The Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University

Everything you need to know about applying to SCCO is right here. Just use the links below to find what you're looking for and if you have questions, please review our frequently asked questions or contact us. We're here to help.

The 2016-17 Admissions Cycle Has Concluded

Congratulations to all who applied! The deadline to submit your application for the 2016-17 admissions cycle was March 15, 2017. The next admissions cycle will begin July 1, 2017, for the class entering in the fall of 2018.

Strategizing for next season’s admissions cycle? Learn more about the process by attending an admissions workshop on July 22, 2017.

Questions? Submit them via email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Just getting started and want more information about the admissions process? Learn more about our admissions requirements and read our FAQs. 

Overview of the Admissions Process

The admissions cycle runs from July 1 through April 15 of any given year. The deadline for submitting your application through OptomCAS is April 15 at 9:00 p.m. PST. To meet this deadline, thoroughly review and comply with the OptomCAS deadlines for submission of your undergrad transcripts.

From the time an applicant hits submit on their application, it takes three to four weeks before MBKU receives your verified application from OptomCAS.  SCCO uses rolling admissions—check our Rolling Admissions Info Sheet for details on this process—so it is best to apply early. After SCCO receives your application, you will then be prompted via email to pay SCCO’s secondary application fee of $75.00.

SCCO requires a supplemental application in addition to the centralized application. This supplemental application is included when completing the OptomCAS application and will be submitted as part of your centralized application; therefore, when you have completed the OptomCAS application you have also completed the supplemental application. 

You do not need to have taken the OAT to submit your application; however interviews will not be offered prior to receipt of OAT scores so applicants are advised to take the test before or soon after applying. The applicant must grant permission for SCCO/MBKU to access his or her OAT scores. Applicants will also self-report their OAT scores through OptomCAS. If you retake the OAT, you must follow the same steps again. The OAT must be taken by the April 1 deadline. If you retake the OAT prior to April 1 after submitting your application, it will be updated with the new scores and reviewed again.

As you complete the OptomCAS application, it is not necessary to have completed all prerequisite requirements such as prerequisite coursework and the OAT. To be eligible to apply, you must be on track to take the OAT by April 1 and to finish all prerequisites by the end of summer term just prior to beginning fall classes here.

After the fall term is completed and grades are posted on your transcripts, you are allowed one opportunity to update your application with grades from completed coursework. This is referred to by OptomCAS as an “academic update,” which prompts a secondary review of your application. You will not be permitted to enter winter or spring quarter grades.

The admissions process consists of two serial “qualifying rounds.” The first round consists of an academic qualification. Competitive applicants are advised to have:

  • Overall GPA of at least a 3.00
  • OAT section scores of at least 300

Once you meet the academic qualification in the first round (based largely on the strength of your GPAs and OAT scores), you then advance to the second round (the interview) where you are evaluated based on your personal and professional potential. Interviewers prepare by reviewing your entire application, including your grades, OAT scores, essays submitted with your application, letters of recommendation, and your curriculum vitae (CV).

If you are provisionally accepted into the program, a criminal background check is required. See our Criminal Background Check info sheet.

Prerequisite Requirements for the OD Application

Prerequisite requirements for admission to SCCO are based on standards set by the California Optometry Law, the accrediting bodies and the judgment of the Admissions Policy Committee.

A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university is required for admission. A student may apply during his/her senior year of college and supply documentation certifying that they will be receiving their degree prior to the start of the first-year classes in August. Alternatively, students may apply during their junior year in college for as an Early Decision candidate. See more information regarding Early Decision.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses for the prerequisites will be accepted as long as the appropriate number of credit hours was received. These courses must appear on your official college transcript or in a letter from the registrar.

The following courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution, in the United States or Canada, with a grade of "C-" or better prior to enrollment and are the minimum requirements for all applicants.



Semester Units

Quarter Units

Calculus (Analytical Geometry/Calculus also acceptable) 3 4
General Biology or Zoology (the one year sequence of), no lab requirement 6 9
General Microbiology or Bacteriology, including laboratory
(No substitutions are allowed)
3 4
Human Anatomy (no lab required) 3 4
Human Physiology (no lab required) 3 4
General Physics (the one year sequence of), including laboratory 8 12
General Chemistry (the one year sequence of), including laboratory 8 12
Organic Chemistry, no lab requirement 3 4
Biochemistry, no lab requirement 3 4
Psychology (Statistics will not meet this requirement) 3 4
English Composition or Literature 6 8
Statistics 3 4

Articulation Agreements

Our goal is to provide up-to-date records of our articulation agreements, or “pre-approved coursework.” However, course content and descriptions constantly change; therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information on these Articulation Agreements is fully up to date or correct. It is up to each applicant to prove that he or she has met SCCO’s prerequisite requirements. If you have any concerns about whether a course will indeed meet the requirements, please have it reviewed by an SCCO admissions advisor by copying a course description from the school’s online catalog and emailing it to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Please also specify the name of the school that offers the course and the number of quarter/semester units for the course.

California Colleges and Universities

California Community Colleges

Out-of-State Schools


Additional Information

For more information regarding Online Course Policy, Advanced Placement credit, Early Decision qualification, OAT preparation, Letters of Recommendation requirements, information for foreign doctors seeking licensure, and more, please visit the FAQ section of our website.

Admissions Policy

Ketchum University’s Southern California College of Optometry is committed to the principles of equal opportunity in education. Marshall B. Ketchum University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The Vice President for Student Affairs has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For further information on notice of non-discrimination, as well as the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, visit the Office for Civil Rights Contact Page or call 1.800.421.3481.

Disability Services & Policies

MBKU welcomes students with disabilities to apply to our health professional programs. Please view our Disability Services Information for Prospective Students.