Optometry: OptomCAS

Doctors of Optometry diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Responsibilities include prescribing medication, providing vision therapy and rehabilitation after injury or worsening ailment, prescribing glasses or contact lenses, and performing surgeries. ODs follow regulations issued by state law, in order to counsel their patients in visual care or surgery in order to meet the visual needs of their life and work. An optometrist can work in private practice, group practice, or in a health care clinic or hospital. Most OD schools require a bachelor’s degree, although specific admission requirements differ widely among schools. 

Four years of specialized professional education and clinical training are required in order to become a doctor of optometry. Two of these years must be dedicated to the basic health and visual sciences, and the other two to diagnostic and treatment techniques. After graduation and passing of state examinations, ODs can be licensed, but must complete 50 hours of continuing education every two years in order to keep this license.


Cal State Fullerton does not have an Optometry Program. This page serves as a resource for students.

Before You Begin

  • Please feel free to review the application by creating a test account on Optomcas.orgOpens in new window ; please make sure to use the word "test" after your username (ex. SmithTest). DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION.
  • All official transcripts, paper letters of recommendation, foreign evaluations, and payments (if not by credit card) should be sent to:

PO Box 9119
Watertown, MA 02471

  • The OptomCAS website has many resources posted for its users. Please take a moment to explore the siteOpens in new window  to become familiar to the application process.

Beginning the Application

The application opens on or around. Deadlines vary by institution; please refer directly to specific schools to learn more about application deadlines. Create an OptomCAS application account as early as possible at the OptomCas portal.

July 15, 2014 is the last day the HPAO will upload a committee packet. In order to meet this deadline you are required to submit:

  • A copy of your OptomCAS application
  • Any additional letters of evaluation not previously received

OptomCAS will accept the following documents ONLY

  • All US and Canadian Official transcripts
  • Complete Letters of Recommendation
  • Foreign Evaluations (Foreign Applicants Only)
  • Payment

Pre-requisite Courses

Common Pre-Optometry Prerequisite Courses
Major Pre-Reqs Courses
Biology One Year of Coursework with Lab (dependent on your major) BIOL 151 & BIOL 152
Chemistry One Year of Coursework with Lab CHEM 120A & CHEM 120B
Organic Chemistry One semester with lab is required. Some schools may require one year. Contact individual schools for specific requirements. CHEM 301A & CHEM 301B (LAB: 302)
Physics One Year of Coursework with lab

PHYS 211 (LAB : 211L) &

PHYS 212 (LAB: 212L)

Mathematics At least one semester of Math is generally required. Some schools require calculus, while others require calculus and statistics.

#1) MATH 150A & MATH 150B (Calculus 1 & 2)

#2) MATH 130 & MATH 338

(short course calc & stats)

**for stats: OR stats courses offered by your department for your major

Biochemistry One semester is strongly recommended but may be required by other Medical Schools. *A full year of Biochemistry is highly recommended for the MCAT.

Biology majors: CHEM 421 (LAB: CHEM 422)

Biochem majors: CHEM 423A & CHEM 423B (LAB: 422)

Molecular Biology One semester is recommended yet required by other schools. BIOL 309
Anatomy/Physiology One semester is strongly recommended yet required by other schools.

Anatomy: BIOL 361

Physiology: BIOL 310 (LAB: 310L)

Integrated Anatomy & Physiology: BIOL 191A, BIOL 191B, BIOL 210

Immunology Very few optometry schools require this course. (i.e. UC Berkeley) BIOL 424
English One year is required for most medical schools in the country.  Please note: this can be integrated in upper-division science courses that fulfill writing requirements for major. ENGL 101 & ENGL 301
Social Science Many Optometry schools require at least one course in Psychology. PSYC 101

Letters of Recommendation

Letter and committee packets need to be mailed directly to OPTOMCAS (address above). Each letter sent needs to have a reference request guide included with the letter.

Letter packets are allowed a maximum of 4 letters of evaluation to be included.

Committee packets can only be accompanied with one letter of recommendation and a reference request guide is needed for both letters (Committee and individual letter writer both need a form.) Some schools do not accept a committee letter of recommendation, please be sure and check with each school you apply to as to the types of letters they will accept.

Electronic LOR

NOTE: HPO cannot submit this way, refer to this if you are not going through our office.

Enter the email address and mailing address of the letter writer on your application. An email request from OptomCAS will be sent to the individual recommender directing them to a secured website for completion.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their recommenders to ask them to allow their email systems to "permit" the OptomCAS reference mail address: optomcasinfo@optomcas.org.

Paper LOR

Also known as Committee and Letter packet

Applicants should complete the physical mailing address and email address fields, print the appropriate forms (available within the OptomCAS application) and send these to the Recommender(s) to complete. Recommenders must submit their reference request forms with their letters of recommendation, as they are required when mailing to OptomCAS.

Essay/Personal Statement

Describe what inspires your decision for becoming an optometrist, including your preparation for training in this profession, your aptitude and motivation, the basis for your interest in optometry, and your future career goals.

The essay should be no longer than 4,500 characters. However, you may also create different essays for different programs.

Dr. Goode is available to review personal statements if you desire her input. If you would like to do this please schedule an appointment with her through the Health Professions website.

The Writing Center in the Pollack Library is also another wonderful resource to aid students in composing and editing their personal statements. The Career Center can provide you with an additional review of your personal statement by their professionally trained counselors. Only current CSUF students are able to utilize the assistance of the Writing Center. A current or recent alumni (less than one year since graduation) can utilize the experiences counselors of the Career Center.

Submitting Application

Applicants should print out a copy or digitally save a copy of the application for their personal records. The only section you can edit after submitting your application to OptomCAS is your biographic information. If you have any changes to your application other than biographic, please contact your designated programs directly.

All official transcripts, paper letters of recommendation, foreign evaluations, and payments should be sent to:

P.O. Box 9119
Watertown, MA 02471

All 21 optometry schools and colleges participate in the centralized application service, OPTOMCAS.

Monitoring Application Status

It is the applicants' responsibility to monitor the status of their application on a regular basis.

Checking your status:

Login to your OptomCAS web application
Select the option that you would like to check the status of (ex: transcripts, LORs, etc.) in the STATUS section.

Information provided in this document was retrieved from the Optometry Centralized Application Service Opens in new window on April 4, 2013.

Transcripts & Coursework

All previous coursework must be listed (including repeated, failed and withdrawn courses). You must include the course title, prefix and course number exactly as it appears on your official transcript.

Once you have e-submitted your application to OptomCAS, no changes to coursework can be made. If you e-submit your OptomCAS application before your summer and/or fall grades are available, there will be an Academic Update (AU) period in December-January, which will allow you to update your coursework. You can only update your coursework once during the Academic Update period.

You are required to send ONE transcript from each institution you have attended, regardless of the number of courses you have taken.

Transcripts sent without the appropriate Transcript Request Form may result in the delay of your application.

Request two copies of your transcript, one to be mailed to OptomCAS and one to be mailed to you. This way you ensure successful submission of your transcripts to OptomCAS and can reference your copy to fill in the coursework section of the application.