OD/MBA Dual Degree

The first program of its kind in the nation, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s OD/MBA program exposes students to a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning. Here, the fundamental and advanced principles of both optometry and business converge to provide a greater understanding of the business of eye care.

Why a MBA?

Some of the greatest challenges in healthcare today are business related. As optometrists find themselves in an increasingly complex business environment, many are choosing to pursue a business education in order to navigate the healthcare system with efficiency and effectiveness. Combining a business degree with an optometry degree can help future healthcare leaders learn to manage through rapid change and traverse the uncertainties of management with flexibility. Students who choose the OD/MBA option often plan careers with both clinical and administrative responsibilities, perhaps opening their own practices. OD/MBA graduates can manage group practices and clinics more effectively and efficiently. Students successfully completing the program will understand how to use innovation and strategic thinking to solve healthcare problems. Graduates will become fluent in the languages of science and business, putting them on the fast track to career advancement.


The UAB Collat School of Business offers a world-class business education in the heart of Alabama’s economic center and is fully accredited by AACSB International, the most prestigious accrediting agency for business education in the world. Students have unfettered access to Birmingham’s business elite, who provide real-world instruction in applying theoretical learning to actual business situations. Additionally, UAB’s MBA faculty include some of the most sought-after thought leaders in their fields, those pushing the boundaries with topical, practical research that goes beyond the “why” to also ask “what if”. The school’s location near downtown Birmingham provides endless opportunities to infuse experiential learning into the traditional classroom experience.

Program Specifics

The dual degree is a unique offering designed for the ease of the busy optometry student, including a comprehensive all services included approach from start to finish. The dual program is structured around the OD curricula and includes a concierge approach to integration and completion of the MBA requirements. As a Collat School of Business MBA student, all participants will benefit from an array of services to manage all enrollment requirements which include:

  • Administrative registration for all required MBA courses
  • Professional Development Seminars
  • Access to faculty mentors
  • On-site tutoring
  • Opportunities for hands-on learning

Program Structure

The program is an integrative, four year degree which combines business courses with the OD curricula. Students start their business classes the summer before optometry school and the remaining courses are offered at key times during the remaining 4 years.

Degree plans are also available for those students who decide to pursue the MBA after beginning their OD courses.

Application Process

Students interested in pursuing the dual OD/MBA degree must complete an application through the UAB Graduate School. This application is in addition to that completed through OptomCAS. The deadline for application for summer admission will follow the graduate school’s deadline of May 1st.

Required Documents

Completed application including:

  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three references1
  • Test Scores (OAT scores can be accepted in lieu of GMAT)
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended2

1 Students may use the same references as used for OptomCAS application.

2 Copies of transcripts submitted through OptomCAS are sufficient for application review.

News on UAB's OD/MBA Program


Gerald Simon, OD

Gerald Simon, OD

Doctor of Optometry Program 
(205) 996-4923
Connie Wright

Connie Wright

Program Manager
Doctor of Optometry Program
(205) 975-9930
Christy Manning, M.A.

Christy Manning, M.A.

Administrative Director 
Graduate School of Management
(205) 934-8817 
Office: CSB 207-A
Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox

Graduate Business Programs
(205) 270-5833 (text or call)