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A strong foundation in the sciences ands preparation for optometry school.

To be an optometrist, you’ll need to be accepted into an accredited optometry school after at least three years of undergraduate study — and many schools prefer the bachelor of arts. In the last five years, 100% of Augustana pre-optometry students have been accepted to optometry schools upon graduating.

That’s not all. Once in optometry school, Augustana graduates find they are extremely well prepared for their professional training.

At Augustana, your pre-optometry track will prepare you for the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) and other requirements to satisfy almost all of the country’s optometry schools. You’ll choose a major in any field (most choose biology), and take selected coursework in the sciences, psychology and mathematics, plus humanities courses.

You’ll develop your skills and technique through clinical experience, and your liberal arts background will build the communication skills, empathy and cultural awareness that are so important in health care.

If you’re interested in pre-optometry, contact the program’s advisor, Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey, early in your first year at Augustana.

What you'll learn

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Quantitative literacy

Quantitative literacy

Interpret, represent and summarize information. Use math and statistics to solve problems.

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Ethical citizenship

Ethical citizenship

Examine and embrace your strengths, passions and values. Develop ethical convictions and act on them.


• Augustana College has a 3:4 articulation agreement with Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), the largest and oldest optometry school in the country. In this 3:4 agreement, students may apply to the program during spring of their first year at Augustana. By maintaining a minimum GPA over the next two years and scoring above the average OAT score of the prior year's incoming ICO class, students enter ICO’s optometry program after three years at Augustana. After the first year at ICO they receive the B.A., followed by the doctor of optometry after finishing three more years at ICO.

• Class sizes are small, and no classes are taught by teaching assistants. Professors teach both the lecture and lab portions of classes, ensuring continuity and connection between theory and practice.

• Augustana’s pre-optometry advisor helps students find excellent clinical placements, often through connections with alumni in the Quad Cities.

• Augustana’s internship program in Sydney, Australia, is another good option for pre-optometry students to gain clinical experience through internships. Many students use their Augie Choice $2,000 to help cover expenses.

• Among the laboratories in Augustana’s Hanson Hall of Science are individual labs for anatomy and physiology, cell biology, genetics, and human cadaver dissection — a rare opportunity for undergraduates.

Recent grads

Grace Sigler '21 took advantage of Augustana's 3:4 agreement with the Illinois College of Optometry and is in her second year at ICO.

Olivia Zolnik ’18 is pursuing a Doctor of Optometry at Indiana School of Optometry in Bloomington, Ind.

Macy Koepke ’18 is pursuing a Doctor of Optometry at Illinois Eye Institute in Chicago.

Jake Rancic '17 is an optometrist at Pearle Vision in Red Wing, Minn.

Hailee Brayton '14 is an optometrist with Aurora Ophthamology, Sheboygan, Mich.

Renae Reynolds '13 is an optometrist at Barri Eye Care in Groton, Conn.

Alyssa Anderson '13 is an optometrist at Virdi Eye Clinic in the Quad Cities.

Alexandra Piper '13 is an optometrist at Premier Vision Associates in Coal City, Ill.

Krista Mathson ’11 is an optometrist at Village Eyecare – Keratoconus and Orthokeratology Center in Chicago.

Erik Mothersbaugh ’08 is the dean of student affairs at Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago.

Abbie Norris
More Than I Imagined Abbie Norris
“What sealed the deal was when I found out that Augustana has a 3:4 optometry program, allowing me to go to optometry school an entire year early.”
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Grace Sigler
More Than I Imagined Grace Sigler
“I feel like Augustana prepared me well for graduate school. I'm on track with the rest of my class here (ICO) to graduate in four years.”
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Macy Koepke
More Than I Imagined Macy Koepke
“A peak experience was interning for an optometrist in Sydney, Australia. I was able to get to do what I love on the other side of the world.”
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