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Optometry Program Admission

AZCOPT considers for admission those students who possess the academic, professional, and personal qualities necessary for development as exemplary optometrists. AZCOPT uses multiple criteria to select the most qualified candidates including cumulative and prerequisite grade point average (GPAs), Optometric Admission Test (OAT) scores, personal experiences and character, ability to communicate, familiarity with the profession, volunteer/community involvement, research experience, and other considerations. AZCOPT uses a competitive, rolling admissions process.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to AZCOPT must submit the following documented evidence:

  1. Possess a minimum cumulative GPA and science coursework GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale.
  2. Complete a baccalaureate degree from regionally accredited institutions. A BA degree is acceptable, but a BS degree is preferred.
  3. Submit the results of one of the following entrance examinations: Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Aptitude Test (DAT), Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A competitive test score (at least at or above the mean score for each exam) is recommended of all applicants. In order to be considered for the class to be admitted in the Fall of each academic year, the entrance examination must be taken and results submitted by April 30th of the year of matriculation. Entrance exam scores must be earned no more than five years prior to the planned enrollment year.
  4. Complete the necessary course prerequisites. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Only courses designed for science majors or pre-professional students are acceptable for the science prerequisites.
  5. Provide two letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a practicing optometrist. The other letter must be from a prehealth advisor, a science professor, an employer or extracurricular activity advisor.
  6. Have a good understanding of optometric medicine. Candidates are strongly encouraged to shadow and observe a practicing optometrist in the clinical setting.
  7. Participate in extracurricular and/or community activities that indicate a well-rounded background and demonstrate a service orientation.
  8. Have interpersonal and communication skills necessary to relate effectively with others.
  9. Pass the Midwestern University criminal background check.
  10. Have a commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.

Prerequisite Courses

Course Sem Hrs Qtr Hrs
Biology with lab 8 12
Anatomy* 3 4
Physiology* 3 4
General/Inorganic Chemistry with lab 8 12
Organic Chemistry with lab 4 6
Biochemistry 3 4
Physics 6 9
Calculus 3 4
Microbiology 3 4
Statistics 3 4
Psychology 3 4
English 6 9

*The Anatomy and Physiology requirements may also be fulfilled by taking Anatomy and Physiology I (3 Sem/4 Qtr credit hours) and Anatomy and Physiology II (3 Sem/4 Qtr credit hours)

The Doctor of Optometry degree program is rigorous and challenging. The Admissions Committee will therefore assess the quality and rigor of the pre-optometry academic records presented by applicants. When assessing an application, the Admissions Committee will view with concern applicants with:

  1. Cumulative and science grade point averages below 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  2. Academic Average and Total Science OAT scores below 300.
  3. Prerequisite science coursework completed more than 10 years ago. More recent (within five years) math and science coursework is preferred.

International Applicants

An international student must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or from a recognized post secondary Canadian institution that uses English as its primary language of instruction and documentation. Of the 30 semester hours, 15 must be in the sciences, six hours in non-remedial English composition, and three hours in speech/public speaking.

  1. Education Credential Evaluators (ECE): 414/289-3400 or fax 414/289-3411 (www.ece.org; e-mail: info@ece.org)
  2. World Education Service (WES): 212/966-6311 or fax 212/739-6100 (www.wes.org; email: info@wes.org)
  3. Josef Silny & Associates International Education Consultants: 305/273-1616 or fax 305/273-1338 (www.jsilny.com; email: info@jsilny.com)

International applicants who do not provide documentation of acceptable US or Canadian course/degree equivalency will not receive credit, and will be required to complete all prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university in the United States, or at a recognized post-secondary institution in Canada that uses English as its primary language of instruction and documentation.

For clarification about recognized post-secondary institutions in Canada that use English as a primary language of instruction and documentation, international applicants should contact Midwestern University Office of Admissions

Click here for more information on International Student Financial Services

Technical Standards for Admission

A candidate for the degree of Doctor of Optometry must have abilities and skills in five areas: 1) observation; 2) communication; 3) motor; 4) intellectual, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative; and 5) behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some limitation in certain of these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

I. Observation: The candidate must be able to accurately make observations at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and sense of touch and is enhanced by the functional use of all of the other senses.

II. Communication: The candidate must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently, and sensitively in both oral and written form and be able to perceive nonverbal communication.

III. Motor: Candidates must be able to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, maintain equilibrium, and have functional use of the senses of touch and vision. The candidate must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to-hand coordination to perform profession-specific skills and tasks.

IV. Intellectual/Cognitive, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: The candidate must be able to problem solve, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, record, and synthesize large amounts of information in a timely manner. The candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships.

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes: The candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment and the consistent, prompt completion of all responsibilities and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The candidate must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, effective interpersonal skills, willingness and ability to function as an effective team player, and interest and motivation to learn are all personal qualities required during the educational process.

Candidates are required to certify that they understand and meet these Technical Standards. Candidates must provide such certification prior to matriculation. Candidates who may not meet the Technical Standards must inform the Director of Admissions, who will then contact the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students, in consultation with the academic dean, will identify and discuss what accommodations, if any, the College would need to make that would allow the candidate to complete the curriculum. The College is not able to grant accommodations that alter the educational standards of the curriculum. Students must meet the Technical Standards for the duration of enrollment in their professional program.

Apply Online at OptomCAS

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Application Process and Deadline

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early in the cycle. Applications are considered on a first come first serve basis only until all seats are filled.

1. OptomCAS Application: Applicants are required to submit online applications and application fees to OptomCAS by April 1st. In addition to the online application and application fees, an applicant must forward to OptomCAS official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended by the April 1st date. OptomCAS will begin the verification process as official transcripts are received, however an application will not be considered complete until all official transcripts are received. (Students who have taken coursework and/or earned a degree from a foreign institution must also submit a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript from an OptomCAS- approved evaluation service.) Students must apply for admission via OptomCAS at www.opted.org or www.optomcas.org.

Please refer to the OptomCAS application instructions for specific details about completing the OptomCAS application, required documents, and processing times. OptomCAS applications are available starting July 15th for applicants seeking admission in August of the following year. Due to the large number of applicants and the limited number of seats available, students are strongly encouraged to complete their OptomCAS application early in the cycle. AZCOPT will consider completed applications on a first-come, first-served basis until all seats are filled.

2. Admissions Test: AZCOPT prefers the OAT but will accept the MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or GRE test scores as an alternative. Applicants must arrange for scores from the admission exam to be sent directly to Midwestern University. Only test scores received directly from the testing agency will be accepted. Any of these admission exam scores must be earned no more than 5 years prior to the planned enrollment year.

3. Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation from professionals to OptomCAS (www.optomcas.org). One letter must be from a practicing optometrist. The other letter must be from a prehealth advisor, a science professor, an employer or extracurricular activity advisor. Letters of recommendation from relatives, personal and/or family friends are not acceptable.

4. Completed Application: All application materials, including the OptomCAS application, exam scores (as reported to Midwestern University), and two letters of recommendation (as submitted to OptomCAS), must be received by the Office of Admissions on or before April 30th. Only completed applications received by the Office of Admissions on or before the deadline date will be reviewed for potential entrance into the program.

Please Note: Applicants are responsible for tracking the receipt of their application materials and verifying the status of their applications on the University website. The Office of Admissions will send qualified applicants instructions for checking the status of their application materials online.

Applicants are responsible for notifying the Office of Admissions of any changes in their mailing address or e-mail address.

Interview Process

Before an invitation is issued to attend an on-campus interview, applicants must meet the admission requirements listed previously. After the Office of Admissions receives all required application materials, applicant files are reviewed to determine whether an applicant merits an invitation for an interview. Applicants may also be placed on a waiting listing pending possible openings toward a later part of the admissions cycle. Interviews are typically held between September and May. Invited applications must attend an on-campus interview to achieve further consideration in the interview process.

An on-campus visit, which includes an interview session, generally takes four hours. Each interviewee will meet with at least two interviewers. Applications will be evaluated on verbal communication skills, understanding of the optometry profession, commitment to patient care, and other elements as determined by the College. Applicants will also learn more about Midwestern University and AZCOPT, financial aid programs, student services, campus housing; and tour the Glendale Campus.

Following the interview, an applicant's file will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review. The committee may recommend to accept, to deny, or to place students on an alternate list. Recommendations are then forwarded to the Dean for final approval. The Dean, via the Office of Admissions, notifies applicants of their status within four weeks of their interview.

All requests for application withdrawal must be made in writing.

Matriculation Process

The matriculation process begins after students receive notification of their acceptance. To complete the matriculation process students must:

  1. Submit the matriculation agreement and required deposit monies by the date designated in the matriculation agreement. Deposits are applied toward the first quarter's tuition.
  2. Submit official final transcripts from all colleges attended post-high school by the deadline of two weeks (14 calendar days) prior to the first day of classes. Students who are accepted to MWU less than one month prior to the first day of classes will have 30 calendar days from the date of their acceptance to submit all official transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Any special circumstances or requests for exceptions to this policy must be sent to and approved by the Office of the Dean of the College. Students who fail to submit all official final transcripts by the stated deadline may jeopardize their acceptance or continued enrollment in the College.
  3. Submit completed medical files documenting completion of a physical exam, immunizations, tuberculosis and titer blood testing as instructed by the Office of Student Services and detailed in the Student Handbook.
  4. Meet the Technical Standards for the Program.
  5. Submit proof of medical and disability insurance coverage. Students may select either a plan offered by an MWU-approved carrier or a comparable plan offered by an outside carrier of their choice, as determined by the Office of Student Services. Insurance must be maintained throughout the entire period of enrollment.
  6. Submit additional documents as required by the Office of Admissions or college
  7. Students who are requesting an I-20 visa or who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must prepay tuition and in some cases other mandatory program fees for the entire length of their program at Midwestern University.
  8. Submit a signed Credit Policy Statement
  9. Authorize and pass the MWU criminal background check and/or fingerprinting background check as required by the specific college/school/program.
  10. Submit a signed MWU Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy Statement.

Students who either fail to satisfy the above matriculation requirements or omit or falsify information required on official admissions documents automatically forfeit their seats in the Program. Any individual accepted for admission to the college/program who does not comply with stated time lines for submission of all required materials receives no further notification from the college regarding forfeiture of their seat.

Dual Acceptance Program with Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers a Dual Acceptance Program with AZCOPT for selected students who successfully complete the specified pre-optometry coursework. These students will be granted early access to AZCOPT.

Benefits of the DAP:

  • Provides for an excellent foundation in pre-optometry education.
  • Sets out a clear road map for which courses to take and when.
  • Exempts the student from the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) and associated fees.
  • Exempts the student from the OptomCAS application process and associated fees.
  • Guarantees entry to MWU AZCOPT well in advance with successful completion of all program requirements

To receive consideration for the Dual Acceptance Program, high school senior students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Earn admission to Arizona State University
  2. Apply online to the AZCOPT Dual Acceptance Program as a high school senior by April 1 of the year of matriculation at Arizona State University.
  3. Obtain a minimum score of 28 on the ACT or 1250 on the SAT.
  4. Demonstrate a people or service orientation through community service or extracurricular activities.
  5. Demonstrate motivation for and commitment to the optometry profession as demonstrated by previous work, volunteer, or other life experiences.
  6. Possess the oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with patients and colleagues.

After the Midwestern University Office of Admissions receives all completed application materials, applicant files are reviewed to determine whether applicants merit invitations for an interview. Invited applicants must participate in an on-campus interview for further consideration in the admissions process. During the interview day, candidates will be evaluated for verbal communication skills, understanding of the optometry profession, commitment to patient care, and other elements as determined by faculty. Applicants may be required to participate in writing sample exercises during the visit. Candidates will learn more about the optometry program, financial aid, student services, and tour the Midwestern University campus.

Following the interview, their completed applications are forwarded to the AZCOPT Admissions Committee for review. The committee may recommend to accept or to deny applicants for admission. These recommendations are then forwarded to the Dean for final approval. The Dean, via the Office of Admissions, notifies applicants of their status within two to four weeks of their visits. Accepted applicants will be ensured a seat a AZCOPT upon successful completion of the program requirements:

  1. All prerequisite pre-optometry courses must be completed at Arizona State University. AP credits that are listed on the Arizona State University transcripts are acceptable for meeting the pre-requisites.
  2. Complete their baccalaureate degree at Arizona State University.
  3. A minimum overall GPA of 3.40 on a 4.00 scale must be attained.
  4. A minimum science GPA of 3.40 on a 4.00 scale must be attained.
  5. Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all required courses. A grade of "C-" or lower is not acceptable.
  6. Students are not permitted to repeat courses for a higher grade for which they have already received credit.
  7. Accepted students are required to sign a letter of understanding upon acceptance. Accepted students will submit a deposit fee within 1 year prior to matriculation. All fees are applied toward the student's first quarter tuition.

Students who are not accepted to or fail to complete the Dual Acceptance Program may apply to AZCOPT using the standard procedures.

Articulation Agreement with Midwestern University Biomedical Sciences Degree Programs

AZCOPT will accept MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or GRE test scores as an alternative to OAT scores for currently enrolled students in the Midwestern University Biomedical Sciences degree programs (Master of Art, Master of Biomedical Sciences), who wish to apply to AZCOPT. Any of these alternative admission test scores must be earned no more than 5 years prior to the planned enrollment year at AZCOPT.

Reapplication Process

After receiving either denial or end-of-cycle letters, applicants may reapply for the next enrollment cycle. Before reapplying, however, applicants should seek the advice of an admissions counselor.

Related Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates are subject to change each academic year for all enrolled students. Click here for the current Glendale Tuition and Fees.

Transfer Admissions Policy

AZCOPT may elect to accept transfer students from other U.S. accredited schools of optometry who are currently enrolled, are in good academic standing, and provide acceptable reason(s) for seeking transfer. Typically, students will transfer at the beginning of the second year of the curriculum.

Students requesting transfers must meet the College's general requirements for admission. They must also submit the following:

  • A letter to the Director of Admissions outlining the reasons for requesting a transfer and explaining any difficulties encountered at the previous institution(s)
  • Course syllabi for all optometry coursework for which advanced standing credit is requested
  • Official scores from the OAT, MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or GRE.
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended: undergraduate, graduate, and professional
  • A letter from the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled that describes current academic status and terms of withdrawal or dismissal
  • Additional documents or letters of recommendation as determined necessary by the Director of Admissions or Dean.

Following receipt of these materials, a decision by the Dean is made regarding whether or not the student merits an on-campus interview. If the student receives an invitation, he/she interviews with an appropriate interview team. The interview team then makes an admissions recommendation to the Dean who approves both the student's admissions status and class standing.

The transfer application must be received sufficiently early to allow for processing of the application, interview, and moving of the student prior to the start of the next academic term.

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