Since optometry involves quite a bit of science, a major in Biology or Chemistry would be a good choice.

Be sure to discuss your post-graduate plans with your SAU advisor so that you construct a plan of study that satisfies your major – no matter what it is – and prepares you for graduate school.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Innovative Education
  • Conduct Research and Experiements
  • Small Classes, Challenging Courses

When it comes to your undergraduate education, take your first step with SAU. Our excellent faculty and programs will prepare you for what comes next, whether it is stepping into a career or graduate studies.


The requirements for optometry school include courses in biology, chemistry, and physics that prepare you to work with the delicate structure of the eye. Although the exact course requirements differ for each program, many optometry programs require the following courses for admission:

• One year General Biology + lab (BIOL 199, 200)
• One year General Chemistry + lab (CHEM 105, 106)
• One year Organic Chemistry + lab (CHEM 207, 208, 209, 210)
• Biochemistry (CHEM 319)
• One year Physics + lab (PHYS 203, 204)
• Microbiology (BIOL 251)
• Statistics (STAT 213)
• Calculus (MATH 191)

Individual optometry programs may have additional requirements, including Psychology, Sociology, and/or English Composition.

The entrance exam for optometry school is the OAT (Optometry Admission Test). To enter an optometry graduate program in the fall semester after graduation, you should take the OAT during the spring of your junior year. It's beneficial to complete these additional courses prior to taking the OAT:

• Biodiversity (BIOL 201)
• One year of Human Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 230, 232)
• Lifespan & Development (PSYC 212)
• Genetics (BIOL 303)
• Ecology (BIOL 307)

What will I learn?

If you major in Biology or Chemistry, you will get a solid foundation in those sciences as well as physics, which is usually required for admission into any Optometry program. We offer a number of courses in psychology, sociology, and English composition, which can also be required.

And, we suggest you complete some electives -- such as biodiversity and genetics -- before taking the Optometry Admissions Test. Your SAU advisor will help plan a course of study that meets your needs and goals.

Our undergraduate Chemistry and Biology programs prepare students exceedingly well for graduate studies. In fact, we have alumni attending the Illinois College of Optometry and the Southern College of Optometry, and attending medical programs at Marian University, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois in Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Des Moines University, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, and Rocky Vista University.

Our programs also prepare you for a professional career. We have alumni working in research and development, agriculture, allied health professions, education, and more.

At St. Ambrose, you get an education grounded in the Liberal Arts and Catholic Intellectual Tradition. That means as a member of the SAU community, you will be challenged to think critically, learn about the world beyond the classroom, and get involved on campus and within the Quad Cities. You can join a campus organization, accept a student leadership role, mentor a young budding scientist, or get hands-on experience by completing a professional internship.

Scholarships and Grants


For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code is 001889.

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria, although some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full-tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$22,000/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$12,000/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Scholarships (2018-19)

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Menke Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation form (pdf) to be completed by your pastor.

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at playNAIA.org

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2018-19 academic year.

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.

For questions about any of the awards below, give our friendly Financial Aid Office a call at 563-333-5775.

Institutional Aid

Guaranteed Minimum Scholarship Award 

based on GPA (Grade Point Average)
3.5-4.00 GPA: $12,000 per year scholarship award
3.0-3.49 GPA: $11,000 per year scholarship award
2.5-2.99 GPA: $10,000 per year scholarship award
2.0-2.49 GPA: $8,000 per year scholarship award

Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society

Criteria: Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society membership
Award: $12,500/year for new transfer students, renewable each year up to eight semesters, including transfer hours. Scholarships awarded for fall and spring semesters only. GPA is based on 4.0 scale.

Out-of-State Grant

Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $2,000/year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship

Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000/year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Award

Criteria: accepted diverse student
Award: $1,000/year on-campus; $500/year off-campus

Athletics Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability
Marching band scholarships also available
Award varies

Fine Arts Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability in art, music, theatre
Audition or portfolio required
Award varies

Dual Admission Scholarship

Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 maximum

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant

Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $5,920 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study Award

Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant

Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: 5,650

Carver Scholarship

Criteria: Iowa resident and entering junior, visit carvertrust.org for eligibility details, deadline April 1.
Award: $7,600 maximum

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Apply Visit Info


Admissions Office
Admissions and Welcome Center
310 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!