At the University of Kentucky (UK), pre-professional programs are interest areas that students complete alongside their UK Core requirements and major curriculum. Students may pursue any major as long as pre-optometry prerequisite coursework is completed.

The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment offers support and guidance to students throughout the college interested in applying to optometry school. In addition to outlining necessary coursework and guiding students through application processes, the college’s pre-professional advisor also directs students to University programs, such as UK Education Abroad or the Center for Community Outreach, that foster well-rounded medical school applicants.

Practicing doctors of optometry experience keen satisfaction in their profession. The fact that many optometrists choose to practice on a part-time basis well into their retirement speaks highly of the rewards of the profession. Adding to optometrists’ satisfaction is the fact that they have a great work/life balance with a great salary. Over the years, optometrists have expanded their services to include more eye-health-related procedures, which assist their patients and have enabled their practices to grow.

- Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) Career Guide

Join the pre-med listserv to stay connected with preoptometry announcements and information sessions. To subscribe, send an email message to and type “SUBSCRIBE PRE-MED-L” in the body of the message.

Students interested in optometry should meet with a pre-optometry advisor at least twice during their freshman and sophomore years and at least three times during their junior and senior years. Pre-Professional Advisors are available for individaul appointments, provide information about internships and job shadowing opportunities, review personal statements, and guide students through the application process. 

All optometry schools and colleges require applicants to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). The preoptometry courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics should be taken prior to taking the OAT.

Each institution publishes its own school catalog which specifies its own requirements and procedures. It is essential that students obtain a catalog from the school(s) or college(s) in which they are interested. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) website is an excellent resource that students considering optometry should become familiar with.

Pre-Optometry Coursework

The following is a general outline of optometry school requirements (not including UK Core or major requirements):

  • General Biology or Zoology (1 semester-1 year) BIO 148, 152, and 155
  • Microbiology (1 semester) BIO 208 or BIO 308 and/or 209
  • General Chemistry (1 year) CHE 105, 111, 107, 113
  • General Physics (1 year) PHY 211, 213
  • English (1 year)
  • Calculus (1 semester-1 year) MA 123, 113, 132, or 137
  • Statistics (1 semester) STA 296
  • Psychology (1 semester-1 year) PSY 100

The following courses are also recommended or required for some optometry school admission:

  • Physiology (1 semester-1 year) PGY 206, PGY 421G, or BIO 350
  • Anatomy (1 semester) ANA 209
  • Biochemistry (1 semester) BIO 401G

Some optometry schools have additional requirements beyond the courses listed above. Reference for the application information and deadlines.