Optometry / Ophthalmic Science MSc

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

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Part-time / distance learning

Course format

No placements


Course length varies, up to a maximum of 5 years

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Explore postgraduate study at Aston University

Why study a postgraduate degree at Aston University?

A postgraduate degree is a great way to improve your career prospects. As well as opening doors, it builds on your experience, develops your skills, and gives you a competitive edge in a crowded job market.

Course outline and modules

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.

Start date: 1st March 2024

Application deadline: 25 January 2024

Aston School of Optometry 

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

We have a long and established history of providing high-quality, industry-leading academic and professional development qualifications. Acknowledged as one of the leading centres of health sciences within the UK, our optometry programmes are well regarded for the standard of teaching and high levels of student satisfaction they provide.

Staff within the School come from a wide variety of specialist backgrounds with many conducting world-renowned research. We are ranked Top 10 in the UK for research quality (Optometry, Ophthalmics & Orthoptics, (Complete University Guide, 2024) and are home to multiple research groups.

We also have the on-campus Aston Eye Clinic which provides eye examinations and sight tests, along with a range of specialist clinics run by our staff including Children’s and Binocular Vision Clinic, Dry Eye Clinic, Myopia Clinic and Low Vision Clinic.

Flexible framework

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


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.

Each of the following taught modules is worth 20 credits:

The majority of these modules are also available for completion as standalone professional development courses. Please follow the links provided for more details. Optometrists may also choose to complete College of Optometrists-accredited modules in Medical Retina, Glaucoma and Paediatric Eye Care. Equivalent modules are available for non-optometrists also. 


Entry requirements

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

All applicants require:

  • 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.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. English language test requirements may be waived where students’ undergraduate degree was studied in an English speaking country. Find out more about our English language requirements.

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.

More advice on applying to Aston can be found here.

Please note the application deadline for this course is Wednesday 23rd August 2024.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

As a part-time distance learning student, your lectures will be delivered online using Blackboard, our virtual learning environment. The lectures, which are available whenever you chose to view them to ensure maximum flexibility, are accompanied by short formative tests throughout the module. Each module includes a substantial piece of coursework, e.g. 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 academic staff.

Each credit studied is equivalent to 10 learning hours, these learning hours will include but are not limited to lectures, seminars, tutorials, online activity, reading, other independent study and feedback on assignments.


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

Key staff

Programme Director: Dr Preeti K. Bhogal-Bhamra


UK students (2023/24)

£620 per 10 credits

International (2023/24)

£620 per 10 credits

In accordance with University policy, tuition fees may increase in future years of study.



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. Find out more about our scholarships here.

20 per cent postgraduate alumni scholarship

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, others to branch out into new specialisms. Some students also choose to continue onto the Doctor of Optometry DOptom / Doctor of Ophthalmic Science DOphSc where they will complete an advanced research project.

Speak to our Admissions Team

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

Email: pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 10am-4pm BST)

Please click here for guidance on completing the postgraduate application. 

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

Aston Optometry School has been ranked 3rd in the UK for research quality (Ophthalmics, Complete University Guide, 2021) and we are well regarded for our academic and professional qualifications, so you can be sure that your learning experience will be to the highest of quality.

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 academic staff while you’re studying with us.

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