Students planning to apply to a school or college of optometry should use this page only as a guide. Each institution publishes its own school catalog, which specifies its own requirements and procedures. 

It is essential that students research optometry schools and colleges and obtain a catalog from the specific school or college they plan to attend.

There are certain college-level courses that all schools and colleges of optometry require you to take prior to consideration for admission. Use this list of courses only as a guide.

  • One to two semesters of General Biology with labs
  • One semester of Microbiology with lab
  • Two semesters of General Chemistry with lab
  • One to two semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • Two Semesters of General Physics with lab
  • Two semesters of English with emphasis on communication skills
  • One to two semesters of Calculus 
  • One to two semesters of Psychology courses

Courses in Statistics, physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry are strongly recommended if not required by most institutions. There are additional course requirements that vary with each school or college. Consult each school's catalog. The science courses you take should be those designed for pre-professional students. Brief survey courses in the sciences will not prepare you for optometry school. Most science courses must include a laboratory experience.

Recommended Sequence for Pre-Optometry Students 

First Year

  • CHE 105 General Chemistry I / CHE 111 General Chemistry Lab 1
  • CHE 107 General Chemistry II / CHE 113 General Chemistry Lab II
  • BIO 148 Principles of Biology 1 / BIO 155 Principles of Bio Lab I
  • BIO 152 Principles of Biology II may be taken the first or second year
  • UKCore Composition and Communication I and II 
  • Mathematics as needed for major. Suggested: MA 123 or MA 137 or MA 113.
Second Year
  • CHE 230 Organic Chemistry I / CHE 231 Organic Chemistry Lab 1
  • CHE 232 Organic Chemistry II / CHE 233 Organic Chemistry Lab II

  • Microbiology with lab

Third Year 
PHY 211 General Physics I and 
PHY 213 General Physics II

- or - 
  • PHY 231 General University Physics / PHY 241 General Univ. Physics Lab I

  • PHY 232 General University Physics II / PHY 242 General Univ. Physics Lab II

Choosing a Major as a Pre-Optometry Student

According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO): "Most students major in the natural sciences in college (biology, chemistry, etc.) because the prerequisites for optometry school are science-intensive. However, prospective students can major in any degree discipline as long as they complete all of the prerequisite courses for optometry."
(Schools and Colleges of Optometry: Admission Requirements 2009-2010)
University of Kentucky students with a broad range of majors have been successful in the optometry school admissions process.

OAT: Optometry Admission Test

The OAT is a computerized 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, and the University of Waterloo, Canada require the OAT.
The OAT consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning. Students should have completed or been in the process of completing courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics prior to taking the OAT. The OAT can be taken an unlimited amount of time; however, there is a mandatory 90 day wait period between exams.
Click here for additional OAT information and registration. 
Application Service
OptomCAS is the Optometry Centralized Application Service. Through this service, applicants may file one application and send it to multiple optometry programs. The schools and colleges of optometry will be able to process applications more efficiently.

All 20 schools and colleges of optometry will participate.

Additional Information

Where to Apply
There are no optometry schools in the state of Kentucky. Currently, there are optometry articulation agreements with UK and Southern College of Optometry, Indiana College of Optometry, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where students can apply for in-state tuition. Ask your pre-professional advisor for more information.

Application Essays
If required, essays are very important parts of your application to professional school. Take time to think carefully about who you are and what experiences have shaped your life. How have you come to this point of seeking a career in optometry? The essays that you write should be so much "you" that no one else could have written any portion of them. Admissions officers want to learn more about who you are. In addition to careful attention to content, please be sure that your essay is error-free. Have someone proof your essay to ensure that spelling and grammar are correct.

In most cases, official copies of your transcript(s) need to be sent directly to schools to which you are applying. Make sure to check the application instructions. Transcripts can be requested from the Registrar's Office. A transcript from each and every post-secondary school you have attended must be submitted. Besides your UK transcript, be sure to request official ones from any community college or 4-year institution where you attempted or earned credit; any college from which you earned credit while in high school; correspondence programs; summer programs; military education; etc. You will need personal copies of your transcripts for use in completing the academic portion of your application. Be sure to review them carefully to be certain that all coursework and grades are recorded accurately.