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Masters Degrees (Orthoptics)

We have 6 Masters Degrees (Orthoptics)

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This programme is aimed at students who have not achieved the required degree outcome, 2:2 or above, from their period of study in a UK based BSc (Hons) Optometry programme. Read more

This programme is aimed at students who have not achieved the required degree outcome, 2:2 or above, from their period of study in a UK based BSc (Hons) Optometry programme. This degree outcome is mandated by the GOC in order to allow a graduate to proceed into the Pre-Registration Period.

Success in this programme of study does not alter the degree classification that has been awarded previously. Students should be aware that the GOC allow only one attempt at this programme of study

The aims and learning outcomes of the programme are informed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) benchmark statement for Optometry 2015, the General Optical Council (GOC) specification for Optometry learning outcomes and clinical competencies 2016, and the University of Bradford Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.

Professional accreditation

Successful candidates are eligible to enter the Scheme for Registration delivered by the College of Optometrists.


Ranked 8th in the country for Optometry, Ophthalmology and Orthoptics in the Complete University Guide 2019.

What you will study


Learning and assessment

Learning and Teaching Strategy

The Optometry programme articulates with the Teaching and Learning strategy of the University of Bradford.

A wide variety of teaching methods appropriate to the learning outcomes are employed throughout the programme. They focus progressively on student-centred approaches to learning, such that students are expected to take increasing responsibility for their learning as they progress through the programme, in order to encourage development of the attributes needed for lifelong learning and continued professional development.

Key skills are embedded throughout the curriculum.

Assessment Strategy

Assessment provides an evaluation of the students ‘competence in meeting specified objectives, but it is also an essential part of the teaching and learning process. Properly selected assessment tasks signal the importance of particular content, concepts and skills, influence approaches to study and help students to allocate their time appropriately. Constructive and timely feedback on assessment helps students to gain a sense of achievement and progress, an appreciation of the performance and standards expected in a particular discipline or professional area, and to learn from their endeavours.

The Optometry programme aims to select from a range of assessment methods for each module. All modules include both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessment has a developmental purpose and is designed to help students learn more effectively by giving them feedback on their performance and on how it can be improved and/or maintained.

Reflective practice by students sometimes contributes to formative assessment. Summative assessment is used to indicate the extent of a student's success in meeting the assessment criteria used to gauge the intended learning outcomes of a module or programme. In addition, some of the assessments in later stages of the programme, for example in clinical practice, clinical case studies and the research project, are synoptic in nature.

Synoptic assessments are those that encourage students to combine elements of their learning from different parts of a programme and to show their accumulated knowledge and understanding of a topic or subject area. A synoptic assessment normally enables students to show their ability to integrate and apply their skills, knowledge and understanding with breadth and depth in the subject. It can help to test a student's capability of applying the knowledge and understanding gained in one part of a programme to increase their understanding in other parts of the programme, or across the programme as a whole.

Career prospects

Most graduates, on completion of the pre-registration year and having passed the Final Assessment Examinations set by the College of Optometrists, become registered with the General Optical Council to practise as optometrists.

Once qualified you can work in private practice, in hospital optometry or in optometric teaching and research. You will need an interest and ability in scientific work, in helping and communicating with people, and a measure of manual dexterity.

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This is a progressive and flexible programme of postgraduate study. There is an overarching theme of advanced practice in healthcare, yet the flexible, modular nature of this award permits healthcare professionals to structure their studies to meet with their own professional needs. Read more
This is a progressive and flexible programme of postgraduate study. There is an overarching theme of advanced practice in healthcare, yet the flexible, modular nature of this award permits healthcare professionals to structure their studies to meet with their own professional needs.

This will provide options for profession specific pathways through the programme if required. These may be clinical, managerial or more generic. Guidance will be provided by the Programme Co-Directors on module choice.‌

Students can register for an award and there are exit points at Postgraduate Certificate (PGC), Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) and Masters Level. The PGC or PGD may be taken as either free standing awards or as an intermediate exit award for any student who has successfully completed the modules required for these awards or who have failed to comply with the criteria which permits access to the next level of study. However, some students may wish to only register for an individual module for the purpose of continuing professional development. This is permissible and such students will not be registered on the programme.

However, students may accrue credit through taking some stand alone modules and then apply for APL transfer of these credits into the programme for a formal award. All students who undertake stand alone modules will be advised of appropriate combinations which can be mapped into the award.

The programme has one starting point per year: semester one (September), and is part-time. It is modular, with some modules being mandatory and others optional to suit the individual student needs. Teaching takes place in both semesters and the scheduling of the teaching will depend upon the modules taken. There are two assessment points per year (January and May), one at the end of each semester.

On this modular programme students can study stand alone credit rated modules (for which Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CATS) points will be awarded).

Or to achieve a:

- PGC a student must successfully complete 60 credits at M level, with not more than 15 credits at level 6 and no dissertation credits;
- PGD a student must successfully complete 120 credits at M level, with not more than 30 credits at level 6 and no dissertation credits;
- Masters degree a student must complete 180 credits at M level, with not more than 30 credits at level 6 and to include a 60 credit dissertation.

As previously stated, the programme is modular and the PGC stage incorporates some compulsory modules and some option modules dependent upon the pathway chosen by the student. The PGD is made up of optional modules although students hoping to progress to the dissertation stage must complete Introduction to Research Methodologies in Health and Social Care (HEAL402) prior to moving to the dissertations stage. The Masters degree is achieved by independent research and the submission of a dissertation.

Why Health Sciences?

Breadth of expertise

The School comprises the Directorates of Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Orthoptics and Physiotherapy and has a vibrant Postgraduate/CPD unit. The school is committed to delivering quality research to the highest ethical standards in order to improve knowledge and services for the health of the community. Our multi professional cohort of staff has a strong research profile and is committed to developing policy, practice and technology for the improvement of healthcare and service delivery.

Contributing to the advancement of health care practice

We offer taught modular postgraduate programmes, providing extensive opportunity for in-depth study and development of advanced clinical skills in a range of areas and contributing to the advancement of healthcare practice, management and professional education.

Continuing professional development provision

The School also offers a wide range of accredited and non-accredited CPD modules and hosts a vibrant daytime and evening short course programme to maximise opportunity for attendance. The most up-to-date information about these activities is to be found on the School website.

Career prospects

The taught postgraduate programmes provide opportunity for healthcare professionals to develop, specialise and extend the scope of their skills into new areas, to meet the constantly evolving service demands for advanced practitioners. The students who exit our taught postgrdaute programmes usually take up senior clinical/management positions within the NHS. We have students from multi-professional backgrounds as we encourage interprofessional learning and education as appropriate to foster understanding of the roles of colleagues.

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This new three year part-time Masters programme, taught entirely online, is jointly offered by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and leads to the degree of Master of Science (MSc). Read more

This new three year part-time Masters programme, taught entirely online, is jointly offered by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and leads to the degree of Master of Science (MSc). It has been developed in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

Aimed primarily at optometrists seeking formal postgraduate training in community-based clinical care, this programme is also highly relevant for medical and surgical trainees entering specialty training in ophthalmology.

This degree is aligned with the curricula of both the FRCSEd and FRCOphth examinations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, making it very attractive to domestic and international students.

This programme is aimed at supporting optometrists seeking formal postgraduate training in community-based clinical care and also medical and surgical trainees entering specialty training ophthalmology.

This programme gives trainees first-rate preparation for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCSEd) and Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (FRCOphth) examinations or equivalent, with additional emphasis on acquired knowledge and its application.

The third-year MSc research project also serves as an opportunity to develop an academic career.

Online learning

The programme is taught entirely online. Students are supported by synchronous and asynchronous discussion with e-tutors - all leading clinicians in their field - and have access to a large learning resource, including subscriptions to key online books and journals. Students will be expected to lead e-seminars and e-journal clubs.

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

The programme is headed up by Professor Baljean Dhillon.

Programme structure

Delivered through an online learning environment, this programme runs on a semester basis over three years and involves approximately 10-15 hours of study each week in a flexible, modular manner. All modules are compulsory and are taught and assessed using a clinical problem-based approach and involve participation in discussion boards and reflective portfolios.

Students accumulate credits by completing a series of modules leading to a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Science degree. The minimum time for completion of the full Masters programme is three years, and the maximum time for completion is six years.

At the certificate and diploma levels, students must attend an end-of-year examination, held in Edinburgh for UK-based students or with a pre-approved partner institution for international students.

Year 1: Certificate

  • Basic Ophthalmic Science: Anatomy, Pathology, Physiology of the Ocular Structures
  • Basic Examination & Investigation Techniques
  • Basic Glaucoma
  • Basic Macular Disease
  • Basic Acute Eye Disease & Vision Loss
  • eTriage and Referral Refinement

Year 2: Diploma

  • Advanced Ophthalmic Science: Anatomy, Pathology, Physiology of the Ocular Structures
  • Advanced Examination & Investigation Techniques
  • Advanced Glaucoma
  • Advanced Macular Disease
  • Advanced Acute Eye Disease & Vision Loss
  • Advanced eTriage and Referral Refinement

Year 3: Masters

The final year involves a supervised masters research project, which will be undertaken in an approved topic that reflects your subspecialty interest and will require the submission of a written project report.

Career opportunities

This programme is designed for:

  • optometrists who wish to enhance their knowledge with particular regard to diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease as they take on an increasingly expanding role in the management of eye disease as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team
  • medical and surgical trainees who aspire to specialise in ophthalmology, enabling them to study towards their FRCSEd, FRCOphth, or equivalent, in a flexible way

The award of MSc will highlight the student’s commitment to continuing professional development in their chosen career and will ensure a competitive edge when applying for clinical positions. The MSc will also help prepare them for an academic or research career.

The MSc is also relevant to GPs and trainee GPs with a special Interest in ophthalmology, family medicine physicians, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses and other eye healthcare professionals seeking to advance their understanding of primary care ophthalmology and its interface with secondary care.

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Our MSc/MRes Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences course brings together the research expertise in vision from The University of Manchester and the clinical expertise of . Read more

Our MSc/MRes Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences course brings together the research expertise in vision from The University of Manchester and the clinical expertise of Manchester Royal Eye Hospital .

The course is aimed at optometrists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists and nurses from the UK and overseas. It is suitable for:

  • individuals who are considering undertaking a research degree in the vision sciences;
  • those interested in professional development;
  • those interested in conducting research as part of their clinical training;
  • ophthalmologists wishing to expand and extend their training into specialist areas;
  • optometrists considering a career in the hospital eye service.

This course will provide you with a firm grounding in the knowledge needed to pursue a higher degree and to conduct high quality research in ophthalmology, optometry or vision sciences.

It also gives an opportunity for vision-related professionals to advance their knowledge of the scientific foundations of ophthalmology and vision sciences.


This course aims to provide those working within the ophthalmic professions (ophthalmologists, optometrists, vision scientists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses) with an opportunity for professional development.

It will give you a firm grounding in the knowledge, understanding and skills you will need to pursue a higher research degree or to participate in research programmes and meet a need for researchers who can form a bridge between basic research and applied clinical research.

Through the literature review and dissertation, you will develop skills of systematically analysing and interpreting a body of literature, designing and conducting a research project, and analysing and presenting research findings within a written dissertation.

Teaching and learning

In each unit, learning will be based on a series of formal lectures on topics relating to ocular disease and treatments, and a series of more informal tutorials on current research. You will receive copies of presentations and direction to relevant literature for personal study.

Many dissertation projects have led to peer-reviewed publications in ophthalmic literature. Recent titles include the following.

  • Optical coherence tomography measures of the retinal nerve fibre layer.
  • Development of a model cell assay to investigate the cellular processing of ARB mutant bestrophin-1.
  • Risk factors for late presentation of patients with primary open angle glaucoma.
  • Molecular analysis of autosomal recessive retinal dystrophies.
  • In vivo analysis of the wettability of silicon hydrogel contact lenses.
  • Can corneal densitometry be used to assess the treatment outcome after corneal transplantation.
  • A contact lens based technique delivering cultured stem cells onto the human corneal surface.
  • The use of corneal imaging to assessing treatment outcomes of LASIK and LASEK.
  • Addressing the physiological cues needed for trans-differentiation of dental pulp stem cells into limbal stem cells.

The course directors are Prof Tariq Aslam and Dr Chantal Hillarby .

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is via:

  • written examinations in January and May;
  • coursework set during the taught units;
  • a research project dissertation.

Course unit details

The course has two different pathways:

  • MSc: Six taught units (15 credits each) and a dissertation (90 credits).
  • MRes: Four taught units (15 credits each), a literature review (30 credits) and a dissertation (90) credits.

The six units are Macular Degeneration, Paediatric Ophthalmology, Cornea, Contact Lens, Vascular Disease and Glaucoma.

What our students say

IOVS is a great course overall; excellent content and very enjoyable. (Abid Ali, ophthalmology trainee [UK])

I've enjoyed the insight into new and modern treatments and diagnostic techniques. (Isaac Nunoo, optometrist [Ghana])

I love the way the lecturers teach and explain, and the ease with which you can access information.(Chimdi Emma-Duru, optometrist and PhD student [Nigeria])


Ophthalmology is housed within the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, which is located on the CMFT site at the southern end of the University campus. Optometry is housed within the Carys Bannister Building. The two sites are few hundred yards apart.

Most dissertations are conducted within the confines of the University and the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Students may, however, embark on work outside these confines (eg an optometric practice or other hospital). This is contingent on the acceptance of the research proposal and the approval of suitable external and internal supervisors by the course director.

You will also have access to a range of library and IT facilities across the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability and Advisory Support Service .

CPD opportunities

We offer a number of CPD courses in ophthalmology and optometry .

Career opportunities

This MSc is aimed at optometrists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists, biological scientists, nurses and those from related backgrounds, and can open up a number of career opportunities.

The course is suitable if you want to further your knowledge of the vision sciences or if you are an optometrist considering professional development or a career in the hospital eye service.

It is also ideal if you want to conduct research as part of your clinical training or pursue an academic career in ophthalmology, optometry and the vision sciences.

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