About SCCO at MBKU

Southern California College of Optometry at

Marshall B. Ketchum University

One of the colleges that is part of Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU), the Southern California College of Optometry’s mission is “to educate today’s minds to provide tomorrow’s eye, vision and health care.”

General Information:

Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO), est. 1904, is part of Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU). We are an independent, private, non-profit institution and both regionally accredited (WASC) and professionally accredited (ACOE).

Why Choose SCCO:

As a future optometry student, you will be making a substantial investment of both time and resources into your optometric education.  Six reasons why SCCO is a smart investment:    

Amazing Faculty:  First and foremost, our faculty is committed to excellence in teaching. Whether in the clinic or the classroom, they are truly invested in their students’ success.

  • Lecture and lab courses are taught by the same faculty who teach in clinic, which helps carry through foundational concepts to clinical application in patient care
  • They are committed to being available, mentoring, and supporting student achievement.
  • SCCO is committed to investing in faculty development, by continuing to advance their teaching skills, curriculum, and adapt technology to meet the needs of the modern student.
  • Our team of faculty are recognized leaders in the profession, serving in national and state professional associations and shaping the future of the profession.

Innovative Technology:  We invest in technology for both the classroom and clinic that enhances learning and showcases excellence in patient care. Simulation equipment, lecture capture, and flipped classrooms are all deployed strategically to help students learn more quickly and confidently.

VRMagic Simulators enable students to practice key clinical skills, such as binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy, at their own pace to be confident and efficient before they even see their first patient. VR simulators allow students to access real-life patient cases in the first clinical year.


Exceptional Clinical Education:  Ketchum Health,  MBKU’s state of the art clinical facility, showcases optometry’s primary care role, and offers sub-specialty services including Cornea/Contact Lens, Pediatrics/Vision Therapy, Low Vision Rehabilitation, Dry Eye Clinic, Acquired Brain Injury, Sports Vision, among others.

Patient care begins early in the curriculum. First year interns conduct vision screenings and observe third and fourth year clinicians. Second year interns begin seeing their own patients in the Winter Quarter.

SCCO’s Clinical Outreach Program has more than 80 clinical sites in the U.S. and abroad. For the fourth year of clinical education, students select three rotation sites, tailoring their last year of clinical education to meet their interest in the various areas of optometric clinical practice. The scope and variety of patient care experience provided through such an expansive program is enviable.

Interprofessional Education for a Changing Healthcare System:  Providing the majority of eye and vision care in communities, optometry’s primary care role continues to evolve, helping to meet gaps in patient care access. Optometrists are often the first to detect a systemic condition that affects a patient’s overall health (examples include diabetes, hypertension, and neurologic disease). Increasingly, the optometrist is recognized as a key member of the primary care team of medical professionals, as patients seek efficient, effective, quality care. To prepare our students for this role, MBKU has incorporated both interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice (IPC) into the curriculum. Through IPE, optometry students learn alongside physician assistant and pharmacy students, as well as faculty about their respective roles and professions. Ketchum Health is our flagship clinical site, providing collaborative practice opportunities that highlight communication, teamwork, and quality care amongst multiple providers.


The Business of Health Care:  SCCO prepares future practitioners for both patient care and successful business practices in a diversity of settings.  In addition to an extensive practice management curriculum, a student-led private practice club provides opportunity for leadership development, engagement with nationally recognized speakers, and networking opportunities with successful practicing optometrists that pave the way for career success.  

Student-Centered Culture: 

  • The Student Achievement Center provides support services to help every student become a caring, inspired health care professional through academic and personal growth. Examples include peer advisor group, free tutoring services, counseling services, and more.   
  • Co-curricular activities include student government, a leadership certificate program, Career Symposium, networking, and community service activities.
  • Personalized assistance with financial aid helps our students to be well-prepared to meet their obligations after graduation. Our graduates’ loan default rates are consistently less than one percent.

MBKU hosts three programs: The Southern California College of Optometry, the School of Physician Assistant Studies, and the College of Pharmacy. Our unique and innovative model of interprofessional education centers around patient care and prepares our students for the coming age of interdisciplinary health care delivery. Read more about the inherent benefits of being educated in an interprofessional environment.

How SCCO Evaluates Applicants:

Holistic Approach to the Admissions Process:  MBKU prides itself on its progressive admissions process. It is designed to select those who are best qualified to make a contribution to their future patients and to the profession. The admissions process has two qualifying rounds. The first includes GPAs, OAT scores, high school and college transcripts and various other scholastic qualifications are assessed. The second is where more subjective, personal qualifications are examined. Should applicants meet a qualifying scholastic standard in the first round, they are then eligible to advance to the second round where professional potential is assessed through an interview process.

It is the second round where motivation, character, personal statements, Curriculum Vitae, and shadowing experience are taken into consideration. The practice of optometry requires responsibility, maturity, ethics, devotion, intellectual curiosity, and social commitment. The interview is designed to explore these criteria. MBKU believes the practice of holistic review in the admissions process insures fairness to all who apply.

Applicant Resources:

SCCO uses rolling admissions. Here are FAQs related to our admissions process and other useful admissions information.

For questions and to request information related to the admissions process, email us at ODadmissions@ketchum.edu