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Explore pre-optometry at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's pre-optometry curriculum provides a pathway to graduate school for students interested in a career in optometry. Pre-optometry is not a major at UW-Eau Claire, but rather a declaration of your intention to continue your education and become an optometrist. 

Optometrists are independent, primary healthcare providers who examine, diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system. They measure for and prescribe glasses and contacts; diagnose and treat eye coordination and focusing issues; treat eye diseases, such as glaucoma; and detect systemic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Optometrists also perform non-invasive surgical procedures.

No specific undergraduate major is required for a career in optometry, but certain courses, skills and experiences are favored — especially when applying for graduate school. For example, health professional schools often require a high GPA, a competitive Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) score, letters of recommendation, optometrist shadowing hours and a completed Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) application. Science aptitude and strong communication skills are also expected.

Our exceptional faculty and career advisors are aware of these requirements and ensure you gain the knowledge and experiences necessary for acceptance into graduate school.

Pre-optometry scholarships

The UW-Eau Claire Foundation provides many scholarships for incoming and current Blugolds, including those interested in becoming an optometrist. Learn more about which scholarships and resources are available to you by checking out our scholarships page.

Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire

Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible. 

To get this process started, please contact our staff at Blugold Central — our one-stop-shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on your academics.  
 
Learn more about our financial aid process at UWEC

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Pre-optometry highlights

Relevant student organizations. On-campus student organizations — like the Pre-Professional Health Club — connect students like you who are also interested in becoming optometrists. These extracurriculars are an excellent way to learn from guest speakers, engage in volunteer work and tour graduate programs in the region.

Valuable partnerships. UW-Eau Claire students benefit from several major medical facilities in the region that provide not only state-of-the-art quality healthcare but also opportunities for clinical observations, job shadowing and internships. UW-Eau Claire specifically has strong ties to Mayo Clinic Health System, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Sacred Heart Hospital, as well as smaller healthcare facilities like the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic. 

Innovative facilities. UW-Eau Claire is one of only a few schools of its size with a career center dedicated to supporting pre-optometry students. The William J. and Marian A. Klish Health Careers Center offers one-on-one advising, opportunities to meet with professional school admissions representatives, connections to health-related clinical research and volunteer opportunities and workshops designed to build effective tools for career development and competitive applications.

Excellent preparation. The university’s success rate at preparing students who gain admission to professional schools is outstanding. Previous students have gone on to attend the Illinois College of Optometry and the Southern College of Optometry.

Typical first-year courses may include:

A mathematics course and completion of the University Writing Requirement is also recommended. 

Learn more about pre-optometry in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

A few majors that would best support a career in optometry include:

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