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Course content

This MSc is aimed at students who wish to extend their knowledge and expertise in the eye as an integrated biological system. The programme provides a unique and integrated review of the physiology and biology of the eye, covering molecular and developmental cell biology, complex genetics, immunology and behavioural neuroscience.

About this degree

The programme offers students the opportunity to develop their knowledge and expertise in ocular cell biology, genetics, visual neuroscience, development and immunology. On completion of the programme, students gain an enhanced knowledge and understanding of scientific communication skills, scientific design and analysis, sophisticated laboratory techniques and valuable research experience.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research project (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Ocular Cell Biology
  • Genetics and Epidemiology of Ocular Disease
  • Ocular Immunology
  • Microvascular Biology
  • Visual Neuroscience

Optional modules

  • Either Advanced Visual Neuroscience (30 credits)
  • Or Microvascular Biology (15 credits) and Visual Neuroscience (15 credits)

Dissertation/research project

All MSc students undertake either a research or informatics project using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment. The project culminates in a dissertation of 15,000–18,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, problem classes, journal clubs, self-directed studies and laboratory practical courses. Assessment is through long essays, coursework, laboratory practicals, oral examination and the research dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Biology of Vision MSc


This programme provides excellent preparation for a PhD or a successful research career in academia or for positions in the public or commercial sectors. Previous students have also successfully obtained specialist trainee positions in ophthalmology at hospitals across the country.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Doctor, Mile End Hospital (NHS)
  • GP (General Practitioner), Barnet Hospital (NHS)
  • Research Associate, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
  • PG Dip in Clinical Ophthalmology, UCL
  • Research Degree, Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL


The programme aims to train first-class basic and clinical scientists in the field of ophthalmology.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is one of the premier centres in the world for the study of vision and the mechanisms, diagnosis and therapy of eye disease. We embrace fundamental research, through the entire spectrum of translational medicine to clinical trials.

This MSc programme draws upon the extensive basic and clinical research experience available at the institute and at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Students gain expertise in basic cell biology, genetics, neuroscience and physiology, specialise in the biology of the eye as an integrated biological system and conduct a six-month research project within a world-class research environment.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Ophthalmology

80% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Visit the Biology of Vision (MSc) page on the University College London website for more details!






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