Optometry - Preliminary Information

Undergraduate Coursework ~ Standardized Tests ~ Recommended Extracurriculars

Undergraduate Coursework

The required coursework varies from school to school. Most require the following curses:

  • 2 Semesters Biology with Lab
  • 2 Semesters Chemistry with Lab
  • 2 Semesters Physics with Lab
  • 2 Semesters English (sometimes a composition/writing intensive course is required)
  • 2 Semesters College Math (usually calculus or higher)

Others courses that are required or strongly recommended (sometimes with lab) include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Statistics
  • Psychology

Click Optometry School Requirements to download the list of specific requirements published by each school. (Taken from the ASCO website)

Click Planning Your Schedule to find out when, and in what order, you should plan on taking your required undergraduate coursework. You can also make an appointment with Susie Fang to discuss your coursework.

Standardized Tests

The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. The OAT is sponsored by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for applicants seeking admission to an optometry program. All schools and colleges of optometry in the United States require the OAT.

NOTE: The OAT is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA). Information about the test is found on the ADA website. There are no official OAT test prep materials, but Kaplan offers review courses as well as a wide range of study materials. Other study materials can be found online.

What subjects does it cover?

The OAT consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning.

When should I take the OAT?

Courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics are required prior to taking the OAT. Most students elect to complete two or more years of college prior to taking the exam.

How do I sign up?

You must apply to take the test. You can apply online. The fee is currently $213. Upon processing of an examinee's OAT application, examinees will receive an e-mail notification (or letter if no e-mail address on file) of eligibility for testing  with instructions for appointment scheduling.

Where do I take it?

You can then schedule your testing appointment with Prometric. Tests are administered year-round at Prometric Test Centers. Local Prometric Test Centers:

7365 Carnelian St, Ste 107
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

1241 South Grand Avenue
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

Recommended Extracurriculars

Having optometry experience is strongly recommended when applying to optometry school. Additionally, volunteer work of all types is encouraged. Visit our Volunteer page for ideas and lists of opportunities.