The Doctor of Optometry Program for International Students (DOPIS) offers non-US trained optometrists, either with a Doctorate Degree in Optometry/Ophthalmology or with a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Optometry from an accredited recognized International school/college of optometry and/or an international medical school, the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.

Application Deadline

Application deadline for the class beginning May 2023 is January 31, 2023. Applications are currently not being accepted for the class entering May 2024. That application cycle will open July 1, 2023.

DOPIS Admissions Requirements

  • Doctorate Degree in Optometry/Ophthalmology, Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Optometry from an accredited recognized international school/college of optometry with an overall GPA of at least a 3.2 on a 4.0 scale
  • Successful completion of at least one year of direct clinical care
  • Must meet all admission requirements of the UAB International Student Services Office
  • Three letters of recommendation from former teachers, mentors or employers
  • DOPIS application requirements
    • Application forms must be complete
    • Submit official transcripts from each college/university and optometry school to either Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES) for a course-by-course evaluation
    • Personal Essay
    • OAT scores if available (not required)

Interview Process

  • Qualified applicants may be invited to an initial on-line interview. A second, in person interview at UAB School of Optometry will be required of final applicants before acceptance into the program.
  • Clinical test to evaluate entry level clinical eye examination skills
    • Candidates must show clinical proficiency commiserate with the Clinical Evaluation of the Vision System (end of 2nd year student) Comprehensive Practical Examination
  • Case based clinical test to evaluate critical thinking and familiarity with optometric care
  • Meet with the DOPIS Admissions Committee
  • Meet with a representative from the International Student Services Office

Accreditation

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) serves as the accrediting body for professional optometric degree (O.D.) programs in the United States and Canada. This program is accredited by the ACOE as part of UAB’s existing accredited optometry degree.

Tuition

Tuition and fees for the 6 semester (24 month) program will be assigned as follows:

  • Students requiring assistance from the International Education Office (currently living outside the US) and housing* (housing and transportation included): $202,326
  • Students requiring assistance from the International Education Office already residing in the US not requiring housing: $168,726
  • Students not requiring assistance from the International Education Office already residing in the US: $134,726

*Housing: Fully furnished single room with private bath, free Wi-Fi, shared common area, full kitchen with cooking utensils, pool, fitness room, on-site security, gated entry and light cleaning once per month.

DOPIS Curriculum

Length of program: 24 months, 6 semesters

The DOPIS curriculum begins in the summer with an Integrated Human Physiology review and training on coding/billing and EHR first half of the summer. During the second half of the summer, DOPIS students will take Imaging and Systemic Pharmacology with the 2nd year students. Additionally, students will be placed in either the Primary Care clinic to provide direct clinic care or enrolled in the Clinical Skills Enhancement course based on the results of the pre-admission clinical skills evaluation. Beginning in Fall, DOPIS students will be integrated in the program taking classes with 2nd and 3rd year OPT students. The final year of the program, DOPIS students are fully integrated in the 4th year clinical rotations and externships.

Southern Regional Education Board contract positions are currently available to students from the following states:

  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina

Applicants must be certified as residents of the states from which they apply. Students accepted to the Southern Regional Education Board contract program pay in-state tuition.

Note: All contract positions are subject to yearly approval by the state legislatures. Selected students accept the contract positions with the understanding that their sponsoring state could possibly change the terms of the contract program agreement at their discretion.

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Monique Hudson
Administrative Coordinator
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
270 Washington Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30334-1450
404-962-3081
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Louisiana Board of Regents

LeAnn Detillier
Assistant Commissioner for Program Administration
Louisiana Board of Regents
1201 N. Third Street, Suite 6-200
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
225-342-4253
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.osfa.la.gov/rcponline

Additional Contact: Kathy Hoyt
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Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

Renotta Jones
Office and Program Administrator
Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211-6453
601-432-6664
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South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

Tanya Rogers
SREB Contract Program Coordinator
External Affairs
South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
1122 Lady Street, Suite 300
Columbia, SC 29201
803-737-2224
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SREB Regional Contract Program Contact

Wanda Barker
Director, Student Access Programs and Services
Southern Regional Education Board
592 10th Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30318-5776
404-875-9211, Ext. 258
404-872-1477
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The UAB School of Optometry makes lasting contributions to eye care and vision science by providing education and clinical training to optometry students and postdoctoral residents. The fundamental goal of the four-year professional optometry program is to prepare its students to be the nation’s leaders in providing comprehensive, evidence-based eye care.

Now one of the top optometry programs in the nation, the UAB School of Optometry was one of the first in the U.S. to be fully integrated into an academic health system. As a result, small classes with a target size of 50 students are embedded within the vast network of academic and clinical resources offered by UAB. Internationally recognized faculty in optometry, vision science and ophthalmology teach students within a state-of-the-art clinical practice, students have the opportunities to engage in research.

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 2023 is April 1, 2023. 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.

The Admissions Committee is keenly aware of your concerns during these uncertain times of COVID-19. We want to assure you we will show flexibility when accessing your academic record during the semesters effected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Pass/Fail grading scale used for courses, including prerequisite courses, will be accepted whether the grading scale decisions were made by the institution or the student. Ultimately the committee remains committed to admitting the best and brightest students using a holistic assessment process.

Learn more: Admissions Information

Clinical Training

Students at the UAB School of Optometry receive clinical training at UAB Eye Care, affiliated sites throughout the Birmingham area and through the externship program.

Learn more: Clinical Training

Community Outreach

Optometry students at UAB provide numerous screenings and comprehensive eye exams at sites across Alabama and the region through community outreach. Students, faculty and residents collectively examine nearly 25,000 patients per year.

Learn more: Community Outreach

Curriculum

As one of the first optometry schools to be integrated into an academic health center, the UAB School of Optometry offers courses within its Department of Optometry and Vision Science, in addition to courses in other UAB health science departments.

Learn more: Curriculum

Dual Degree Programs

Students at the UAB School of Optometry can combine their four-year Doctor of Optometry degree with an additional degree that will allow them to better understand the ever advancing field of eye care and equip them to follow a variety of career paths. The UAB School of Optometry has partnered with other UAB schools to provide a comprehensive, interdisciplinary curriculum in three programs. 

Learn more: Dual Degree Programs

Faculty

The expertise of our faculty reflects the full scope of optometric and vision science. While faculty members are primarily clinical optometrists, vision scientists and ophthalmologists also provide direct supervision and training of optometry students and postdoctoral residents. Students learn under the tutelage of faculty in a number of clinics affiliated with the UAB School of Optometry, and faculty are widely published in the scientific and clinical literature.

Learn more: Faculty

Scholarships

Scholarship applications will be open from April 1st to May 1st each year for awards made that following academic year.

The UAB School of Optometry offers scholarships and awards that provide financial support for our outstanding Optometry students. Currently, the School has 56 endowed optometry scholarships which were generously given by alumni and friends of the School of Optometry. Some scholarships provide multiple awards. Most awards range in value between $500 and $1500 each, though there are exceptions that have higher award amounts.

Learn more: Scholarships

Tuition & Fees

For a complete list of current tuition costs and fees, visit the UAB tuition and fees website.

  • View general tuition costs for Optometry under the Graduate tab.
  • A summary of annual UAB tuition for a full-time Optometry student is available under the Summary tab. View the amount for resident and non-resident Optometry students under the Graduate Programs section.
  • View all fees located in the Optometry section under the Institutional Fees tab.

Learn more: Tuition & Fees

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