Doctor of Optometry

We welcome your interest in the Doctor of Optometry program and the profession.

We seek applicants who show strengths in the sciences, and who bring strong interpersonal and communication skills. We admit students who have already invested time exploring optometry as a career and life choice.

One of The Best Academic Environments For Schools of Optometry In The Nation

The prescribed four-year curriculum is based in the medical model, emphasizing individualized attention and clinical development. The curriculum integrates classroom experience and patient contact, providing early exposure to clinical training captured through community outreach programs, rotations through our clinics and externships in clinical sites both nationally and internationally.

Distinctive features of the curriculum include case-based seminars, grand rounds, problem-based learning, incorporation of educational technologies such as web-based learning, classroom performance system, digital libraries, podcasts and video conferencing.

Opportunities exist for clinical research through our Summer Fellowship Training Program as well as interaction with other medical and healthcare providers primarily through our Inter-Professional Education (IPE) program.

In response to COVID-19, UIWRSO is committed to the health and safety of our employees, current students and prospective students. We recognize the challenges associated with COVID-19 in completing certain aspects of your application (i.e. shadowing, testing, etc.).  To best support our prospective and current applicants, we advise the following:

  • Apply Early! Given the challenges associated with COVID-19 in combination with our rolling admissions policy, we highly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible within the admissions cycle
  • You can apply while in progress with prerequisite course requirements, standardized testing, letters of recommendation and shadowing hours
  • Prerequisite courses including labs can be taken in an online format provided the course is completed through an accredited institution and passed with a grade of C or better.
  • If you have any questions, please contact us for individual admissions advising and/or to schedule a Zoom advising session!

Although we continue to work remotely, we are available for advising and to assist with the application and admissions process. Our admissions team remains available to you during regular business hours, Monday – Friday. You can reach us by:

  • Email optometry@uiwtx.edu (best option)
  • Text (210) 880-6968
  • Voicemail (210) 883-1190, ext. 2

Given the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, more changes to the admissions process may be necessary. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update this site in addition to emailing our inquiries and applicant pool with official updates should changes occur.

Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are the primary healthcare professionals for the eye and visual system. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures, as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

Doctors of Optometry prescribe medications, provide low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses and perform certain surgical procedures.

Optometrists counsel their patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations and lifestyle.

An optometrist has completed pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education at a college of optometry leading to the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Some optometrists complete an optional residency in a specific area of practice.

Optometrists are eye healthcare professionals, state-licensed to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system.

To learn more about the significant impact that optometrists have on the lives of their patients, we encourage you to read “True Stories” by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.

Application for Fall 2021 admission is due by May 1, 2021.

Standardized Exam Score submission for Fall 2021 admission is due by June 1, 2021.

The typical application cycle for UIWRSO is July - May. Applications are processed as they are received and offers of acceptance are made on a rolling basis. We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible during the application period. This rolling admissions process allows qualified individuals to be admitted on a continual basis until the class is filled.

For an applicant to receive full consideration, the following items must be submitted:

  1. Complete online OptomCAS application. All official transcripts from each college and/or university attended, letters of recommendation and your personal statement are submitted through the OptomCAS application process.
    OptomCAS logo
  2. Official Standardized Admissions Exam scores. UIWRSO strongly recommends applicants complete the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). UIWRSO will also accept the GRE, MCAT and the DAT. The OAT and GRE official scores can be submitted through the OptomCAS application. For more information on these exams, please review the standardized admissions exam section.

All applicants who submit a complete OptomCAS application and official standardized admissions exam scores will receive full consideration for an interview invitation. The initial application review timeline will vary based on the competitiveness of the individual application in comparison to the applicant pool. Invitations for interviews are offered to candidates with the most competitive applications.

UIWRSO has a policy of competitive admissions and expectation for academic excellence. In order to apply for admission, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of a minimum of 90 semester hours of college coursework from an accredited institution of higher learning.
  • A grade of C or better must be achieved in all prerequisite courses.
  • A recommended minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  • A recommended minimum overall OAT score of 300. UIWRSO will accept alternative standardized admissions exams including the GRE, MCAT and DAT. More information on these exams can be found in the Standardized Admissions Exam section.
  • Two letters of recommendation, one letter must be from a Doctor of Optometry (OD)
  • Personal statement conveying interest in and passion for the profession. The essay prompt can be found within the OptomCAS application.
  • A minimum of 20 hours of Optometry shadowing with an OD. Work experience will meet this requirement.

All applicants who submit a complete OptomCAS application and official standardized admissions exam scores will receive full consideration. Applicants will be considered for admission on the basis of academic performance as well as nonacademic qualifications. The following criteria will be used in the admissions selection process, in no particular order of preference or weight:

  • Scholastic aptitude and academic performance:
    • Overall undergraduate GPA
    • Prerequisite and math/science GPAs
    • Standardized admissions exam performance
    • Ability to handle a diverse and demanding course load
    • Written and oral communication skills
  • Optometry related experience including shadowing hours, work experience and/or general insight/awareness of the optometric profession
  • Extracurricular activities including community service, volunteer work and leadership positions
  • Evaluation of character, motivation, initiative and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to meet the functional standards as defined by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Final consideration for admission takes into account the above academic and nonacademic qualifications along with comments from personal interviews conducted by members of the faculty. Meeting the recommended minimum GPA and standardized admissions exam criteria for application, and being invited for an interview, does not guarantee the applicant admission. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to interview, select and admit students on the basis of these academic and nonacademic qualifications, to ensure a class that is inclusive and academically competitive.

Functional Standards

UIWRSO supports the functional standards for didactic and clinical optometric education, established by the Association of Schools and College of Optometry (ASCO). The purpose of these standards is to identify candidates that possess the appropriate abilities necessary to provide quality comprehensive eye care services to the public. The functional standards represent a set of guidelines in the following areas:
  1. Observation
  2. Communication
  3. Sensory and motor coordination
  4. Intellectual - conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities
  5. Behavioral and social attributes

UIWRSO will consider these functional standards, along with those items listed in the Admissions Selection Criteria section. UIWRSO incorporates these guidelines, along with other established criteria, as standards for graduation from the four-year professional program.

In any case where a student’s abilities in one of these areas are compromised, he or she must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to meet the functional requirements. It is expected that seeking and using such alternative means and/or abilities shall be the responsibility of the student. Upon receipt of the appropriate documentation, the school or college will be expected to provide reasonable assistance and accommodation to the student.

Certain chronic or recurrent illnesses, including infectious, psychiatric or substance abuse problems that interfere with patient care or safety are not compatible with optometric practice or training. Other illnesses, such as immune disorders, may lead to a high likelihood of student illness and should be carefully considered. Candidates with questions or concerns about how their own conditions or disabilities might affect their ability to meet these functional standards are encouraged to meet with an optometry school counselor prior to submitting an application.

These standards are as follows:

Functional Standards

Admission to UIWRSO requires a minimum of 90 semester hours of coursework from an accredited college or university. Within those credit hours, specific prerequisite courses listed below must be included. Each prerequisite course meets just one requirement. A candidate may apply while in the process of completing prerequisites, however, all requirements must be completed prior to enrollment at UIWRSO.

A grade of “C” or higher must be achieved in all prerequisite courses and all courses must have been completed within 10 years of the first day of classes for the entering student. However, the applicant can furnish evidence to the Admissions Committee of command of current knowledge in topics which do not meet the 10-year criteria. 

UIWRSO Required Prerequisites

UIWRSO Required Prerequisites
Required Courses Number of Courses

Biology

1 course w/lab

Human Anatomy and/or Human Physiology*

1 course w/lab

General Chemistry

2 courses w/lab

Organic Chemistry

1 course w/lab

General Physics

2 courses w/lab

Microbiology OR Bacteriology

1 course w/lab

Biochemistry OR Molecular Biology

(minimum Junior level course or equivalent)

1 course

Calculus

1 course

Statistics

1 course

Psychology

1 course

English

2 courses

Additional Requirements for Students Entering Without a Bachelor's Degree

Additional Requirements for Students Entering Without a Bachelor's Degree
Required Courses Number of Courses

Humanities (may include Theology, Philosophy, History, Foreign Language, Literature, Art)

2 courses

Behavioral and Social Sciences (may include Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, History, Anthropology, Geography, Economics, Communications)

2 courses

Recommended Courses (Not Required)

Recommended Courses (Not Required)
Recommended Courses  Number of Courses

Human Physiology II

Strongly Recommended

Human Anatomy II

Strongly Recommended

College Mathematics

Recommended

Ethics

Recommended

*Any of the following courses with laboratory may substitute for Anatomy and/or Physiology course with laboratory: Biology II, Cell Biology, or Genetics

All applicants are required to submit a valid standardized test in order to be considered for admission. UIWRSO strongly recommends applicants submit the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). However, UIWRSO will accept any of the following exams:

  • Optometry Admission Test (OAT): The OAT is a standardized multiple-choice exam designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. The OAT consists of four sections including the Survey of Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning. OAT scores range from a 200-400 with a score of 300 being the mean. UIWRSO recommends a minimum academic average OAT score of a 300. Scores are reported directly to UIWRSO through the OptomCAS application process. For detailed test information, please visit the OAT website.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test: The GRE is a standardized three-part exam including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. The GRE is designed to measure critical thinking and writing skills. GRE scores range from 130-170 with a national average score of 150 on the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections. The analytical writing score ranges from 0-6 in half point increments with a national average score of 3.5. Scores are reported directly to UIWRSO through the OptomCAS application process. The GRE code for UIWRSO is 4560. For detailed exam information, please visit the ETS GRE website.
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem-solving, critical thinking and knowledge of natural, behavioral and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. The MCAT is scored in four sections with each section ranging from 130-170 with a national average score of 150.The total national average MCAT score is a 500. Please contact UIWRSO for instructions on submitting official MCAT scores. For detailed test information, please visit the MCAT website.
  • Dental Admission Test (DAT): The DAT is a multiple-choice test designed to assess applicants’ potential for success. The DAT consists of four sections including the Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning. The DAT score range is 1-30 with a national average score of 19. Please contact UIWRSO for instructions on submitting official DAT scores. For more detailed test information, please visit the DAT website.

Students applying to UIWRSO can submit a maximum of four letters of recommendation but are required to submit a minimum of two letters. UIWRSO requires one letter be from an optometrist who can provide an objective evaluation of your knowledge and understanding of the profession. We strongly recommend the second letter be from a faculty member or academic advisor who can speak to your academic performance and qualifications. We will accept both a composite and a committee letter but these types of letters only count as one letter of recommendation. We will not accept a letter from a teaching assistant.

Only those applicants with the strongest credentials will be invited for an interview. Candidates selected for an interview will be contacted by the RSO Student Affairs team. On the day of the interview, candidates will be personally interviewed by a member of the faculty. Information on the curriculum, clinical experience, financial assistance, housing and student services will also be shared. 

Good preparation is always key. A good place to start your interview preparation is with your Career Center on campus. Here you can learn about the interview process from experts who have great experience with effective and professional communication. You might also want to sign up for a mock interview, which are usually available through the career center, as well.

Another great resource for interview preparation is to consult with your Health Professions Advisor or the Health Professions office. They may already be hosting an event for this very topic or they can put you in contact with pre-health students who are preparing for an interview just like you are.

The Admissions Committee reviews the candidate’s complete application portfolio once all application materials have been submitted and after the personal interview has been conducted. Acceptances are offered to the most qualified candidates on a rolling basis. Acceptances may be designated as conditional upon successful completion of requirements.

Those applicants who receive letters of acceptance have two-three weeks to either accept or decline their place in the entering class. Those who accept their place must do so by submitting a matriculation form along with a $1,000 matriculation fee. The full deposit can be split into two payments: $500 is due upon initially accepting the seat in the class and $500 is due by April 1 to confirm the seat. The full deposit is non-refundable. Of the full deposit, $900 will be directly applied toward the student’s tuition. Therefore, accepted students are advised to send their matriculation fee only after they have made a final decision about attending UIWRSO. Students must notify the Director of Admissions if they wish to relinquish a reserved place in the entering class. 

Matriculants are required to submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, prior to the first day of classes, fall term, first year. We can utilize verified transcripts sent to OptomCAS to meet this requirement. However, we will need to receive those official transcripts that reflect completion of prerequisites and/or a final graduation date. 

Final, official transcript(s) can be sent to:

UIW Document Receiving
4301 Broadway, CPO 285
San Antonio, Texas 78209

Students can also have transcripts sent directly to us through Parchment, eScrip, or National Student Clearinghouse. The transcript must be sent from the institution, either via mail or an electronic service (Email: admissiondocs@uiwtx.edu), in order to be considered official.

The UIWRSO endorses the concept that student continuity at a single institution for the duration of the professional degree program is most often in the best interest of the student. Currently UIWRSO does not accept transfer students, including those with advanced standing.