Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For information on prerequisite courses, see the prerequisite course page.
Q: I took Biology as advanced placement. Do I need to take it in college?
A: If you received a grade from an institution of higher learning (yes, even your local community college), then yes. It must appear as a grade on an institution of higher learning to be considered taken for graded credit.
Q: I received advanced placement for both semesters of English. Do I need to retake these?
A: Yes, you will, however, if you scored a 320 on your OAT and your GPA is at least 3.2, we will accept the advance placement score for English and liberal arts. If you have questions, please contact Nick Palisch.
Q: When do I apply?
A: We open our on-line application on July 15. We close it February 15 at 5 PM (all materials must be in the Centralized Application Service by that deadline). To be considered for merit scholarships or state "seats/contracts' please have all application materials in our office not later than 5 PM January 5. (What happens when one of these two dates falls on a weekend? We move the deadline to the 16th or 17th or 6th or 7th respectively, whichever is the date of the immediately following Monday.)
Q: What must be in the Office of Student Services to be considered "a complete application"?
A: Your supplemental UMSL Optometry application and fee ($50 US) and a completed OptomCAS application. It is the applicant's responsibility to insure that all pieces of the application get to our office.
Q: Do I have to retake trigonometry in college?
A: No. We are happy to accept your high school trigonometry coursework, however, a copy of your high school transcript is required.
Q: I didn't take high school trigonometry. What do I do?
A: You can either take trigonometry in college or take it as part of analytic and geometric calculus course.
Q: Which statistics course should I take?
A: Please feel free to take any statistics course that has the word "statistics" in its title.
Q: Which calculus course should I take?
A: Any 3 to 5 credit hour (semester credit hours) is acceptable. The course must be calculus, not pre-calculus.
Q: My college doesn't offer a course called "General Biology," what do I take?
A: The OAT will test you on a full year of general biology. Our prerequisites require two semesters of biology. The biology concepts tested on the OAT are:
"Cell and Molecular Biology - origin of life; cell metabolism (including photosynthesis); enzymology; cellular processes; thermodynamics; organelle structure and function; mitosis/meiosis; Diversity of Life: Biological Organization and Relationship of Major Taxa monera, plantae, animalia, protista, fungi, etc.) using the five-kingdom system; Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology: Structure and function of Systems- integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, immunological, digestive, respiratory, urinary, nervous/senses, endocrine, and reproductive; Developmental Biology - fertilization, descriptive embryology, and developmental mechanics; Genetics Ð molecular genetics, human genetics, classical genetics, and chromosomal genetics; Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior - natural selection, population genetics/speciation, cladistics, population and community ecology, ecosystems, animal behavior (including social behavior)."
Q: How do I find out about the OAT and what is tested? Where to take it? When it is given? When will I get my test results?
A: OAT information is available from the American Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) on the website: www.opted.org. Please see the link provided on their home page.
Q: My college does not provide one year of general (or intro) chemistry. What do I do?
A: We require two semesters of General (Inorganic) Chemistry with lab for admission. You will need to take an upper level inorganic chemistry class with its lab.
Q: My college does not offer a lab for any science courses. What do I do?
A: As part of the admissions requirement all science courses require a lab component. If you have questions please contact Nick Palisch or Linda Stein.
Q: Which psychology course should I take?
A: General psychology and one additional semester of any psychology course. We accept psychological statistics as both your statistics and second psychology requirement.
Q: How many hours do I have to have to get in? Do I need a degree? Which degree is preferred?
A: You need 60 hours to take the OAT. You need to complete a minimum of 90 hours to be admitted; however a degree is preferred not required. Any bachelor's degree will be considered as long as the prerequisites are met.
While we admit students from all disciplines, students with a strong science-based background perform the best in coursework and on national board exams (the exams one must take and pass in order to be a licensed optometrist).