Pre-Optometry (POPT)

Pre-Optometry (POPT)

Academic Preparation for Admission into Texas Optometry Medical Programs

Doctors of Optometry are independent primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions. Optometrists are primary-care providers and therefore must recognize ocular and visual signs of disease, understand the wide range of health problems affecting a patient, and refer patients to appropriate specialists. Some optometrist work in a general practice, while others work in specialties such as contact lenses, geriatrics, low vision services (for visually impaired patients), occupational vision (to protect and preserve workers vision and minimize eye strain), pediatrics, sports vision and vision therapy. Other optometrists may choose to enter optometric education and/or perform scientific research.

Doctors of Optometry must successfully complete a four-year accredited degree program at one of the 17 schools or colleges of optometry in the United States. Most students accepted by a school or college of optometry have completed their baccalaureate degree.

Undergraduate preparation for the study of optometry requires a strong foundation in natural sciences and mathematics, and a background in the humanities and social sciences. Prior to admission into a college of optometry, students must have a baccalaureates degree and must have satisfactorily completed specific prerequisite courses. A minimum overall GPA and science GPA of 3.25 should be considered minimum. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a minimum grade of ‘C.’

The minimum course requirements for colleges of optometry are essentially the same as for most doctoral medical programs. This curriculum includes science–major laboratory coursework in biology (12 hours), general or inorganic chemistry (8 hours), organic chemistry (8 hours), biochemistry (4 hours), physics (8 hours), calculus I (3-4 hours), statistics (3 hours) and English (6 hours). Additional coursework in comparative vertebrate anatomy, genetics, cell and molecular biology, physiology, microbiology, embryology, advanced mathematics, and psychology are highly recommended.

In addition to the academic majors in the Physical and Biological Sciences, other disciplines, such as anthropology, community studies, sociology, and psychology may offer a variety of interesting courses appropriate for students interested in optometry school. However, if you choose a major outside of the Physical and Biological Science area you must include the basic science requirements for optometry school along with satisfying requirements appropriate for your major. A widespread misconception suggesting it is necessary to major in a science, especially biology, or that optometry schools prefer science majors is not accurate. The truth is that a majority of medical school applicants are natural science majors, but any academic major is suitable and acceptable for medical school as long as the prerequisite coursework is complete.

Undergraduate preparation for the study of optometry requires a strong foundation in science and mathematics and a background in the humanities and social sciences. Prior to admission in the college of optometry students must have a baccalaureates degree and must have satisfactorily completed 55 hours of specific prerequisite courses (listed below) with a grade of “C” or better. Students may apply for admission while completing their pre- optometry course work.

Potential optometry students are evaluated on the basis of GPA, performance on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), extra-curricular and community service activities, personal interview, professional potential, etc. Early application is desirable and deadlines range from October to April for the various schools and colleges of optometry. Each institution has its own guidelines; therefore, students should contact the schools or colleges of their choice to obtain a catalog and specific application procedures. Contact information can be obtained at the ASCO website above. Optometrists must be state licensed. All states require graduation from an accredited professional optometric degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. Most states accept the results of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

Serious students seeking Optometry career opportunities should seek advisement from the Office of Medical & Allied Health Programs. The specialized sequence of coursework meets basic prerequisite needs of the Doctor of Optometry programs within the scope of a generalized natural science major and minor. This approach provides the greatest flexibility for alternative strategies should they be necessary.

The pre-optometry curriculum listed here serves as a guide for the biology major / chemistry minor. Other academic majors and minors can be used, but may require more coursework than the usual 120-hour baccalaureate.

Accredited Schools and Colleges of Optometry:

Illinois College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
3241 South Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Indiana University School of Optometry
Office of Student Administration
800 E. Atwater Ave
Bloomington, IN 47405-3680

Inter American University of Puerto Rico
School of Optometry
118 Eleanor Roosevelt
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00919

Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
1310 Cramer Circle
Big Rapids, MI 49307-2738

New England College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
424 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02115

Northeastern State University
College of Optometry
1001 N Grand Ave
Tahlequah, OK 74464

Nova Southeastern University
College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
3200 S University Dr
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33328

The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Office of Student Affairs
338 W Tenth Ave
Columbus, OH 43210

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