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Clinical Optometry (PgDip)

Providing pathways for those studying single modules or pursuing a university award, this programme uses a combination of convenient distance learning with some contact days.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Optometry is a 120 credit Level 7 qualification. It has been designed to meet the continuing education and training needs of the modern eye care professional whilst at the same time achieving a higher degree.

It 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 Postgraduate Diploma 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.

Distinctive features

  • The opportunity to learn with one of the leading Optometry Schools in Europe, rated excellent for teaching and research.
  • The opportunity to study at the only dedicated postgraduate education centre for optometry in the world.
  • Involvement of research-active staff in course design and delivery.
  • The variety of modules on offer.
  • The flexibility of open learning.

Most outcomes are subject-specific (according to the modules studied) but in broad terms:

  • Critically evaluate knowledge at the forefront of a range of disciplines within optometry.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge in your chosen specialist field.
  • Understand the need for evidence-based practice in optometry.
  • Search for appropriate evidence within the field to support your professional development.
  • Provide or facilitate higher standards of patient care and management within the primary care setting.
  • Demonstrate high standards of clinical decision making.
  • Appreciate the role for optometrists in provision of enhanced services in the community.
  • Appreciate the role for lifelong learning.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration4 years
QualificationPgDip
ModePart-time - distance learning
Other ways to study this course
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Admissions criteria

Students are normally expected to hold either:

  • UK/EU Students: BSc (Hons) Optometry, GOC registration or equivalent national qualification.
  • Overseas Students: Honours degree in optometry or Professional optometric qualification of home country.
  • Non UK/EU Students: Honours degree in optometry or Professional optometric qualification of home country.
  • Further Education Students: (Direct Entry).

Candidates who have studied at a postgraduate level in clinical optometry elsewhere (such as City or Aston Universities) can be considered for access to the programme at Cardiff University. This will be done via accreditation of prior learning (APL), and candidates must submit documentary evidence to support such an application e.g. through records of achievement documents, portfolios, and clinical records.

English language requirements: Minimum University requirements.

Application Deadline: August of each year.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

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).

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

Year two

Year three

Year four

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

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.

How will I be supported?

At the beginning of your course there is a compulsory online induction module. This will help you find your way around Learning Central and it will also provide general information including about the personal tutor system, and how our administration and IT teams will support you.

At the start of each semester you will be advised of who your Module Leader is. At the beginning of each year a Chair of the Student Panel will be appointed and this will be communicated to all students.

Throughout the course Administration Staff, Module Leaders and Tutors, and Personal Tutors are available via email. The Student Support Service at Cardiff University is able to help with many diverse issues should the student feel unable to approach staff in the optometry department.

How will I be assessed?

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.
  • Blogs.

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%.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in this course, you should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate knowledge at the forefront of a range of disciplines within optometry.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge in your chosen specialist field.
  • Understand the need for evidence-based practice in optometry.
  • Search for appropriate evidence within the field to support your professional development.
  • Appreciate the role for optometrists in provision of enhanced services in the community.

You should also be able to practise and develop the following skills:

Academic

  • The ability to search for appropriate information to support their learning.
  • The ability to critically evaluate such information.
  • Experimental design.
  • Data collection and analysis.

Subject specific

  • Clinical decision making with management of glaucoma patients.
  • Higher levels of professional skill and knowledge.
  • Working in peer groups as part of a mentoring system for students in hospital placements.

Generic/employability

  • Independent learning skills.
  • Time management.
  • Project management.
  • Problem solving.
  • Communication and presentation skills.

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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

This course is charged on a per-module basis. For more information please refer to our tuition fees pages.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

This course is charged on a per-module basis. For more information please refer to our tuition fees pages.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

No specific equipment is needed, although, as the majority of your studies take place online, you will need a reliable computer with a good internet connection.