Doctor of Optometry

How to apply to the Doctor of Optometry program

You can apply to the Doctor of Optometry program before or after finishing your bachelor’s degree. In some cases, students gain early admission to the program before finishing their undergraduate career.

If you are an international applicant, you may apply to the Doctor of Optometry program during your final year of undergraduate study, or after receiving a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or its recognized equivalent).

All applicants are required to follow the steps outlined below. International applicants also must follow the international application process and admission standards of the Office of International Services.

COVID-19 policy for the 2020–2021 application cycle

Due to fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the IU School of Optometry COVID-19 Policies webpage for the most up-to-date information concerning the application process.

COVID-19 Policies

Step 1: Review the prerequisites

Students who already have a bachelor’s degree with a major in a science field are often fully prepared for admission to the Doctor of Optometry program. Those with degrees in non-science fields may find that additional coursework is needed. Check the prerequisites before you apply.

See all prerequisites

Optional Step 2: Take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) and/or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Effective immediately: The submission of admission test scores from the OAT or GRE will be optional at Indiana University School of Optometry. We believe this puts the power in the hands of the student, so they may choose how to best tell their academic story. To learn more, please read the press release from Dr. Bonanno, Dean of IUSO or the FAQ's below on the now optional testing.


The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is designed to measure general academic ability and scientific knowledge. Candidates who would like to submit either the OAT or GRE scores are welcome to do so and we would suggest taking either test by November 30.

OAT scores are valid for three years; however, there is no limit to the amount of times you may take the test, but please be aware there is a wait period between testing. GRE scores are valid for 5 years; however, there is no limit to the amount of times you may take the test. Official score reports for either test must be submitted by March 15.

Why does IUSO make admission test scores optional?

Some applicants may feel that their admission test scores do not accurately reflect their academic potential. A test-optional admissions policy allows you to choose whether or not your OAT or GRE test scores will be considered as part of your admission review—letting you decide how best to tell your academic story. 

How will IUSO evaluate students who choose not to have their test scores considered as part of their application?

In absence of a test score, we will continue a holistic approach to application review.  Continuing to look at all factors of your application including BCP (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) G.P.A., upward grade trends, course load, letters of recommendation, extracurricular and other achievements.  

Will taking the OAT and getting a good score give an applicant an advantage compared to applicants that don’t take an admissions test? Or if I take the OAT and get a low score, would that put me at a disadvantage to those with similar GPAs that do not take the OAT? 

The IUSO is test optional and applicants will be reviewed on the balance of their application. Application will be reviewed upon receipt and invited to an Admissions Day if their criterion meets our standards. Preference will not be given to students who have OAT scores.  

When can I apply as a test optional student?

If you are an applicant applying for the 2021 terms or forward, you can decide whether to take the GRE or OAT as part of your admission review. The application for the fall 2021 term will open June 30, 2020.   

How do I choose whether or not to have my scores considered as part of my admissions review?

We encourage you to reflect on your overall academic performance with specific attention to your performance in science courses. If you have a strong academic record with an above-average GPA, but do not feel that your test results reflect your full potential, you might choose to apply test-optional If, however, your test scores may provide additional insight into your overall academic record we invite you to have your test scores considered.  You may add test scores after your application has been submitted.

We evaluate each application holistically and individually and do not have a formula for whether or not you should choose to have your test scores considered. However, we are happy to help you fully consider your options. Feel free to reach out to us at iubopt@indiana.edu or phone 812-855-1917 to set up an appointment to talk with an Associate Director.  

If I apply without test scores will I still be considered for merit-based scholarships?

Yes. IUSO is committed to making scholarship opportunities available to students who qualify, whether they apply with or without test scores. For both admission and scholarships, it is always better to apply early, as we have limited spots for both.

Will I be considered for Early Admission without test scores?

Yes, you will still be required to meet all other criterion but a test score is no longer required.  Please review the admission requirements for early admission.     

Who can I talk to about this process?

We invite you to reach out to the Office of Student Administration by contacting 812-855-1917 or iubopt@indiana.edu with any questions regarding the application process.

Step 3: Submit your OptomCAS application

OptomCAS is a centralized application service that allows you to file one application and send it to multiple optometry programs.

You will submit a web-based application that includes biographical information, the colleges and universities you have attended, your academic course history, up to four letters of recommendation, work experience, extracurricular activities, honors, and a personal essay.

Step 4: Submit supporting documents

All supporting documents, including, University Graduate School supplemental application and the optional OAT or GRE scores are due by March 15 of the year you apply.

After submitting the OptomCAS application, all candidates must complete the University Graduate School supplemental application. The application fee for the 2020–2021 application cycle is $70.

This application will put you in consideration for admission to the Doctor of Optometry program and also for financial aid, including scholarships, fellowships, and student loans.

Please Note:

The University Graduate School application site is supported by Liaison International, which is the same company that runs OptomCAS. Update: This means that your email address and password will work for either site. Please keep in mind, since both websites share the same web design framework, the log-in portal will look very similar to each other. You should see, Welcome to Indiana University Graduate CAS on the top of the page.

Apply to the University Graduate School

Step-by-step details on what needs to be completed, optional or what can be skipped.

Please be sure to first select the correct start term/year for the University Graduate School application. For the 2020–2021 application cycle, the start term/year is Fall 2021. The application will not be available for completion until July 1, 2020.

  • Personal Information section
    • Release Statement
      • All fields are required
    • Biographic Information
      • All fields are required
    • Contact Information
      • All fields are required
    • Citizenship & Residency Information
      • All fields are required
    • Race & Ethnicity
      • Optional
    • Other Information
      • All fields are required except for the optional Social Security Number for federal financial aid forms.
  • Academic History
    • Colleges Attended
      • Required
    • Standardized Tests
      • Skip, but please select, I am not adding any standardized tests box.
      • You do not need to upload your OAT and/or GRE results or submit college transcripts.
    • GPA Entries
      • Required
  • Supporting Information
    • Achievements
      • Skip
    • Behavior Disclosure
      • Required
    • Documents
      • Skip, but please select, I am not adding any documents box, unless you answered yes to any of the behavior disclosure questions. Then you must add your disclosure document.
  • Program Materials
    • Please be sure the program is Optometry, OD. (If not, please go to Add Program and search for Optometry OD for Fall 2021 and add the program.)
      • Click on Optometry OD
        • Click on the Questions tab and complete the following:
          • General Academic Questions
            • Answer the four questions
          • Personal Essay
            • Submit a short essay describing why you are applying to the Indiana University School of Optometry
          • Pre-Optometry Requirements for Admission
  • Submit Application
    • Review your application and submit payment or please see fee waiver options.
    • You will not be able to submit your application without first processing payment.

You will submit your official academic transcript through the OptomCAS application.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

Advanced Placement (AP) courses need to appear on your official college transcript and show that you received college credit for the courses. If your college or university does not show this information on the official transcript, you will need to provide a letter, sent directly to us from the registrar’s office of that school, documenting the credit awarded for the AP courses.

Degree equivalencies for international applicants

The Office of International Services reviews all international graduate applications and academic records for U.S. bachelor’s degree equivalency, then sends application packets and an initial evaluation to the appropriate graduate programs for consideration.

A competitive applicant scores above 300 for all the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) sections. Submit your optional OAT scores no later than March 15.

If you did not receive an OAT brochure with your application, you may request one by mail:

Optometry Admission Testing Program
211 E. Chicago Avenue, Suite 1846
Chicago, IL 60611

We require three letters of recommendation, filed with your OptomCAS application.

The recommendation letters can be written by any number of individuals that can provide an overall honest assessment of your abilities and your character. We prefer one from a science professor you have had. Others can be from an additional professor, a work supervisor, a professional optometrist, or a college athletics coach.

* International applicants only

All international applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

* International applicants only

As an international student at IU Bloomington, you are required to submit documents to the Office of International Services proving you have the financial means to support yourself for a full calendar year, including tuition, fees, and living expenses.

Applicants to graduate programs must submit this information before admission can be finalized and before visa documents can be issued. We encourage you to submit your financial documents as soon as possible.

The deadline to apply to the Doctor of Optometry program is
February 15, 2021.

Apply now

Contact the Office of Student Administration

For Doctor of Optometry program admission questions or to schedule an advising appointment, please contact:

Office of Student Administration
Indiana University School of Optometry
800 E. Atwater Avenue
Second Floor
Bloomington, IN 47405