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An optometrist is a physician who works with all aspects of eye care. Optometrists attend optometry school to obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists diagnose eye diseases, identify vision conditions, and perform examinations to write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. They also provide low vision aids, vision therapy and medications, as well as perform certain surgical procedures. Optometrists work in private practices and hospitals, as well as teaching and research institutions. There is a need for optometrists in all types of practice, with a particular need in pediatrics and gerontology. Below are links to a variety of different sources of information

  • Prerequisite Coursework

    There is no set list of courses that are required by all optometry schools, as each school has its own specific list of prerequisites. However, there is a core set of courses that are required by most programs as well as some commonly recommended coursework. For a complete list of requirements for each optometry program refer to the Association of Schools and College of Optometry’s admissions requirements. It is important that you consider the schools to which you want to apply and be sure you take all of their required courses.


    • Two semesters of General Biology with labs: BIO 110 and BIO 111
    • Two semesters of General Chemistry with labs: CHEM 111 and CHEM 112
    • One or two semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs: CHEM 331 and CHEM 332
    • One semester of Biochemistry: CHEM 381
    • Two semesters of General Physics with labs: PHYS 220 and PHYS 221 or PHYS 240 and 241
    • One semester of Calculus: MAT 131
    • One semester of Statistics: STAT 150
    • One semester of Microbiology: BIO 351
    • One semester of Psychology: PSY 120
    • Two semesters of English: ENG 122 and SCI 291 or similar writing courses

    STRONGLY RECOMMENDED COURSES (required by quite a few programs)

    • One semester of Human Anatomy: BIO 245 or BIO 341
    • One semester of Human Physiology: BIO 246 or BIO 350
    • One semester of Genetics: BIO 220
  • Timeline

    Freshman Year

    • Focus on coursework
    • Learn to be a successful student
    • Learn how to study
    • Earn a strong GPA
    • Begin working on prerequisite courses, especially BIO 110 and 111 and CHEM 111 and 112
    • Begin community service
    • Shadow an optometrist
    • Research various medical careers

    Sophomore Year

    • Continue to focus on doing well in your courses
    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Many pre-optometry students take CHEM 331 and CHEM 332 as well as PHYS 220 and PHYS 221 during their sophomore year although some will wait until the junior year to take the physics courses
    • Continue community service
    • Look for leadership opportunities
    • Start or continue clinical experience
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Look for research opportunities
    • Consider who to ask for letters of recommendation

    Junior Year

    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Finish your science prerequisites
    • Continue community service
    • Continue clinical experience
    • Continue leadership activities
    • Conduct research in your major
    • Study for the OAT
    • Take the OAT – after you have finished the science prerequisites
    • Obtain letters of recommendation
    • Work on your personal essay
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Fill out OptomCAS - it opens in July
    • Submit OptomCAS in August
    • Submit letters of recommendation

    Senior Year

    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Prepare for interviews
    • Continue community service, leadership activities and clinical experience
    • Continue research experience
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Go to optometry school interviews
  • How to Apply

    The process of applying to optometry school starts by filling out one application that will then be sent to the schools of your choice.  For optometry programs, you will fill out the OptomCAS application, which includes a space for your personal essay, your coursework history, your list of activities, your OAT score, and the names of your recommenders.  This application will open at the end of June so you can begin to fill it out and then you can submit the application in early August.  For more information on filling out the application go to "link to tutorial".

    Once the schools receive your application, some of them may send you secondary applications which require more information and ask a series of short answer/essay questions. You will need to fill these out and then send them to each school.

    After reviewing your secondary application and letters of recommendation, the schools will then invite students for interviews. This process typically begins and September and can last through February.  For more information on how to prepare for you interview go to our informational website and view our tutorial.

    After the interview process, students will either be accepted, denied or placed on a waitlist at each school.  From here each student then must decide where he or she will attend.

  • Statistics of Successful Applicants
    Data for 2016-2017 Cycle  
    Average GPA of Accepted Students 3.44
    Average OAT of Accepted Students 324
    Total Number of Applicants 2,812
    Total Number of Matriculants 1779
    Median Age of Applicants 22
  • Other Resources