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Regular Status Students

The 2016-2017 application is now available!

Note: Applicants for optometric study in the United States and Puerto Rico use a common application service, OptomCAS. By utilizing a common application service, prospective students file one application that can be sent to multiple schools and colleges of optometry. The Admissions and Student Affairs Office is thrilled to be a participant OptomCAS school as we strive to make the application process more efficient and convenient for you.

More information can be found here: www.optomcas.org

To be considered for admission to the School of Optometry in full-time regular status, you must meet the Application Requirements outlined below.

Requirement Description
Application Deadline Complete is defined as:
  • The OptomCAS application has been submitted, the OAT has been taken and all Transcripts and Letters of Recommendation have been submitted to OptomCAS. Your complete online application must be submitted to OptomCAS by 8:59pm PST the evening of the December 1, 2016 deadline.

Please be reminded that Berkeley Optometry does NOT operate on "rolling admissions." Therefore, while there is no competitive advantage to submit an application early, we strongly encourage applicants to allow themselves a two-week lead time prior to our December 1 deadline to ensure all required materials have been received and processed. For example, if an OptomCAS application is submitted in mid-November and our supplemental application is missing, the applicant is informed by our office and has time to submit the required materials.

OptomCAS Application Berkeley Optometry is part of OptomCAS, the centralized application service for all OD programs in the US and Puerto Rico. Please follow the instructions on the OptomCAS site carefully as submitting an incomplete application will put you at a disadvantage in the admissions review process.

alert sign NOTE: Please insert your information with appropriate case lettering as this will be a part of your official record (e.g., Jane Doe vs. jane doe).

Application Fee A supplemental application fee is required. Payment is be submitted by clicking on the appropriate link below:

Domestic applicants: $105
International applicants: $125 (US Dollars)
Bachelor's Degree While we do not require a specific undergraduate major to apply to Berkeley Optometry, you must have or be in the process of completing a bachelor's degree (i.e., in your senior year). This program must include the courses (or their equivalents at other institutions) outlined in Required Courses.
Grade Point Average The Division of Graduate Studies requires a minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 — see Applicant Profiles.
Optometric Admissions Test (OAT) Take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) by December 1, 2016 to be considered for admission in Fall 2017.

An applicant's most recent set of OAT scores must be no earlier than two years (24 months) prior to the opening of the current OptomCAS session. Therefore, for the 2016-2017 application cycle, we will only accept OAT scores from tests taken from June 29, 2014 until December 1, 2016.

Transcripts All transcripts need to be submitted to OptomCAS; do not send any transcripts to Berkeley Optometry directly.

An official transcript is signed and sealed by your institution's Registrar.

TIP: Request transcripts to be sent to OptomCAS early in the application process to ensure timely completion. In fact, once you have an OptomCAS ID set-up, we strongly suggest submitting your request immediately. Your OptomCAS application does not need to be complete prior to sending transcripts. Submitting them late can potentially delay your application past our deadline so it would only benefit you to do so early.

Letters of Recommendation All Letters of Recommendation need to be submitted to OptomCAS do not send any Letters of Recommendation to Berkeley Optometry directly.

Although OptomCAS allows up to four letters of recommendation to be entered in the online application, Berkeley Optometry requires and will only review three letters of recommendation. We will ask you within our OptomCAS application which three letters you want us to review if you have entered four letters within the OptomCAS application. The three required Letters of Recommendation are critical to your application. Suggested sources would include:

  • an optometrist who can state through documented experience that you know what the profession of optometry entails.
  • a professor with whom you have done personal work (such as assisted on a specific project), or with whom you took a prerequisite course.
  • an employer or extracurricular activity advisor who can comment about your maturity, diligence, and conscientiousness.

Some Pre-Health Advising offices compile academic/personal information and will also coordinate the collection of letters of recommendation in order to provide a "Committee Letter" for pre-optometry students. Please note that Berkeley Optometry does not accept Committee Letters.

Essay Questions

(Provided as a courtesy for your review. Do not send your essays directly to Berkeley Optometry, as they must be submitted online through OptomCAS.)
All applicants will be asked to provide a response to this essay topic:

Please describe what inspires your decision for becoming an optometrist, including your preparation for training in this profession, your aptitude and motivation, the basis for your interest in optometry, and your future career goals. (4500 characters)

Additionally, applicants to Berkeley Optometry will be asked to provide a response to these essay topics, also within the OptomCAS application:

Describe your work ethic. Provide an example of that work ethic in action and how that transfers into your academic success and preparation to be a Berkeley Optometry student. How will the core of your work ethic help you persevere through your optometric studies and beyond? (3000 characters)

Please watch this 6-minute TED talk, "The Key to Success: Grit," presented by Angela Lee-Duckworth. After viewing the TED talk, please share a time when you displayed grit and explain how your ability to be resilient will ensure your success in completing a rigorous four year optometric program. (3000 characters)

For Re-Applicants only:
Have you previously applied to the School of Optometry?
If yes, please describe what you have done since your previous application to make yourself a more competitive candidate for admission to Berkeley Optometry.

Interviews The Admissions Committee conducts interviews of applicants by invitation only, and we ask that you please refrain from contacting us to request an interview. We anticipate that our Interview Day will be held in late January, 2017. We use a combination of traditional application-based and multiple-mini interviews (MMIs) when we meet with candidates for admission.

While a traditional application-based interview process allows an applicant to interact with one or more interviewers and provides an opportunity to assess the interpersonal skills of an applicant, the MMI approach uses a series of stations to assess specific skills and qualities; typically, MMI stations structured questions are asked to elicit responses related to:

  • Critical thinking
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Healthcare issues
  • Professionalism

with an overarching goal to assess communication, problem solving and time management skills in a dynamic “think on your feet” setting.

Selection of Applicants

Admission to Berkeley Optometry is competitive (see the Profile of First-Year Classes). Physical facilities limit enrollment to approximately 68 for an incoming class, yet almost four times as many applications are typically received in a given admissions cycle. Selection is based on previous college-level academic achievement, OAT scores, and qualitative factors such as biographical information, assessment of suitability for performing clinical work, letters of recommendation, interview data, and life experience. The Admissions Committee of the School of Optometry strives to admit students who will be successful both in the academic program and in the practice of optometry. We also comply with Federal and State law in following a Non-discrimination Policy for Admissions.

What happens after you are given an Offer of Admission

Securing a Seat in the Entering Class

Students who have been admitted into an entering class are required to take certain steps to secure their seats in that class:
1. Submit an online Statement of Intention to Register Form (SIR), which is collected and managed by the University's Division of Graduate Studies.
2. Send via post the School of Optometry's Confirmation of Acceptance Form directly to the Admissions and Student Affairs Office at Berkeley Optometry.
3. Send via post, with the School of Optometry's Confirmation of Acceptance Form, a non-refundable $500 Admissions and Students Affairs Office fee, which is used to help support student services throughout your optometric studies.
The postmark deadline to complete these steps is typically mid-April and on the Monday following Berkeley Optometry’s Admit Day.

Background Checks

Berkeley Optometry requires a criminal background check (CBC) for all newly-admitted applicants prior to matriculation into the program. All admitted applicants are "Provisionally Accepted" until CBC results are obtained and cleared. See this PDF document for more details: Berkeley Optometry CBC.

Courses Completed After An Offer Is Made

Applicants offered admission to Berkeley Optometry must earn satisfactory final grades (i.e., "C" or better) in all ongoing and any subsequent courses that are completed prior to matriculation. Berkeley Optometry reserves the right to rescind offers of admission if this condition is unmet.


After a student has accepted admission, disclosure of information from his or her student records is governed by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. While FERPA does not pertain to applicants who have not accepted admission, it is Berkeley Optometry's policy to not release applicant information to third parties (e.g., parents, pre-health advisors, spouses) unless there has been prior written consent from the applicant.

Contacting Professional Programs

For tips and tricks to contact professional programs, please review our Etiquette web page.

Ask an Advisor

If you have further questions about the admissions process or prerequisite courses, you can contact our Admissions staff.

Telephone advising sessions are available on Wednesdays, and in-person advising on Fridays. Email the Admissions staff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule an appointment.

FYI: In order to facilitate a productive session, you may be asked to submit an unofficial copy of your transcripts. You should also provide course descriptions if you have specific questions regarding courses you have taken or are planning to take.

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More Admissions Information:

If you have additional questions after reading all the material under the
Admissions Topics, please contact us by filling out the following very brief form:

Admissions Contact Form

Admissions and Student Affairs Office (ASAO)
School of Optometry
Berkeley, CA 94720-2020
Tel: (510) 642-9537
Fax: (510) 643-7111

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School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-2020