UAB - School of Optometry - Admissions Information
 

Thank you for your interest in the UAB School of Optometry. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early in the admissions cycle because we use a rolling admissions process. The deadline for applications for the class entering fall 2019 is March 1, 2019. A specific major is not required for admission to the UAB School of Optometry, but specific prerequisite courses must be completed prior to matriculation. Applicants must also complete the Optometry Admissions Test, submit letters of recommendation, forward academic transcripts and be interviewed at the UAB School of Optometry.

Learn more: Admissions Information

Requirements

Major and Credit Hour Requirements

A specific major is not required for admission to the UAB School of Optometry, but applicants should be completing or have completed a bachelor’s degree. Applicants scheduled to have a bachelor’s degree at the time of matriculation are given preferential consideration over those who will not have their degree prior to matriculation.

Applicants must have completed a minimum of 90 semester hours or 135 quarter hours, which is the equivalent of three years of college education, prior to matriculation. All courses must be taken at a fully accredited institution and must be acceptable to that institution for degree credit and major requirements. No more than 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours earned at a two-year institution may be applied toward the credit hour requirement.

College-level Prerequisite Courses

Certain courses or their equivalents must be completed prior to matriculation. Candidates must complete all of the courses listed below with a grade of C or better prior to matriculation into the professional program. All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the summer term of the matriculation year.

  • 1 year of biology with labs
  • 1 course of microbiology
  • 1 course of biochemistry
  • 1 year of general chemistry with labs
  • 1 course of organic chemistry with a lab
  • 1 year of physics with labs
  • 1 course of calculus
  • 1 course of statistics
  • 1 year of English
  • 1 course of psychology*
  • 1 year of social and behavioral science**

One year is equal to two semesters or three quarters.

*A statistics course taken in a psychology department may not be counted for fulfillment of both the psychology prerequisite and the statistics prerequisite.

**Any combination of two semesters or two quarters in sociology, economics, anthropology, history, political science or additional psychology.

Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)

All applicants are required to take the Optometry Admissions Test, which is offered online. Applicants are encouraged to take the exam during the spring of the year preceding anticipated application. If the results of the exam are considered to be unsatisfactory, the applicant then has the opportunity to repeat the exam during the summer of the application year. The exam can be retaken 90 days after the first test date.

For more information and to register online for the OAT, visit the Optometry Admissions Test website.

It is not necessary to take the OAT before applying. Interview invitations are extended to competitive applicants without OAT scores. However, admissions decisions cannot be made without OAT scores.

For information about testing times and locations, visit the visit the Optometry Admissions Test website, or contact the Optometry Admissions Testing Program by writing to 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, or calling 312-440-2693.

Letters of Recommendation or Composite Evaluation

If available at the applicant's undergraduate institution, a composite evaluation by a pre-health professions advisory committee is preferred. If you are unable to get an HPA composite letter, the four individual letters should come from two faculty members who are knowledgeable about your scholastic abilities and personal character and two optometrists with whom you have shadowed and/or worked.

Transcripts

Official and complete transcripts of all work attempted at colleges and universities must be forwarded to OptomCAS by the institutions attended. Supplementary transcripts must be forwarded to OptomCAS following completion of courses not included on the original transcripts.

Interview Process

All admitted candidates must have been interviewed at the UAB School of Optometry. Applicants may be invited for an interview any time during a period beginning in September and ending as late as April.

Additional Factors Considered by the Admissions Committee

Scholastic Aptitude and Performance

Successful completion of the optometry curriculum requires that a student be able to acquire a large amount of material in a limited time and have the ability to apply this material. In addition to the OAT scores and the overall college record, the UAB School of Optometry Admissions Committee considers whether students maintain or improve their performances as they progress to more advanced courses in their undergraduate curriculum.

Extracurricular Activities

Reasonable involvement in extracurricular activities is considered important. Community service and leadership qualities are also desirable.

Optometry-Related Experience

Applicants are required to explore the optometry field either by employment or in a volunteer/job shadow capacity for at least 40 hours.

Personality, Character and Motivation

The personal and social traits and other non-intellectual characteristics important for the future optometrist are very difficult to measure objectively. The committee relies heavily on the letters of recommendation and/or composite college evaluation, character recommendations and the interview for this information.

Selection Process

The UAB School of Optometry admits a target class size of 50 highly qualified students each year. The number of positions available for Alabama residents, Southern Regional Education Board state residents and non-resident applicants may vary from year to year.

The Admissions Committee has the responsibility of reviewing and evaluating all applications and selecting those who are the best qualified. Notices of acceptance may be received as early as September and as late as May. Applicants who are not accepted for one of the regular class positions may be accepted for an alternate position. Those holding alternate positions may receive notification of admission to the class as late as the middle of August, should a regular position become available.

Acceptances may be designated as conditional upon successful completion of requirements. All students admitted must maintain the level of academic performance consistent with that previously demonstrated. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to deny admission to an already admitted student whose academic performance falls below standards deemed appropriate for acceptance.

Information for Non-resident and International Students

To be considered for admission, international students must have the academic, linguistic, and financial abilities to successfully complete the professional program. Specific requirements are as follows:

Academic Requirements
International applicants must fulfill the same undergraduate academic requirements as United States applicants.

Foreign Transcripts
International applicants are required to submit official foreign transcripts to an approved foreign transcript evaluation service for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report. The official evaluation should then be sent to OptomCAS. We highly recommend that you contact the foreign transcript evaluation service as early as possible. The service may take several weeks to process your foreign transcript once it is received. Below is a list of commonly used and accepted evaluation services.

Testing and Interview Requirements

  • All applicants must take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT).
  • If English is not the primary language, the student will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • All applicants must be available for a personal interview at the UAB School of Optometry.

Visa Information
If admitted to the UAB School of Optometry, the student must obtain a F-1 visa. The UAB Center for International Programs will assist the student and provide the information necessary to obtain an F-1 visa. Specific information on sponsorship and financial requirements can be obtained from:

International Student and Scholar Services
Melvin H. Sterne Library
917 13th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1150
Telephone (205) 934-3328
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note: The UAB School of Optometry does not offer advanced standing or credit for graduates of foreign optometry or medical programs. All admitted students are expected to complete the four-year professional program leading to the Doctor of Optometry degree.

How to Apply

The UAB School of Optometry utilizes OptomCAS and requires a supplemental application.

OptomCAS

The UAB School of Optometry is part of OptomCAS, the centralized application service for all schools and colleges of optometry in the US and Puerto Rico. Submit transcripts, essays and letters of recommendation/composite evaluation through OptomCAS. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

Start your OptomCAS Application

Supplemental Application

In addition to completing the OptomCAS online application, all applicants must submit a supplemental application to the UAB School of Optometry.

Start your Supplemental Application