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PREOPTOMETRY PROGRAM

Chris Hutt, Advisor
Office: 200 Clark Hall

A wide variety of programs may be planned that will both fulfill specific requirements for admission to optometry school and allow students to pursue their individual academic interests. Students preparing to enter optometry school should consult the catalogs of the optometry schools of their interest early in their undergraduate enrollment, in order to be informed of the exact requirements for entrance.

Although specific admission requirements vary, most optometry schools require that the undergraduate program include (a) one academic year of general biology (BSC 114:115 and BSC 116:117); (b) one academic year of inorganic chemistry (CH 101 and CH 102) and one academic year of organic chemistry (CH 231 and CH 232, CH 237); (c) English composition (EN 101 and EN 102); (d) mathematics through one semester of calculus (MATH 125) and statistics (PY 211); (e) one academic year of physics (PH 101 and PH 102); (f) two semesters of psychology (PY 101, etc.); (g) two courses in the social and behavioral sciences (sociology, economics, anthropology, history, political science, or additional psychology); and (h) one semester of microbiology (BSC 310). Optometry schools emphasize the need for applicants to have a broad general education. Within that context, applicants are urged to make some selections of courses from appropriate areas of chemistry (for example, CH 223, CH 340), biology (for example, BSC 300, BSC 315, BSC 400, BSC 424), and the areas of social sciences and humanities that prepare students for the humanistic, behavioral, and socioeconomic aspects of health care. Preoptometry students are also urged to take courses or gain experiences that develop speech communication skills. At The University of Alabama, these requirements and recommendations can be met in programs of study leading to a variety of majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences or other undergraduate divisions of the University.

Beginning with initial enrollment, pre–health professions students are advised by the Health Professions Advising Office concerning selection of courses during the first two years of undergraduate study. The coursework constituting the minimum admission requirements to the professional school should be completed as early as possible (normally during the first two years). For this reason, the basic program of study advised in the first two years is similar for all pre–health professions students. Variations may be dictated by differences in course placement determined by entrance examinations. The following example is illustrative.

FRESHMAN YEAR
First Semester
CourseHours
EN 1013
Mathematics1 3–4
CH 1014
Social and behavioral sciences
  and/or BSC 114:1152
3–4
___
13–15
Second Semester
CourseHours
EN 1023
Mathematics1 3–4
CH 1024
Social and behavioral sciences and/or
  BSC 116:117
3–4
___
13–15
 
SOPHOMORE YEAR
First Semester
CourseHours
Literature3
Mathematics1 4
CH 2313
Two electives or physics4–6
___
14–16
Second Semester
CourseHours
History3
CH 232 and CH 2375
Fine arts3
Humanities3
Elective or physics3–4
___
17–18

1The number of the entry-level mathematics course depends on placement exam results.
2If BSC 114:115 is not selected in the first semester, the biology sequence should be started in the second or third semester.

In this example, most entrance requirements are met in the first two years. Before the end of the fourth semester, students must declare choices of major and minor subjects. Beyond this stage, advice concerning major and minor courses is given by the appropriate department. However, the health professions advisor continues to advise third- and fourth-year students concerning matters related to application to professional schools.

Applications to optometry schools should be completed approximately one year prior to the expected date of enrollment. The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is required by most schools and is administered twice each year. Normally, this exam should be taken during the spring semester preceding the final year of undergraduate study.

Since admission to professional schools is highly competitive, students planning careers in the health professions should be aware that satisfactory completion of preprofessional requirements does not guarantee admission to professional schools. Therefore, students are advised to plan undergraduate programs with some attention to possible alternative goals. Periodically, the health professions advisor will assist students in realistically evaluating their potential for admission to professional schools.

Undergraduate health professional degree option. See the information at "Undergraduate Health Professional Degree Option" under "Premedical Program," p. 112.

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