Professional School Programs

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

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 (w/lab) General Microbiology  BYS 321
3 hrs General Biochemistry  BYS 361
4 hrs (w/lab) Calculus MA 171
3 hrs Statistics MA 281or PY 300*
3 hrs Psychology PY 101

*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.

Courses positively adding to your application:

Hours NeededCourse Needed
Genetics BYS 219
Cell & Dev. Biology BYS 300
Anatomy & Physiology I & II BYS 215 & 216 or BYS 313 & 314
Social & Behavioral Science SOC 100 & PY 201


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!