How to Apply

Doctor of Optometry



A total of 90 semester hours of college credit is required as a minimum for admission to the School of Optometry; however, a bachelor’s degree is strongly recommended. Pre-optometry requirements must be completed by the time the student enters the School of Optometry. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree with a major in a science field are often fully prepared for admission to the School of Optometry. Those with degrees in non-science fields may find that additional course work is required.

Students may take their pre-optometry course work at an accredited institution and earn a grade of C or higher. All pre-optometry requirements must have been completed within 10 years from the time when the student hopes to start the Doctor of Optometry program. Each course, with one exception, meets just one requirement.

Of the 90 credit hours, at least 20 must be at the 300–400 level. A maximum of 60 semester hours may be taken at a junior college. None of the specified courses may be taken on a pass/fail basis. The credit hours required in the individual subjects are considered absolute minimums, which must be met or exceeded.

Up to 10 credits of AP/CLEP course work is accepted and must be documented in an official undergraduate transcript.

Advanced Placement (AP) course(s) for the prerequisite(s) are accepted provided you received the appropriate number of credit hours. The courses need to appear on your official college transcript and show you received college credit for the course(s). If your college or university does not show this information on the official transcript, you will need to provide a letter sent to us from the Registrar's Office of that school documenting the credit awarded for the AP course(s).

Required courses

Students entering with a bachelor’s degree must have the following courses:


Subject area Min. sem. cr. hrs. req’d Comparable IU courses
Introductory biology, with lab 4  
Advanced biology (animal or developmental) 3 (see strongly recommended course list below)
Microbiology, with lab 4 BIOL-M 250 and M 315 or M 380 and M 315


Subject area Min. sem. cr. hrs. req’d Comparable IU courses
General/Inorganic chemistry, with labs 8

CHEM-C 117/C127 and N 330 or C 118

CHEM-C 105/C 125 may be substituted for C 117; however, students with C 105/125 credit who are planning to take C 341 on the IU Bloomington campus are strongly encouraged to take C 243 Supplemental General Chemistry before taking C 341.

CHEM-C 106/C 126 may be substituted for N 330.

Organic Chemistry (lab highly recommended) 3 CHEM-C 341  (Lab CHEM -C 343)
Biochemistry (can be listed under Biology) 3 CHEM-C 383, CHEM-C 483 or BIOL-M 350 (For Microbiology majors only)

Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology

Subject area Min. sem. cr. hrs. req’d Comparable IU courses
Mathematics (one course) 3 Any course or courses fulfilling IU Math Modeling Requirements
General physics 8 PHYS-P 201 and P 202
Statistical techniques 3 STAT-S 300; PSY-K 300 or K 310; SPEA-K 300, ECON-E 370; MATH-K 310
Introductory psychology 3 PSY-P 101

Writing Skills

Subject area Min. sem. cr. hrs. req’d Comparable IU courses

English composition

A minimum SAT verbal score of 670 or ACT English score of 32 will exempt the student (without credit) from the requirement. Other means of completing the composition requirement exist. Consult the IU College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for details on these options.

3 ENG-W 131 or W 132
*Additional intensive writing course 3

Intensive writing requirement

Specific arts and humanities and social and historical studies courses may count toward the distribution requirements and the intensive writing requirement.

Students entering the Indiana University School of Optometry without a bachelor’s degree must have completed the following courses in addition to the above:

Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Additional Credits

Subject area Minimum semester credit hrs. req’d
A minimum of two arts and humanities courses is required. 6

A minimum of two foreign language courses is required.

This requirement for an IU Bachelor of Science in Optometry may be met by placement examination. Students who have completed two or more years of a single foreign language in high school with an average grade of C or above, or have completed a bachelor’s degree at another institution, are exempt from this requirement. (Note: Variation exists among academic divisions of the university in basic foreign language requirements and exemption policies. For a bachelor’s degree from the IU College of Arts and Sciences, or from another division of the university, consult the appropriate bulletin for foreign language requirements.)


A minimum of two social and historical studies courses is required. For departments in this area, consult the IU College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Additional credits as needed

Strongly recommended courses

Subject area Minimum semester credit hrs. req’d Comparable IU courses
Vertebrate or human anatomy, with lab 4 ANAT-A 215
Physiology, with lab 4 PHYL-P 215

Other recommended courses

Subject area Comparable IU courses
Small business management (1 semester) BUS-X 100
Medical terminology (1 semester) CLAS-C 209
Histology (1 semester) ANAT-A 464
Ethics (1 semester) PHIL-P 140
Independent research 490 series
Conversion of quarter hours

Quarter hours convert to semester hours by the following scale:

3 quarter hrs. = 2 semester hrs.
4 quarter hrs. = 3 semester hrs.
5 quarter hrs. = 3.33 semester hrs.
6 quarter hrs. = 4 semester hrs.

Transfer admissions

The School of Optometry admits students with advanced standing only when a vacancy exists and when the student would have met the Indiana University pre-optometry requirements and standards for admission had he or she applied here originally. In addition, the student must have a minimum cumulative average of B in the optometry curriculum, be in good standing with his or her present institution, and have a compelling reason for wanting to transfer to the School of Optometry.

Students may lose credits when transferring and, for this reason, transfer is generally not recommended. At the very least, 45 credit hours of optometry courses must be completed in residence at Indiana University. No deficiencies in the Indiana University pre-optometry requirements may exist at the time of admission. Candidates for transfer must submit a statement of good standing from their current dean. Along with documents specific to the transfer request, the regular application for admission should be submitted.