Optometrists, or Doctors of Optometry, are independent primary healthcare providers who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures.

Doctors of Optometry (OD) receive four years of specialized professional education and clinical training at an accredited school of optometry after completion of their undergraduate prerequisites.

Since each optometry school may have slightly different admissions criteria, applicants should explore the requirements of each of the schools in which they are interested. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) provides a comprehensive list of their member schools and colleges. You may find an list of pre-requisite coursework for each individual OD program here (updated in June 2022). Variances of required coursework and experiences do exist among ASCO-accredited programs, so charting which schools you’re interested in applying to will help you stay on track. Traditionally, students begin applying to optometry schools during the summer before their senior year.

The following courses are the basic requirements and must be completed before matriculation:

  • One year (8 credit hours) of general chemistry with lab
  • One year (8 credit hours) organic chemistry with lab
  • One year (8 credit hours) of physics with lab
  • One year (8-10 credit hours) biological sciences with lab
  • One semester of microbiology with lab
  • One semester of biochemistry
  • One year (6 credit hours) of English—many schools will accept English 1000 and a Writing Intensive course
  • One semester of calculus
  • One semester of statistics
  • Two semesters of psychology
  • Two semesters of liberal arts/humanities
  • Anatomy is strongly recommended with lab

* See Plan of Study for MU course numbers.

The list of required courses provides the general minimum requirements for the schools to which MU students usually apply. For details on a particular school, contact the school directly.

Please Note: Optometry schools differ on their acceptance of AP credit for science and non-science course work. Check with your adviser or the schools to which you are applying. Do not make assumptions.