Each optometry school has it own undergraduate prerequisites so applicants need to contact each school or college of their choice for specific requirements. All schools require that an applicant applies through OptomCAS, the centralized application service for optometry schools. Students are usually able to submit around mid July. A downloadable chart of the prerequisites for each school is available on the OptomCAS website.
The downloadable Admissions Requirement Handbook available through the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry also contains detailed information for each school. A few schools require the bachelor’s degree and those that do not require at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework and will give preference to those who have an earned bachelor degree.
Requirements vary, but a student wishing to pursue optometry should consider the following courses:
- Biology: 2 semesters
- Microbiology: 1 semester
- General Chemistry: 2 semesters
- Organic Chemistry: 2 semesters
- Physics: 2 semesters
- Calculus: 1 semester
- English: 2 semesters
- Psychology: 1 semester
- Statistics *: 1 semester
- Other social science courses: 1 or 2 semesters
* (Statistics can be taken within Wooster’s Psychology Department or Mathematics)
Optometry schools will also typically highly encourage applicants to take courses in Biochemistry, Anatomy**, Physiology, Histology, Cell Biology, Genetics and Experimental and Physiological Psychology. The science courses should be pre-professional level courses designed for science majors or health professional students and should offer laboratory experience. All science courses must include laboratories.
** (The College of Wooster does not regularly offer a course in Anatomy. Wooster students have taken Human Anatomy and Physiology at Wayne College nearby or at a local college of university near their home over the summer.)
Schools of Optometry typically give preference to applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Entrance Exam – The OAT
Applicants must take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which is a standardized examination comprises of four tests:
- Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry)
- Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Reasoning
Courses helpful in preparation for the OAT include: one year Biology/Zoology, one year General College Chemistry, one year Organic Chemistry, and one year College Physics. The test is offered year round.
Some schools will require a specific number of hours, usually around 10, observing optometrists in up to two optometry practice settings or, at minimum, one letter of recommendation from an optometrist whom the applicant has observed.