Students in classroom

Program Description 

Rockhurst University offers a four-year pre-professional program for students interested in obtaining the Doctorate in Optometry, O. D. This program, based in the Division of Natural Sciences, leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and provides students with the undergraduate courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math necessary to pursue the advanced professional degree. There is no uniform listing of courses required by all Colleges of Optometry, making it important that students interested in this program consult regularly with the pre-optometry advisor. 

Students interested in a career in optometry will benefit from excellent preparation in the basic sciences, personalized advising through the application process and access to admission representatives as well as alumni practicing in the field of optometry for insight and guidance. Pre-optometry is supported by an active group of students and leadership opportunities in health-related student organizations. The pre-health committee, comprised of the pre-health directors and additional faculty members on our Kansas City, Missouri, campus, provides pre-optometry students with an authentic interview experience and evaluation process, including extensive feedback on application materials and personal statements.

Learning Outcomes 

According to the American Optometric Association, “Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eyes. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.”  

Course Map 

Pre-optometry students work with their pre-health advisors to develop a course plan that prepares them for the optometry programs of their choice. 

Typical prerequisite courses include:

  • General Chemistry I and II (8 hours)
  • General Biology I and II (8 hours)
  • Immunology (4 hours)
  • Microbiology (4 hours)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II (8 hours)
  • Organic Chemistry (8 hours)
  • Biochemistry (3 hours)
  • Physics I and II (8 hours)
  • Mathematics (3-4 hours)
  • Psychology (3 hours)
  • Sociology (3 hours)      

Prospective Students 

Current Students 


  • Optics course offered in Physics of Medicine program
  • Alumni medical networks in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska, to facilitate shadowing
  • Active pre-health Blackboard page to consistently communicate research, volunteer and shadowing opportunities
  • Annual meetings with local and regional admissions representatives from health professional programs
  • Class sizes all under 48 and taught by full-time faculty
  • Open-door access to professors
  • Personalized advising
  • Free tutoring and supplemental instruction
  • Kaplan Institutional Partnership with half-price MCAT, DAT, OAT, PCAT and GRE courses
  • 77% placement rate for students into health care professional programs in the past five years


"My wish for each student at Rockhurst is to find the career they were made for. Prayer during a crossroads in my junior year led me to pursue optometry. I feel blessed to be a vision health care provider — and am constantly in awe of the amazing gift of sight."

– Remi Miljavac
Optometrist at Family Vision Center
University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry 2011
B.S. in Biology 2005