Course Recommendations: Optometry

Learn about the impactful reasons to consider a career as a future eye doc. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) clarifies the path to optometry, offering details about the admissions process, a searchable database for optometry schools, and information about summer programs which can give students a direct view of the field. Reach out to local optometrists for shadowing. Confirm the prerequisites needed at each school using the comparison chart and note that it is prudent to take courses that are strongly recommended, even if not required. Requirements regarding the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) are changing, with some schools exam-optional and others accepting alternative standardized exams. Completing the following UVM courses will set you up to eligible at all, or nearly all, programs, although not all courses are explicitly required at all schools.


  • One year of general biology with lab, fulfilled via ONE of the following options, based on your College/major:
    • Principles of Biology 1&2: BIOL 1400 & 1450 
    • OR:  Exploring Biology 1&2: BCOR 1400 & 1450 (or a single semester, Accelerated Biology: BCOR 1425 for those so placed) 
    • OR:  Human Cell Biology: BHSC 1340 & Principles of Biology 2: BIOL1450
  • Microbiology & Infectious Disease: MMG 2010
  • Additional biology course content most frequently recommended (required by some):
    • Anatomy & Physiology 1&2: ANPS 1190 & 1200
    • Molecular & Cell Biology:  BCOR 2500 (with lab) OR BCOR 2505 (without lab)
    • Genetics: BCOR 2300


All optometry schools require one year of general chemistry with lab. Most schools require only one organic chemistry course and biochemistry is either required or strongly recommended at all schools.  Based on the course offerings at UVM and the need to take biochemistry prior to organic chemistry here, the minimum coursework to fulfill optometry requirements in chemistry/biochemistry at most schools is listed below. NOTE, however, that students, either because of requirements for their major, or because of scheduling issues, may need to enroll in alternative courses. Taking higher level courses, or two-semester sequences, is always acceptable.

General (Inorganic) Chemistry:

  • General Chemistry 1 & 2: Chem 1400 & CHEM 1450

Organic Chemistry:

  • Intro Organic Chemistry w/lab: CHEM 1580


  • Fundamentals of Biochemistry: BIOC 3001 


One year of general physics with lab is required by all schools; the course sequence you choose will be influenced by your major requirements. Because optics is content uniquely important to optometry, physics is a major component of the OAT.

  • Elementary Physics (algebra-based): PHYS 1400 & PHYS 1450
  • OR:  Fundamentals of Physics (calculus-based): PHYS 1600 & PHYS 1650
  • OR:  Physics for Engineers: PHYS 1500 & PHYS 1550


Nearly all optometry schools require one semester of calculus:

  • Fundamentals of Calculus: MATH 1212, or higher


Statistics is required or strongly recommended by all programs:

  • Elements of Statistics: STAT 1110
  • OR Basic Statistical methods: STAT 1410 (preferred over Elements of Statistics: STAT 1110)
  • OR a major-specific statistics course required for that degree (e.g., Statistics for Psych Sci: PSYS 2010; or Statistics for Engineering: STAT 2430)


  • Two semesters of English are required by most schools. All WIL1 options will fulfill one of these.  


One semester of psychology is required by nearly all schools:

  • Intro to Psychological Science: PSYS 1400, or higher.


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