Pre-Optometry

About the Profession

Doctors of Optometry examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases of the eye. Training requires four years at a professional school of optometry preceded by a bachelor’s degree or at least 90 credits of undergraduate education including the five prerequisite courses while individual schools may require psychology, statistics, microbiology or additional courses. The required admissions test is the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT).  Review recent admission statistics (PDF on another site) to see the profile of the most recently admitted class.

For information you may contact the Association of Colleges and Schools of Optometry.  There are 23 schools of optometry in the US. One school located in New York State, the SUNY College of Optometry, is public and located in New York City.

Many students express a concern regarding paying for their optometric education.  SUNY State College of Optometry has created a blog and video to explain students’ financial options. It also contains an video interview with a student. Both the blog and video can be accessed at the same link.

Your Record

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete dossier with which to apply to these professional schools.  For optometry schools your record will include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or least 90 credit hours of undergraduate work
  • Prerequisite courses
  • OAT Admissions test
  • Prehealth Committee letter or individual references
  • Health related experience

Course Requirements

Start planning as a freshman to meet the following course requirements: A minimum of one year each of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, all with a year of lab; one year of English; and one year of Math is recommended. Below are the UB courses which we recommend you take in order to meet these requirements:

Chemistry (Required and on OAT) CHE 101-102 or 105-106 or 107-108 10 credits
Organic Chemistry (Required and on OAT) CHE 201-202 or 251-252 10 credits
Biology (Required and on OAT) BIO 200-201 9 credits
Physics (Required and on OAT) PHY 101-102 w/labs 151-152, or
PHY 107-108 or 117-118 w/lab 158*
10 credits
English (Required) Communication Literacy 1 and 2 or ENG 101-201
(If any waived take 3 or 6 credits of writing intensive, literature-based courses – check with prehealth advisor if unsure)
6 credits
Mathematics (Highly Recommended, some schools require) MTH 121-122 OR 141-142 8 credits

*Consult with a prehealth advisor regarding additional lab requirements if taking a Physics sequence which includes only one lab.

  • ONLINE PREREQUISITE COURSES, INCLUDING ENGLISH, ARE STRONGLY DISCOURAGED AS MANY PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS WILL NOT ACCEPT THEM.
  • Check on individual school websites for additional requirements.  Optometry schools often require psychology, statistics, microbiology, biochemistry, and physiology.