3/4 Joint Degree Program

SUNY Optometry and 24 colleges and universities in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania offer an affiliation program to highly qualified students whereby students may complete a joint BS or BA degree and OD degree in just seven years instead of the usual eight.

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How Does It Work?

Selected academically talented high school seniors and college freshman are admitted to an approved joint degree track at one of the 24 affiliate colleges and, simultaneously, to candidacy for admission to the professional OD program at SUNY Optometry. After three years of undergraduate work at one of the affiliate colleges, upon maintaining the required academic standing, the qualified student is admitted to the SUNY College of Optometry. After the first year at SUNY Optometry, the student receives his or her baccalaureate degree from the undergraduate college.  The OD degree is awarded after completing the four years at SUNY Optometry.


A student saves one year in tuition, travel and books. In addition, students who are accepted into the program simultaneously establish a candidacy for admission to the professional program. The student also receives continuous guidance from both institutions throughout the seven-year program.

College Major

Most of the students in the 3/4 Joint Degree Program are biology, chemistry undergraduate majors. However, many different majors may be accepted as long as the prerequisites for the optometry program are met.


Prerequisite Courses Update

Dated: July 5, 2022

As our requirements are subject to change from one application to the next, the following are modifications to our prerequisite course requirements:

  • Effective in Current Application Cycle (July 1, 2022 – March 1, 2023) and Future Application Cycles
    • Pre-Calculus is accepted in lieu of Calculus.
    • Cellular & Molecular Biology is a strongly recommended course.
  • Effective in Next Application Cycle (July 1, 2023 – March 1, 2024) and Future Application Cycles
    • Microbiology (with lab) and Biochemistry (lecture only) are required courses.
    • Organic Chemistry II (with lab) is no longer a required course
    • Social Sciences and Humanities are no longer required courses.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Admissions Office to inquire how we can further assist you in successfully meeting our updated prerequisite course requirements at admissions@sunyopt.edu..

Prerequisites, to be met during the three years of undergraduate college, for the professional optometry program are:

  • General Biology: 1 year*
  • General Chemistry: 1 year*
  • General Physics: 1 year*
  • Organic Chemistry: 1 year*
  • Calculus I: 1 semester
  • English Composition and Literature: 1 year
  • Social Science: 1 year
  • General Psychology: 1 semester
  • Statistics: 1 semester
  • Optometry Ad­mission Test (OAT)

*A laboratory course is required.

Affiliate Colleges

The 24 colleges and universities involved in the 3/4 Joint Degree Program are listed below (additional colleges are under consideration.) More details are available from the Admission Offices and advisors at these colleges or you may call the Office of Student Affairs at SUNY State College of Optometry at (212) 938-5500 or (800) 291-3937 for more details.

  • Adelphi University
  • Canisius College
  • CUNY Brooklyn College
  • CUNY College of Staten Island
  • Lehigh University (PA)
  • Muhlenberg College (PA)
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Pace University
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • St. John’s University
  • Siena College
  • SUNY University Center at Albany
  • SUNY University Center at Binghamton
  • SUNY at Fredonia
  • SUNY at Geneseo
  • SUNY at New Paltz
  • SUNY at Oneonta
  • SUNY at Oswego
  • SUNY at Plattsburgh
  • SUNY at Potsdam
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Utica College of Syracuse University
  • Wagner College
  • Yeshiva University and Stern College
Requirements for the 3/4 Joint Degree Program with the SUNY College Of Optometry

All applicants must be interviewed when initially applying by a representative of the Office of Student Affairs of the SUNY College of Optometry.

To be considered when applying to undergraduate school directly from high school:

  1. Must be accepted into one of the 24 undergraduate colleges/universities, with which we have this program affiliation, as a freshman
  2. Must have total SATs of at least 1360 with the math score of at least 700, or 29 on the ACT
  3. Must have a high school grade average of at least 93 out of a 100
  4. Should be in the upper 10% of their high school class (depending on the reputation of the high school)
  5. Must have a definite interest in the profession of optometry and have explored it
  6. Must show evidence of community involvement
  7. Must have reasonable communication and interpersonal skills
  8. Must submit to an interview

To be considered once attending a college or university:

  1. Must complete at least 24-30 undergraduate credits and apply no later than the fall of Sophomore year
  2. Must have an overall GPA of at least 3.3
  3. Same as numbers 5-8 above

If admitted into the 3/4 programthe following are required while attending the undergraduate college/university:

  1. Maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.3;
  2. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 in the science and math prerequisite courses of the SUNY College of Optometry, with no grade below a C;
  3. Take and pass the Optometry Admission Test with all section scores of at least 330;
  4. Have the Pre-professional Committee at your undergraduate institution submit a positive recommendation;
  5. Become well-acquainted with the practice of optometry by shadowing at least two different optometrists;
  6. Meet with the Admissions Committee at the SUNY College of Optometry during your last undergraduate year and demonstrate that you have satisfied all other regular admission requirements of the SUNY College of Optometry, including transcripts, an OptomCAS application and a final interview during which good interpersonal and communication skills are evident;
  7. Meet at least once a year with a representative of the SUNY College of Optometry and make available undergraduate transcripts.

3/4 Joint Degree Program Timelines

High School Senior
  • January 1st:
    Application deadline to submit the SUNY Optometry Application online. (Found below)
  • January 15th – March 31st:
    SUNY Interviews will be conducted (on SUNY’s campus or Undergraduate institution).
  • April 1st – April 30th:
    Applicants will receive a final decision from undergraduate institution. SUNY will notify Program Advisors of our decision
  • May 1st:
    Accepted Students must notify undergraduate institution of their commitment by submitting tuition deposit.
  • May 15th:
    Enrolled Students must notify SUNY Optometry of their decision.
  • May 30th:
    SUNY Optometry will submit all signed contracts from enrolled students to program advisors at the affiliate institutions.
College First-Year
  • June 15th – October 15th:
    Electronic application should be submitted via the SUNY Optometry website. (Found below)
  • July – November:
    SUNY Interviews will be conducted (on SUNY’s campus or Undergraduate institution).
  • 2 – 3 Weeks after Candidate Interview:
    SUNY will notify applicants of our decision. Accepted students will receive a contract in which they will need to sign and submit to us.
  • By the end of the Fall Semester of Sophomore Year:
    Accepted contracts should be submitted by the applicant. SUNY Optometry will then forward contracts to program advisors at the affiliate institutions.