University of Wisconsin–Madison

Coursework

The following is a general guide for courses you may need to apply to optometry school. Requirements vary from school to school. So, it is always necessary to consult the websites of optometry schools where you know/think you want to apply. You can begin by consulting a list of School & College Prerequisites provided by OptomCAS.

For a pre-optometry course planning guide, click here. Also consider using our four-year planner to map out your coursework and extracurricular activities.

Mathematics

Most optometry programs require both calculus and statistics. For calculus, we recommend one of the following: Math 211, Math 221, or both Math 171 & 217. For statistics, we recommend one of the following: Statistics 301, Statistics 371, Biostatistics 541, or a statistics course in your major (e.g., Psychology 210).

Chemistry

General Chemistry

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Chemistry 103-104
  • Chemistry 109

Organic Chemistry**

  • Chem 343: Introductory Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 345: Intermediate Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 344: Organic Chemistry Lab

Biochemistry**

Choose one of the following:

  • Biochemistry 501
  • Biochemistry 507-508 (If required by major)

**Note: Some schools will accept one year of general and one semester organic chemistry + one semester Biochemistry with lab. Some schools do not require a second semester of advanced chemistry at all. Pay careful attention to the requirements of the schools in which you are interested when planning your schedule.

Biological Sciences

General Biology

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Zoology 101-102 + Additional bio-science course with lab (check optometry school websites to see if you need a second course with a lab)
  • Biology 151-152
  • Biocore: Students must apply to enroll in Biocore. For more information, visit their website.
    • Biocore 381-382 Evolution, Ecology and Genetics lecture/lab
    • Biocore 383-384 Cellular Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 485-486 Organismal Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 587 Biological Interactions

Microbiology

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Microbiology 101-102
  • Microbiology 303-304

Physics

Some, but not all, programs require physics.  Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Physics 103-104 (algebra-based)
  • Physics 201-202 (calculus-based; recommended for Engineering majors)
  • Physics 207-208 (calculus-based; recommended for Life Science majors)

Social Sciences

Introductory Psychology: Psych 202

Some programs require intermediate or advanced coursework in the social sciences.

English

Most programs require 6 credits of English or composition.

Other courses

Some programs require coursework in the following areas:

  • Kinesiology/Anatomy 337
  • Physiology 335 or 435