The SUNY College of Optometry is fully committed to developing outstanding optometrists and vision scientists, making new discoveries that advance our profession and improving lives by providing exceptional care and public service. We are also dedicated to ensuring that our students have a successful and fulfilling career.
The College offers an exceptional curriculum for its students, with opportunities to augment learning through a broad array of elective courses and other opportunities. Here are some of the things that make the SUNY College of Optometry a particularly unique and excellent place to learn and develop your career:
There are a number of ways to learn more about what optometry, vision science and SUNY have to offer:
A Doctor of Optometry (OD) is an independent, primary health care provider who examines the visual system, the eye and associated structures, as well as diagnoses, treats and manages related diseases and disorders.
Optometry involves much more than prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses. ODs are trained to evaluate a patient’s visual condition and to determine the best treatment for that condition. ODs are usually considered to be the primary care providers for patients seeking eye and vision care.
According to the United States Department of Labor, employment of optometrists is expected to grow by 24 percent between 2012 and 2020, much faster than the average of most occupations. It is also anticipated that the aging population will increase demand for optometrists over the coming years and decades.
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans have gained access to health insurance. In addition, the ACA requires that most health care plans now include a pediatric vision care benefit. Millions of children have gained health insurance coverage and will have access to an annual, comprehensive eye exam and treatment from an optometrist.
There are multiple career options for ODs: private practices, multidisciplinary medical practices, hospitals, teaching institutions, research positions, community health centers and the ophthalmic industry. Optometrists can also build successful careers in the military, public health or in government service.
Most optometrists practice “full-scope,” primary care optometry and treat and manage all forms of visual and ocular conditions. However, a practitioner may choose to concentrate his/her practice on treating a selected population or visual condition.
Many optometrists also focus on specific sub-specialties, such as pediatrics, vision therapy, ocular disease, head trauma and other areas.
Students interested in gaining an even greater understating of the visual system in order to pursue a career in research or academia will likely need to obtain an MS and/or PhD degree, in conjunction or independently of an OD degree.
(Some of the information above was adapted from the American Optometric Association and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)
To request an admissions brochure or more information about our programs, please submit the form below.
Office of Admissions
SUNY College of Optometry
33 West 42nd St
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (800) 291-3937 or (212) 938-5500
The SUNY College of Optometry welcomes applicants from all majors. Our students typically have graduated with an undergraduate major in the biological or natural sciences, but that is not a requirement for admission. If you are pursuing a non-science major, you must have fulfilled SUNY Optometry’s prerequisite course requirements before enrolling.
Although OAT scores play an important role in the admissions process at SUNY Optometry, we look at the applicant’s entire profile (GPA, letters of recommendation, knowledge of the profession, leadership experience, etc.) and do not set a minimum OAT score for admissions. Visit our class profile page for more information about the average OAT scores of our students.
Admissions preference is given to applicants who have completed prerequisite courses, especially in the sciences, at four-year colleges and universities. Community college credit is only accepted for courses completed with a letter grade of C or higher. The Admissions Committee encourages candidates who have taken prerequisite courses at community colleges to take upper-division courses in the sciences at a college or university.
Although SUNY Optometry accepts certain prerequisites taken online, the following restrictions apply:
There is no set amount of time required for your shadowing experience(s). We are more concerned with the quality of your experiences than with the quantity. The Admissions Committee is interested in gauging your knowledge regarding the expectations of the profession, your exposure to the different modes of practice and exposure to the different specialties within the field of optometry. We want to make sure that you have done your homework in exploring the profession and that you are confident that optometry is a profession that you are passionate about.
We accept all courses completed within 10 years prior to submitting an application. This policy may be flexible under certain extenuating circumstances, including but not limited to, being a veteran and/or a recent, stellar OAT performance. If you would like to inquire whether courses taken over 10 years ago may be accepted, please submit a detailed letter explaining your circumstances to email@example.com.
For a list of commonly accepted substitutions, please visit the Prerequisite Courses Required for Admissions page. If the course you are referring to is not listed, please email a brief course description along with credit hours and course title to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the application requirements for all incoming students, international students need to have their high school and college records evaluated by World Education Services (except applicants from English-language, Canadian universities.) More information is available at World Education Services.
If English is not your first language and you have been in the United States for fewer than three years, or if the Admissions Committee requires it of you, you will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of 81 (iBT) or greater is required. For more information, please visit TOEFL.
SUNY Optometry does not offer financial aid for Canadian students. Canadian students applying for financial aid are required to contact the Canadian Student Loan Program (CANLearn) directly for information and applications.
As with any educational institution, the student experience varies greatly for each student. In general, however, students, faculty and staff are supportive and helpful to each other and students at SUNY learn in a collegial and comfortable environment. To get a better sense of the activities, culture and community of the College, visit the news section of our website or follow us on our various social media platforms.
Absolutely. Community service is a core value at SUNY and the College is involved with a number of community service projects in the city. Additionally, many student organizations reach out to under served populations throughout New York City, across the country and around the world. For more information on student organization, please visit the Clubs and Organizations page on our website.
Most students leave their cars behind and navigate the city on foot and with the help of NYC’s massive, safe public transportation network. Eighteen of New York City’s 24 subway lines are located within a few blocks of the College.
SUNY Optometry offers incoming students all of the support that they need in order to find affordable, safe and student-friendly housing. Although SUNY Optometry does not maintain housing facilities of its own, a Student Housing Committee is created each year to help incoming students with housing arrangements. The Student Housing Committee organizes Housing Day in June when students who are in need of housing are encouraged to visit campus to receive valuable information on how and where to look for a place to live in the New York City area. During Housing Day, students set their priorities related to cost, space, distance and geographical location, and the Student Housing Committee assists them in locating and securing suitable housing to meet their needs.
Students are also encouraged to look for housing independently through the various private websites provided below:
Yes! In fact, New York City ranks among the safest large cities in the country, and the neighborhoods around the College are some of the safest in the city. Times Square has become a pedestrian- and family-friendly area. A clean and efficient transit system is safe to ride virtually anywhere you want to go.
For more information about New York City, visit our resources page.
Email our admissions office and they will be glad to help you.
To be considered as a candidate for admission to the professional OD program, a four-year baccalaureate degree is highly recommended. The educational institution must be accredited. Students who have completed all pre-requisite courses and a minimum of three years (90 semester credits) of undergraduate study from an accredited institution will also be considered for admission.
|General Biology (with lab)
Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology, Cellular Biology and Zoology may be substituted for one semester of General Biology. Botany is not accepted.
|General Chemistry (with lab)
Biochemistry may be substituted for one term of General or Organic Chemistry. Inorganic Chemistry is also acceptable.
|General Physics (with lab)
Engineering Physics is acceptable.
|Organic Chemistry (with lab)
Biochemistry may be substituted for one term of General or Organic Chemistry. A lab component will also be required for Biochemistry if the required labs for either terms of General of Organic Chemistry aren’t completed.
Pre-calculus is acceptable.
|English Composition and Literature
Courses that require extensive writing are acceptable. One semester of Public Speaking is acceptable.
|Social Sciences and Humanities
History, Humanities, Art, Philosophy, Religion, Economics, Anthropology, Sociology and additional Psychology courses are acceptable.
Principles of Psychology or upper-level Psychology courses are acceptable.
Psychology Statistics, Biometrics, Biostatistics and Business Statistics are acceptable. Calculus II may not be substituted for statistics. Students must be able to apply elementary differential equations (particularly simple exponential processes) to practical scientific problems.
Students must be able to apply elementary differential equations (particularly simple exponential processes) to practical scientific problems.
|Strongly Recommended Courses||Semester||Quarter|
|Physiology and Anatomy||1||1|
|Cellular & Molecular Biology||1||1|
Advanced Placement (AP) credits are acceptable as long as the courses appear on the candidate’s college transcript and the student has received college credit for the courses.
SUNY College of Optometry accepts courses from community colleges and does not have a set limit of courses that can be taken at community colleges. The Admissions Committee encourages candidates who have taken prerequisite courses at 2-year colleges to take upper-division science courses at 4-year institutions.
Although SUNY College of Optometry accepts certain prerequisites taken online, the following restrictions apply: