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Prerequisite Requirements

Each academic OD program at NECO has specific requirements for eligibility. Please review the guidelines below to learn more.

Four Year OD Program

We recommend applicants have a strong background in the sciences. You are welcome to apply to the Doctor of Optometry program before you have finished the requirements. However, you must complete the following prerequisites by the time of matriculation:

Course Requirement
Biology (with lab)
Covers the fundamental principles of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, and evolution. Should also cover the structure and regulation of genes, the structure and synthesis of proteins, and how these molecules are integrated into cells.

2 semesters or 3 quarters
Chemistry (with lab)
Provides an introduction of the chemistry of biologic, inorganic, and organic molecules with an emphasis on basic principles of atomic and molecular electronic structure, thermodynamics, acid-base and redox equilibria, chemical kinetics, and catalysis.

2 semesters or 3 quarters
Physics (with lab)
Covers the basic principles of physics, emphasizing Newtonian mechanics, conservation laws, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, and geometrical optics.

2 semesters or 3 quarters
Organic Chemistry (with lab)
Covers the various classes of aliphatic and aromatic compounds as well as the diversity of functional groups with regard to their reactivity and mechanism. Nucleophilic and electrophilic reaction mechanisms, stereochemistry, and the concepts of hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity and their uses in chromatography and other processes should also be covered.

1 course
Provides an understanding of the biochemical basis of physiological processes. Topics should include the structure of major biological substances and of enzymatic reactions, the genetics of molecular cloning, protein and enzyme structure and function, carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism, protein metabolism, nucleic acid metabolism, and cellular energetics.

1 course
Describes bacteria, viruses, and other microbial agents of human disease. Provides details about bacterial structure and growth, bacteriophage biology, the structure of viruses, the life cycles of RNA and DNA viruses, the role of viruses in human oncogenesis, the role of viruses in gene therapy, and the biology of fungi and parasites.

1 course
Covers mathematic principles, including linear and polar coordinate systems, vectors, matrices, plane analytic geometry, linear transformations, trigonometric functions, logarithmic and exponential functions, differential and integral calculus, optimization, infinite series, multiple-variable integration, partial derivatives, differential equations

1 course
Covers the basic principles of statistics, including probability, random sampling, hypothesis testing and estimation, statistical significance, confidence intervals, means testing, chi-square tests, nonparametric statistics, analysis of variance, regression, correlation, study design, categorical data, contingency tables

1 course
Serves as an introduction to the field of psychology; including key figures, diverse theoretical perspectives, and research findings that have shaped some of the major areas of contemporary psychology; research methods used to study the origins and variations in human behavior.

1 course
Includes an intensive writing component applied to study of English and social sciences and research methods applicable to these subject areas.

2 courses

Prerequisite courses form the entering knowledge base for our optometry program. Therefore to demonstrate mastery of this knowledgebase, we require a grade no lower than C in these courses.

  • If a grade of less than C is attained in a prerequisite course the requirement may be waived if the student has received a score of no lower than 300 on the corresponding section of the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT).
  • Prerequisite courses taken at a community college may be accepted; however we strongly prefer courses taken at your College or University at which your degree will be conferred.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses may be used for prerequisites as long as the appropriate number of credit hours was received. These courses must appear on your official college transcript, in a letter from your university registrar's office, or on an official score report.

Accelerated Doctor of Optometry Program (AODP)

Applicants to the Accelerated Doctor of Optometry Program:

  • Hold doctorate-level degrees in a science or medicine. Graduates of the program represent such diverse fields as physics, psychology, anatomy, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, dentistry, and medicine. 
  • Demonstrate high scholarship in previous graduate study, as well as a firm career commitment to optometry. 

Advanced Standing International Program (ASIP)

Applicants to the Advanced Standing International Program:

  • Hold a degree from an optometric college recognized by the International Optometric and Optical League. 
  • Have at least two years of full-time optometric clinical experience following graduation from an optometry college and completed within four years prior to applying to qualify for our program. 

Master of Science in Vision Science Degree (MSVS/OD or MSVS Stand Alone)

  • BA or BS degree. 
  • College transcripts indicating a minimum 3.0 GPA on pre-requisites for the OD program, including a course in statistics. 
  • Optometric Admissions Test (OAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE general) scores. 
  • An admissions essay detailing the candidate’s interests in the MS program. 
  • Names and contact information for 3 references who can attest to the applicant’s analytical or research skills. 

Additional Application Information


The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a prerequisite for entrance. For informational materials regarding the OAT, contact the testing program using the information below:

Optometry Admission Testing Program 211 East Chicago Avenue, 6th floor Chicago, IL 60611-2678 Phone: (312) 440-2693; (800) 232-2159 Fax: (312) 587-4105 Online at:


All applicants to the four year Doctor of Optometry program whose native language is not English and have attended post-secondary institution where the teaching is not in English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Results of these tests should be sent directly to the Admissions Office at the New England College of Optometry. Personal score reports are not accepted.

Information regarding the exam can be obtained by contacting:
P.O. BOX 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 (USA)
(609) 951-1100

Transfer Requirements

When openings in classes permit, the College will review applications for transfer from students who are currently enrolled in other accredited schools or colleges of optometry. Acceptance is contingent upon satisfactory completion of courses equivalent to those at the New England College of Optometry. Students requesting transfer must provide a personal statement with supporting documentation demonstrating a compelling need to transfer in order to complete their optometric education. The dean at the applicant’s present optometry school is required to provide official acknowledgment of the student’s request for transfer and certification of good academic standing.

Bachelor of Science in Optometry

Students in the four-year OD program who have not earned a Bachelor's Degree may be awarded the Bachelor of Science degree by the College, provided they have completed 12 semester hours of humanities, 12 semester hours of social sciences, and have met other requirements set forth by the College.

Among Humanity and Social Science courses the following are acceptable:

Humanities Social Sciences
Language: Ancient and Modern Psychology
Literature: Ancient, Modern Theory Anthropology
Fine Arts History of Civilization
Drama Geography
Philosophy Political Science
History of Philosophy Economics
Historical Biography Sociology
Theology Criminology
History and Philosophy of Science Jurisprudence