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Biology/Optometry, Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Optometry

Biological Sciences


St. John’s University admits selected academically talented high school seniors as biology majors and, simultaneously, to candidacy for admission to the professional Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) program at SUNY College of Optometry. Admission to this accelerated program may allow you to graduate with both B.S. and O.D. degrees in only seven years, rather than the usual eight.

After three years of undergraduate study at St. John’s, you’ll begin study toward the O.D. degree at SUNY. Your first year of O.D. coursework will also apply toward your remaining B.S. requirements at SJU. You’ll receive your O.D. after completing the full four years at SUNY.

Through this accelerated program, you can save a full year of tuition, travel, and book costs. You will also receive continuous guidance from both institutions for all seven years of study. Please note that you must submit a separate application to SUNY and are not guaranteed admission into that program.


Gregory Gades
Senior Assistant Dean
St. John Hall, Room 145
[email protected]

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Requirements for admission to this accelerated dual degree program:

  • Acceptance to St. John’s University as a biology major
  • Submission of SUNY Optometry Joint Degree application
  • Total SAT score of at least 1300 with math score of at least 670, or at least 29 on the ACT
  • High school grade average of at least 93 (out of 100)
  • Evidence of community involvement

Students who apply to this program will be interviewed to evaluate their communication and interpersonal skills, as well as their demonstrated interest in the profession of optometry. Preferred candidates are in the upper ten percent of their high school classes.

If admitted into the accelerated program, the following are required while attending St. John’s:

  • Maintenance of at least a 3.3 overall GPA
  • Maintenance of at least a 3.3 overall GPA in math and science prerequisites with no individual grade below a C
  • All scores of 330 or greater on the Optometry Admission Test, taken in the third undergraduate year
  • Demonstration of community involvement
  • Exploration of the profession through visiting several optometry practices
  • Submission to SUNY College of Optometry of all academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application in the third undergraduate year
  • Final interview at SUNY College of Optometry during the third undergraduate year
  • Satisfaction of requirements for graduation at St. John’s


Requirements for the biology major at St. John's satisfy pre-requisites for the professional podiatry program. You will complete these requirements during your three years of undergraduate study. Your first year of study at SUNY will satisfy the remaining requirements for the B.S. degree.

Additional Information

You can gain an academic and professional edge by joining St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ honor society chapters. As a student in this accelerated program, you may have special interest in the Watson Pre-Health Honor Society and the Roger Bacon Scientific Honors Society. You may also wish to join the American College of Healthcare Executives (Student ACHE), an association for students aspiring to leadership in the healthcare professions.

Career Outcomes

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. Once you complete your O.D. degree, you will be licensed to practice, which entails performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.