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On this page we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our clinical training program.

Q: When do students first begin working with “real patients”?

A: Since preclinical training begins in the first semester of your first year at Berkeley Optometry, by the spring semester of your second year, you will be ready to begin examining patients. During this semester you will take a final preclinical course in which you will examine patients in a group setting with a clinical faculty mentor. This experience ensures that all second-year students will be prepared for their clinical internships in the comprehensive clinical setting, which begin immediately in the following summer semester between the second and third years.

Q: How many patients would I see during my four years at Berkeley Optometry?

A: About 2500. For detailed information on the extent of the preclinical and clinical training and experience you will receive at Berkeley Optometry, see the Clinical Training page.

Q: How large is the Berkeley Optometry Clinic?

A: The two on-campus clinic centers, the Meredith Morgan Eye Center and the Tang Eye Center, have a combined 56 examination rooms. There are also ten smaller satellite clinics located across the Bay Area that are attended by small groups of clinical faculty members and student interns on a rotating basis.

Q: Which external clinical rotation sites are available to Berkeley Optometry students?

A: We offer our students a number of sites that vary in location and vision care emphasis from which to choose their externships. The majority of our externships are located in California; however, we also affiliate with sites on the east coast and elsewhere on the west coast. We are continually re-evaluating the education offered at these sites as part of a quality control program to ensure that our students obtain the best educational experience possible.

Q: How are the assignments made for the external rotation clinics?

A: Berkeley Optometry students themselves determine the assignment of student interns to external clinical rotation sites, ensuring that the process is fair and that students have a voice in these assignments and equal access to all sites. In order to balance the fourth-year educational experience, students select two externships in the areas of ocular disease and primary care. Their third externship may be at a site that emphasizes a unique specialty service.

Q: How well do Berkeley Optometry students do on the various parts of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) examinations?

A: Berkeley Optometry students perform markedly better on the NBEO examination than the average performance for all students in the nation. See our Board Exam Pass Rates page for the Berkeley Optometry student pass rates vs. the national pass rate going back for the last five years.