Bachelors’ + OD Preferred Admission Partner Program for Doctor of Optometry through Salus University

The Bachelor’s + Doctor of Optometry (OD) Preferred Admission Partner Program is a 4 + 4 agreement (four years undergraduate plus four years doctorate) with Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry whereby students complete their Bachelor’s degree at Messiah University and then proceed to Salus University to obtain their OD degree.  This partnership agreement guarantees qualifying Messiah University students an interview with the OD program at Salus University, thereby significantly increasing the students’ chance of being accepted into this competitive program.   This program is open to all current Messiah University students who have met the qualifications described in this accordion.  This program is comprised of two phases.  Phase I is defined as the years of undergraduate education while at Messiah University.  Phase II consists of the Doctor of Optometry education while at Salus University and its associated clinical training sites. Phase one is outlined here.

Most OD students major in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, applied health science or biopsychology.  With early and careful planning, other major choice may be appropriate.  See Martha Stigelman for further details.

 Required undergraduate courses:

  • General Biology including labs - one year
  • General Chemistry including labs - one year
  • Organic Chemistry including  labs - one year or
    • 1/2 year Organic Chemistry with lab, plus 1/2 year of Molecular Biology with lab
  • General Physics including labs - one year
  • Microbiology or Bacteriology including labs - 1/2 year
  • English Composition or English Literature - one year
  • Mathematics - one year
    • ( ½ year Calculus fulfills math requirement; however, one year Calculus highly recommended)
  • Psychology - ½ year  
  • Statistics (Math, Biology or Psychology) - ½ year


  • Additional upper level science coursework in such areas as biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, histology, cell biology, genetics and experimental and physiological psychology is encouraged
  • All coursework must be completed with a 'C' or better.
  • Prerequisites do not have to be completed at the time of application.  They must be completed by the time of matriculation.


  • The OAT or GRE (50% scores in each section recommended) is required.
  • Scores of 300 or higher in each section of the OAT are recommended.

Requirements to Matriculate to SALUS:

At the time of graduation from Messiah University, students must reach or exceed the following benchmarks:

  • Students must have an overall GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher at the time of application;
  • Scores of 300 or higher in each section of the OAT are recommended’;   
  • A minimum of 25 (currently 10 hours with Covid) documented hours of shadowing an optometrist or opthamologist must be completed; and 
  • A completed application must be submitted to the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS), including score results of the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) and required letters of evaluation
  • The time that it takes a student to earn his/her undergraduate degree from Messiah University varies. Some students are able to complete the degree in fewer than four years depending on a variety of factors including summer school attendance, AP test scores and college dual-enrollment during high school.

  • A maximum of one gap year may be taken between graduation from Messiah University and matriculation to Salus University.
  • Transfer students are eligible for this program. The majority of the required courses must be taken at Messiah University.
  • International Students are eligible for this program, pending official documentation to study in the United States. Official foreign credential evaluation and English language proficiency exam may be required.  


  • Find specific information about the Optometry program at Salus here.
  • Find general information about the field of Optometry here