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Clinical Optometry MSc/PgDip/PgCert

Course Description

This course has been designed to fulfil the learning needs of the postgraduate eye care professional in practice; to provide advanced knowledge and facilitate understanding in this rapidly expanding field of healthcare.

The flexibility of the programme allows you to simply enrol for a module that interests you (what we refer to as non-degree), or aim for a specific Cardiff University Award

The MSc/PgDip/PgCert provides the opportunity for you to learn with one of the leading Optometry Schools in the UK, rated excellent for teaching and research, and amongst the highest ranked for overall undergraduate student satisfaction.  In 2015-16 we had 100% satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Education Survey.

We have designed this programme with you in mind - a busy professional who needs postgraduate studies to be flexible, to fit in with work, home and family life, to fulfil CET requirements and to achieve something worthwhile.  Many of the modules available are accredited by the College of Optometrists to provide Professional Certificates, Higher Certificates and Diplomas.

WOPEC (the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre) based at Cardiff University, already has an excellent reputation for delivering quality continuing education in an accessible format. If you have already completed a WOPEC course you may find you have already achieved some credits towards a University Award on this programme.

A deliberately wide portfolio of modules is offered in order to recognise the increasing desire for specialist training within optometry, including glaucoma, visual impairment, acute eye care, paediatrics, dry eye, medical retina, clinical teaching and leadership, amongst others. Specific programme pathways are suggested for optometrists wishing to focus on certain areas of practice, and there is a recommended programme pathway for those returning to work after a career break.

The programme is primarily aimed at eye care professionals in practice, studying part-time, at a distance from the University, with internet access to our virtual learning environment (VLE). Two thirds of the modules available on this programme also contain advanced practical training, which will normally be provided over a 1-2 day period.

Successful students on this programme will have an advanced standing both clinically and academically, taking them to the forefront of the profession, and enhancing their personal and professional development.

Several modules are aligned with nationally agreed competency standards – for example, the Low Vision Service Wales and the MECS scheme among others.

Students who have evidence of achieving such standards within the last three years can present this to the Director of the programme for consideration for approved prior learning (APL) accreditation, where module credits would be given to the student in recognition of their prior achievements.


The majority of the course will be delivered via Learning Central, the University's e-Learning system. You will have access to multimedia lecture presentations, supporting resources and discussions led by course tutors. On many of the modules leading educators in the field also provide practical skills workshops and tutorials directly relevant to everyday practice. These workshops are delivered by our staff within our custom-designed building. These sessions are an integral part of the course so attendance is compulsory.

Formative and summative assessment is via online multiple choice questions, submitted written coursework and assignments (including group wikis and blogs) plus practical exams where appropriate.

The course is designed to be flexible and so you pick and mix the modules you want to take from over twenty five 10 or 20 credit modules. All modules are optional, but some modules have pre-requisite partner modules. You can choose the modules you want to take to fit in with your home and work or we can suggest bundles that would work for your professional or personal circumstances.

Each 10 credits at postgraduate level equates to typically 25-30 hours of guided learning from your tutor(s), for example, lectures, discussions, practical workshops, tutorials, etc. You are expected to spend approximately 3-4 hours on self-directed study and reading to accompany each hour of guided learning, as directed by your tutor(s).

Please see the website for more details about the structure and content of each course:



Modules may differ, but you can expect to be taught online (via lectures and webinars), and by attending workshops for clinical modules.

Lectures are supported by the appropriate references and resources, and accompanied by assessment exercises. Participation in moderated online discussions is a feature in almost all modules.  Practical workshops for skills training will be held at locations convenient to either the module content or the student cohort enrolled at that time, and instructed by educational leaders in that discipline.


The assessment activities have been specifically designed to facilitate participants’ learning and achievement. All assessment elements are compulsory.

Assessment varies across the modules, but includes:

Written reports.
Coursework assessment.
Multiple choice questions (MCQ).
Practical examinations.
Key Features Scenarios (used in medical education to test clinical reasoning, problem-solving ability and the ability to apply given knowledge).
OSCEs – Objective Structured Clinical Examinations.
Group wikis.
Written research project report.

Feedback from assessments will be provided in written format for written reports and coursework, and written and/or oral for practical examinations and presentations. Scientific discussion via online forums will be moderated by module leaders, allowing them immediate input and opportunity to offer feedback. Students will need to pass each individual component in order to pass the module.

The pass mark for the course is 50%, and a distinction is awarded for marks >70%.

Career Prospects

Successful students on this programme will have an advanced standing both clinically and academically, taking them to the forefront of the profession, and enhancing their personal and professional development.

Visit the Clinical Optometry MSc/PgDip/PgCert page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Cardiff University Masters Excellence Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

“This scholarship package will give high-calibre students the opportunity to study at a world-leading, research-intensive university and help ease the associated financial burdens.”Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-ChancellorWe are pleased to announce that the Taught Master's Excellence Scholarship Scheme for 2016/17 entry has been confirmed.We are committed to invest up to a total of £500,000 in this high value competitive scholarship scheme to support UK and EU students who are planning to start an eligible master's programme in September 2016.The scholarships are each worth a minimum of £3,000 and will be awarded in the form of a tuition fee discount.Scholarships will be awarded based on academic excellence.

Value of Scholarship(s)

min. £3000


Eligible programmes include taught full-time and part-time taught programmes leading to a master's. Not included are our distance learning programmes and taught programmes leading to a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma, as well as research master's such as the MPhil and MRes.‘Home’ and ‘EU’ students only (as classified for fee paying purposes, tuition fee status is determined after submitting an application to study) who are accepted on to an eligible postgraduate taught programme leading to a master's degree, and with a firm focus on academic excellence.For applicants from countries outside the European Union, we also offer a range of highly prestigious international scholarships.

Application Procedure

We have two deadlines after which scholarship decisions will be made:6 April and 27 July 2016.The Masters Excellence Scholarship application form can be accessed once you have submitted an application to study to an eligible postgraduate taught programme leading to a master’s degree. Please note the additional details on our website and in the guidance documents provided.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Last Updated

04 July 2017

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