Feb 26, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Admission Requirements: College of Optometry

Colleges  > College of Optometry  > Admission Requirements: College of Optometry


Graduate Program in Physiological Optics / Vision Science

Admission Requirements

Admittance to the graduate program in physiological optics/vision science normally requires the following:

  1. A Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited academic or professional institution comparable to the Bachelor of Science degree awarded at the University of Houston
  2. Sufficient training to undertake graduate study in physiological optics
  3. A grade point average of B (3.00) or above in all previous college-level work with particular attention being given to science courses
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test
  5. Satisfactory evaluation and recommendation by three teachers or others familiar with the applicant’s scholarship and research potential
  6. Proficiency in speaking and writing English. International students whose native language is not English are expected to score 550 or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and 50 or better on the Test of Spoken English (TSE). 

Applying for Admission

Students start the admission process by submitting a completed application for admission to the graduate program in Physiological Optics/Vision Science to this address:

Laura J. Frishman, Ph.D.
Associate Dean
Graduate Studies and Research
College of Optometry
505 J. Davis Armistead Bldg.
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-2020

This office must also receive the following:

  1. Official transcripts of all college courses taken at other institutions
  2. Official notification of Graduate Record Examination scores
  3. Three letters of recommendation (see item 5 of Admission Requirements)
  4. Official TOEFL and TSE scores where required (see item 6 of Admission Requirements)
  5. Appropriate documents requested of international students
  6. A “Statement of Purpose” that describes the applicant’s career goals and research interests, and explains why the applicant is applying to the program in Physiological Optics/Vision Science.

Application for the graduate program in physiological optics/vision science should be submitted before January 31 prior to the fall semester in which a student expects to enter. Applications for financial support through either teaching or research fellowships should be submitted at the same time.

The College of Optometry seeks to admit students who are both academically and personally qualified to complete the four-year professional optometric program and to practice optometry in a highly competent, ethical, and responsible manner. Applicants from all states and foreign countries are considered for admission.

The Admissions Committee of the college sets policies and procedures for admission and recommends to the dean of the college who shall be admitted. The committee has developed a selection process based on the following criteria: 

Academic Criteria

To be eligible for admission, students must have

  • A baccalaureate degree and a grade of “C” or better in each required prerequisite course. The College of Optometry will generally not consider applicants unless they have achieved at least a B average for all college work.
  • Optometry Admission Test (OAT) scores Personal Criteria 

Personal Criteria

  • Biographical information, such as work experiences, educational history, interest in optometry, etc.
  • Participation in college and community activities
  • Communication skills
  • Academic letters of reference (3)

Undergraduate grade point average, OAT scores, and the personal criteria listed above are the major determinants of selection.

Academic Prerequisites

Optometric practice is based on concepts of human relations, mature judgment, and mastery of scientific knowledge. Therefore, scholastic preparation for the study of optometry requires a background in the humanities, the sciences, and mathematics. To be considered for admission to the College of Optometry, students must have completed a baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment. At least 55-60 semester hours of prerequisite math/science courses must be completed satisfactorily. Courses that are especially relevant to optometry are listed in the university’s Undergraduate Catalog.

Application Procedure

A fifty dollar ($50), non-refundable application fee for online applications is required. A seventy-five ($75) non-refundable application fee is required for paper applications. Students must complete an online application or paper application for admission and must submit all supporting credentials by February 1 prior to the fall semester in which they expect to enter. All students are strongly urged to submit supporting credentials as soon as possible. All admissions material should be sent to the following address:

Office of Student Affairs and Admissions
College of Optometry
505 J. Davis Armistead Bldg.
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-2020

Applications for admission will be accepted between August 1 and February 1 preceding the fall semester that the student plans to enter the college.

The requirements for admission into the professional program are:

  1. completion of a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation
  2. Optometry Admission Test (OAT) scores
  3. completion of all prerequisite courses prior to matriculation
  4. timely submission of all admissions-related documents.

Students are responsible for making sure that all necessary credentials are sent to the college and will not be considered for admission until the required fee is received and all credentials are on file. A complete application consists of the following:

  • A completed online or paper application for admission. Students are strongly urged to submit application online to expedite the admission process. The application form is available on the University of Houston College of Optometry website or may be obtained by contacting the College of Optometry.
  • Official transcripts of all college work (including grades for the most recently completed courses) sent directly to the college from each institution attended. The college cannot accept transcripts from any source other than the issuing institution. The college recommends that the issuing institution send the transcripts by certified or registered mail in order to ensure proper delivery. Additionally, students should monitor UHCO’s Receipt of Applications.
  • Submission of scores on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). This test is given two times a year, in October and in February, at testing centers in colleges and universities throughout the United States. More information and an application form may be obtained by writing to the following address:

Optometry Admission Testing Program
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 440-2693
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry website

The OAT application should be submitted at least one month before the student plans to take the test. Students are urged to take the test no later than the fall of the year preceding the desired admission date.

  • Letters of recommendation provided by an undergraduate preprofessional committee or by three professors who are familiar with the student’s course work. Letters must be submitted on official college or university stationery. Students may also submit additional letters from optometrists, other health professionals, or personal references.

All letters of recommendation must be mailed directly to the college’s Office of Student Affairs and Admissions by the originator.

Applications may be submitted and acted upon before all pre-optometric course requirements have been completed, if it is clear that the requirements will be satisfactorily completed prior to registration. In this case, students must submit, prior to registration, an official transcript documenting satisfactory completion of the remaining requirements.

Transfer Students

In order for a student to be considered for transfer from another professional optometry program, the student must have satisfactorily completed at least one year of course work and be in good academic standing in a school of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education of the American Optometric Association. The student must also submit both an official transcript and a letter from the 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.

Master of Science Track

Students with a Bachelor of Science or higher degree are eligible to enter the Master of Science track, which requires about two years of study. This track includes 30 semester hours of courses, teaching experience, a research project with written thesis, and a defense of the thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy Track

Students with either a Bachelor of Science degree or a doctorate (or equivalent) degree in optometry or medicine are eligible to enter the Doctor of Philosophy track. This track requires about four years of study, including 60 semester hours of courses, teaching experience, a reading knowledge of a foreign language or research skill, a qualifying examination, original research, with written dissertation, and a defense of the dissertation.