UWM Undergraduate Catalog 2017-2018

College of Letters and Science


Ian McLaughlin, Academic Advisor, Student Academic Services, Pre-Optometry Advisor, (414) 229-4654, mclaughi@uwm.edu
UWM offers all of the prerequisite coursework necessary for students to apply to accredited optometry programs in the United States. There currently are no optometry schools in Wisconsin; the closest one is in Chicago, Illinois. Undergraduate preparation for optometry requires a strong foundation in the sciences and mathematics and a background in the humanities and social sciences.

Although it is possible to enter an optometry program after completing the necessary science and math courses before earning the bachelor’s degree, it is a very rare situation. The majority of students accepted into optometry programs have completed their bachelor’s degree.

Entrance to an optometry program is very competitive. Applicants must take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). The OAT is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. At least one year of college education, which should include courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics, is required prior to taking the OAT. Most students, however, elect to complete two or more years of college prior to taking the exam.

Although specific admission requirements may vary among programs, recommended coursework includes:

  • One year (two semesters) general biology with lab (Bio Sci 150 and 152)
  • One year (two semesters) Anatomy and Physiology (Bio Sci 202 and 203)
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • One year (two semesters) general chemistry with lab (Chem 102 and 104)
  • One year (two semesters) organic chemistry with lab (Chem 343, 344, and 345)
  • One year (two semesters) physics with lab (Physics 120/121 and 122/123 or Physics 209/214 and 210/215)
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Psychology 101

Other common course requirements include (but are not limited to and may vary by program): anatomy and physiology, cell biology, molecular biology, and immunology.

Due to the variance in admission requirements, it is recommended that students consult with the Pre-Optometry Advisor every semester.



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