations. Doctors considering this program should be aware that it is extremely demanding and precludes other activities. The first three academic years of the regular four-year OD program are compressed into 15 intensive months. Upon completion, graduates of the program are prepared to enter the profession in clinical practice, optometric education, or research.
A Unique Student Body
Graduates of the program have gone on to become college deans, department chairs, professors in both optometry and medical programs, and successful optometric practitioners in a variety of practice settings.
Most of the PhD’s in the program have been previously educated in the biological sciences and have extensive research experience. However, the College seeks to attract a diverse group of applicants who can contribute to the program and to the profession of optometry. Graduates of the program have held previous experience in a variety of disciplines, including aeronautical and space engineering, anatomy, anthropology, biochemistry, biology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, dentistry, electrical engineering, experimental psychology, mathematics, neuroscience, parasitology, and physics. Research based PhD’s in other fields are also encouraged to apply.
Although several of the medical doctors who have graduated from the program were trained in the United States, most of the physicians in the program are international MDs with extensive clinical and/or research experience in ophthalmology. Physicians in cardiac surgery, general practice, oncology, pediatrics, and many other specialties have also become excellent optometrists through the program.