Doctor of Optometry

Become an Optometrist.

Residential | 4 Years | Full-Time

Ask Admissions Apply Today

RMUoHP’s Optometry program has received preliminary approval, a pre-accreditation classification, and is ready to accept students for 2023.

RMUoHP’s College of Optometry is now in OPTOMCAS. You can now complete and submit your application by following the “Apply Today” link above. Please get in touch with us, and we’ll help you with your application.

SEMESTERS

CLINICAL HOURS

CLINICAL ENCOUNTERS

OPTOMETRY SCHOOL IN UTAH

OD Program Highlights

Become an Optometrist

Become an optometrist in our entry-level Doctor of Optometry program. Examine, diagnose, and treat patients’ eyes; impact individual’s lives and allow them to see. Be a healthcare provider that not only treats eyes, but also acts as the first line of defense against some health conditions. Pursuing a career as an optometric physician is a generally family-friendly, flexible medical career with good growth opportunities and work-life balance.

Prepare to Practice at the Highest Level of Optometry Practice

Our program prepares you to legally practice in all 50 states. Train to practice at the highest level of optometry practice in our Doctor of Optometry program. Learn to practice at this level with specific training in minor surgeries, lasers, injections, vaccinations, and more.

Learn in a Medically-Oriented Program

Train to be an optometrist in our medically-oriented program. Dive into the following areas: foundational and applied medical sciences, optometric medicine, vision sciences, and medical specialties. Lab work and clinicals are both core parts of our program.
Alongside the medical orientation of our program, we have also structured our program with our students in mind: each semester has fewer than 18 credits and technology is used to allow greater flexibility for students’ schedules.

Learn in our Onsite Optometry Clinic

Get hands-on learning in our onsite optometry clinic throughout our program. Work with real patients and simulated patients in our modern optometry clinic. Our clinic is pro-bono and treats underserved members of our community in need of vision care.

Complete over 2,000 Optometry Clinical Hours

Complete 2,151 clinical hours and over 2600 clinical encounters throughout the optometry program. Prepare to practice as an optometrist with confidence. Gain experience with patients and other optometric physicians during both clinical internships and externships. Clinical hours are completed each year of the program, during ten of the eleven semesters.

OD Program Curriculum

Prepare to become an optometrist through our medically-oriented curriculum. Our curriculum is divided into the following six main threads.

Optometrist conducts eye exam with young girl

Foundational Medical Science

Learn more about anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and immunology. Take four specific courses in medical anatomy, including one course focusing solely on the eye. Dive into genetics, pathology, disease, and more.

Optometric Medicine

Study optometric medicine in family practice, primary care, and internal medicine. Develop knowledge and skills through case-based learning. Learn to diagnose, create treatment plans, synthesize and evaluate optometric data, and manage disease.

Vision Sciences

Focus on the following areas: optics, perception, research, leadership, and public health. Understand medical optics in ophthalmic care. Learn more about the science of monocular sensory vision. Dive into research, leadership, and public health from an optometric opinion.

Applied Medical Sciences

Study pharmacology, pathology, and neuro-ophthalmology. Become an expert in neuro-ophthalmology as you dive into normal and abnormal eye movements, congenital or acquired disorders, and other neurological disorders that affect vision. Learn to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the eye.

Medical Specialties

Learn more about the following medical specialties in regard to optometric care: surgery, pediatrics, dermatology, emergency medicine, radiology, psychiatry, otolaryngology, and gerontology.

Clinical

Gain experience during three clinical internships and three clinical externships. Practice direct patient care throughout your internships and externships. Learn more about modern medical practice and successful practice management.

MISSION & VISION

 

The mission of the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions’ Doctor of Optometry program is to prepare skilled optometric physicians as leaders and role models who define excellence in optometric medicine, are deeply committed to competent and respectful patient care, ethical and impactful scientific research, and who are engaged in compassionate public service that improves the health of the diverse communities in which they serve.

The program demonstrates mission fulfillment through the following goals and objectives in the areas of Teaching and Learning, Research or Scholarly Activities, Patient Care, and Service as outlined below.

PROGRAM GOALS

TEACHING & LEARNING

GOAL A: To deliver an innovative, application-based, educational program within a supportive learning culture that provides opportunities to integrate knowledge, solve problems, think critically, and enable graduates to possess entry level standards for the practice of optometric medicine.

  1. Recruit, develop, retain, and graduate a diverse student body.
  2. Establish a culture of engagement with students, faculty, staff, and alumni that informs curricular and co-curricular programming.
  3. Develop leaders in optometry with advanced practice knowledge and skills equipped to handle the challenges of practicing optometric medicine in the face of ever-expanding practice of optometry.
  4. Prepare graduates to deliver humanistic and competent optometric care with diverse cultures, experiences, and practice settings.
  5. Support opportunities for interprofessional learning and clinical care.
  6. Empower students to become digitally literate clinicians, who are proficient in applying information technologies and collaborative networking skills to improve patient care.
  7. Foster a culture of life-long learning and educational curiosity.

GOAL B:  To recruit, develop, and retain highly qualified diverse administrators, faculty, and staff.

  1. Enhance faculty awareness of the best practices in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and prepare them to become engaged, successful instructors.
  2. Encourage and support life-long learning and development opportunities that cultivate leadership, service, and scholarship activities.
  3. Provide clinical staff opportunities for training in topics related to the practice of optometry.
  4. Support professional growth and opportunities to collaborate as a community.

RESEARCH OR SCHOLARLY ACTIVITY

GOAL C: To foster a commitment to and ability for engaging in research and scholarly activity that align with the goals of the Optometry program.

  1. Facilitate, support, and pursue ethical and impactful research and scholarly activity that engages students and faculty.
  2. Support interdisciplinary collaborative and mentoring relationships for research and scholarly activity with other health care programs and other institutions.
  3. Provide mentoring and training for students in research methods to apply evidence-based medicine in clinical decision making while inclusive of patient cultures and preferences.

PATIENT CARE

GOAL D: To provide patient-centered, sensitive, and compassionate comprehensive eye care that promotes timely access to needed optometric services, follows best practices, and incorporates each patient’s preferences and treatment priorities.

  1. Incorporate the application of evidence-based medicine into the delivery of care.
  2. Foster compassionate treatment of patients, and respect for their privacy and dignity.
  3. Uphold honesty and integrity in all interactions.
  4. Support a culturally-sensitive environment in the delivery of patient care.

SERVICE

GOAL E: To foster a servant leadership spirit in students, faculty, and staff that underscores the value of service for indigent and under-served populations.

  1. Facilitate supportive and productive relationships within the University, College, profession, and surrounding community.
  2. Engage other healthcare and associated professionals on relevant topics with the goal of collaboration to enhance care.
  3. Advocate for equity and access to healthcare for indigent and under-served populations.
  4. Develop service experiences that promote awareness and better understanding of the needs of communities they serve.

IMPORTANT DATES

Start Date: May 8th, 2023

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible for the optometry program at RMUoHP, an applicant must demonstrate a previous record of successful academic achievement, clinical experience, and the motivation to pursue graduate level education. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution prior to matriculation into the program
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA (greater than a 3.00 Science GPA is strongly recommended)
  • Admission Test Scores: The highest score will be accepted if a test is taken multiple times. Aggregate scores must be from the same test.
  • One of the Following Admission Tests:
    • Optometry Admission Test – minimum overall score of 300
    • Medical College Admissions Test—minimum overall score of 500
    • Pharmacy College Admissions Test—minimum overall score of 400
    • Dental Admissions Test—minimum overall score of 17.5
    • GRE – Aggregate Verbal and Quantitative (V+Q) Reasoning ≥ 298, Analytical Writing: ≥ 3.5
  • Minimum of 3 references: (at least one from an OD is strongly recommended)
  • Strongly recommended to shadow an optometrist

 

DETAILED ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Human Anatomy w/lab

Human anatomy course covering all body regions and systems designed for Biology or Physiology majors.
NOTE: a two-semester combined Human Anatomy and Physiology course series is acceptable.

Semester Credits: 3

Human Physiology w/lab

Course covering human physiologic processes designed for Biology or Physiology majors.
NOTE: a two-semester combined Human Anatomy and Physiology course series is acceptable

Semester Credits: 3

General Biology w/lab

General biology course designed for Biology or Physiology majors.
NOTE: if the course and lab does not equate to 4 or more semester credits, a molecular or cellular biology course must also be completed.

Semester Credits: 4

Microbiology w/lab

This course does not have to be one designed for Microbiology majors.

Semester Credits: 4

Chemistry w/lab

Eight credits of chemistry with at least one lab.

Semester Credits: 8

College Algebra or Higher

100-level or higher course covering the foundations of Algebra. A calculus course fulfills this requirement. AP credit or ACT/SAT scores may also count toward this requirement.

Semester Credits: 3

Additional Recommended Courses

Psychology

A 100-level or higher introductory or abnormal psychology course. Both are highly recommended. NOTE: Human Lifespan and Development will NOT count as the Psychology prerequisite.

Semester Credits: 3

Physics w/lab

This course does not have to be one designed for Physics majors.

NOTE: though not mandatory, application scoring will improve with successful completion and high performance more importantly, these courses help better prepare students for the rigors of the optometry program coursework.

Semester Credits: 6

Medical Terminology

100-level or higher medical terminology course. An upper-level version is recommended.

Semester Credits: 1

Genetics or Cellular Biology

Though not required, taking at least one of these courses is highly recommended.

NOTE: though not mandatory, application scoring will improve with successful completion and high performance more importantly, these courses help better prepare students for the rigors of the optometry program coursework.

Semester Credits: 3

Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry

Though not required, taking at least one of these courses is highly recommended.

NOTE: though not mandatory, application scoring will improve with successful completion and high performance more importantly, these courses help better prepare students for the rigors of the optometry program coursework.

Semester Credits: 6

Prerequisite Performance

Prerequisite courses must be successfully completed with a grade of C or better. In plus-minus grading systems, a grade of C- does not qualify as a C. Applicants offered seats contingent upon successful completion of outstanding prerequisites must complete each remaining course with a grade of B or better (earning a grade of B- does not qualify as a B).

Prerequisite Timeline Requirements

To be considered for the RMUoHP optometry program, each prerequisite course must have been completed within ten years of the cohort start date. Additionally, credits must have been earned from a regionally accredited institution and be verifiable through official transcripts.

Required Bachelor Degree

Applicants must demonstrate completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution prior to matriculation into the optometry program.

Admissions Disclosure:

 

1. Admission is limited and selective. All completed applications will be considered for admission.  All applicants must demonstrate a previous record of successful academic achievement, clinical experience, and the motivation to pursue graduate-level education.

2. Full Disclosure Requirement: Incomplete or falsified admission information constitutes grounds for a refusal to admit or immediate dismissal, loss of credit, and forfeiture of all tuition and fees paid.

3. Confidentiality: Admissions materials received by the University are kept in strict confidence. Once the application materials are received, these materials are the property of the University and will not be returned to the applicant. All applicant materials are kept for one year following receipt if the applicant does not enroll.

Graduation and Attrition Rates
2023
2024
2025
Year Matriculated
#
% of total matriculants
#
% of total matriculants
#
% of total matriculants
Graduated in 4 years
Graduated in 5 or more years
Graduated at any time
Still enrolled or on leave of absence
Attrition for academic reasons
Attrition for other reasons
Pass Rates for all First-time Takers of NBEO
Academic Year
2025-
2026
2026-
2027
2027-
2028
NBEO Exam Part
# of all first-time takers
Pass rate (%) of first-time takers
# of all first-time takers
Pass rate (%) of first-time takers
# of all first-time takers
Pass rate (%) of first-time takers
Part I Applied Basic Science (August and March Administrations)
Part II Patient Assessment and Management (December and April Administrations)
Part III Clinical Skills Examination (July–June Administrations)
Ultimate Passage Rates
2026 -
2027
2027-
2028
2028-
2029
Graduating cohort by year (Oct. 1-Sept. 30)
# passing all Parts
% of graduates
# passing all Parts
% of graduates
# passing all Parts
% of graduates
Ultimate passage rate (at the time of graduation, of students having attempted all three Parts of the NBEO or OEBC, proportion that have passed all three Parts or passed the OBEC)
Add New

Faculty

Adam Hickenbotham

Adam Hickenbotham

OD, MPH, PhD

Founding Dean of the College of Optometry

Donnie Akers

Donnie Akers

OD

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Court Wilkins

Court Wilkins

O.D., M.H.S., FAAO

Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs

Heather Briggs

Heather Briggs

Administrative Assistant

Jessica  Ryan

Jessica Ryan

Clinical Operations Manager

Spencer Johnson

Spencer Johnson

O.D., FAAO

Professor of Optometry 

Michael Leigh

Michael Leigh

O.D.

Part Time Faculty

Patrick Scott

Patrick Scott

O.D., Ph.D.

Part Time Faculty

Darin Cummings

Darin Cummings

O.D.

Part Time Faculty

Robin Price

Robin Price

O.D.

Part Time Faculty

Jefferson Langford

Jefferson Langford

O.D.

Part Time Faculty

Kent Crossley

Kent Crossley

MS, PhD

Department of Anatomy Co-Chair 

Weston Barney

Weston Barney

O.D.

Part Time Faculty

Robert Roden

Robert Roden

O.D.

Part Time Faculty

Joshua Pratt

Joshua Pratt

O.D., PhD

Part Time Faculty

Kristy McClellan

Kristy McClellan

PhD

Department of Anatomy Co-Chair 

UNIVERSITY ACCREDITATION

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (8060 165th Avenue NE Ste 100, Redmond, WA 98052-3981), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the US Department of Education.

PROGRAM ACCREDITATION

At its Fall Meeting held October 14-16, 2022, the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) made the following determination:

RMUoHP’s Optometry program has received preliminary approval, a pre-accreditation classification, and is ready to accept students for 2023.

 

Tuition & Financial Aid

There are many ways you can pay for your education and receive aid. See how our Financial Aid Office can help you fund your education.