Dated: October 26, 2021

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, SUNY Optometry is allowing the following alternatives to its admissions requirements:

  • Distant learning/online science course and lab completion throughout all semesters/quarters impacted by the pandemic (will return to our original in-person conditions upon the pandemic normalizing).
  • Pass grades for any required course will be considered for approval on a case-by-case basis throughout all semesters/quarters impacted by the pandemic (will return to our original letter grade conditions upon the pandemic normalizing). We highly encourage letter grades wherever possible.
  • We understand shadowing experiences are not possible during the COVID-19 outbreak. While we strongly encourage applicants to have extensive and varied shadowing experiences before applying, we will take this into consideration for applicants immediately impacted by this during the 2021-2022 application cycle.
  • There are no current changes to the application deadlines for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

The conditions above are contingent on the policy instituted at the respective undergraduate institution. They apply to both traditional applicants and joint degree program applicants.

Please feel free to contact our Admissions Office to inquire how we can further assist you in successfully applying throughout this pandemic at


1. Prerequisite Courses and GPA

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.

Although SUNY Optometry does not have a minimum GPA requirement, we encourage applicants to maintain a 3.2 or higher.

More information and list of pre-requisite courses below

2. Application and Transcripts

The SUNY State College of Optometry participates in OptomCAS, the centralized application system for all schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico. All application materials, including official transcripts, must be submitted through OptomCAS.

  • Official transcripts of all completed coursework must be submitted from all institutions attended.
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3. Letters of Recommendation

All applicants are required to attain three letters of recommendation:

  • One letter from a science faculty member attesting to the applicant’s academic abilities in the sciences.
  • One letter from a professional supervisor (employer, coach, non-science faculty, internship director, etc.) attesting to the candidate’s abilities working in a professional, volunteer, or research setting.*In place of a letter from a professional supervisor, a second letter of recommendation may be submitted from a science faculty member.
  • One letter from an optometrist attesting to the applicant’s demonstrated experiences/knowledge of the profession.

If your institution has a pre-health or pre-professional committee, a composite letter of recommendation is highly encouraged although not required. The composite letter may be sent by the committee at the undergraduate institution where you completed the majority of your pre-professional courses. In addition to the committee’s evaluation, the composite letter must include the three letters of recommendation referenced above.

If you are unable to attain a committee letter at your undergraduate institution, then you must submit the three letters of recommendation referenced above. All letters of recommendation, whether submitted in a composite letter or individually, should be submitted through OptomCAS.

4. OAT scores

The Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) is an assessment of your academic ability and knowledge in six sections: biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, math (quantitative) and reading comprehension. The OAT is offered throughout the year at Prometric Testing Centers. We recommend scheduling your testing date several weeks in advance. Information about registering for the test can be found at:

We strongly recommend that applicants take the OAT before sending their applications. Ideally, applicants should take the OAT in July, August or September of the application year. The deadline to take the OAT is February 28. OATs taken after February 28 of the calendar year you wish to enroll will not be accepted. Please request that OAT scores be sent directly to the SUNY College of Optometry. The OAT must have been taken no earlier than two years (24 months) prior to the opening of the current OptomCAS session. For example, if you are applying for the 2015-16 application cycle, you must have taken the OAT after July 1, 2013.

*Upon approval from the Director of Admissions/Admissions Committee, SUNY Optometry may accept GRE, MCAT, DAT, PCAT scores in lieu of the OAT. The Admissions Committee has the discretion to request students also take the OAT.

5. Supplemental Questions and Fee

Once you have designated SUNY Optometry as a school you are applying to within OptomCAS, you will be able to access the Supplemental Questions.

This will appear under the “School Designations” section within your Application Checklist. Once you have submitted both the regular OptomCAS application and SUNY Optometry supplemental questions, please pay your $40 Supplemental Fee.

6. Interview

After your application has been submitted through OptomCAS, it takes four to five weeks for your application to be reviewed by the SUNY Optometry Admissions Committee. Applicants who meet our admissions requirements will be invited for an interview on our campus. The interview is conducted by three members of the Admissions Committee and is an opportunity for us to get to know you better as well as to further learn about your academic and personal achievements, your leadership potential and gauge your communication skills.

7. Background Check

SUNY Optometry requires background checks for all accepted professional OD applicants prior to enrollment. All students admitted into the program are conditionally accepted until CBC results are obtained and cleared.

All conditionally accepted applicants must consent to, submit to and successfully complete a criminal background check through Certiphi Screening, Inc. Failure to do so will constitute failure to meet the pre-matriculation requirements established by SUNY Optometry and will result in the withdrawal of a conditionally accepted offer. It is the student’s responsibility to successfully apply for the criminal background check prior to enrollment. Note: An email from Certiphi will be sent to all admitted students informing them that they should initiate the CBC process. Students SHOULD NOT directly request a Personal Background check through Certiphi. SUNY Optometry does not have access to personal background checks.

Results of the CBC by Certiphi will be made available to the applicant and to SUNY Optometry. Results yielded from the CBC will be kept confidential and will be used for admissions purposes only. Applicants will receive an email from Certiphi informing them when their CBC is ready for review. Applicants have a 10-calendar-day period to review and dispute the results of the CBC before the results are released to SUNY Optometry. The CBC will not be released to SUNY Optometry until all disputes have been solved.

SUNY Policy #3200 – Admission of Persons with Prior Felony Convictions

State University of New York (SUNY) policy prohibits SUNY Optometry admission applications from inquiring into an applicant’s prior criminal history. After acceptance, the College shall inquire if the student previously has been convicted of a felony if such individual seeks campus housing or participation in clinical or field experiences, internships or study abroad programs. The information required to be disclosed under SUNY policy regarding such felony convictions shall be reviewed by a standing campus committee consistent with the legal standards articulated in New York State Corrections Law.


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.

  • All of the course requirements should preferably be met by enrollment at a four-year college/university in those courses specifically offered for departmental majors or pre-professional students.
  • Letter grades should be awarded for all required courses and should be completed successfully with a grade of C or better.
  • Brief or survey courses are not acceptable.
  • Upper-division course work in the sciences is highly recommended.
  • Advanced-level courses that demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge expected from the prerequisites may be taken instead if approved by the Director of Admissions (possible substitutions can be found below).
Required CoursesSemester(s)Quarters
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.
General Psychology
Principles of Psychology or upper-level Psychology courses are acceptable.
Psychology Statistics, Biometrics, Biostatistics and Business Statisticsare 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.

Strongly Recommended CoursesSemesterQuarter
Physiology and Anatomy11
Cellular & Molecular Biology11

Advanced Placement Credit

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.

Prerequisite Courses Taken at Community Colleges

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.

Online Course Policy

Although SUNY College of Optometry accepts certain prerequisites taken online, the following restrictions apply:

  • Prerequisite science courses and lab requirements must be taken in a traditional in-class format.
  • Online prerequisite courses will only be considered from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • SUNY College of Optometry will only accept online prerequisite courses in the following subject areas: Psychology, Social Sciences and Humanities (one course only), English Composition and Literature (one course only), Calculus and Statistics.