The course aims to foster advanced knowledge in clinical issues for optometrists, with an emphasis on how research informs practice and the evolution of eye care services and capabilities. The programme recognises and incorporates Professional Certificates from the College of Optometrists. Modules have been designed with contributions from guest experts from ophthalmology, clinicians from hospital settings and other specialists. A number of CET points are available for optometrists undertaking these modules.
This course is delivered by distance learning, on a part-time basis, so is designed for working optometrists to fit their learning around their other commitments.
Graduates of this course will be equipped with skills to undertake extended clinical roles, promote the development of eye care within their region. They will develop critical thinking skills to evaluate and undertake research, and may go on to further research endeavours including doctoral research training.
Ulster University is experienced in delivering courses through distance learning and has bespoke support and online delivery of teaching through the virtual learning environment, BlackBoard Learn. Distance learning offers the student the advantage of learning at their pace and preferred time, and teaching materials have been specifically developed with the distance learner in mind, ensuring access is simple and comprehensive. Support for distance learning students is at hand daily from online tutors and the e-Learning Support Unit at Ulster.
The MSc course is designed and structured so you will have the opportunity to choose a particular area of study that interests you, building from a series of Professional certificates and then going on to study ophthalmic public health and advanced retinal imaging or choosing to undertake the Theory of Independent prescribing for optometrists The skills of self-motivation, independent learning, problem solving and developing and communicating scientific arguments are encouraged and developed through a programme which emphasizes critical thinking and discussion of issues through online media.
Students may not wish to undertake the whole MSc (180 credits), and there are options to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCERT), which amounts to 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDIP), at 120 credits.
For those completing the MSc programme, a research project will be undertaken by the student in an area of their choosing with support and guidance from an academic supervisor. In addition, another member of staff will coordinate this module and provide generic support. This project will be a significant and novel piece of research.
This is a distance learning course and students access learning material via a virtual learning environment. 'elearning' is an excellent route for postgraduate learning as it gives unique flexibility and ownership of how and when you learn. It is a different experience from traditional face to face learning and is especially suited to adults who like to learn independently and are self-motivated. This course has been specifically designed with the elearner in mind, so learning material is appropriately displayed and students are encouraged to participate in discussion boards, and to contribute to online chats and are given regular small tasks to complete so learning is broken down into manageable segments.
Graduates will gain a Master's in Advanced Clinical Optometry from a UK university designed to enhance their academic and professional development. Graduates may use skills obtained to effectively promote and develop eye care in their area, and take part in enhanced eye care services. Graduates will gain valuable experience of undertaking research activities and producing high quality scientific reports. These skills will support the graduates who wish to develop their research careers.