On this page we’ll go over the basic requirements for admission to the OD program. You can also visit our Applicant Profile page to see GPA and test scores for our previous applicants.

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 course equivalents at other institutions) outlined in Courses Requirements (see below). The UC Berkeley Division of Graduate Studies requires a minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0.


At Berkeley Optometry, we introduce our students to clinical education on day one. To make this possible, applicants demonstrate mastery of basic science, advanced science and select general education topics prior to entering. The prerequisites courses that we require create the foundation for your four years in the OD program. We encourage prospective students to contact us early if you have questions and as you select your upcoming classes.

Course Requirements

Application Instructions

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 International Students

Additional Requirements

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 $66 for both domestic and 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 2, 2019 by 8:59 pm (PST), we will accept supplemental payments until December 7, 2019.

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.

Applicants offered admissions to Berkeley Optometry must earn satisfactory final grades (i.e. a grad of 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 admissions if this condition is not met.
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.

All candidates are required to submit a valid standardized test in order to be considered complete. The following standardized tests are accepted: the Optometry Admission Test, Dental Admission Test, Graduate Record Examination, Medical College Admission Test, or Pharmacy College Admission Test.

We accept scores only from:

OAT: Exams taken on or after June 29, 2017.

GRE: Use GRE Designated Institution (DI) Code 4563 for Berkeley Optometry. Exams taken on or after June 29, 2014.

MCAT: Exams taken on or after June 29, 2016.

PCAT: Exams taken on or after June 29, 2014.

DAT: Exams taken on or after June 29, 2017.

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. Maximum 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? Maximum 3000 characters.


Essay Topic 3
Please watch the 6-minute TED talk titled, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, 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.

Interviews of applicants by invitation only. Our Interview Day will be held on January 25, 2020. We use a combination of traditional application-based interviews and Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) when we meet with candidates for admission.

About Multiple Mini Interviews:
While a traditional 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 goal of the MMI is to assess communication, problem solving and time management skills in a dynamic think on your feet setting. We assess specific skills and qualities such as:

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

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.

Essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the OD degree consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to assure that candidates for admission, promotion, and graduation are able to complete the entire course of study and participate fully in all aspects of optometric training.

Technical standards are applied in several broad categories, including behavioral and social attributes; communication; intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; motor function; and observation. These abilities and characteristics, in conjunction with academic standards established by the faculty, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation in optometry.