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Biology of Vision - MSc

Course Description

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.

Degree information

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 four core modules (60 credits), one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a research project (90 credits).

Core modules
-Ocular Cell Biology
-Genetics and Epidemiology of Ocular Disease
-Ocular Immunology
-Ocular Development in Health and Disease

Optional modules
-Advanced Visual Neuroscience (30 credits)
-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.


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.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-PG Dip Clinical Ophthalmology, University College London (UCL)
-Research Degree: Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London (UCL)
-Doctor, Mile End Hospital (NHS)
-GP (General Practitioner), Barnet Hospital (NHS)
-Research Associate, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

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

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.

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

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Faye Horner

"The programme at UCL is unique and exactly what I wanted to study. I could not miss out on the opportunity to carry out some research at the Institute of Ophthalmology."


Entry Requirements

Applicants must have a minimum of a second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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