Optometry / Ophthalmic Science


The flexible Optometry / Ophthalmic Science MSc will equip you with the latest knowledge of clinical techniques, advanced instrumentation, ocular abnormality and innovations relevant to your discipline while you continue to work full-time in professional practice.

Location: Online learning

Course type
Part-time, Online / distance learning
Entry requirements

Course length varies, up to a maximum of 5 years

Start date

Course overview

Are you looking to develop your expertise and gain specialist knowledge to put you at the forefront of innovations in your chosen field?

Our flexible Optometry/Ophthalmic Science MSc has been designed for those working in full-time professional practice who want to develop their expertise and gain specialist knowledge while continuing to work.

Delivered online through our innovative framework of flexible credit accumulation, you will be able to select modules suited to your passions and career development goals, as well as the opportunity to further explore a topic of your choice with the MSc dissertation.

Why Optometry / Ophthalmic Science at Aston University?

Internationally recognised research
100% of our health and life sciences research environment has been ranked as being at least internationally excellent, with 50% being world-leading
Research active staff
Learn from passionate research-active academics in specialist areas of Optometry research
Flexible study
Flexible study allowing you to gain a postgraduate certificate, diploma, masters or doctorate qualification
Book and pen
Personalised modules
Select the modules most relevant to your professional practice and an area to study in depth for your dissertation

Course description

Optometry / Ophthalmic Science MSc

Our Optometry / Ophthalmic Science MSc at Aston will develop your expertise in the field and gain specialist knowledge while continuing to work.

arrow icon

What we will provide
First-class teaching delivered by a diverse array of staff with years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs. Our teaching aims to inspire and excite you and bring your course to life.

user icon

What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understanding that intelligence and success comes from applying yourself.  You must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel.

graduate cap icon

What skills we teach
This course covers advanced topics in optometry and ophthalmology, providing you with a well-rounded skill set. You will gain expertise in contact lenses, therapeutics, pharmacology, prescribing, and specialised areas like glaucoma and myopia. The curriculum emphasises practical skills and critical appraisal, preparing graduates to excel in eye care.

signpost icon

Career prospects
This course has been designed for those already in professional practice who want to advance their skills and gain a deeper understanding of their area of speciality, or develop knowledge in new areas.

How you will learn

Our teaching style is modern and innovative, with a hands-on approach that bridges the gap between theory and practice. This enables you to apply your skills as you progress through your course, marrying your learning with practical examples, all designed to prepare you for the world of work.

You will initially enrol on the postgraduate framework of flexible credit accumulation. You will then have the option of taking each of the three stages of the course in order (PgCert, PgDip then MSc), or it is possible to exit the course at the completion of any of these stages, enabling you to be flexible with your level of commitment at the outset. 

Taught credits are valid for 5 years, so students studying for an MSc/PgDip/ PgCert must complete their studies within 5 years of enrolment.

  • PgCert Optometry (60 taught credits)
  • PgDip Optometry (120 taught credits, including those studied as part of the PgCert)
  • MSc Optometry / Ophthalmic Science (120 taught credits, including those previously studied as part of the PgCert and PgDip, plus a 60-credit narrative research review dissertation)
  • Doctor of Optometry DOptom / Doctor of Ophthalmic Science DOphSc

What you will learn

We have a range of specialist modules available, allowing you the flexibility to select those that best suit your interests and future career progression aspirations. As part of the flexible course, UK optometrists may complete the theoretical element of the GOC-approved Independent Prescribing for Optometrists course.

Those choosing to study the full MSc course will also undertake a 60-credit research review dissertation module, supervised by a member of Aston academic staff. This will be based on your discipline and may therefore be non-clinical in nature.

Course objectives

  1. Provides you with opportunities to realise your academic potential through a range of learning experiences.
  2. Encourages you, through a practical approach, to have a passion for Optometry / Ophthalmic Science and an enthusiasm for learning.
  3. Provides an in-depth and high level of knowledge and understanding of the fundamental scientific principles relevant to eye care.
  4. Develop knowledge and understanding of functional and developmental conditions, ophthalmic optics and the dispensing of ophthalmic appliances, including contact lenses, ocular disease and abnormality, pharmaceutics and systemic disease.
  5. Enable you to assimilate scientific knowledge, critically review scientific literature, form clinical judgements based on evidence from test results and patient history and symptoms, and critically analyse your own and others’ work.
  6. Gain knowledge and understanding of routine eye examinations, contact lenses, specialist ophthalmic examination, and professional practice.
  7. Gain skills in maintaining clear, accurate and appropriate records, time management and organisational skills, problem-solving skills relating to qualitative and quantitative information, and data analysis skills to evaluate data generated through audit and research.


Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Basic Research Methods20
Advanced Research Methods20

In addition to 80 credits of the following optional modules:

Module TitleCredits
Ageing Eye Management20
General Ocular Therapeutics20
Health and Patient Psychology20
Medical Retina20
Nutrition and the Eye20
Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (General Optical Council approved Independent Prescribing module)20
Ocular Surface Management20
Prescribing for Disorders of the Eye (General Optical Council approved Independent Prescribing module)20
Refractive Surgery 120
Refractive Surgery 220

Dissertation stage modules

In the dissertation stage, you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Ophthalmic Science Research Review60

We may update our courses to reflect best practices and academic developments. If we do, we’ll let you know of any changes at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. If you have already received an offer, we’ll write to you directly to let you know of the changes.

Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper 2nd class (2:1) honours degree in an ophthalmic or biomedical field from a UK university or the recognised equivalent from an overseas university. More information on international degree requirements can be found on our Aston in your country webpage. Other qualifications (such as Fellowship of the British Dispensing Opticians) will be considered individually, on merit.
  • Must have spent at least two years in clinical practice before entering the course.

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.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Masters Foundation programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.



Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:

Email: professionalcpd@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09.30am-4.30pm)

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students

Annual tuition fees:£650 per 10 credits

International students

Annual tuition fees:£650 per 10 credits

More information on fees

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 UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.


The programme will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments.

Career prospects

This course has been designed for those already in professional practice who want to advance their skills and gain a deeper understanding of their area of speciality, or develop knowledge in new areas.

Like the flexibility of this course, the career progression opportunities it provides is highly personal. Many students choose to undertake this qualification to progress within their selected specialist career path, while others branch out into new specialisms. Some students also choose to continue on the Doctor of Optometry DOptom / Doctor of Ophthalmic Science DOphSc where they will complete an advanced research project.


Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study an Optometry/Ophthalmic Science MSc at Aston?

If you’re already in full time practice, the course provides you with total flexibility to explore areas you’re particularly passionate about in a way that fits around your work life. Select from a range of specialist modules and decide which qualification level (PgCert, PgDip, MSc) best suits your needs. You can even choose to progress onto our Doctor of Optometry DOptom / Doctor of Ophthalmic Science DOphSc

How will I undertake the course remotely?

You’ll study under the direct tutelage of leading academics and receive all of the support you need remotely. Online lectures are used to support your learning, and these are available on our virtual learning environment whenever you chose to view them.

Is there coursework involved and will I be supported?

Yes. Each module includes a substantial piece of coursework, such as a scientific literature review or portfolio of case records. 

The dissertation module involves exploring an area relevant to contemporary practice in an extended literature review or short practical project. You will be supervised by an experienced member of the academic staff while you’re studying with us.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding career support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

Say Hello to students at Aston University

Hello - What would you like to ask us?

Hello! We are a team of current Aston University students from various parts of the world, studying a wide range of postgraduate subjects.

Ask us anything about studying at Aston University.

Chat to our students


Register your interest