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Doctor of Optometry Program Admissions

The majority of our students apply to our traditional four-year OD degree program. While the majority of students applying to the program recently completed or are in the process of completing their undergraduate education, a significant number of applicants also have been working full-time since undergraduate school, often in the field of optometry. Others may have experience in other graduate level studies.

Application Information


You are eligible to apply for the Four-Year Doctor of Optometry program if:

  • You will have earned at least 90 undergraduate credits or a bachelor’s degree by your intended start term
  • You have completed the majority of the prerequisite requirements, and will have a plan in place for completing any remaining prerequisites by your intended start term
  • You have taken or will take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

We also recommend at least twenty hours of shadowing an optometrist.

Application Cycle and March 31 Deadline

Our rolling admissions application cycle begins in July and the final deadline to apply is March 31, 2019. We recommend you apply as early in the cycle as possible, though we receive and review applications on a regular basis through March 31.

Four-Year Doctor of Optometry Application Instructions

  1. Visit OptomCAS to complete the online application
    • There is a fee of $175 to apply plus $70 for each additional school.
    • You will be directed to send official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended to: OPTOMCAS, PO Box 9119, Watertown, MA 02471.
    • You will be directed to request three recommendations: one from one science professor familiar with your academic work; one optometrist you have shadowed; and a third recommendation of your choice. This can be from anyone who can speak to your strengths in an academic, professional, or community setting. One comprehensive recommendation from a university health professions committee may substitute for two of the recommendations, and may even substitute for all three if your optometrist recommendation is summarized in the letter.
  2. Submit the NECO supplemental application fee of $45.
  3. Take the OAT exam early in the application cycle if possible and definitely when you feel best prepared. Please list NECO as the recipient of an official score report. If you apply prior to taking the OAT, please list on your application the date you will take the exam. Note that there is a 90-day waiting period for retakes.
  4. Submit additional requirements as necessary:

    • Applicants whose native language is not English may take the Internet-based TOEFL exam (minimum score of 88 and 22 on the speaking section) or the IELTS exam (minimum score of 6.5). Please have official score reports sent to NECO. You may request to have this requirement waived if you attended an undergraduate institution where English is the language of instruction.
    • A credential evaluation such as that provided by WES is required for students who attended an undergraduate institution outside of the US or Canada.
    • Once your application has been verified and received by Admissions, you will receive instructions for accessing your Application Portal. You can visit the Portal to ensure we have received everything needed in order to review your application.

The Review Process

Admissions receives verified applications from OptomCAS on a regular basis and in most cases, we are able to screen them within 3-5 business days. The length of time it takes for your application to become verified and received by NECO may depend on how long it takes for all required information and transcripts to reach OptomCAS and OptomCAS processing times. Admissions regularly reaches out with interview invites, other application status updates, incomplete application notices, and advice to candidates who may wish to strengthen their applications. Some students may be invited to interview during an initial review of their applications while others may be held for reconsideration as the application cycle continues.

The Interview Process

If you are invited to interview, we will provide a list of available dates (mostly Mondays and Fridays) for you to choose from. You’ll be asked to arrive at the College by 9:30am and the day consists of a welcome program, 45-minute interview with a faculty member, campus and clinic tours, and lunch with current students. Faculty, staff, and students are available throughout the day to help acquaint you with the College.

Professional dress is recommended and you should be prepared to articulate your interest and experience in optometry and to discuss your academic and clinical background. The Admissions Committee looks for faculty interview recommendations in order to assess your clinical potential and fit for the Doctor of Optometry program.

Admission Decisions

If you are invited and attend an interview, you will be notified of your admissions decision within 2-3 weeks after the interview. Other types of admission decisions are communicated on a regular basis as the application cycle continues. Applicants are welcome to contact Admissions at any time for an application status check.