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An undergraduate education provides students with the opportunity to grow personally and intellectually; allowing them the time and resources to discover a breadth of new ideas and topics as well as to build and to explore in depth their own interests and passions.  Therefore, students should seek a broad education during their undergraduate years.  There is no required major for entrance to optometry programs.  The following courses represent what can be taken at UTSA to fulfill the prerequisites for entrance to the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) program.  Students are encouraged to incorporate these requirements into their semester by semester plans for completion of their baccalaureate degree, which is also required by the UHCO.  Further, because there is some variation in requirements for other optometry programs, students are advised to consult individual programs for their specific and most current information.  A supplemental worksheet that details prerequisite coursework for the other Texas optometry school, the University of the Incarnate Word School of Optometry, may also be available upon request in the University Health Professions Office (UHPO).


Timeline: Students who enter their undergraduate studies with the intention of entering optometry school just after graduation should complete the core pre-optometry coursework by the spring semester of their junior year.  This will allow a student time to complete their degree requirements prior to graduation in May of the following year.  It is not unusual, however, that a student will decide later in their academic career to pursue optometry.  Arriving at the decision later does not necessarily place a student at a disadvantage.  It will, though, require a student to postpone the application to optometry school until pre-optometry course requirements are fulfilled. 


Required Areas of Study

UTSA Course

Grade/ Sem


General Biology
(two courses with corresponding labs)

BIO 1404


Completion of or concurrent enrollment in MAT 1023 (not recommended for pre-optometry students) or MAT 1073 or higher; CHE 1073 or higher also recommended by the UHPO

BIO 1122 Lab


Completion of or concurrent enrollment in BIO 1404

BIO 1413


BIO 1404

(one course with corresponding lab)

BIO 3713


BIO 1413/1122; BIO 2313 w/ concurrent enrollment in BIO 3722 recommended

BIO 3722 Lab


Concurrent enrollment in BIO 3713 recommended

Advanced Biology
(two courses with corresponding labs)

NOTES:  The UH College of Optometry requires eight hours of coursework in advanced biology for which anatomy and physiology are highly recommended.  Other advanced biology courses can be taken to fulfill this requirement at the discretion of the admissions committee.

BIO 3123 was formerly BIO 2123;
BIO 3132 was formerly BIO 2132.

BIO 3123 Anatomy


BIO 1413

BIO 3132 Anatomy Lab


BIO 1413

BIO 3413 Physiology


BIO 2313, MAT 1193, and STA 1403

BIO 3422 Physiology Lab


Completion of or concurrent enrollment in BIO 3413

(one course)

¹BIO 3513 or ²CHE 4303


¹CHE 2603 and CHE 2612; ²CHE 3643

General Chemistry
(two courses with corresponding labs)

¹CHE 1103 or ²CHE 1143


¹Passing grade on Chemistry Placement Exam or C or better in CHE 1073 and completion of or concurrent enrollment in MAT 1073; ²Grade of “B” or higher in MAT 1073 and CHE 1073 or score of 60% or higher on chemistry placement exam

CHE 1121 Lab and
CHE 1120 Lab Lecture


Completion of or concurrent enrollment in CHE 1103 or CHE 1143


General Chemistry

¹CHE 1113 or ²CHE 1153


¹CHE 1103; ²“C” or better in CHE 1143 or “B” or better in CHE 1103 with instructor consent

CHE 1131 Lab and
CHE 1130 Lab Lecture


CHE 1121 and completion of or concurrent enrollment in CHE 1113 or CHE 1153

Organic Chemistry
(one course with corresponding lab)

NOTE:  CHE 2603 was formerly CHE 2604.

CHE 2603


CHE 1113 or CHE 1153

CHE 2612 Lab and
CHE 2610 Lab Lecture


Completion of CHE 1131 and completion of or concurrent enrollment in CHE 2603

(two courses with corresponding labs)

PHY 1603

or PHY 1903 or 1943


MAT 1023 (not recommended for pre-optometry student) or MAT 1073

PHY 1611 Lab

or PHY 1911 (w/1903) or 1951 (w/1943)


Completion of or concurrent enrollment in PHY 1603

PHY 1623

or PHY 1923 or 1963


PHY 1603

PHY 1631 Lab

or PHY 1931 (w/1923) or 1971 (w/1963)


PHY 1611 and completion of or concurrent enrollment in PHY 1623

(one course)

MAT 1193 or MAT 1214


MAT 1093 or satisfactory placement exam score

(one course)

PSY 1013 or higher



(one course)

STA 1053, PSY 2073, or higher


Varies by course


The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized exam required by all schools and colleges of optometry for admission.  The OAT consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning. Most students complete two to three years of college education that include biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics before taking the exam. 

The OAT is administered via computer, and the score is based on an examinee’s number of correct answers. This so, guessing is not penalized.  OAT scores range from 200 to 400.  A score of 300 usually indicates average performance on a national basis, though students are encouraged to find the average scores for matriculating classes at various schools to gain an idea of what may be considered a competitive score.  Students are encouraged to take the OAT no later than Fall of the year preceding expected admission.  The OAT can be taken multiple times.  However, examinees must wait at least 90 days between testing dates.  Scores from the four most recent attempts and the total number of attempts are reported.  Complete information about the OAT can be found online at

Application Process

Application Process:  Students may apply to the UH College of Optometry through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS).  Other application requirements include:  a UH College of Optometry supplemental application, a nonrefundable application fee, official college transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended, Optometry Admission Test (OAT) scores, letters of evaluation, and an interview.  The deadline to submit the OptomCAS and supplemental applications for admission to the UH College of Optometry is February 15.  However, students are encouraged to submit their application materials well in advance of this deadline.

Currently, the University of the Incarnate Word College of Optometry is the only other school of optometry in Texas.  For a list of other optometry programs located across the country, please visit the website for the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) at:  ASCO’s OptomCAS can be used to apply to many optometry schools across the nation.  However, students are advised to refer to individual programs regarding their particular prerequisites and application requirements. 

Selection Criteria

The Admissions Committee at the UH College of Optometry uses the following criteria in determining an applicant’s academic and personal qualifications for admission to the college:

  • Undergraduate academic record
  • Evidence of ability to handle a course load of 18-20 semester credit hours
  • Evaluation of qualities such as leadership, motivation, social awareness, well-roundedness and knowledge of profession
  • Applicant's service to his or her community and college, work experience and interpersonal skills
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Evidence received through letters of evaluation validating academic ability and achievement as well as personal qualities such as self-confidence, initiative and ability to work with others.

Other optometry schools and colleges may use similar selection criteria.  However, students may want to research individual schools and colleges for any criteria particular to their program.