There are 5 approved schools of optometry in Australia. These in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. The ATAR required depends on the pathway you take to become an optometrist. For most programs the successful completion of a Bachelor of Vision Science is required to gain entry into the Master of Optometry.
Undergraduate entry into optometry
The following table shows the ATAR / OP scores that were required to enter each undergraduate course at the beginning of 2019:
Please note that this is a rough guide only for future years as it changes from year to year depending on the applications each university receives.
At the time of publishing this article, the University of Canberra’s 5 year Bachelor of Vision Science / Master of Optometry did not appear on the Optometry Board of Australia’s list of approved courses.
There are also changes from year to year on whether UMAT or an interview is required. For entry since 2018, UMAT (in 2019 UMAT was replaced with UCAT) has not been a requirement for any undergraduate optometry course.
Some universities may have a policy of “assumed knowledge” instead of pre-requisite subjects. For example, they will assume that you have the knowledge of 4 high school semesters of subjects such as Physics, Chemistry or English.
Some universities may offer pathways to transfer into their optometry course from another one of their Bachelor degrees or from a Bachelor degree at a different university. They may also have sub quotas for students who wish to practice in rural and remote regions across Australia, and places for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students.
The University of Melbourne has a Chancellor’s Scholars Program for applicants who achieve an ATAR of 99.90 or better, or at least 90.00 for Indigenous students. They also have a guaranteed entry pathway into graduate degrees which applies to optometry for some students. Entry to the 4 year Doctor of Optometry is following a 3 year undergraduate degree which meets the university’s pre-requisite requirements. GAMSAT is not required for entry into the Doctor of Optometry if you meet the Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements in your undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne.
Postgraduate entry into optometry
There is a formal postgraduate pathway that is available at the University of Melbourne. They require an undergraduate degree with specific pre-requisite subjects and list courses which meet these requirements on their website. The Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne meets their requirements too. If you are applying with an undergraduate degree from a different university you will also require a GAMSAT score and show that you can meet certain English language requirements for admission to the Doctor of Optometry at the University of Melbourne.
Pathways into optometry
Following is an infographic which provides an overview of the pathways to becoming qualified as an optometrist in Australia. For simplicity, it does not include the possibility of transferring into optometry from another course. For more detailed pathways information, go to out become an optometrist page.
The information presented in this article was correct at the time of publishing. Please check with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for an up to date list of approved programs of study to become an optometrist in Australia: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/education/approved-programs-of-study.aspx?ref=optometrist. Please note that the therapeutic endorsement noted is included in all optometry courses in Australia, and pertains to the ability for graduates to prescribe eye drops to manage eye diseases.
More resources on My Health Career:
- The best and worst parts about being an optometrist
- Videos about a career in optometry
- Optometry Program Syllabus Changes – by Sally Hoang – UNSW student
- How mindfulness saved me from myself – By Optometrist Wendy Saw
Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. My Health Career accepts no responsibility for ensuring that you enrol in a course that is right for you. Please do your own research to ensure that you enrol in the correct course, especially if you are considering an undergraduate biomedicine, health science or biomedical science degree as a pathway to a postgraduate course. This may include speaking with a careers advisor, guidance officer, career development practitioner, representatives of Optometry Australia, and admissions officers from the university or universities you are looking at applying to.