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Your Optometry Academic Experience

Make the Most of Your Time

  • Determine your top optometry school choices.

    Each optometry school will have specific course requirements you need to take as an undergraduate. Once you know those, it’ll be easier to plan your Illinois State academic schedule.

  • Take any prerequisites.

    Illinois State offers the classes you need to apply to optometry school. Before you get to that level, you might have to take a handful of other classes to get ready.

  • Talk to us.

    There’s a lot of coordination and planning that needs to happen to make sure you do everything you need before optometry school. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.


Your optometry school will have specific requirements, but here are some common ones.

Typical Medical School Requirements

  • General Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Organic Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Biology - 2 semesters

  • Microbiology - 1 semester

  • Physics - 2 semesters

  • Anatomy and Physiology - 2 semesters

  • Math - 2 semesters

  • Communication - 1 semester

  • English - 2 semesters

  • Psychology - 1 semester

What to Take at Illinois State

Some classes require prerequisites.

  • General Chemistry CHE 140 and then 141

  • Organic Chemistry CHE 230/231 and CHE 232/233

  • Biology BSC 196 and BSC 197

  • Microbiology BSC 260

  • Physics PHY 108 and PHY 109

  • Anatomy and Physiology BSC 181 and then BSC 182

  • Math MAT 145 and PSY 138 or MAT 150

  • Communications COM 110

  • English ENG 101 and then ENG 145

  • Psychology PSY 110

Our recommendations for classes

  • Biology: Take more than the minimum required Biology courses. Optometry schools value this. Genetics, Cell Biology, Immunology, and Microbiology are good additional courses to take.

Course Finder gives you descriptions for all your classes and any prerequisites you need.

Launch Course Finder

A Little Advice

  • Work hard. Optometry programs are competitive. Keep your GPA at 3.5 and even higher for science and math grades. This helps you compete for your top choice with the best of them.

  • Check your Advanced Placement (AP) credit. Some schools don’t accept AP credit for any prerequisite course. Others limit the number of courses earned via AP credit. Explore your optometry school’s specific policies.

Applying to Optometry School

Most students apply to optometry school after their junior year. Before you apply, you’ll need to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). Your courses at Illinois State will help prepare you to take the OAT with confidence.

Learn more about the OAT from the The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry