Important general information

Students interested in the pre-optometry advising track must obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete the necessary prerequisites for a Doctor of Optometry program. Those interested in pursuing optometry should consult with a pre-professional health adviser to learn about requirements that are specific to the program and/or school to which they hope to apply.

Admission to and completion of a pre-optometry advising track does not constitute or guarantee admission to an optometry school.

If interested in preparing for optometry school, students must declare an academic major and should declare and maintain their pre-optometry advising track. Students do not earn a pre-optometry degree. Those unsure of their academic majors initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Pre-optometry students are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them. To declare a pre-optometry advising track, please see the pre-professional health advising blog.

Prerequisites for an optometry program

It is recommended that students select a challenging course load of science and math courses each semester to ensure adequate preparation for the academic rigor of an optometry program.

Students need to complete their bachelor's degrees, the required science prerequisite courses and the Optometry Admissions Test before becoming eligible to start an optometry program.

Science and non-science courses required for the pre-optometry doctoral program

General biology, cell biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and physics are required science prerequisites for admission to optometry school. The science courses should be pre-professional level courses designed for science majors or health professional students and should offer laboratory experience. Eight hours of advanced human biological sciences are required; junior or senior-level anatomy or physiology is strongly recommended. Students should consult with a pre-professional health adviser to see if the school they plan to apply to requires human anatomy.

Prerequisites for optometry schools

Course Title Hours
BIOL 151
BIOZ 151
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory I
4
BIOL 152
BIOZ 152
Introduction to Biological Sciences II
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory II
4
BIOL 205Basic Human Anatomy4
BIOL 303Microbiology3
CHEM 101
CHEZ 101
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
4
CHEM 102
CHEZ 102
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
4
CHEM 301
CHEZ 301
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
5
CHEM 302
CHEZ 302
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
5
CHEM 403Biochemistry I3
MATH 151Precalculus Mathematics4
MATH 200Calculus with Analytic Geometry I4
PHIS 206
PHIZ 206
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory 4
4
PHYS 201General Physics I 14-5
or PHYS 207 University Physics I
PHYS 202General Physics II 24-5
or PHYS 208 University Physics II
PSYC 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to PsychologyIntroduction to Psychology 34
STAT 210Basic Practice of Statistics3
Total Hours63-65
1

MATH 200 is a prerequisite for PHYS 207.

2

MATH 201 is a prerequisite for PHYS 208.

3

Students should visit the prospective school’s website to confirm if BIOL 205 is required.

4

Students should visit the prospective school’s website to confirm if PHIS 206 is required.

Students are encouraged to review admissions requirements for the specific institution(s) that they are considering applying to as well as VCU course descriptions for prerequisite courses. Students should meet with a pre-professional health adviser after declaring the track to develop their curriculum plan.

Students should also consult with their pre-professional health advisers to discuss an individual plan of study in parallel with their academic majors.