Student success rates in Optometry Doctoral program

2017 White coat ceremony

Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science offers an accredited, professional, 4 year Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. The School is the only provider of English-language instruction for optometry in Canada (there is also a French-language school; the École d'Optométrie, Université de Montréal).

Our students enjoy a leading university that attracts award-winning professors along with some of the best and brightest students from around the world. Licensed ODs make up the body of expert faculty and clinic supervisors who provide an optimum mix of theoretical study and practical training.

Student graduation rates in Optometry

Standards for students and for teaching are set very high, but our graduation/attrition rates suggest that our students excel in this environment, as can be seen in the following table of recent graduations:

Year of graduation 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Year of entrance to program 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Graduated in 4 years 87 83 88 88 87 90 85
Graduated in 5 years or more 3 4 1 2 0 0 0
Graduated at any time 100% 96% 98% 98% 97% 100% 95%
Attrition for academic reasons 0 2 1 0 0 0 2
Attrition for other reasons 1 3 1 2 3 0 3
Completed all curricular requirements but did not meet other graduation requirements 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Still enrolled or on a leave of absence 1 0 0 0 0 0 2

Student test scores for registration exams

To complete their professional qualifications, after graduation, students must pass a registration exam. In Canada, this exam is administered by the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC), and some provinces accept the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam. Graduates from our program are eligible for either set of registration exams and, depending on their plans, may opt to take one over the other. The School of Optometry & Vision Science has a history of doing very well on these exams. Here are the most recent results for our students:

  Written compenent OSCE component OEBC Overall OEBC or NBEO

Year of entrance

Passed first attempt

Ultimate pass

Passed first attempt

Ultimate pass

Passed first attempt Ultimate pass Ultimate pass
2017 90.8% 96.1% 80.3% 89.5% 76.3% 89.5% 92.1%
2016 98.9% 100.0% 85.1% 95.4% 85.1% 95.4% 100.0%
2015 98.9% 100.0% 92.0% 96.6% 92.0% 96.6% 98.9%

Results of students trained in Canada on the OEBC registration exams from previous years can be found on the OEBC "Annual Reports", which are located on their website.