What is “pre-optometry”?

“Pre-optometry” is a term used to describe students who plan to enter a school of optometry after graduating from college. You should know that there is rarely if ever a “pre-optometry” major at any college. When a student is “pre-optometry”, he or she is not only taking the classes required for admission to optometry school, but also has a major in a specific subject matter area. A student can choose any major and still go to optometry school as long as he or she has 1) successfully completed the courses required for admission to optometry school, 2) has both a strong science and overall college GPA, and 3) has demonstrated a dedicated interest in optometry medicine.

What courses are required for admission to optometry school?

Typically, optometry school admission committees require the following courses to be taken in college:

  • One year of English composition (GSW 1110-1120).
  • One year of biology with laboratory components (BIOL 2040-2050).
  • One semester of microbiology (BIOL 3130 or 3140-3150).*
  • One year of anatomy and physiology (BIOL 3310-3320).*
  • One year of general chemistry with laboratory components (CHEM 1250-1270/1280 or 1350-1370/1380).*
  • One year of organic chemistry with laboratory components (CHEM 3410-3440/3450 or 3460).*
  • One semester of biochemistry (CHEM 3080).*
  • One semester of calculus (MATH 1310 or 1340 and 1350)*
  • One year of physics with laboratory components (PHYS 2010-2020).
  • One semester of psychology (PSYC 1010).
  • One semester of statistics (MATH 1150).

Some schools also have specific requirements in social sciences, such as psychology or sociology. Since requirements vary for admission to optometry schools, students are encouraged to contact the admissions offices for individual schools in which they are interested.

*pre-requisites required for this course

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all of these required courses available at BGSU?

All of the courses required for optometry school admission are available at BGSU. Many other useful (but not required) courses for optometry school, such as cell biology and genetics, are offered at BGSU.

What majors are most popular among pre-optometry students?

Pre-optometry students often choose science majors, as these usually include many of the courses required for optometry school admission. However, a student can choose any major and still go to optometry school, as long as he or she has completed the courses required for optometry school admission, has a strong college GPA and has demonstrated a true interest in health care delivery.

Is a baccalaureate degree required for admission to optometry school?

While a baccalaureate degree is not required for admission to optometry school, the prerequisite course work normally requires at least three years of college and baccalaureate degree holders may be given preference in admission decisions.

How high should my GPA be in order to go to optometry school?

Typically, a student’s overall college GPA should be a 3.0 or better in order to be a strong candidate for admission to optometry school. Admission committees also consider a student’s GPA in the required prerequisite science courses.

Is a high GPA the only way to get into optometry school?

No. In addition to a high GPA, a student applying to optometry school must also take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). This test has four sections: natural sciences (biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry), reading comprehension, physics and quantitative reasoning. The OAT is normally taken after two or more years of college. Further, students interested in optometry should attempt to gain scientific research experience as well as clinical internships, hospital volunteer positions or other opportunities working with people. Admissions committees look for evidence of leadership experience and a strong commitment to the field of medicine.

When should I begin my pre-optometry coursework?

Whether or not you major in a science, you should begin your basic pre-optometry course work as early as possible in your college career. Ideally, your basic requirements for optometry school admission should be completed by the end of your junior year of college, since you will want to take the OAT soon after you have completed the prerequisite courses.

Are there any organizations at BGSU available for pre-optometry students?

There are several organizations at BGSU that are designed for pre-optometry students. Alpha Epsilon Delta is a pre-health honorary society available to students who have completed three semesters of pre-health coursework and whose overall and science GPA is at least a 3.2. The Biological Sciences Honorary, Beta Beta Beta, American Chemical Society Student Affiliate, and Minority Association of Pre-medical Students are also available to dedicated science students. These organizations not only provide opportunities to attend lectures given by health care and other professionals but also give students a chance to more deeply explore their intended professions. The Natural and Health Sciences Residential Community offers the opportunity for students to focus on learning with friends in a supportive environment outside the classroom.

Over the past few years, what optometry schools have BGSU graduates attended?

BGSU graduates have attended the Ohio State University College of Optometry as well as optometry schools outside Ohio. At the present time, there are only 19 accredited optometry schools in the United State and Canada. The American Optometric Association maintains a list of accredited schools of optometry.

How long does it take to get through optometry school?

Optometry school typically is a four-year commitment after graduating from college. When you graduate from optometry school, you will have your O.D. degree. You will then need to take state board examinations for the state in which you intend to practice. Passage of state board exams is required for licensure in any state.

What resources are available at BGSU to help me learn more about optometry school?

BGSU offers students the opportunity to meet with two science faculty advisors, Lee Meserve, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences) and Steve Chung, Ph.D. (Chemistry). Students can also consult with an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Contact Information

Steve Chung, Ph.D.

Department of Chemistry
Pre-Health Professions Advisor

Darrell Hunter

College of Arts and Sciences
Academic Advisor

Patrick Dymarkowski

College of Arts and Sciences
Academic Advisor

DeVona Smith

College of Arts and Sciences
Academic Advisor