Pre-optometry, Science, IUPUI

Interested in a Career in Optometry?

The School of Science office for Pre-Professional & Career Preparation (PREPs) will support you throughout the process of preparing for optometry school.

From advising you on pre-requisite courses and professional development activities to helping you through the application process, PREPs can assist you in every step.

Admission to optometry school is very competitive. You need to plan thoroughly from the start to be successful. The links below include detailed information on everything from the courses to the application process.

If you are an IUPUI School of Science student, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment to meet with a pre-professional advisor. The "Make An Appointment" link is on the right!

Join the PREPs Pre-Professional Advising Canvas Site


While students who've completed the necessary prerequisites are free to select any professional school to apply to, the School of Science pre-optometry program is especially designed to prepare students for enrollment into the IU School of Optometry.


Minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework. Bachelor's degree strongly recommended.Visit the IU School of Optometry website for more information.

Required Courses: 

  • BIOL-K101 Concepts of Biology I (5 cr.)
  • BIOL-K103 Concepts of Biology II (5 cr.)
  • BIOL-K356 / BIOL-K357 Microbiology/Lab (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • BIOL-K384 Biochemistry (3 cr.)
  • Advanced Biology - one of the following (3 cr. to 5 cr.) :
    • BIOL-K322 Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • BIOL-K324 Cell Biology  
    • BIOL-N217 Human Physiology   
  • BIOL-N261 Human Anatomy      
  • CHEM-C105 / CHEM-C125 Principles of Chemistry I/Lab  (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • CHEM-C106 / CHEM-C126 Principles of Chemistry II/Lab (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • CHEM-C341 / CHEM-C343 Organic Chemistry I/Lab (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • ENG-W131 Reading, Writing and Inquiry I (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W270 (formerly 132) Argumentative Writing (3 cr.) or ENG-W231 Professional Writing Skills          
  • MATH 23100 Calculus for the Life Sciences I (3 cr. to 4 cr.) or MATH 22100 or MATH 16500 or MATH-M119            
  • PHYS-P201 General Physics I  (5 cr.)
  • PHYS-P202 General Physics II  (5 cr.)
  • PSY-B110 Introductory Psychology (3 cr.)
  • STAT 30100 Elementary Statistical Methods I (3 cr.) or STAT-N501 or PSY-B305 or ECON-E270  
  • Note: The following courses are strongly recommended but not required: BIOL N261 Anatomy and BIOL N217 Physiology (both 5 cr.)       
  • If the student does NOT have a bachelor's degree, additional courses are required:        
    • Arts and Humanities (6 cr.)
    • Foreign language (6 cr.) (students having completed 2 or more years in high school with C or better are exempt)         
    • Social and Historical Studies (6 cr.)
    • Additional credit hours to reach 90 credit hours

Download a Timeline

Entrance Exams

The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized exam designed to assess competencies in areas important for success in optometry school and a career as an optometrist. The exam covers four content areas: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning.

You should prepare intensively by reviewing material in OAT prep books and taking repeated practice OAT exam. The OAT is generally taken in the late spring or early summer between your junior and senior year in college.

For more information, visit the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry's OAT page

Gaining Relevant Experience

Professional Shadowing

Professional shadowing, or job shadowing, is another means of career exploration in which you observe a professional at work. With a professional shadow, you can learn more about a profession before you invest too much time preparing for a career that may not be right for you.

For more information on job shadowing, visit our Job Shadowing Page. There you can download a free copy of our Professional Development Directory for a list of professional shadowing contacts. 

The Application Process

Applicants apply to optometry schools through an electronic, centralized application administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry called OptomCAS.  Once you complete your OptomCAS application, it will be processed and sent to all the optometry schools you select to receive it.  All schools and colleges of optometry in the United States participate in OptomCAS.

In addition, most optometry schools will require that applicants complete their school-specific supplemental application, after the applicant has completed the OptomCAS application.  Information on each school's supplemental application requirements can be found on the OptomCAS website.