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Program FAQ

How does the 7-year Optometry Program work?

You attend TCNJ for three years and SUNY College of Optometry for four years (its also called the 3/4 program for this reason). You are awarded your undergraduate degree from TCNJ after your first year at SUNY. You are awarded the O.D degree after completing the four years at SUNY.


Do I get housing for all 3 years at TCNJ?

All first-time first year students who want to live on campus are guaranteed housing as freshmen and sophomores as part of their admission to The College. Rising juniors in the 7-year Optometry Program who follow all room selection guidelines set forth by the Housing Office will receive a lottery time slot which will enable the student to select a room. However, students are not guaranteed a specific room or building. Information regarding the lottery and room selection process is generally advertised by the Housing Office beginning in early December. The bulk of lottery and room selection will take place from the end of January through the first week of March. All questions regarding how the lottery and room selection process works should be directed to the Housing Office at 609-771-2301,, or by visiting their lottery web page. Importantly, you still have to apply for housing and indicate that you are in the 7-year Optometry Program.


Am I going to be overloaded with classes in the 7-year program?

Absolutely not! One of the primary benefits of our 3/4 program is that students are not overloaded with course work and can even pursue minors. The course load is very similar to students in the standard biology (BIOA) major. Similar to standard biology majors, the ability to add second majors and minors is dependent on the number of AP credits carried, other college credit, and ability to integrate the classes into the required course schedule.


Am I going to be in school year round?

No! The 7-year program operates on the same two semester per year system as all other majors at The College and requires no summer school. Many students in the 7-year program who wish to add minors, add second majors, reduce course load during the year, or pursue other interests take summer classes at their own discretion.

What if I am not admitted in into the 7-year Optometry Program from high school?

Generally, if you are well qualified, you will be placed in your second choice major. In some cases you may be admitted as an Open Options Science or other major. You can reapply to the program during your freshman year provided you meet the requirements listed here.


Do I have to be a biology major (BIOA) to apply to the 7-year Optometry Program once I’m at TCNJ?

No; however, the extensive course requirements for the program will make it more difficult. Click here for non-BIOA application requirements.


What if I am not admitted in into the 7-year Optometry Program after I’m at TCNJ?

You can still take the same course, same exams, and apply to optometry school during your junior year. In fact, the vast majority of students accepted by a school or college of optometry have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree. Please keep in mind that each institution has its own prerequisites and admission requirements, so applicants should contact the school or college of their choice directly for specific requirements. As long as you meet the prerequisites for the institution, you can apply to be considered for admission.


Who runs 7-year the program at SUNY if I have specific questions?

V.P. for Student Affairs, Dr. Jeffrey Philpott


Phone: 212-938-5500


What kinds of courses do I take at TCNJ?