Jan 20, 2022  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Optometry, OD


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College of Optometry  > Optometry, OD

The College of Optometry, housed in the Cora and J. Davis Armistead Building, is one of the University’s fourteen colleges. Established in 1952, the college has seen unprecedented growth in patient care, didactic and laboratory facilities as well as student common areas. In 2013, its latest expansion, the Health and Biomedical Building 1, was built adjacent to, and connected with the Armistead building.  This new addition houses an Ambulatory Surgical Center, a Refractive Surgery Center, and new classroom and laboratory spaces, making the optometric facility one of the most modern in the world.

Approximately, one hundred and five students are admitted into the professional optometric program each year from the United States and abroad.  Accepted students must have a Bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the professional program and are expected to have completed course work, including: biological science, advanced level biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, statistics and psychology.

The college not only educates students planning to practice optometry, but also offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in physiological optics/vision science for students planning careers in teaching and research.  Students who have a degree in biological or physical science or biomedical engineering with a special interest in vision or who are graduates of an optometry school or other professional health program may want to consider entering the graduate program.

Graduates from the professional optometric program may enter family practice or serve in multidisciplinary primary care clinics.  Graduates also find careers in public health, teaching and research, industry and health administration.  Residencies/fellowships are available in pediatric, primary care, contact lenses, rehabilitative, or hospital-based optometry.  Special services for children, the elderly, and the partially-sighted can each be exclusively practiced. Helping to care for vision, our most treasured sense makes optometry a rewarding profession for students interested in a health career.

Please visit our website for more information: www.opt.uh.edu.

Admission Requirements


Applying for Admission:

For information on the application process to the graduate program (MS/PhD) in Physiological Optics and Vision Science, visit the graduate application information website.

Admission Requirements for the OD Program:

To be eligible for admission, students must have a baccalaureate degree of any major and a grade of “C” or better in each required prerequisite course. While there is no minimum GPA required for application, the College of Optometry will generally not consider applicants with an overall GPA less than a 3.00 to be competitive for admission. Students may apply for admission to the OD program while completing these requirements.

Letters of recommendation must be requested via and submitted directly to OptomCAS. UHCO recommends that the third letter be from an optometrist with whom the applicant has trained/ shadowed.

The College of Optometry requires that newly admitted applicants complete and successfully pass a Criminal Background Check (CBC) prior to matriculation. Offers of admission are contingent upon this CBC and upon the UHCO Admissions Committee review of its findings.

NOTE: Fourth year Professional students will complete external clinical rotations which might require an additional CBC, these include but are not limited to all US Federal sites such as Veterans Affairs, military sites and Indian Health Services. This CBC is separate and in addition to the one completed as part of the admissions process and must occur approximately 6-12 weeks prior to the date the external clinical rotation begins and will be determined by the site.

All applicants must:

  1. complete an application via OptomCAS (http://www.optomcas.org/), during which the applicant will submit official transcripts of all post-secondary academic work, complete a brief essay, submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation, and list professional work and job shadowing experiences;
  2. pay the OptomCAS application fee of $175.00;
  3. complete the UHCO supplemental application (available via the UHCO web site during open application periods); and
  4. pay the UHCO supplemental application fee of $50.00;
  5. and, complete the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT); and/ or the Graduate Reord Examination-general (GRE) in time for scores to be verified by March 30 prior to the semester in which the applicant expects to enter the OD program.

Applications for admission via OptomCAS are accepted between July 1 and March 30 prior to the fall semester in which the applicant expects to enter the OD program. All supporting materials are due by March 30 prior to the semester in which the applicant expects to enter.

All supporting material should be sent to:

The University of Houston College of Optometry
Office of Optometry Relations
4901 Calhoun Rd.
J. Davis Armistead Building
Houston, TX 77204-2020

Prerequisite Coursework for Admission:

General Biological Sciences with Labs - 2 courses (8 credit hours)

  • Courses should be equivalent to those required for biological sciences majors
  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Junior/ Senior-Level Biology related to Human Science - (8 credit hours). Part of this 8 credit hour requirement must include Junior/ Senior level human anatomy and physiology. It is highly recommended that these upper division courses be taken at a four- year Institution

  • Any combination of human anatomy and physiology is acceptable, as long as both disciplines are covered. A single combined human anatomy- physiology course will be accepted as long as it is at least 3 credit hours. Please note: Freshman/ Sophmore- level courses will not satisfy this human anatomy and physiology course requirement
  • Acceptance of other advanced biology courses to satisfy the remaining prerequisite requirements is at the discretion of the Admissions Committee
  • It is recommended that applicants receive prior approval from the Program Manager for Admissions for applicable courses
  • Courses such as genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, neuroscience, mammalian physiology, immunology, histology, and endocrinology will be accepted to satisfy any remaining credits of the 8 hour requirement
  • Courses such as plant physiology, botany, ecology, biodiversity, or biotechnology will not be accepted
  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application

Microbiology with Lab - 1 course (4 credit hours)

  • Courses should be equivalent to those required for biological sciences majors
  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Fundamentals of Chemistry with Labs - 2 courses (8 credit hours)

  • Courses should be equivalent to those required for biological sciences majors.
  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Organic Chemistry with Lab - 1 course (4 credit hours)

  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Biochemistry - 1 course (3 credit hours)

  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

General Physics with Labs - 2 courses (8 credit hours)

  • Courses should be equivalent to those required for biological sciences majors.
  • Courses should have an optics section dedicated to the study of wave theory and the propagation of light. Calculus-based physics is not required; trigonometry- or algebra-based physics is acceptable.
  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Calculus - 1 course (3 credit hours)

  • It is recommended (but not required), that applicants take one or more courses in algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus, and/ or analytical geometry in addition to calculus.
  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Statistics - 1 course (3 credit hours)

  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Psychology - 1 course (3 credit hours)

  • Coursework should be completed with a minimum grade of “C” and not more than five (5) years prior to the date of the application.

Standardized Entrance Examinations:

Beginning July 1, 2019, UHCO will accept scores for three standardized entrance examinations: OAT, MCAT, and GRE General Test. Applicants may choose to complete any or all of these exams; however, competitive preference may be given to completion of the OAT. Official scores must be received by the UHCO Office of Optometry Relations no later than March 30 prior to the fall semester during which the applicant intends to matriculate.

Optometry Admission Test (OAT):

The OAT is a standardized examination sponsored by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. It is designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information and accepted by all schools and colleges of optometry in the U.S. and the University of Waterloo, Canada. The OAT consists of: survey of the natural sciences (biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry), reading comprehension, physics and quantitative reasoning. 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. Although examinees are able to take the OAT’s an unlimited amount of times; waiting at least 90 days between attempts, only scores from the four most recent attempts are reported. The total number of attempts will also be reported.

While there is no minimum score required for admission to UHCO’s OD program, a Total Science and Academic Average score of 330 (200-400 scale) is considered competitive. For subject information, application to take the OAT, scoring procedures, study guides, and more, please visit: http://www.ada.org/en/oat. Additional information may be found at http://www.opted.org or write/call:

Optometric Admission Testing Program
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60611-2678

800-232-2159

General Record Examination (GRE):

The GRE General Test is a standardized examination that is owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is designed to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. GRE Subject Tests are available in Biology, Chemistry and Physics; however, these are optional and may be taken in addition to the General Test.

While there is no minimum score required for admission to UHCO’s OD Program, a Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning score of 150 (130-170 scale), and an Analytical Writing score of 3.5 (0-6 scale) is considered competitive. For subject information, application to take the GRE, scoring procedures, study guides, sending scores and more, please visit: www.ets.org/gre.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT):

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles. The exam covers biological and biochemical foundations of living systems, chemical and physical foundations of biological systems, phycological, social and biological foundations of behavior and critical analysis and reasoning skills.

While there is no minimum score required for admission to UHCO’s OD Program, a Total score of 501 (472- 528 scale) is considered competitive. For subject information, application to take the MCAT, scoring procedures, study guides, sending scores and more, please visit: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation:

Letters of recommendation must be requested via and submitted directly to OptomCAS. A minimum of three letters of recommendation are required, but OptomCAS will accept a maximum of four. Additionally, UHCO requires that TWO of the three letters be academic letters of recommendation written by college or university faculty members who have directly taught the applicant. UHCO strongly recommends that the third letter of recommendation be from an optometrist with whom the applicant has trained and/or shadowed. Letter not sent electronically to OptomCAS by the reviewer but instead sent directly to The College of Optometry will not be accepted.

Supplemental Application:

OptomCAS does not provide all of the information required by the College of Optometry. Therefore, applicants will be required to complete a UHCO Supplemental Application. This application will be available at: http://www.opt.uh.edu; only after an OptomCAS application is submitted and an OptomCAS ID is generated. The UHCO Supplemental Application ID will be the same as the OptomCAS ID. A fifty-dollar ($50 US), non-refundable application fee is required. The OptomCAS application, UHCO Supplemental Application and all supporting materials must be completed and received by the University of Houston College of Optometry, Office of Optometry Relations by March 30 prior to the Fall semester in which the applicant is expected to enter. It may take 4-6 weeks after submission for the OptomCAS application to be verified by OptomCAS and delivered electronically to the College. For more information, visit http://www.opt.uh.edu.

Interview:

An interview is required for admission, and competitive applicants will be invited for on-campus interviews until the class is filled. Not all applicants are interviewed. The interview allows UHCO’s administration to learn more about an applicant’s passion for optometry, preparation for UHCO’s curriculum, why he/she has chosen to apply to UHCO, and more. Additionally, applicants have the opportunity to experience first-hand UHCO’s facilities; visit with current students; and connect with UHCO’s didactic, clinical, and research faculty.

Criminal Background Checks:

The College of Optometry requires that newly admitted applicants to the Professional Optometric Program, complete and successfully pass a Criminal Background Check (CBC) prior to matriculation. Offers of admission are contingent upon the outcome of the CBC which will be reviewed by the UHCO Admission Committee. Students are expected to complete a second CBC in their fourth professional year, prior to beginning external rotations (externships) at all US Federal Clinical sites (VA Hospitals, military sites, Indian Health Services). This CBC is required 6-12 weeks prior to the date the externship begins and/or as determined by the site.

Immunization Requirements:

An applicant accepted into the University of Houston College of Optometry Professional Program must present proof of adequate immunization against: rubeola (common measles), rubella (German measles), mumps, varicella (chicken pox), tetanus and Hepatitis B, prior to the beginning of the first Professional year.

A negative TB skin test or chest clearance must be documented no sooner than three months prior to beginning the fall term of the first professional year. Thereafter, a student must submit documentation of a negative TB skin test or chest clearance to the University of Houston College of Optometry Office of Optometry Relations.

Transfer Students

In order for a student to be considered for transfer from another professional optometry program, the student must have satisfactorily completed a minimum of one year of coursework and be in good academic standing in a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education of the American Optometric Association. The student must also submit an official transcript, a letter stating the reasons for the transfer request, and a letter from his/her current dean supporting the request for transfer to UHCO. Unless the student is in the upper half of the class and presents justifiable reasons for requesting a transfer, such requests are ordinarily denied. The transfer student decision is based on space available in the class and compatibility of curricula between the two schools.

Degree Requirements


Credit hours required for this degree: 177.0

Students who attend the College of Optometry and matriculate in the professional program must meet the following requirements for a Doctor of Optometry degree:

  1. Prior completion of a baccalaureate degree or equivalent.
  2. Completion of 177 term hours over the course of four years.
  3. A passing grade in each core and elective course.
  4. A grade point average of 2.00 or better, each term, in the professional educational program.
  5. Compliance with all other applicable requirements contained in the general information section of this catalog and the College of Optometry policies and procedures manual as well as the Student Handbook.

Professional Degree Program


First Professional Year:


Fall Term

Spring Term

Second Professional Year


Fall Term

Spring Term

Third Professional Year


Summer Term

Fall Term

Spring Term

Fourth Professional Year


Rotation A: (Summer, Fall, Spring)

Externship I- Primary Care

Rotation B: (Summer, Fall, Spring)

Externship II- Medical Care

Rotation C: (Summer, Fall, Spring)

Specialty Clinic/Didactic Semester

NOTE:


*Elective requirements may be fulfilled at any time.

They are listed in this curriculum only for suggested times.

Academic Units


The professional curriculum is delivered by two academic departments; clinical sciences and basic sciences.

Summary of Elective Courses


Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of seven semester credit hours in approved elective courses to qualify for the OD degree. Courses in the graduate program or upper division courses in another college may be selected with the approval of the student’s academic advisor and the Associate Dean for Professional Studies.

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