Graduate Diploma in Optometry

Study the Graduate Diploma in Optometry at Aston University, Birmingham and you’ll experience hands-on teaching with real patients, supporting your progression through to the UK pre-registration period. 

Course type

Course format

No placements


10 months 

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Course outline and modules

Learning and teaching 

The Aston Graduate Diploma in Optometry has been designed for students who require additional study in order to progress onto the UK pre-registration period. This includes:

  • Optometry graduates who have not achieved the grades required for automatic progression onto the UK pre-registration period (i.e. students that have not achieved at least a 2:2 in their degree and / or competence in key skills).
  • Practitioners whose certificate of clinical competence has expired.
  • Students from outside the UK who have a recommendation from the General Optical Council and need to obtain an appropriate qualification to work in the UK.

You will study alongside our BSc Optometry students in a supportive environment, designed to enhance your existing knowledge. Working alongside a team of expert teaching staff from Aston Optometry School, who come from a wide variety of healthcare, industry and research backgrounds, you will complete a range of lectures, tutorials and take part in practical/clinical sessions to hone your skills. 

On successful completion of the course, you will be well prepared to embark on your pre-registration year and take the first steps into a rewarding career in optometry. 


Core modules include:

  • Anterior Eye 
  • Binocular Vision and Paediatrics
  • Clinical Practice 3
  • Evidence-based report
  • Ophthalmic Drugs
  • Posterior Eye and General Ophthalmology
  • Professional, Occupational and Low Vision


This course is part of the School of Optometry which sits within the College of Health and Life Sciences.  

Entry Requirements

This programme is available for those who:

  • Have a 3rd or Pass degree classification in a BSc Optometry degree from a UK university.
  • Students from outside the UK may be eligible for this programme if they have a recommendation from the General Optical Council (GOC). Details of how to obtain GOC recommendation can be found here
  • Are practitioners whose certificate of clinical competence has expired.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

Application process

We welcome applications from candidates interested in our courses who have the skills and capability to excel.  All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on all previous and predicted qualifications, experience, references and motivation.

  • Places on the course are very limited and therefore we require all candidates to successfully complete an interview with us prior to any offer being made.
  • A decision on your suitability for the course will be made based on the information provided in your application and your performance at interview.
  • All applicants must provide a Statement of Purpose of at least 500 words showing a clear interest in the programme.
  • This course requires all applicants to uphold professional standards of behaviour.
  • We recommend applicants check with the GOC that successful completion of this course will allow progression into the pre-registration period in their particular circumstances.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching 

The teaching methods you will experience on this course are varied, including a range of lectures, tutorials, and practical and clinical skills sessions.

Learning on the course is also supported with Blackboard, our virtual learning environment used for general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more. Course texts and relevant journals are available from the library either electronically or in book form.

You’ll learn and gain invaluable insight from practising optometrists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists and opticians specialising in dispensing, contact lenses and low vision. They will be there to supervise and support you during your time working in the public service clinics in small groups.

This range of experiences will provide you with not only practical skills but also industry insight and interpersonal skills that will really set you apart in the job market after graduation.


Assessment is by written examination (75%), and assessment of practical and clinical performance (25%). All examinations need to be passed and an overall average of at least 50% achieved for successful completion of this programme.
Please note, your performance in the Graduate Diploma in Optometry will not alter the classification of the optometry degree initially awarded.

Key staff

Head of Optometry: James Wolffsohn

Deputy Head (Education): Dr Amy Sheppard

Programme Director: Dr Maana Aujla 


As an optometry student at Aston, you'll spend most of your time on campus in our Vision Sciences building, which is equipped with a range of facilities and equipment for learning, research and clinical work. This includes our onsite public-facing Optometry clinic. Here you will help to provide patients with a full range of primary eye care services under the close supervision of our clinical staff, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists and dispensing opticians.

You’ll also have access to our refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment.

Professional Accreditation

This course is regulated by the General Optical Council (GOC)

Students must be registered with the GOC before the start of the academic year - university staff are on hand to help you with this during Freshers’ week.  The GOC asks students to disclose any prior criminal convictions that may render them unsuitable for training.

After completion of the Graduate Diploma in Optometry, you must complete a pre-registration period that leads to a series of College of Optometrist exams through the Scheme for Registration.  Success in the College's exams earns you the qualification MCOptom (Member of the College of Optometrists) and allows you to register with the GOC as a fully qualified optometrist. Entry to pre-registration training is regulated by the GOC and minimum entry requirements apply - visit their website for more information.

The Pre-Registration period involves working in-practice, being supported by supervisors, and taking a number of assessments.  You will be responsible for finding your own Pre-Registration post, however the Aston Careers Team and the Optometry careers tutor will be on hand to support you. In addition, as one of the UK's leading Optometry courses, we are regularly targeted by the major high street optometry chains and other companies that offer Pre-Registration posts.


UK students: £16,350

International students/EU: £20,100

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as Home students.

Career Prospects

Our blend of practical learning, world leading research and links with industry mean that our optometry graduates are highly sought after by major eye-care organisations that offer pre-registration posts.

As a graduate you could enter your career in:

  • hospitals
  • community-based or private practices
  • the optical industry
  • optometry research

Recently, Aston graduates from our BSc/MOptom Optometry courses have found rewarding careers at:

  • Boots
  • NHS hospitals
  • Specsavers
  • Tesco
  • Vision Express

Chat with current students