Pre-Optometry program

Become an optometrist.

Optometry is a healthcare profession focusing on the eyes and related structures, as well as vision, visual systems, and vision information processing in humans. Optometrists are trained to prescribe and fit lenses to improve vision and are trained to diagnose and treat various eye diseases. Learn more about optometry at

UWL offers a Pre-Optometry track

Make your intention to pursue a career in optometry official by adding it as an "intended pre-professional track." Pre-Optometry is NOT a major at UW-La Crosse. It is a statement of your intention to apply to optometry schools. You will still need to select a major to complete a degree at UWL.


  • General Biology (BIO 105)
  • Organismal Biology (BIO 203) or Anatomy & Physiology I and/or II (BIO 312/313)
  • Fundamentals of Microbiology (MIC 230)
  • General Chemistry I & II (CHM 103 & CHM 104)
  • Fundamental Organic Chemistry (CHM 300) and laboratory (CHM 302)
  • Also acceptable: Organic Chemistry Theory I & II (CHM 303 & CHM 304) plus laboratory (CHM 302 or CHM 305)
  • Fundamental Biochemistry (CHM 325)
Mathematics and statistics
  • Calculus I (MTH 207) recommended
  • Elementary Statistics (STAT 145) or Mathematical Models in Biology (MTH 265) 
  • Fundamental Physics I & II (PHY 103 & PHY 104) or (acceptable but not common): General Physics I & II (PHY 203 & PHY 204)
Social sciences
  • General Psychology (PSY 100)
  • Additional social science course (100-level PSY, SOC, HIST, etc.)
Additional requirements - highly recommended, sometimes required
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II (BIO 312 & BIO 313)
  • Genetics (BIO 306)
  • Several schools require a “writing-intensive course”, in addition to College Writing (ENG 110); often satisfied during completion of an undergraduate degree at UWL

Declaring a Pre-Optometry track will help you determine common requirements for optometry schools in our region. However, each program's requirements vary. When selecting coursework, it is important to consult the websites of the programs to which you plan to apply, and meet with your advisor.

Dr. Tony Sanderfoot works with pre-optometry students.

Grow through experience

Join the club!

Students interested in optometry are encouraged to check out the Pre-Optometry Club.

Gain experiences

Job shadowing, full or part time work, research experience and more. See Gaining experience for ideas of how to get involved and learn more about the profession.

Prepare to apply

Profession and schools resource

See the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry for information about the profession, resources, and a list of schools.

Apply through central system

To apply for optometry programs across the country, students can apply centrally via the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) system.


The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) must be taken before or during the semester in which the student applies for admission.