Optometry provides the opportunity to work closely with patients and help their eyes and other vision-related issues.

Patients receive through your education, dedication, and ability to establish a positive patient-doctor relationship, quality healthcare.

Key Points
  • Being "pre-optometry" is an interest, in addition to your major.
  • Optometry schools accept a variety of majors and require particular courses.


Doctor of Optometry, O.D.

After graduating from UAH, the average optometry school takes 4 years. After passing the national examination, some professionals may go on to complete 1-2 more years of training for a specific specialty through a residency.

Schools in Alabama

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (UAB) - Birmingham, AL

Recommended Course & GPA Requirements

At UAH, we can help you become a competitive applicant for your future professional school. To do so, a 3.5+ cumulative GPA is recommended.

Pre-requisites of the below courses are enforced.

Schools look for these courses:
Hours NeededCourse NeededWhat to Take at UAH
8 hrs (w/lab) General Biology BYS 119 & BYS 120
8 hrs (w/lab) General Chemistry CH 121/125 & CH 123/126
8 hrs (w/lab) Organic Chemistry CH 331/335 & CH 332/336
8 hrs (w/lab) General Physics PH (101&102) or (111/114 & 112/115)
4 hrs General Microbiology I BYS 321/321L
3 hrs General Biochemistry I BYS 361
One Course Calculus MA 171
One Course Statistics MA 281/ST 281 or PY 300*
One course Psychology PY 101 (or your choice)*
2 semesters Social & Behavioral Science See below**

*A statistics course taken in the psychology department may not be counted for both the psychology prerequisite and the statistics prerequisite for the UAB Optometry school.

**Any combination of two semesters or two quarters in sociology, economics, anthropology, history, political science or additional psychology.

The above courses support required and suggested coursework for Alabama schools. The combination of courses are guidelines, and specific requirements may differ among schools.

Entrance Exam


The OAT is the entrance exam required for admission to Optometry school. The OAT measures four areas:

  • Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, & Organic Chemistry)
  • Physics
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Reasoning

The exam runs at about 4.5 hours including breaks. Read more details in the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) Guide.

Classes Needed

Courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics are needed prior to taking the OAT. Most students elect to complete more upper level science courses prior to taking the exam.

Timing & Preparation

The OAT is not offered often, so be prepared and organized to register for this exam.

Practice tests allow for analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Take official practice tests to improve one's skills.

Many programs begin to fill their class as soon as their application cycle opens. It becomes crucial to apply early.

Outside Class Experiences
It's More Than Just Grades

Health Care Experiences

What better way to make sure you want to be in healthcare than by shadowing? Shadowing will go a long way in not only making you a mature applicant, but making sure others see you as prepared.

Community Service

Working in healthcare means having a heart of service. This means wanting to give back to the community. Find something enjoyable and go forth!

Keeping a Journal

Use a journal to record thoughts on your experiences. Activities come to life with reflection. Topics to consider writing about may include: Why one chose their profession, shadowing, or volunteering. This journal may be helpful when writing your personal statement.


Research experience can provide you with opportunities to work with faculty, learn skills beyond the classroom, use research methods, and engage in critical analysis. Research allows a better understanding between theory and practice using innovative and creative thinking.

Getting into professional school is about desiring to be a better person and better future professional. It's a complex process and we're here to help!