Chicago College of Optometry

With a strong foundation in the basic and visual sciences, the Chicago College of Optometry offers students the skills needed for success.

Two Students in an optometry lab

At the Chicago College of Optometry (CCO), we empower aspiring optometrists within a nurturing student-focused environment.

Empowering Aspiring Optometrists

We inspire the next generation of optometrists to craft successful careers within a nurturing student-focused environment that emphasizes professionalism, teamwork, mutual respect, and immersive hands-on experiences.

Key features include:

  • Personalized Attention: Low student-faculty ratio for your success
  • Interprofessional Opportunities:  MWU's focus is on healthcare fosters collaboration across disciplines
  • Extensive Patient Care Experiences: Gain valuable hands-on experience through a variety of patient care opportunities

At the Chicago College of Optometry, you will gain expertise for a fulfilling career contributing to the well-being of others by providing essential eye care.

Your future starts at CCO

Optometry students working in the lab.

Comprehensive Training

In the first and second years, students focus on health sciences, optics, and visual science, gaining exposure to clinical practice through simulations and introductory courses, with disease impacts introduced in the second year. 

The third year, divided between a didactic and clinical setting, emphasizes the diagnosis and treatment of ocular dysfunction and disease. The fourth year features intensive clinical training that will include some on-campus and off-campus externship rotations. 

Optometry eye exam.

Clinical Experience

Clinical settings for external rotations include military facilities, veteran administration hospitals, public health service hospitals, and specialty and/or private practices or clinics. Students also work with clinical faculty at the Eye Institute, a full-service eye and vision clinic.  

Chicago College of Optometry graduates

Ready for Optometry Practice

Upon completing our rigorous four-year program, you'll emerge fully equipped to seamlessly transition into optometry practice, armed with competence, confidence, and competitiveness as a skilled clinician, poised to embark on your journey as an integral member of tomorrow's healthcare team.

Learn More

Learn more about the requirements and find quick links to relevant information to guide you in your decision-making process.

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Completion of course prerequisites with a grade of C or higher
  • Minimum overall cumulative GPA and science GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale
  • OAT or other entrance exam scores must be submitted by April 30th.
  • Scores older than five years are not acceptable
  • Additional information on the OAT may be found online at
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • One letter must be from a practicing optometrist

Full list of requirements

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early in the cycle. Applications are considered on a first come first served basis only until all seats are filled.

Students must apply for admission via OptomCAS by April 1st. Due to the large number of applicants and the limited number of seats available, students are strongly encouraged to complete the application early in the cycle.

Apply Now at OptomCAS


The mission of the Chicago College of Optometry is to develop competent individuals who embrace lifelong learning through the pursuit of excellence in education, research, scholarship, and patient care for a diverse society. The College's educational programs emphasize and promote public health, leadership, ethics, professionalism, compassion, commitment, collegiality, and sense of community.


The Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry has the vision to

Deliver an exceptional optometric educational experience utilizing our unique multi-health professional setting and cutting-edge technology.

Provide our students with the knowledge and skills to deliver the highest level of professional, ethical and compassionate eye and vision care.

Recruit qualified students; promote lifelong learning, community outreach, and innovative research; and develop leaders in the profession and communities.


The Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry will pursue the following goals:

  • Deliver a comprehensive Doctor of Optometry degree program that prepares graduates for contemporary practice and encourages and fosters advanced training, in order to serve the interests and needs of the broader community.
  • Present an innovative optometry program with faculty committed to learning and teaching the current research and evidence based medicine applications using technologies to provide an exceptional educational experience for students.
  • Develop and support the faculty and students in the commitment to research and scholarly activities and excellence in patient care.
  • Graduate students who have achieved the learning outcomes as defined by the Faculty.
  • Improve patient care through promotion of interprofessional educational programming and the Midwestern University One Health Quality Initiative.
  • Foster a commitment to professional, collegial, and ethical practices in patient care while promoting public service to diverse communities.
  • Develop a high quality program appropriate for optometry residents at an affiliated or Midwestern University sponsored accredited optometry residency site.
  • Serve the eye and vision healthcare needs of Downers Grove and neighboring communities through the Midwestern University Eye Institute.
  • Provide and encourage lifelong learning and support services to the optometric profession.
  • Develop leaders in the optometric profession and the healthcare community. 
  • Female: 68%
  • Male: 32%
  • Average age: 23
  • Average overall GPA: 3.47
  • Average OAT scores: 300
  • Top home states/countries: Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Canada

NBEO report:  Comprised of students who met the graduation requirements of the program (completed courses, passed part I and took part II of NBEO) from October 1st - September 30th of the graduation year, regardless of initial matriculation date.

NBEO report

The following scholarships are offered to incoming Chicago College of Optometry students. Once an offer of admissions is accepted, your application will be evaluated by our Admissions committee for consideration. The evaluation process will begin in December, and scholarship offers will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. The award amounts vary based on the available funds each year.

CCO Academic Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to applicants who demonstrate academic excellence in their pre-optometry school studies, possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 or higher, a minimum science GPA of 3.2 or higher, and exhibit the ability to contribute significantly to the CCO community and the optometric profession.

CCO Achievement Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to candidates that, in addition to academic GPA, have demonstration of leadership in various areas and/or exhibit the ability to contribute significantly to the CCO community and the optometric profession.

Scholarships for Underrepresented Minorities

These scholarships were established to encourage students from underrepresented minority populations to pursue a career in optometry. Applicants should demonstrate academic excellence in their pre-optometry school studies, and the ability to contribute significantly to the CCO community and the optometric profession.

Additionally, there are public scholarships and awards that are available to students who are currently enrolled at CCO. 

The Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry has been granted the accreditation classification of "Accredited" as of December 2, 2020 by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), of the American Optometric Association (AOA), 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141-7881; phone 314-991-4100.  

Midwestern University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission/A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA), 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1413. 

Academic Course Catalog

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Hear My Story

Hear from students just like you who are pursuing healthcare careers.

Roman Somogy, CCO Class of 2025

"The future of healthcare is going to be interconnected." 

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Our admissions staff is here to assist you in making informed decisions about your academic journey. When contacting us, be sure to to provide your preferred program and campus so we can address your questions or concerns.