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MCO 3 + 4 Admissions Program

The Michigan College of Optometry offers a 3+4 option that allows students to complete 3 years of undergraduate school and then 4 years of graduate optometry school. The 3+4 option allows the student to be accepted into the MCO after completing only three years of undergraduate college or university courses. The applicant must complete a minimum of three years (90 semester hours or 135 quarter term hours) of college or university education. These applicants normally do not have a baccalaureate degree. About 10%-15% of the MCO students are accepted under this program. An application to the 3+4 Program may be submitted while the minimum requirements are being completed. An applicant must apply for the 3+4 Admissions Program by February 1 of 2024 for the class that starts in the fall of 2024. To clarify, this applicant is not required to earn a baccalaureate degree by the fall of 2024.

Pre-professional college/university courses must include completion of the pre-requisite courses listed below with a grade of C or better. Science courses should be courses designed for science majors or health professional students. As a guide, the appropriate Ferris State University course is provided in parentheses beside each requirement. Go to the on-line Ferris State University Catalog, type in the course ID number (example: BIOL 122) to obtain the course description. Additionally, individual college transfer guides for Michigan Community Colleges, Michigan Universities and State Colleges are available on the Michigan College of Optometry web site.

For applicants at other out-of-state institutions, this web page may assist you in determining the "equivalent" courses at your institution: Ferris State University Course Catalog.

Pre-requisite Courses and Other Requirements for 3+4 Admissions Program

  • General Biology one year with laboratory (BIOL 121, 122)
  • Inorganic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 121, 122)
  • Organic Chemistry, one course with laboratory (CHEM 321)
  • Biochemistry, one course (CHEM 324 or 364)
  • General Physics, one year with laboratory (PHYS 211, 212)
  • Microbiology one course with laboratory (BIOL 286)
  • Calculus, one course (MATH 220)
  • Statistics, one course (MATH 251 or STQM 260 or PSYC 210)
  • General psychology, one course (PSYC 150)
  • English/Composition, one year (ENGL 150, ENGL 250)
  • Humanities/Cultural Enrichment, 9 semester hours (no more than five semester hours can be in music, studio arts or theater activities). Choose three cultural enrichment courses, with at least one course at the 200-level or higher. (Humanities includes: Cultural Enrichment , Art, Drama, Foreign Language, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Theology).
  • Behavioral Science/Social Awareness, 6 semester hours in addition to the general psychology course above. Choose two social awareness courses, in at least two different subject areas.  One of the courses must be at the 200-level or higher.  Behavioral Sciences include: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Sociology.
  • Those lacking a bachelor's degree may choose to complete a B.S. in Vision Science degree by successfully completing the first year of the OD curriculum at MCO.  In addition to the general pre-optometry admission requirements listed above, students seeking the BSVS are also required to complete an Advanced English / Writing course (ENGL 321) as well as a Speech course (COMM 121).

Recommended but not Required Courses

In order of importance:

  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 322)
  • Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 251/252 or BIOL 321/322)
  • Genetics (BIOL 375)
  • Cell Biology (BIOL 373)
  • Embryology/Developmental Biology(BIOL 370)
  • Business management or accounting (MGMT 310 or ACCT 201)
  • Speech (COMM 121)

Process for 3+4 Admissions Program

Complete and submit an OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service) Application by February 1 for application into the next class at the MCO. Request that your OAT results be sent to the MCO (if already taken). Please visit the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for OAT information. Participate in a MCO Admissions Committee interview.

  • Enter into OptomCAS
    • Your optometric experience, employment, extracurricular activities, and honors/awards.
    • Your OAT test Scores.
    • Your Colleges and Universities attended.
    • Your Course work and grades – have your college transcripts available when accomplishing this.
  • Request through OptomCAS three letters of recommendation.
    • One letter must be submitted by a college professor,
    • a second letter from an optometrist and
    • a third letter from another individual of the applicant’s choice who is neither a professor, optometrist, nor relative (suggestions would be a high school teacher, high school counselor, athletic coach, clergy, work supervisor, etc.).
  • Complete the free supplemental application through OptomCAS. See supplemental questions below:
    • What score did you receive on your American College Testing (ACT) and/or your Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
    • How did you prepare for taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) exam?
    • If applicable, are you a member of your college’s pre-optometry club and do you hold a leadership role?
    • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
    • How many other optometry schools have you applied to?
    • What other professional schools have you applied to (such as medical school, dental school, etc.)?
    • What interests you about the Michigan College of Optometry?
  • Submit in OptomCAS an essay-limit 4,500 characters. The topic is "Please describe what inspires your decision for becoming an optometrist, including your preparation for training in this profession, your aptitude and motivation, the basis for your interest in optometry, and your future career goals."
  • Designate the MCO as one of your schools that you are applying to.

Application through OptomCAS must be submitted by February 1. Applicants, who are selected for an interview, will be contacted by telephone to schedule that interview. All applicants must pass the prerequisites with a “C” grade or higher. Any applicant who is not chosen for or who fails to complete the 3+4 Admissions Program is still encouraged to participate in the Regular Admissions Program without penalty.