The UT Martin Pre-Optometry Plan is designed to prepare students for application to optometry school. By following the Pre-Optometry Plan recommendations, students will be eligible for admission into most Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) programs; however, the courses listed below are intended only as a guideline and students are strongly encouraged to review the requirements for their school(s) of choice as they vary from school to school. Additionally, the Pre-Optometry Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin. The courses listed below are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major.
Most O.D. programs do not require applicants to earn a baccalaureate degree before matriculation into the professional program; however, most optometry schools expect students to earn a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation. The Biology-Cellular and Molecular Biology Concentration and the Bachelors of Science in Chemistry major include many of the courses listed below; however, students may choose to major in any subject area they wish as long as they also complete the courses required by their chosen O.D. program(s). Additionally, since many optometrists own their own businesses, students may wish to consider taking business classes as electives and/or combining a science major with a business major or minor.
For most optometry schools:
- Students are eligible to apply after completing 90 semester hours of course work; however, most schools expect students to have a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation.
- Applicants must demonstrate that all required course work will be completed with a grade of C or better prior to admission.
- Applicants must complete the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) and meet the technical skills as defined by the professional school.
- Students should plan to take the OAT in the spring before they plan to apply to optometry school.
- Applicants are expected to have some knowledge of the field from direct observations as part of their pre-professional experiences.
- Students must apply through the Optometry’s Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS).
- Students should plan to apply to optometry school in the summer or fall of the year preceding the desired admission date.
The minimum requirements for most O.D. programs include:
- One year of English
- One semester of psychology
- One year of biology with labs
- One year of physics with labs
- One year of general chemistry with labs
- One course of organic chemistry with a lab
- One course of statistics
- One course of microbiology
- One course of calculus
- One course of biochemistry
In addition to the classes listed above, most optometry schools require one year of social and behavioral science or humanities electives. The requirements for these electives vary widely. Students should check with their school(s) of choice to determine how many elective hours are required and if they need to be in a specific area. For example, some schools allow electives to be chosen from any humanities or social sciences area while others specifically require electives from social or behavioral sciences.
While the above list of classes meets the minimum requirements for most optometry schools, successfully admitted students take classes well beyond the minimum and students are strongly encouraged to pursue as rigorous a schedule of courses as possible to be competitive. While not an exhaustive list, the following courses are strongly recommended for students considering applying to optometry school. Students should always check with their adviser and/or school(s) of choice before deciding which classes to take.