Optometrists are trained to examine the visual system and establish its health through investigating for defects in sight, ocular diseases and problems relating to general health. Where necessary, they provide a refractive correction using optical appliances such as spectacles and contact lenses.
This degree allows you to gain the knowledge and skills required of an optometrist to satisfy the eye care needs of the public. As part of this degree, you will undertake a Preliminary Foundation Year and will need to pass each module in order to progress to the three year Optometry BSc.
This course also aims to provide you with the knowledge and transferable skills needed by any student of the health and life sciences. This approach prepares you for the changes in the profession, and it enables you to undertake and enjoy lifelong learning and continuing professional development. Such an approach means you will not be isolated from other career options.
GOC registration is required in order to practice optometry. Achieving a Second Division Honours Degree (2:2) or better and achieving a Certificate of Professional Competence at Stage 1 will allow you to enter your pre-registration placement. A Certificate of Professional Competence at Stage 2 (the end of your pre-registration placement) is required to be placed on the GOC Register.
This course contains syllabus recommendations from the General Optical Council (GOC) and the Optometric professional body, the College of Optometrists.
Provides another pathway to become an optometrist
Ranked 1st in 2018 and 2017 for optometry in the Complete University Guide
High graduate employment (98.2% in 2018, 100% in 2017 and 2016) within six months of graduating (UniStats);
£22 million purpose-built optometry facility with our own eye clinic;
Clinical practice of optometry is included from your first week providing vital hands-on experience. You will also make hospital visits and attend lectures;
Cardiff students consistently obtain the highest pass rates in the UK-wide professional body examinations run by the College of Optometrists.
We scored overall satisfaction score of 100% in the 2018 National Student Survey.
Accredited by the General Optical Council (GOC).
|Next intake||September 2020|
|Typical places available||The School typically has approx 20 places available.|
|Typical applications received||The School typically receives approx 100 applications.|
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ABB-BBB to include a maximum of one science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Maths, or Physics) . Please note, General Studies or Critical Thinking will not be accepted.
Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
DDM in the RQF Extended Diploma in Applied Science with Distinction in each of the Core/Mandatory Units.
IB Diploma with 32-31 points including one HL subject at grade 6 or 665 in 3 Higher Level subjects. For applicants without a science subject or with one science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Maths, or Physics) .
Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.
At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.
At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.
At least 62 overall with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.
Trinity ISE II/III
II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.
Other accepted qualifications
Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.
Five GCSEs at grade C/4 including English and Maths. Applicants may be required to participate in an interview.
UK and EU students (2020/21)
Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.
Students from outside the EU (2020/21)
Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.
Course specific equipment
At the start of the course we will loan you the equipment necessary for the programme. A £220 deposit is required for this equipment and will be fully refunded at the end of the programme provided the equipment is returned in good order. All other equipment is provided within our clinical facilities.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
Following the preliminary year, this course takes three years of full-time study, with each year divided into autumn and spring semesters. All modules are taught across both semesters, with coursework and practical assessments distributed throughout semester time, and final written assessments in the spring examination period.
The preliminary year gives you basic clinical experience, providing hands-on work in preparation for the remainder of the course.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.
You will study six modules during the preliminary year. This prepares you for subsequent years with relevant background scientific knowledge and by encouraging you to develop academic skills necessary for success in a science-based discipline at undergraduate level. You will study the following modules:
- Human Development
- Systemic Pathology in Optometry
- Biochemistry for Optometry
- Optometric Physics
- Introductory Optometry
- Written and Communication Skills
Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory practicals. You will also be introduced to clinical and dispensing practical work during the year.
In year one you will discover a new way of life and a new way of learning. This year is designed to give you a sound foundation in the discipline, with clinical and dispensing techniques introduced at the beginning to enhance your clinical skills. Modules include lectures, tutorials, and clinical practice. Particular attention is given to developing the academic skills you need for a university undergraduate degree.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Study Skills for Optometry||OP1108||10 credits|
|Basic Clinical Techniques||OP1201||20 credits|
|Optometric Dispensing and Appliances||OP1202||20 credits|
|Geometrical and Visual Optics||OP1203||20 credits|
|From Cells to Systems||OP1205||20 credits|
|Ocular Anatomy and Physiology||OP1206||20 credits|
|Physiology of Vision||OP1207||10 credits|
Year two develops all the main themes of the optometry degree. You will receive lectures on binocular vision, contact lenses, physiology of vision and pharmacology. Clinical studies and dispensing techniques will continue and during this year you will, with close supervision, be introduced to your first patient.
In year three modules in advanced optometric topics are introduced. You will carry out a staff supervised project which may be laboratory, clinical or library based. About eight hours per week will be spent with patients in our clinic, and in hospital clinics. Lecture courses include abnormal ocular conditions, binocular vision, visual psychophysics, and paediatric optometry, which are designed to complete the integrated course.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Optometric Practice||OP3101||20 credits|
|Binocular Vision and Special Needs||OP3103||20 credits|
|Abnormal Ocular Conditions||OP3104||20 credits|
|Low Vision and Contact Lenses||OP3202||20 credits|
|Occupational Optometry, Law and Business||OP3205||10 credits|
|Investigative Optometry and Case Studies||OP3206||10 credits|
|Research in Optometry and Vision Science||OP3207||20 credits|
Learning and assessment
How will I be taught?
Teaching at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences has been independently assessed as 'Excellent' and it has been awarded the highest category of excellence for research. Our outstanding facilities include new and refurbished clinics and laboratories, all fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.
We are extremely proud of our undergraduate teaching and its research contribution to knowledge of how the eye and visual system work. Positive influence of active research on student learning cannot be emphasised enough. New concepts and ideas filter down rapidly to ensure that students are up to date, and teaching is fresh and vibrant. Active involvement of staff in research also ensures that the teaching programme is flexible and constantly changing. This equips graduates with the skills needed in a rapidly evolving profession.
Most of the academic content is delivered by lectures, which are typically supported by small-group seminars or tutorials. There are also practical elements to the course which are typically lab based in the early years. As you progress, more emphasis falls on supported and supervised clinical learning, with exposure to real patient episodes. This forms a significant proportion of teaching in the final year.
The Optometry course at Cardiff is designed to be stimulating, comprehensive and relevant to a career in Optometry. It will provide you with the scientific and clinical knowledge needed as a foundation to becoming a fully qualified and practising Optometrist. Emphasis is placed on practical aspects and students spend considerable time in the purpose-built clinic. Our clinic is open to members of the public who require eye examination, as well as children and adults with special needs.
How will I be supported?
You will be allocated a personal tutor and additional support is available from the School’s Senior Personal Tutor. You will be able to access support materials either via Learning Central (Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment) or from study packs developed for selected modules.
We are proud of the feedback we provide to students on their performance in all types of assessment, and recognise its importance in developing and improving student ability. Where appropriate, generic feedback is given to the student group on issues identified across the group as a whole. Generic feedback may be delivered in lectures, labs or clinics related to the coursework or online. Alternatively, one-to-one feedback on coursework or exam performance is available as required. In the final year, direct and immediate one-to-one feedback is given on all patient episodes, and feedback is also given on all assessments of clinical competencies.
How will I be assessed?
In all years of the programme, there are end-of-year written exams. All exams must be passed to gain the necessary credits for progressing to the next year, or for graduation.
Virtually all modules also have coursework credits, which may be based upon a single component or multiple components. You must pass the coursework component for each module to progress to the next year, or to graduate. The nature of these components changes as you progress. In the first year, emphasis is on written lab reports and/or essays, class tests, as well as online tests and basic practical and clinical skills.
In year two and year three, which both contribute to your final degree classification, the emphasis of coursework shifts to reflect your clinical performance. Multiple examples of practical ability and professional competence are assessed by direct observation of clinical practice. Lab reports and/or essays, class tests, as well as online tests continue to be used when appropriate. In the final year, this includes assessment of real-patient episodes and demonstration of the required clinical competencies.
The University welcomes applications from disabled students and we may be able to offer alternative assessment methods. However, this may not always be possible, for example where strictly specified procedures are required to demonstrate a recognised clinical competency. Such competence standards may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments, but you should refer to the module descriptions for details.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These include all of the ‘Stage 1 Core Competencies’ described by the General Optical Council as necessary for a student entering the next stage of their clinical training, the pre-registration placement
You should also demonstrate the ability to:
- effectively communicate with patients and colleagues, particularly by keeping comprehensive and accurate clinical records and writing clear referral letters
- flexibly address clinical problems of an unfamiliar nature
- understanding the application of IT to practice management
- review the evidence-base for clinical interventions and having sufficient statistical knowledge to critically evaluate clinical research findings
- critically review major issues relevant to the future development of optometric practice.
Computing, statistics and communication skills developed should mean that you are able to:
- clearly maintain accurate and appropriate records
- effectively communicate by written and oral means and relate to various social and ethnic groups
- evaluate data generated through audit and research
- critically evaluate relevant literature
- effectively manage your time and organise your workload
- solve problems using data manipulation and other technologies.
As a result of engaging fully with this course, you should have the following:
- knowledge and understanding of the fundamental scientific principles relevant to the practice of optometry in the context of primary eye care. You should be able to apply these principles to the following subject areas:
- human Biology – the detection, recognition, diagnosis, prevention and management of systemic diseases;
- ocular and Visual Biology – detection, diagnosis, recognition, prevention and management of ocular disease and trauma;
- visual Perception and Psychology – the perceptual and behavioural aspects of critical periods in visual development and interpersonal communication in optometric procedures;
- optics – the detection, treatment, prevention and management of refractive, oculomotor and sensory integrative conditions.
- ability to examine patients safely and competently under the supervision of an experienced
- optometrist, applying knowledge of basic science and their undergraduate clinical experience to the prevention, diagnosis and management of visual disorders;
- awareness of the normal development of the visual system and the disruptive effects on development of congenital and infantile abnormalities;
- competence in the diagnosis and management of functional and developmental visual anomalies of a non-pathological nature, such as refractive errors, presbyopia, heterophoria, and heterotropia;
- familiarity with the design, materials and optical principles of spectacles, low vision aids and contact lenses.You will be able to dispense these appliances, instruct patients in their use, monitor progress and assist patients to achieve maximum visual performance;
- ability to advise patients on occupational, sporting and protective ophthalmic appliances and to dispense the appropriate appliances to the required standards;
- understanding of the optical principles of widely used ophthalmic instruments;
- knowledge to distinguish morbid ocular and visual conditions from normal variations;
- ability to use principles of visual physiology and pharmacology in the management of ocular abnormality;
- ability to make appropriate management decisions including referral for medical opinion;
- understanding of the general principles of pharmaceutics, pharmacology and toxicology, and familiarity with common systemic medications;
- ability to monitor and report on the ocular side effects of systemic medications;
- detailed knowledge of the pharmacological principles underlying the use of drugs in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease, and the law relating to the sale and supply of ophthalmic preparations;
- understanding of common systemic diseases that may have ocular manifestations and awareness of adverse ocular reactions that may be induced by medical management of common systemic diseases;
- an awareness of your role within the NHS and the healthcare framework;
- ability to sustain lifelong learning and continuing professional development.
Careers and placements
Qualified optometrists can choose a career in private practice, the hospital eye service, universities conducting research and teaching or various options in industry. Registration also opens possibilities to work abroad as an optometry qualification from the UK is highly regarded worldwide.
In 2015, 99% of the School's graduates were in employment following graduation, while others were engaged in further study or took time out to travel. Employers included universities, various NHS Trusts, multiple and independent optometrists and companies such as Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Cardiff University optometry graduates are significantly ahead of the national average in gaining their professional qualifications. To make the transition from a student to a professional optometrist, trainees are required to complete a pre-registration period governed by the College of Optometrists. The 2015 average pass rate for graduates from Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences is 92%, compared to the national average of 74%.
After graduating you must complete a period of supervised practice if you wish to register with the UK's General Optical Council (GOC). This is called your pre-registration placement and you must gain at least a Lower Second Class degree (2:2) to enter this training. Our graduates rarely have difficulty securing pre-registration positions, a process that begins in your second year. Many employers visit us to recruit future graduates, and are familiar with the high calibre of Cardiff students. Several of our graduates are successful each year in gaining much sought after hospital pre-registration positions.
You will become UK qualified after satisfactory completion of the pre-registration period (normally 12 months), where you will undertake work-based assessments to demonstrate Stage 2 competencies, and which will conclude with a final assessment. The pre-registration placement and final assessment is administered by the College of Optometrists.
- Vision Sciences Researcher
During the course you will have extensive clinical placements within our public Eye Clinic. You will also gain experience through placements in hospital eye departments.
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