Transition from International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) to Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science (WOVS) Advanced Standing Program

Monday, September 16, 2019

The International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) project at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision (WOVS) funded by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities has provided a pathway for internationally-trained optometric graduates (IOGs) to practice optometry in Canada for the past 14 years. Based on the success of this program we will be transitioning this program to a self-sustaining model.

The University of Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science (WOVS) is developing an advanced standing program to help address the needs of IOGs. Beginning in 2022, the program will consist of an orientation term (term length and cost to be determined) followed by integration into the 3rd year of the OD program.  Successful completion of the orientation term, 3rd year, and 4th year of the OD program will lead to the granting of a Doctorate of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo. The class size for advanced standing with integration into the WOVS program has not been finalized, but early models anticipate fewer than 6 students per year. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national board examination for licensure/registration.   

In 2020, the IOBP will offer its final bridging program to 18 students after which the WOVS program will be available. We will continue to update stakeholders as our plans progress.   

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