University of Alabama at Birmingham Optometry Application Process

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University of Alabama at Birmingham Optometry Application Process:

College-Level Prerequisite Courses

Candidates must complete all of the courses listed below with a grade of C or better prior to matriculation into the professional program.  All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the summer term of the matriculation year.

  • One year of Biology with labs
  • One course of Microbiology
  • One course of Biochemistry
  • One year of General Chemistry with labs
  • One half year of Organic Chemistry with a lab
  • One year of Physics with labs
  • One course of Calculus
  • One course of Statistics
  • One year of English
  • One course of Psychology *
  • One year of Social and Behavioral Science**

One year is equal to two semesters or three quarters. One half year is equal to one semester or two quarters.

* A statistics course taken in a psychology department may not be counted for fulfillment of both the psychology prerequisite and the statistics prerequisite.

**Any combination of two semesters or two quarters in sociology, economics, anthropology, history, political science or additional psychology.

Major and Credit Hour Requirements

There is no requirement that a student must major in a specific area. Students are encouraged to select their undergraduate curriculum according to their own interests with a view toward educating themselves to function as professionals in an increasingly complex world. Applicants scheduled to have a bachelor degree at the time of matriculation are given preferential consideration over those who will not have their degree prior to matriculation.Applicants must have completed a minimum of 90 semester hours or 135 quarter hours, the equivalent of three years of college education, prior to matriculation. All courses must be taken at a fully accredited institution and must be acceptable to that institution for degree credit and major requirements. No more than 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours earned at a two-year institution may be applied to the credit hour requirement.

Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)

All applicants are required to take the Optometry Admissions Test. This exam is offered online. The exam can be taken as many times as needed with 90 day intervals between exam dates. Applicants are encouraged to take the exam during the spring of the year preceding anticipated application. If the results of the exam are considered to be unsatisfactory, the applicant then has the opportunity to repeat the exam during the summer of the application year.

For more information and to register online for the OAT, please visit here.


For information about testing times and locations, please write the Optometry Admissions Testing Program, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611 (Telephone: 312-440-2693).

Letters of Recommendation or Composite Evaluation

A composite evaluation by a pre-health professions advisory committee is required if available at the applicant’s undergraduate institution. If you are unable to get an HPA composite letter, the 4 individual letters should come from 2 faculty members that are knowledgeable about your scholastic abilities and personal character, and 2 optometrists with whom you have shadowed and/or worked.


Official and complete transcripts of all work attempted at colleges and universities must be forwarded by the institutions attended. Supplementary transcripts must be forwarded to the same office following completion of courses not included on the original transcripts. An interview offer can not be extended until all official transcripts have been received.

Interview Process and Factors Considered by the Admissions Committee

All admitted candidates must have been interviewed at the School of Optometry. Applicants may be invited for an interview any time during a period beginning in September and ending as late as March.

Scholastic Aptitude and Performance
Successful completion of the optometry curriculum requires that a student be able to acquire a large amount of material in a limited time and have the ability to apply this material. In addition to the OAT scores and the overall college record, the Admissions Committee considers whether students maintain or improve their performances as they progress to more advanced courses in their undergraduate curriculum.

Extracurricular Activities
Reasonable involvement in extracurricular activities is considered important. Community service and leadership qualities are also desirable.

Personality, Character and Motivation
The personal and social traits and other nonintellectual characteristics important for the future optometrist are very difficult to measure objectively. The committee relies heavily on the composite college evaluation, character recommendations, and the interview for this information.

Optometry-Related Experience
The committee considers work experience in the optometry field to be highly desirable. Applicants are required to explore the optometry field either by employment or in a volunteer capacity.

Selection Procedures

The Admissions Committee has the responsibility of reviewing and evaluating all applications and selecting those who are the best qualified. Notices of acceptance may be received as early as September and as late as March. Applicants who are not accepted for one of the 50 regular class positions may be accepted for an alternate position. Those holding alternate positions may receive notification of admission to the class as late as the middle of August, should a regular position become available.

Acceptances may be designated as conditional upon successful completion of requirements. All students admitted must maintain the level of academic performance consistent with that previously demonstrated. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to deny admission to an already admitted student whose academic performance falls below standards deemed appropriate for acceptance.

Class Composition

The UAB School of Optometry admits 40-45 highly qualified students each year.  Although each entering class is limited to 40-45 students, the number of positions available for Alabama residents, SREB state residents, and non resident applicants may vary from year to year.

UAB Residency Requirements Policy
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)

Information for Non-resident and International Students

The UAB School of Optometry has a limited number of positions for students who are not residents of Alabama or states participating in the Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB) contract program. There are generally a small number of these non resident positions available in each entering class for highly qualified applicants, not restricted by state or country of origin. The number of non resident positions may vary each year based on changes in the availability of SREB positions. To be considered for admission, international students must have the academic, linguistic, and financial abilities to successfully complete the professional program.

Specific requirements are as follows:

  1. International applicants must fulfill the same undergraduate academic requirements as United States applicants.
  2. All official college and university transcripts (in English) must be forwarded to the Optometry Admissions Office by the institutions attended. International students will be required to have a course-by-course evaluation of his or her academic credentials by one of the two companies listed below. (Canadian applicants need to contact the Office of Student Affairs regarding the need for evaluation.) These are the only academic evaluation services of foreign education that are acceptable. An application for evaluation of foreign educational credentials can be obtained from:
  3. All applicants must take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT).
  4. If English is not the primary language, the student will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  5. Be available for a personal interview at the School of Optometry.

If admitted to the School of Optometry, the student must obtain as F-1 visa. The UAB Center for International Programs will assist the student and provide the information necessary to obtain an F-1 visa. Specific information on sponsorship and financial requirements can be obtained from:

UAB Center for International Programs
318 Hill University Center
1400 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-1150
Telephone (205) 934-3328

Transcripts from foreign colleges or universities (outside the United States or Canada) must have a course by- course evaluation. There are two academic evaluation services that are acceptable. An application for evaluation of foreign educational credentials can be obtained from:

Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
PO Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
Phone: (414) 289-3400
Fax: (414) 289-3411

World Education Services
P.O. Box 5087, Bowling Green Station
New York, NY 10274-5087
Phone: (212) 966-6311
Fax: (212) 739-6120

Note- The School of Optometry does not offer advanced standing or credit for graduates of foreign optometry or medical programs. All admitted students are expected to complete the four-year professional program leading to the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree.

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