Pre-Optometry at Augustana
About the program
The United States currently has nearly 20 schools of optometry, and admission to each requires at least three years of undergraduate study. Some of these schools show preference for applicants with a bachelor of arts degree. Augustana’s pre-optometry program is designed to provide a strong foundation in the sciences as well as preparation for optometry school and the Optometry Admission Test (OAT).
• Augustana’s pre-optometry students select a major and take coursework — in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and mathematics — that satisfies requirements to most optometry schools. While choice of major is open, approximately 80 percent of pre-optometry students choose a major in the biological sciences.
• The 114,000-square-foot Hanson Hall of Science houses the pre-health programs and the departments of biology, chemistry and physics, promoting cross-disciplinary study and research among students and faculty. Special facilities include high-tech individual labs for anatomy and physiology, cell biology, genetics and human cadaver dissection, among others. Very few undergraduate students throughout the country have the opportunity to work in a human cadaver lab.
• Class sizes are small, with highest numbers around 60 students, and no classes are taught by teaching assistants. Professors teach both the lecture and lab portions of their classes, ensuring continuity and connection between theory and practice.
• Augustana ranks among the top 60 U.S. liberal arts colleges in the sciences, based on the number of graduates earning Ph.D.s.
• Optometry schools generally want applicants to have an understanding of the field developed through clinical observations. Based within a strong liberal arts background that emphasizes experiential learning for all fields, Augustana’s pre-health sciences are especially focused on helping students learn techniques and develop their skills through clinical experience.
• Augustana’s optometry school placement rates are excellent: 82% over the past five years. Once in optometry school, our graduates find they have been prepared extremely well for their professional training in the field.
• Augustana College has an early acceptance agreement with Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) in Chicago, the oldest and largest optometry school in the country. Through this program, students may be accepted into ICO at the end of their first year at Augustana, and if they maintain a minimum grade-point average and score at the national average or above on the OAT, they may transfer to ICO after three years of undergraduate study. After their first year at ICO, they return to Augustana to receive their bachelor of arts degree, followed by finishing three more years at ICO for the doctor of optometry degree.