Thank you for applying to our program!  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 on our Requirements page.

Required Items

Here’s what you’ll need to submit.  Read below for details on each item.

Deadline For Fall 2019

The deadline for Fall 2019 has passed
The application period for Fall of 2020 will open on July 1, 2019.

Your complete online application must be submitted to OptomCAS by 8:59pm PST the evening of the December 3, 2018.  All the items listed above must be submitted by the deadline. Berkeley Optometry does NOT operate on “rolling admissions.” [tooltip title="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 early December deadline to ensure all required materials have been received and processed." position="right"]Read More[/tooltip]

Application Parts

Read below for details on the all of the items that are required for your application to be complete.

OptomCAS Online Application

Berkeley Optometry is part of OptomCAS, the centralized application service for all OD programs in the US and Puerto Rico. Transcripts, Essays, and Letters of Recommendation will be submitted to OptomCAS. Follow the instructions on the OptomCAS site carefully!  Submitting an incomplete application will put you at a disadvantage in the admissions review process.

Use the button below to access the application. There is a $165.00 for the first school and $65.00 for each additional school that you apply to.

When filling out your OptomCAS online application, but sure to complete the prerequisite checklist, including courses completed, courses in progress, and courses planned before graduation.

OptomCAS Application

UC Berkeley Supplemental Fee

All graduate students applying to Berkeley need to pay a supplemental fee. Once you submit your OptomCas application, you will receive an email from UC Berkeley’s Graduate Division prompting you how to pay the fee. The fee is $105 for domestic students, and $125 for international students.

Please note: If you have submitted your application already you will not receive instructions on how to pay the supplemental fee until November. If you submit your application on December 3, 2018 by 8:59 pm (PST), we will accept supplemental payments until December 7, 2018.


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. Your OptomCAS application does not need to be complete prior to sending transcripts. Submitting them late can potentially delay your application past our deadline.

Letters of Recommendation

We require three letters of recommendation. All Letters of Recommendation need to be submitted to OptomCAS; do not send any Letters of Recommendation to Berkeley Optometry directly. The Letters of Recommendation are critical to your application. Please note: We do no accept committee/composite letters.

Suggested sources include:

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

Optometry Admission Test

Take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) by December 3, 2018 to be considered for admission in Fall 2019. 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 2018-2019 application cycle, we will only accept OAT scores from tests taken from June 29, 2016 until December 3, 2018. For more information about the OAT visit the OAT Website.

Essay Questions

All essays need to be submitted to OptomCAS; do not send any essays to Berkeley Optometry directly. Applicants are asked to provide responses to three essay topics.

Essay Topic 1

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. (max 4500 characters)

Essay Topic 2

With which one of these core values do you identify most? Provide an example when that value was challenged and exercised. How will that core value help you persevere through your optometric studies and beyond?  (max 3000 characters)


Essay Topic 3

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.

Experience & Shadowing

In addition to academic preparation, the admissions committee considers the experience you bring when conducting the holistic application review.

Shadowing and optometric experience are very beneficial – helping applicants to better understand their own fit within the profession, communicate that understanding with real-world examples, and demonstrate their commitment to the field of optometry. While there is no specific number of hours required for shadowing or optometric experience, applicants are encouraged to obtain as much as possible prior to applying.

The admissions committee also considers experience beyond optometry related activities, recognizing that relevant and useful skills sets develop at the varied jobs, internships, and volunteer positions that applicants may have held over the years. Again, no set amount, minimum or maximum, of additional experience is required.

After You Apply

After you submit your application, you should expect to hear back from us by the first week in January about whether or not you’ve been invited to Interview Day. For more information on what to expect after you apply, click the button below.

After You Apply