Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
What is the study of ?
What do I need to know?
Students who complete Pre-Optometry coursework at an accredited college or university are eligible to be considered for admission into an optometry (OD) program. WWU offers undergraduate coursework that will satisfy the prerequisites for the various OD programs in the U.S. In general, students must have a strong academic background in the following areas of study: Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Physics, English, and Psychology. Although Western does not offer a Pre-Optometry major, Biology and Chemistry are examples of popular majors among students who pursue optometry as a career.
There are 20 accredited optometry programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that offer the Doctor of Optometry (OD). Admission into an optometry program is highly selective and includes evaluation of:
- GPA (overall and science)
- Academic performance
- Optometry Admission Test (OAT) scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Exposure to the profession
AP credit may not be generally recognized by professional schools as college-earned credit.
Repeating courses is not viewed favorably by professional schools. An isolated case may be acceptable but also may require an explanation in application.
Declaring a Major: Refer to the department of your chosen major for prerequisites and GPA requirements for declaring.
Plan of Study
- General Chemistry: CHEM 121*, 122, 123
- General Biology : BIOL 204**, 205, 206
- Take appropriate mathsequence to complete Calculus: MATH 124
- Take GUR courses including ENG 101 & PSY 101
- Meet with Pre-Healthcare Advisor to develop a plan of study
*Completion of MATH 114 or placement into MATH 115 or higher is a pre-requisite for CHEM 121
**CHEM 121 is pre-requisite to BIOL 204
- Research optometry careers & OD programs
- English composition:ENG 201 or 202
- Calculus: MATH 125
- Organic Chemistry: CHEM 351, 352, 353, 354, & 355 [or 356 for non-Chemistry majors]
- Physics*: PHYS 114, 115, 116 or 121, 122, 123
- Microbiology : BIOL 345, 346
- Psychology: PSY 210 or 220
*MATH 115 is a pre-requisite to PHYS 114; MATH 124 is a co-requisite to PHYS 121
- Anatomy & Physiology: BIOL 348, 349
- Biochemistry: BIOL or CHEM 471, 472
- Statistics: MATH 240 (or major equivalent)
- English composition: ENG 301 or 302
- Take Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
- Draft personal statement
- Request letters of recommendation
- Begin primary application to OptomCAS
- Complete major and GUR requirements
- Meet faculty advisor for major evaluation
- Apply for graduation two quarters before graduating