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Waterloo School of Optometry

Canada's only Doctor of Optometry degree program taught in English.

Optometrists lead primary vision care

The scope of optometric practice is expanding in areas such as advanced diagnostics and pharmaceutical therapeutics. Add changing demographics and an aging population, and the demand for optometrists with a Canadian optometric education has never been greater.

With a Doctor of Optometry degree from Waterloo's School of Optometry & Vision Science, you’ll have an internationally recognized education and the skills and knowledge to enjoy a successful optometric career. As a graduate, you’ll have the opportunity to start your own practice, or join or buy an existing practice. Our alumni have gone on to distinguished careers in health care, industry, and university environments.

Doctor of Optometry (OD) program

An OD degree prepares you to become a registered optometrist. You must complete a specific set of courses at the university level to qualify for admission into the program. This typically requires you to have been enrolled in a university Bachelor of Science program (BSc) of your choice for a minimum of 3 years with a full course load.

Our OD program is a 4-year professional program leading to a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.

Choose from 2 pathways to the Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science

1. Waterloo Science

Use a Waterloo Science program as a pathway to Optometry and graduate with two degrees: Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Honours Science and Doctor of Optometry (OD).

Steps to apply

  1. Enroll in Biology, Biomedical Science, or Honours Science at Waterloo. Other Waterloo Science programs can serve as pathways, but keep in mind it will take more than 3 years to meet the requirements. Check with the Science Recruitment Coordinator to find out more about programs to choose and how long it might take to meet the Optometry requirements.
  2. Complete academic admission requirements.
  3. Complete non-academic admission requirements
  4. Apply OD program at the School of Optometry and Vision Science in as early as your third year.

2. Other Universities

You can choose to meet the Optometry requirements at a university other than Waterloo and your application will be considered equally among those from Waterloo students.

Steps to apply

  1. Identify the program at another university you are interested in.
  2. Contact to ensure the courses you plan take meet our requirements.
  3. Apply to appropriate program at a university other than Waterloo.
  4. Complete academic admission requirements.
  5. Complete non-academic admission requirements
  6. Apply to OD program at the School of Optometry and Vision Science.

The Waterloo Optometry Advantage

Clinical training – Get hands-on training and exposure to different patient populations, allowing you to apply your classroom and lab learning and gain insight into many aspects of optometric practice.

State-of-the-art facilities – Access unique facilities and the latest technologies in our clinics (e.g., ocular health, paediatrics, and sports vision) and research centres (e.g., contact lens and sight enhancement).

Evidence-based teaching – Learn biomedical, vision, and clinical sciences from teachers who bring current and new knowledge into the classroom and clinic. Graduate knowing you’ve been trained in clinical decision-making that’s based on evidence and best practice.

Top talent – Join Canada’s most innovative university that attracts award winning teachers and researchers, along with some of the best and brightest from around the world.

Affordable learning – Pay less than $75,000* in total tuition.
(*Current cost for Canadian and permanent residents.)

Contact us

Waterloo Science programs:
519-888-4567, ext. 36243
Non-University of Waterloo courses that may meet Optometry requirements: