Make a difference in the eyes of others through a career in optometry!

As a pre-optometry student at Cumberlands, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills you need to take on the rigors of more advanced studies in optometry school or in a natural science discipline. Earning a pre-optometry degree can bridge your undergraduate education to your graduate education with specialized focus in your personal areas of interest. Whether you find yourself serving the needs of the vision-impaired or working in general vision, your career in optometry is sure to be a rewarding one.  

Not only is this a career with impeccable financial benefits, but improving the vision quality and overall vision health of your patients will result in an incredibly fulfilling career. From helping preserve and better patients’ vision to contributing to medical and pharmaceutical studies with the potential to cure diseases, the possibilities for pre-optometry majors are boundless.   

Anchor: Stats
Anchor: Programs & Requirements
Programs & Requirements

Programs & Requirements

* The credit hours listed on this page only reference the specific program requirements and is not reflective of the total hours necessary to receive your degree. Cumberlands requires all students obtain a minimum of 60 hours for an associate’s degree and a total of 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree. Transfer and prior learning credits may be counted toward those totals.

To learn more about our General Education Requirements, please visit the page referenced below or explore our Academic Catalog

General Education Requirements

Pre-Optometry Program - Biology Track

While you have the option as a pre-optometry student to choose a major in almost any subject, most professional optometry graduate programs prefer students who have successfully completed courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, as well as having a strong background in English, humanities, and social sciences. The ability to solve scientific problems and a broad-based undergraduate education are considered essential for optometry students. If you want a well-rounded undergraduate background preferred by most professional schools of optometry, then Cumberlands' Bachelor of Science with a Major in Biology - Pre-Professional Emphasis is the perfect program for you.


Course Requirements

BIOL 111 Becoming a Successful Biologist  

BIOL 113 Introduction to Population Biology Laboratory  

BIOL 114 Introduction to Cellular Biology Laboratory  

BIOL 133 Introduction to Population Biology  

BIOL 134 Introduction to Cellular Biology  

BIOL 210 Introduction to Biological Literature 

BIOL 246 Biodiversity  

BIOL 340 Genetics  

BIOL 495 Senior Seminar OR BIOL 498 Senior Thesis 

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires completing the same courses as a Bachelor of Science with the addition of completing one foreign language sequence through the intermediate level.


FREN 131     Elementary French I

FREN 132     Elementary French II

FREN 231     Intermediate French I

FREN 232     Intermediate French II


SPAN 131     Elementary Spanish I

SPAN 132     Elementary Spanish II

SPAN 231     Intermediate Spanish I

SPAN 232     Intermediate Spanish II

MATH 132 College Algebra (or higher math course)  

CHEM 132 General College Chemistry I  

CHEM 111 General College Chemistry I Laboratory  

CHEM 232 General College Chemistry II  

CHEM 211 General College Chemistry II Laboratory  

Select from the following: 

PHYS 241 Physics I  

PHYS 242 Physics II  

PHYS 137 Physical Science  

PHYS 117 Physical Science Laboratory  

BIOL 231 Environmental Science  

BIOL 116 Environmental Science Laboratory  

Select from the following:

BIOL 331 Vertebrate Embryology  

BIOL 342 Parasitology  

BIOL 345 Microbiology*  

BIOL 346 Biochemistry*  

BIOL 436 Medical Biochemistry  

BIOL 441 Immunology  

BIOL 442 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy*  

BIOL 443 General Physiology*  

BIOL 445 Molecular Biology  

BIOL 446 Cell Biology in Health and Disease  

BIOL 447 Histology 

Pre-Optometry Program - Chemistry Track

This option is recommended for students entering a “blended” area such as pre-professional medically related areas (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapist, etc.), chemistry/business, and chemistry/biology.  With a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Chemistry - Pre-Professional Emphasis, you'll be well prepared to pursue graduate study.

Course Requirements

CHEM 132 General College Chemistry I  

CHEM 111 General Chemistry Laboratory I  

CHEM 232 General College Chemistry II  

CHEM 211 General Chemistry Laboratory II  

CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I  

CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I  

CHEM 332 Organic Chemistry II  

CHEM 322 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II  

CHEM 336 Analytical Chemistry  

CHEM 328 Analytical Chemistry Laboratory  

CHEM 441 Physical Chemistry I lab included (4 hours) 

CHEM 434 Inorganic Chemistry  

CHEM 490 Senior Research Project, Capstone in Chemistry (2 hours required)  

CHEM 491 Selected Topics or BIOL 346 Biochemistry  

NOTE: MATH 140, MATH 240, PHYS 241, and PHYS 242 are prerequisites for some upper-level chemistry courses. 

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires completing the same courses as a Bachelor of Science with the addition of completing one foreign language sequence through the intermediate level.

FREN 131        Elementary French I

FREN 132        Elementary French II

FREN 231        Intermediate French I

FREN 232        Intermediate French II


SPAN 131        Elementary Spanish I

SPAN 132        Elementary Spanish II

SPAN 231        Intermediate Spanish I

SPAN 232        Intermediate Spanish II

Anchor: Mission & Goals

Mission and Goals

The mission of the pre-optometry program at University of the Cumberlands is to provide the knowledge and skills that will prepare you for optometry school and help you succeed in various fields of service in healthcare and related sciences.

Gain fundamental knowledge in modern concepts of biology, chemistry, and mathematics.
Effectively use informational resources, perform research, and interpret data.
Demonstrate critical and analytical thought within the context of the scientific method.
Sharpen your communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
Begin learning the basics of optometry – including the emotional care of patients.
Anchor: Career Outcomes

Pre-Optometry Careers & Outcomes

All stats from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Optometrist: $124,300

Optometrist: $124,300

Optometrists diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system, including examining eyes and prescribing corrective lenses. 

Optician: $37,570

Optician: $37,570

Opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. 

Ophthalmologist: $219,810

Ophthalmologist: $219,810

Ophthalmologists diagnose and perform surgery to treat and help prevent disorders and diseases of the eye. May also provide vision services for treatment including glasses and contacts. 

Natural Sciences Manager: $137,900

Natural Sciences Manager: $137,900

Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists.

Medical Scientist: $95,310

Medical Scientist: $95,310

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. 

Laboratory Director: $101,340

Laboratory Director: $101,340

Medical and health services managers plan, direct, and coordinate the business activities of healthcare providers. 

Anchor: FAQs

Common Questions

Pre-optometry is a program of study uniquely designed for preparing future optometry and graduate school students for a successful career in the fields of optometry or natural science.  

With a pre-optometry credential, students can continue on to a professional school of optometry or pursue advanced studies in a natural science discipline. Program graduates can ultimately take on roles in the optometry field or branch into a variety of natural science careers. 

To the right people, pursuing a major in pre-optometry is absolutely worth it! Benefits of pursuing your pre-optometry degree at University of the Cumberlands include having expanded career opportunities and dedicated advisors, the possibility for an incredibly rewarding career, and meeting requirements for optometry school early. 

Besides a focus on courses in the sciences – including physics, chemistry, and biology – pre-optometry students also explore studies in English, mathematics, social sciences, and the humanities, which are all areas of study preferred by professional schools of optometry.  

Absolutely! Through pre-professional coursework and specialized programs of study, our pre-optometry students are prepared for the rigors of more advanced study in optometry school programs. Following a biology or chemistry track, the program provides pre-optometry majors with the well-rounded undergraduate background preferred by most professional schools of optometry. 

Anchor: Faculty

Faculty Experts in Pre-Optometry

Get to know about the pre-optometry faculty you'll interact with at Cumberlands.

Kara Stanley

Ms. Kara Stanley

Adjunct Professor

Ms. Kara Stanley

Contact Information

kara.stanley [at]
Jeffrey Schwarz

Jeffrey Schwarz

Associate Professor

Jeffrey Schwarz

Contact Information [at]
Correll Science Complex C106
Dr. Sharlene Dzugan

Dr. Sharlene Dzugan


Dr. Sharlene Dzugan

Contact Information

sharlene.dzugan [at]
Correll Science Complex C107

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