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Optometrists are doctors who specialize in the human eye and related components of our visual systems. They diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and eye disorders. They perform annual eye examinations and prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications, and treatments. Being an optometrist is a rewarding career that requires extensive knowledge, training, and experience. You'll help your patients care for and maintain one of our most important human senses—vision and sight.

To become an optometrist, you will need to complete a four-year Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), there are 23 optometry schools in the United States, including the Indiana University School of Optometry. Admission to optometry schools is competitive. Having a good GPA and related academic accomplishments combined with applying to multiple schools is the best way to ensure you'll be accepted.

Pre-Requisite Courses

The following table includes the minimum-requisite courses for Doctor of Optometry programs in the US; however, many schools have additional recommended courses. Students should work with their advisor to ensure all pre-requisite courses are completed in a timely fashion.

Introductory BiologyTwo, w/labBIO203 and BIO204
MicrobiologyOne, w/labBIO214 or BIO340
Human AnatomyOne, w/labBIO225
Human PhysiologyOne, w/labBIO226 or BIO334
BiochemistryOneBIO310 or BIO311/312 or BIO411/412L
General ChemistryTwo, w/labCHE140/141L and CHE142/143L
Organic ChemistryTwo, w/labCHE305 and CHE306
General PhysicsOnePHY110 and PHY111
StatisticsOneBIO205 or MAT130
Behavioral Sciences

Preparing a Competitive Application

Since optometry programs are quite diverse in their application requirements, students should thoroughly explore the requirements of all programs to which they hope to apply. At Marian, meet early and often with your advisor to stay on track for a successful application.

A competitive candidate will generally:

  • Demonstrate strong academic performance in all courses (GPA 3.4 or higher)
  • Score well on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
  • Demonstrate extensive familiarity with the field of optometry to gain an understanding of the expectations of the profession
    • Shadow several optometrists to gain a realistic view of the responsibilities of an optometrist
    • Gain extensive direct patient care experience through volunteering or a paid position
    • Get involved in community service, volunteerism, and co-curricular activities
    • Seek leadership opportunities in clubs, organizations, church, or sports
    • Conduct independent research to better understand the scientific literature
  • Exhibit strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work with a diverse group of people, and a desire to help others

Want to Know More?

Trisha Staab, Ph.D.
Director of Pre-Medicine and Pre-Health Professions
(317) 955-6544

Office of Undergraduate Admission
(317) 955-6300
(800) 772-7264

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