What is an Optometrist?

Optometrists are health practitioners who specialize in eye care. Different from an ophthalmologist, who performs surgical procedures on the eye, optometrists evaluate eye health and prescribe treatment that improves vision. Ophthalologists graduate from medical school, whereas optometrists graduate from optometry school.

Students preparing for a career in optometry are classified as Pre-Optometry. To qualify for optometry school admission, students must take the necessary prerequisites for each school; a bachelor's degree is recommended and sometimes required.


Which major should I select at UNT for a pre-optometry path?

Popular majors among pre-optometry students at UNT include the following: 

  • Bachelor or Arts in Biology, College of Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology, College of Science

Note: Optometry schools do not require a particular degree. If you choose a major outside of the sciences, we recommend taking extra courses in biology, in addition to all of the required prerequisites.

For more information about each major, please visit the UNT Catalog and select 'majors, minors, certificates' that is found beneath the link to ‘Catalog Home’.

What courses do I need for optometry school?

Please refer to our Pre-Optometry Packet for a list of Texas optometry school prerequisites. To review prerequisites for optometry programs outside of Texas, please refer to each individual school's website. 

Timeline: When do I apply to optometry school?

Students must apply to optometry schools one year before entering a program. On the traditional four-year path, students will apply during the summer after their junior year of college, complete their bachelor's degree at the end of their senior year, and enter optometry school the following fall semester. 

This timeline will show you an example of the traditional four-year path to optometry school.
Note: Each student's timeline is different. Your UNT academic advisor/counselor is committed to creating a plan that accomodates your individual goals and circumstances.

What makes a competitive application to optometry school?

Admission to optometry school is competitive and students should create a strategic plan well in advance. Below you will find typical categories of a competitive application. Please contact our advisors in the UNT Office of Health Professions to further explore each competitive characteristic and to create your pre-optometry plan. 

Call, click or come by for more information!

Office of Health Professions:  940-369-8606 | Hickory Hall, Room 256

Competitive application gpa, mcat, community service, clinical experience, extracurricular activities, shadowing, community service, leadership


GPA 3.2-3.7
OAT Score 328+
Shadowing 100+ Hours
Volunteering 100+ Hours

What is the OAT?

The Optometry Admissions Test, OAT, is the entrance exam that must be taken before applying to optometry school. The score range for the OAT is 200-400. We strongly recommend that you not take the OAT until after most, if not all, prerequisites have been completed. For more information about the OAT, please visit the official webpage.

How do I apply to optometry school?

Optometry schools in the United States use one application service to obtain your information: OptomCAS

Does UNT offer an HPAC?

Yes! Our Office of Health Professions provides a Health Professions Advisory Committee service, HPAC. This committee produces a committee letter of recommendation that is strongly preferred by optometry school admissions committees. A Committee Letter of Recommendation is one of the letters of recommendation included in a letter packet when applying to optometry school, and is an evaluation of your competitiveness by a group of faculty members across the UNT campus. 

When to participate in HPAC
HPAC is offered each spring semester for those applying to optometry school the following summer. Students will have 1 interview with our Assistant Dean, Todd Lang, and 1 interview with a faculty member on the committee. The committee then meets to discuss each applicant, and the feedback is used to write the Committee Letter of Recommendation.

Qualifications for HPAC
To participate in HPAC, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • 3.2 Overall GPA
  • 15 hours of UNT course credit

If you do not meet the minimum requirements, please schedule an appointment with our Senior Academic Counselor, Todd Lang, to discuss your individual situation.

Are there any scholarships available to pre-optometry students?

Unfortunately, there are no specific scholarships offered to pre-optometry students. However, general scholarships are offered to students through each department and college across campus. Below you will find the scholarship webpage for the popular majors listed above:

College of Science:

If you do not see your major listed under the college listed above, please visit the scholarship website of the college that houses your major.

What pre-health student organizations and professional associations are there at UNT? 

Alpha Epsilon Delta: https://unt.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/alphaepsilondelta
Pre-Health Minority Club (Alpha Delta): https://unt.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/alpha-delta-the-minority-pre-health-organization
Medically Dedicated Students: https://unt.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/medically-dedicated-students-organization
UNT’s Volunteer Organizations: http://studentaffairs.unt.edu/
Hearts for the Homeless: https://unt.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/hearts-for-the-homeless-dallas
Pre-Optometry Association: https://unt.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/pre-optometry-association
American Optometric Association: http://www.aoa.org/?sso=y
Texas Optometric Association: http://texas.aoa.org/
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry: http://www.opted.org/

Who can help me create a plan for this career path?

If you are a current student, please visit https://universityofnorthtexas.campus.eab.com/ to schedule an appointment.

For general questions email: HealthCareers@unt.edu

To view contact information for individual pre-health advisors, visit this siteOn the left, under "Office of Health Professions Pre-Health Advising" you will find all of the pre-health advisors' emails. 



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