Bachelor's Degrees in Ophthalmology

Bachelor's degree programs in ophthalmology, which is a medical specialty focused on eye care, are not available. However, at the undergraduate level, you can start preparing for an ophthalmology career by earning a pre-med bachelor's degree. Read on to learn requirements to become an ophthalmologist, common courses, related bachelor's degrees, and the availability of online learning options. Schools offering Optician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do I Become an Ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed specialized training in general vision care, diseases of the eye and vision surgery. In order to become an ophthalmologist, you will first need to complete a bachelor's degree, followed by four years of medical school and four years of residency. The first year of residency is typically dedicated to general medicine and some specialty areas like pediatrics, followed by ophthalmology training after the first year. Although a specific major isn't required to become an ophthalmologist, undergraduate training in chemistry or biology may prepare you for medical school since a bachelor's degree in ophthalmology does not exist.

Entry into medical school is competitive and often requires high marks in math, English and science courses. Some schools offer accelerated programs that result in both a bachelor's degree and a medical degree that can be completed in seven years. Optometrists, who also study the eyes, are different from ophthalmologists in that they complete a Doctor of Optometry after finishing their undergraduate degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree, 4 years medical school, 4 years of residency
Common Courses General biology, genetics, physics
Related Bachelor's Degree Programs Zoology, Animal Science, or Biochemistry
Online Availability Not available online, some coursework may be available online
Median Salary (2018)* $203,880 (for physicians and surgeons not listed separately, including ophthalmologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 11% (for physicians and surgeons not listed separately, including ophthalmologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Will I Have to Take?

A pre-medicine bachelor's degree involves many math and science courses, in addition to general education courses and liberal arts electives. Some schools allow you to design your own curriculum as you plan for medical school, while ensuring that you meet prerequisites. The following are some of the common courses required for medical school:

  • General biology
  • Calculus
  • Organic chemistry
  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Physics

What Other Bachelor's Degree Programs Can I Seek?

If a standard science undergraduate degree program is not for you, you may choose a similar degree program that also provides the prerequisite science courses, such as zoology, animal science or biochemistry. Regardless of your choice of major, if you plan to apply to medical school once you've earned your undergraduate degree, you will need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is typically taken before your senior year of college. The Association of American Medical Colleges also suggests volunteering in medical facilities to gain experience and finding an undergraduate degree program that offers strong pre-medical advising.

Can I Take This Program Online?

Since most undergraduate degree programs, including pre-medicine, involve science and laboratory coursework, they're not available online. However, if you choose a major in another field, you may be able to find a program online or programs that will allow you to complete some of your coursework through distance education. Unfortunately, the path to becoming an ophthalmologist cannot be completed solely through distance learning.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Arkansas: Little Rock
  • St Catherine University

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Saint Paul
  • Pacific University

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Forest Grove
  • New England College of Optometry

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • Indiana University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Bloomington
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia