Jul 18, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Optometry, O.D.


Degree Requirements

Students who attend the College of Optometry must meet the following requirements for a Doctor of Optometry degree:

  1. Prior completion of the baccalaureate degree or equivalent.
  2. Completion of 177 semester 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 semester, in the professional educational program.
  5. Compliance with all other applicable requirements in the general information section of this catalog and the College of Optometry regulations.

Program Curricula

Optometrists are health care professionals who competently solve human eye and vision problems.  Most optometrists work in primary care practice, serving patients who need eye and vision care, who seek periodic evaluation of their eye and vision status, or who are referred by other professionals.  The optometrist cares for most of the public’s eye and vision problems.

The practice of primary care optometry is concerned with the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases and disorders of the vision system, eye and associated structures as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions.  In order to properly function as an optometrist, mastery of several bodies of knowledge is necessary.  An understanding of the stimuli that initiate vision, the anatomy and physiology of the structures that mediate vision, and visual information processing represents a portion of the appropriate knowledge base called vision science.  Understanding of optical physics for the provision of appropriate visual images is critical for the correction of refractive errors and binocular vision anomalies.  Understanding pathophysiological processes, pharmacological processes, and systemic physiology and pathology are necessary for the proper diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and the recognition, co-management or referral of systemic diseases with ocular and visual manifestations.

Other responsibilities exist beyond the individual patient/practitioner relationship.  Often visual health is a societal phenomenon, and optometrists must educate the community concerning what constitutes a good visual environment.  For example, optometrists have been involved in the designing of more easily seen traffic signals and signs, highway lighting and marking, classroom design, and much more.  They also are involved in community-wide visual screening of both school children and the general population.

The major educational goal is to produce health care practitioners who have appropriate knowledge, skill, and competence to fulfill the role of delivering primary eye and vision care; who counsel patients concerning health promotion; and who manage curative or preventive regimens in consultation with other health care practitioners.

Professional Degree Program

The educational program in optometry requires four academic years and two summer sessions.  One-third of the fourth-year class serves external multidisciplinary primary care clinical rotations during each of the three semesters.  One-third serves in an external medical setting, and one-third rotates through specialty clinics each term.  Didactic courses are taken during the specialty clinic rotation.  Students must satisfactorily complete a total of 177 semester hours, at least seven hours of which must be in approved electives.  With permission of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, students may also take graduate courses in physiological optics for elective credit in the professional degree program.

First Professional Year

Second Professional Year

Total Credit Hours: 18.0 (Lecture:14; Lab: 13)

Total Credit Hours: 21.0 (Lecture:18; Lab: 14)

Third Professional Year

Summer Semester

Total Credit Hours: 7.0 (Lecture:3; Lab: 18)

Fall Semester

Total Credit Hours: 20.0 (Lecture: 14; Lab: 19)

Total Credit Hours: 21.0 (Lecture: 14; Lab: 20)

Fourth Professional Year

Rotation A

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

Externship I – Primary Care

Total Credit Hours: 18.0 (Lecture: 0; Lab: 40)

Rotation B

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

Externship II - Medical Care

Total Credit Hours: 18.0 (Lecture: 0; Lab: 40)

Rotation C

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

Specialty Clinic/Didactic Semester

Total Credit Hours: 15.0 (Lecture: 6; Lab: 20)


* 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; optometric sciences and basic sciences.

Summary of Elective Courses

Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of seven semester hours in approved elective courses to qualify for the O.D. 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 dean.