Preprofessional Requirements for Optometry

Optometry is a career requiring a professional degree (O.D.). Students wishing to apply to optometry school are encouraged to choose an undergraduate major that aligns with their interests and strengths.  Because course requirements may change from year to year, students should research the admissions requirements for their schools of interest. These requirements are described on the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) website at www.opted.org. Admission to optometry school is highly competitive, requiring solid academic performance, demonstrated interpersonal skills, exposure to the profession, and completion of the Optometry Admission Test (OAT).  In addition to academic advising provided by the colleges and academic departments, students pursuing optometry are encouraged to take advantage of Health Professions Advising services at The Career Center early in their academic career at Illinois. 

The Career Center provides health professions advising for students interested in pursuing optometry as a career, including discussion of required and recommended coursework, preparation outside the classroom, details of the application process, and characteristics of competitive applicants. In addition to one-on-one appointments, health professions advisors present workshops, host events, and coordinate campus visits for deans and admissions officers. More information for both current and prospective students is available on the Career Center's website at www.careercenter.illinois.edu.  

Current students can make an appointment with a Health Professions Advisor at The Career Center by calling (217) 333-0820 or online via our website. Students may stop by during weekly drop-in hours, or email the health professions advising team at tcc-healthgrad@illinois.edu with questions. Information about upcoming programs and services is available via the Health Careers Chronicle weekly e-newsletter.

The following chart represents common course requirements to prepare for optometry school. Individual programs may require additional coursework and/or expect students to go beyond minimum preparation. Students are strongly encouraged to research their specific schools of interest.

Composition I requirement3
Advanced Composition requirement3
MATH 220Calculus4-5
or MATH 221 Calculus I
General Biology with laboratory8-10
Molec & Cellular Basis of Life
Molec & Cellular Laboratory
Organismal & Evolutionary Biol
Organismal & Evol Biol Lab 1
Anatomy and Physiology6-8
Human Anatomy & Physiology I
and Human Anatomy & Physiology II
Anatomy and Physiology
and Env and Evol Physl of Animals
Microbiology with laboratory3-5
Introductory Microbiology
and Intro Microbiology Laboratory
and Experimental Microbiology
General Chemistry with laboratory8
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry Lab I
General Chemistry II
General Chemistry Lab II
Organic Chemistry with laboratory8
Elementary Organic Chemistry I
and Elementary Organic Chem Lab I
and Elementary Organic Chem II
Introductory Biochemistry
Biochem & Phys Basis of Life
Physics with laboratory10
College Physics: Mech & Heat
College Physics: E&M & Modern
STAT 100Statistics3
Courses in Humanities and Social Sciencesvariable
PSYC 100Intro Psych4

MCB and IB majors do NOT take MCB 151 or IB 151; Pre-dentistry students in any major who choose to take upper level labs do not need to take MCB 151 and/or IB 151; Dentistry schools require a minimum of two biology labs.