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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

College of Science

Pre-Optometry Studies

Pre-Optometry Studies

WHAT IS AN OPTOMETRIST?

An optometrist examines, diagnoses, treats, and manages injuries and disorders of the eye and associated structures. They can prescribe medications and visual therapy. Some can perform certain surgical procedures. Optometrists have the option of completing a residency. Most work as independent healthcare providers. 

EDUCATION LEVEL: DOCTORATE (O.D.)

TRADITIONAL COMPETATIVE PRE-OPTOMETRY STUDENT:

*NOTE: Each student's path is different! Holistic review takes several factors into account 

  • GPA: >3.5 (strong science GPA)
  • Strong OAT (>340-AA)/340-TS)
  • Pattern of taking challenging coursework and credit-load (>12/semester)
  • Extra-curricular involvement (leadership in student organizations, research, employment, etc.)
  • Consistent volunteer experience
  • Experience in or exposure to the optometry field (shadowing, volunteering, or employment)

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COVID-19 UPDATES 

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RESOURCES:

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NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Information and resources for pre-optometry students can be found on the links below! 

 

UTA ORGANIZATION

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RECOMMENDED EXPERIENCES

Like most admissions committees, Optometry Schools are looking for "well-rounded" applicants. This will include your extracurricular, volunteering, leadership and clinical experiences.  Below are a list of suggestions for experience. Visit the links in the additional resources section at the bottom of this page for more information. Students interested in becoming an Opthamologist will need to attend Medical School and should visit the Pre-Medical Studies page.

  • Shadowing Optometrists and Opthamologists
  • Volunteering in Healthcare and Non-Healthcare settings
  • Optometrist Assistant
  • Working in a healthcare setting
  • Shadowing other Health Professionals

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PREREQUISITES

The prerequisites for Optometry School are very similar to medical school. Below is a list of the required courses for the University of Houston. See Prerequisite Coursework for all Optometry Schools

Course (See letter descriptions below) # of Hours UTA Courses
A, E. Biological Sciences with Labs 8 Hours BIOL 1441 & 1442
A, E. Fundamentals of Chemistry with Labs  8 Hours

CHEM 1441 & 1442 OR

CHEM 1341/1181 & 1342/1182

A, B, E. General Physics with Labs 8 Hours PHYS 1441 & 1442 OR PHYS 1443 & 1444
C. F. Calculus 3 Hours  MATH 1426
D, E. Advanced Biology 8 Hours BIOL 3315, 3442, 3446
F. Organic Chemistry with Lab 4 Hours* (see Biochem) CHEM 2321/2181 & 2322/2182
E. Biochemistry* 
(*Prerequisite is OCHEM II – 4 hours)
3 Hours  CHEM 4311
A, E. Microbiology with Lab 4 Hours  BIOL 2444 (3444 prior to F20)
F. Statistics 3 Hours  MATH 1308 or BIOL 2300
F. Psychology 3 Hours  PSYC 1315
  1. Courses should be equivalent to those required for biological science degree majors.
  2. Course should have an optics section dedicated to the study of wave theory and the propagation of light. Calculus based physics not required; trigonometry or algebra based physics is acceptable.
  3. A three-hour course in calculus is required; it is recommended (but not required) that applicants take one or more courses in algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus and/or analytical geometry in addition to calculus.
  4. 8 hours of junior/senior-level biology courses are required. 3 hours must be advanced anatomy and/or advanced physiology (higher than A&P I or II). Acceptance of other advanced biology courses to satisfy prerequisite requirements is at the discretion of the admissions committee. It is recommended that applicants receive prior approval from the Program Manager for Admissions for applicable courses. Courses such as genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, neuroscience, advanced human physiology, mammalian physiology, immunology, histology and endocrinology will be acceptable. Courses such as plant physiology, ecology, biodiversity, biotechnology will not be accepted.
  5. Coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C no more than five (5) years prior to the date of application.
  6. Coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C no more than ten (10) years prior to the date of application.

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TEXAS OPTOMETRY SCHOOLS

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APPLYING & APPLICATION SERVICE

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ADMISSIONS TEST - OPTOMETRY ADMISSION TEST (OAT)

  • Scores: 200-400 in each section
  • Sections: Biology(40), General and Organic Chemistry(60), Reading Comprehension(50), Quantitative Reasoning(40), and Physics(40)
  • Length: 280 minutes with breaks
  • Competitive score: 340+
  • COST: $490
  • WHEN to TAKE: August - December of application year (check with school deadlines)
  • APPLY to take the OAT
  • 2020 OAT Guide
  • RETEST: minimum 90 days between test dates

 

OAT TEST PREP

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REQUIRED BY SOME PROGRAMS:

 

CASPer: Some programs also require the CASPer Test, an assessment of an applicants personal qualities. This test is taken during the application cycle and valid for 1 year. More information can be found on the CASPer Website.