Dec 07, 2023  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]


The Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), or optometrist, is an independent health care provider who examines, diagnoses, treats, and manages diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures. Optometrists may prescribe glasses and contact lenses, participate in the rehabilitation of the visually impaired, and diagnose and treat ocular diseases. An O.D. can also identify and manage a variety of non-ocular systemic and psychological conditions, working effectively as a member of the comprehensive health care team.

The pre-optometry curriculum is designed to prepare students for admission to the professional schools of optometry. Generally, schools of optometry require at least 90 semester hours of pre-optometry coursework and students are highly encouraged to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Some programs give strong preference to students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree. The student is free to pursue a major in any area of interest. Admission to a school of optometry is based upon such qualities as academic preparation, scores on the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), and general character and fitness for the field of optometry. Students must apply directly to the individual schools of optometry.  Students must apply through OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service).

The Pre-Optometry coursework expectations vary somewhat by individual schools of optometry, and students should contact the schools of interest. In general, schools of optometry will require coursework (usually one year each) in biology, chemistry, and physics; these should be courses that are required for the major rather than survey courses intended for non-majors. In addition, most schools of optometry will require additional coursework in psychology/social sciences, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, calculus and statistics. Some schools require observation hours and/or have a time limit for acceptance of prerequisite courses. A pre-optometry student at USD should use the suggested curriculum for the pre-medicine program as a guide in completing optometry prerequisites

For more information about optometry contact: Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (, Academic & Career Planning Center, 605-658-3600; Health Professions Advisors, 605-658-6334, or by visiting the following web site:

Brittany Schultz
Health Sciences/Pre-Professional Advisor 
ID Weeks Library 101A

Amy Nelson
Health Sciences Major 
Program Director
Julian Hall 217