Apr 25, 2024  
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Admission Requirements: College of Optometry

Colleges  > College of Optometry  > Admission Requirements: College of Optometry


Graduate Program in Physiological Optics / Vision Science

Admission Requirements for the M.S./Ph.D Program:

Admittance to the graduate program in physiological optics/vision science normally requires the following:

  1. A Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited academic or professional institution comparable to the Bachelor of Science degree awarded at the University of Houston
  2. Sufficient training to undertake graduate study in physiological optics
  3. A grade point average of B (3.00) or above in all previous college-level work with particular attention being given to science courses
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. Students who score below 300 total for verbal and quantitative sections are typically not accepted.
  5. Satisfactory evaluation and recommendation by three teachers or others familiar with the applicant’s scholarship and research potential
  6. Proficiency in speaking and writing English. International students whose native language is not English are expected to score 550 or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) with a score of 6.5 or better.

Applying for Admission

Students start the admission process by submitting a completed application for admission to the graduate program in Physiological Optics/Vision Science to this address:

Laura J. Frishman, Ph.D.
Associate Dean
Graduate Studies and Research
College of Optometry
505 J. Davis Armistead Bldg.
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-2020

This office must also receive the following:

  1. Official transcripts of all college courses taken at other institutions
  2. Official notification of Graduate Record Examination scores
  3. Three letters of recommendation (see item 5 of Admission Requirements)
  4. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores where required (see item 6 of Admission Requirements)
  5. Appropriate documents requested of international students
  6. A “Statement of Purpose” that describes the applicant’s career goals and research interests, and explains why the applicant is applying to the program in Physiological Optics/Vision Science.

Application for the graduate program in physiological optics/vision science should be submitted before January 31 prior to the fall semester in which a student expects to enter. Applications for financial support through either teaching or research fellowships should be submitted at the same time.

The College of Optometry seeks to admit students who are both academically and personally qualified to complete the four-year professional optometric program and to practice optometry in a highly competent, ethical, and responsible manner. Applicants from all states and foreign countries are considered for admission.

The Admissions Committee of the college sets policies and procedures for admission and recommends to the dean of the college who shall be admitted. The committee has developed a selection process based on the following criteria: 

Admission Requirements for the O.D. Program:

To be eligible for admission, students must have a baccalaureate degree and a grade of “C” or better in each required prerequisite course. The College of Optometry will generally not consider applicants unless they have achieved at least a B average for all college work. Students may apply for admission while completing their undergraduate admission requirements. Check the website for the admission deadlines and information.

Prerequisites for Admittance:

  • Advanced Biology related to human science - 2 Upper-level Courses (8 credit hours)
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry with Labs - 2 Courses (8 credit hours)
  • Biological Sciences with Labs - 2 Courses (8 credit hours)
  • General Physics with Labs - 2 Courses (8 credit hours)
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab - 1 Course (4 credit hours)
  • Microbiology with Lab - 1 Course (4 credit hours)
  • Biochemistry - 1 Course (3 credit hours)
  • Calculus - 1 Course (3 credit hours)
  • Statistics - 1 Course (3 credit hours)
  • Psychology - 1 Course (3 credit hours)

Completed Application Procedure

All applicants must begin by completing an application via OptomCAS (http://www.optomcas.org/), followed by the UHCO Supplemental Application (available via the UHCO web site during the open application periods). Application for admission from OptomCAS and the UHCO Supplemental Application will be accepted starting July 15 through February 15 prior to the fall semester in which the applicant expects to enter. Al supporting credentials must be received in the UHCO Office of Optometry Relations by March 15 prior to the semester in which the applicant expects to enter. A fifty dollar ($50) non-refundable application fee is required.  All supporting credentials should be sent to the following address:

University of Houston College of Optometry
Office of Optometry Relations
505 J. Davis Armistead Building
University of Houston
Houston, Texas  77204-2020

Official Transcripts:

Applicants will need to submit official copies of their undergraduate transcripts to the Office of Optometry Relations for review to ensure the prerequisite courses have been completed. If an applicant has attended more than one institution, a copy of any and all transcripts must be sent for review. Once an applicant has graduated from his/her undergraduate institution, a final, official copy of the transcript will need to be sent which states the individual has graduated and completed his/her degree.

Optometry Admission Test (OAT):

The Optometry Admission test (OAT) is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. The OAT is sponsored by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for applicants seeking admission to an optometry program. All schools and colleges of optometry in the United Sates and the University of Waterloo, Canada, require the OAT.  The OAT consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehensikon, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning. At least one year of college education, which should include courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics, is required prior to taking the OAT. Most students, however, elect to complete two or more years of college prior to taking the exam. The OAT is computerized, and examinees are allowed to take the OAT an unlimited number of times, but must wait at least 90 days between testing dates. However, only scores from the four most recent attempts and the total number of attempts will be reported. An applicant may submit his/her application for the OAT and/or request additional copies of score reports online. For additional information on the OAT, please visit http://www.opted.org or call or write the Optometric Admission Testing Program, 800-232-2159; 211 East Chicago Avenue,  Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60611-2678.

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation:

Letters of recommendation must be requested through OptomCAS and sent directly to OptomCAS. OptomCAS requires three letters of recommendation but will accept a maximum of four letters. In addition, the University of Houston College of Optometry requires that TWO of the three letters be academic letters of recommendation. That is, two letters must be from faculty who have directly taught the applicant. UHCO strongly recommends that the third letter of recommendation be from an optometrist with whom the applicant has trained and/or shadowed. Remember, letters of recommendation should be sent electronically directly to OptomCAS by the reviewer and not to UHCO or any other optometry school.

Supplemental Application:

OptomCAS does not provide all of the information required by UHCO. Therefore, applicants will be required to complete a UHCO Supplemental Application.  The UHCO Supplemental Application will be avialable to applicants on our web site (http://www.opt.uh.edu) as soon as theOptomCAS application is submitted and an OptomCAS ID is generated. The UHCO Supplemental Application ID will be the same as the OptomCAS ID. A fifty dollar ($50 US) non-refundable application fee for the UHCO Supplemental Application is required. Students must complete the OptomCAS application and the UHCO Supplemental Application by February 15 prior to the Fall semester in which they expect to enter. All applications and supporting credentials must be received in the UHCO Office of Optometry Relations by March 15 prior to the semester in which he/she expects to enter. It may take 4-6 weeks after submission for the OptomCAS application to be verified by OptomCAS. For more information, visit our web site at http://www.opt.uh.edu.


An interview is required for admission to UHCO.  Applicants who are deemed to be competitive applicants will be invited for an interview until the class is filled. Not all applicants are interviewed. The interview is not an adversarial process but is designed for UHCO administrators and faculty to get to know the applicant and for the applicant to get to know more about UHCO.

Transfer Students

In order for a student to be considered for transfer from another professional optometry program, the student must have satisfactorily completed at least one year of course work and be in good academic standing in a school of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education of the American Optometric Association. The student must also submit both an official transcript and a letter from the dean supporting the request for transfer to UHCO. Unless the student is in the upper half of the class and presents justifiable reasons for requesting a transfer, such requests are ordinarily denied. The transfer student decision is based on space available in the class and compatibility of curricula between the two schools.

Master of Science Track

Students with a Bachelor of Science or higher degree are eligible to enter the Master of Science track, which requires about two years of study. This track includes 30 semester hours of courses, teaching experience, a research project with written thesis, and a defense of the thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy Track

Students with either a Bachelor of Science degree or a doctorate (or equivalent) degree in optometry or medicine are eligible to enter the Doctor of Philosophy track. This track requires about four years of study, including 60 semester hours of courses, teaching experience, a reading knowledge of a foreign language or research skill, a qualifying examination, original research, with written dissertation, and a defense of the dissertation.