Develop practical skills essential for a career as an Optometrist

B510UCAS code 4yrsfull time

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Optometrists are primary eye care specialists trained to examine the eyes and visual system to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular abnormalities and problems with general health. Optometrists work in a number of settings and are found in high street, community, hospital and academic practice.

The Master of Optometry course has been designed in collaboration with the College of Optometrists to provide a Master level program with an integrated placement where students will undertake the College of Optometrists scheme for registration. This course has been designed to align with the requirements of the General Optical Council (GOC).

We are in the process of gaining formal accreditation for this course from the GOC and CoO.

Values and the NHS Constitution

We endeavour to recruit students to our health and social care courses who have the right values base and demonstrate appropriate behaviours. We embed the values of the NHS Constitution throughout our admissions processes and they are an essential part of the curricula. Find out more about the values we look for.

What will I experience?

On this course you will:

  • Engage in simulated training tasks before putting your learning into action during your clinical placement in years 3 and 4.
  • Observe, examine, assess and engage with real patients in a number of healthcare settings, supported by experienced practitioners
  • Develop academic research skills to enhance your future practice
  • Contribute to practice-based projects

What opportunities might it lead to?

Optometrists are qualified to examine the eyes in order to detect disease and defects in the eyes and visual system. Optometrists can choose to practice in a variety of roles such as:

  • High street practice in a multiple or independent setting
  • Hospital eye clinics
  • Specialist practice
  • Academic / research roles
  • Charity roles overseas

It's not too late to apply for 2017

Find out more

Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
4 years full time
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
128 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include a minimum of 2 A levels in a Science subject. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/CI students
2016/17 entry: £9,000 p/a*
2017/18 entry: £9,250 p/a*

Course is not eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan

International Students
2016/17 entry: £12,700 p/a*
2017/18 entry: £13,300 p/a*

*Subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

023 9284 5566
School of Health Sciences and Social Work
Programme specification


Health Sciences and Social Work

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The clinical and real-life learning approach that will equip you for your chosen career
  • Our simulated environments that mean you’ll gain and practise the skills you’ll need before entering the workplace 
  • Approachable lecturers, many of whom are teacher practitioners

Browse all courses in Health Sciences and Social Work

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

In your first year you will be introduced to the core sciences underpinning optometry, including anatomy and physiology as well as having the opportunity to develop your techniques in the routine clinical skills used in practice. In addition, you will develop your skills in communication and evidence-based practice.

Core units in this year include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Foundations of Scientific Inquiry
  • Dispensing and Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Clinical Optometry Skills 1
  • Foundations of Optical Science

Year two

In your second year you will further enhance your knowledge and skills in the assessment and management of patients as well as being introduced to the management of the contact lens patient. In addition to more usual teaching approaches, you will have the opportunity to work with “simulated patients”, in a safe learning environment.

Core units in this year include:

  • Research methods
  • Altered Physiology
  • Improving Standards of Care
  • Ocular Anatomy and Applied Physiology
  • Contact Lenses
  • Clinical Optometry Skills 2

Year three

In your third year you will be introduced to clinical practice within the university setting, providing primary eye care to patients under supervision of qualified university staff. At the end of teaching period one of the 3rd year, successful students will be issued a certificate of competence allowing you to proceed to clinical placement.

Core units in this year include:

  • Ocular Pathology and Therapeutics
  • Binocular Vision and Paediatrics
  • Clinical Optometry Skills 3
  • Clinical Optometry
  • Optical Placement 1

Year four

In your final year, you will undertake a further placement, from September to February, after which you will return to the university to complete your academic studies, which includes employer led conferences and project work.

Core units in this year include:

  • Optical Placement 2
  • Business and Management Skills
  • Advanced Optical Skills and Practice
  • Optical Research Project

Teaching and Assessment

The course offers a blended approach to learning and a variety of assessment methods. We use lectures, self-directed study, including our virtual learning environment and also patient simulation episodes to support your learning. The course content will be delivered at the University and in placement host organisations to help embed theory in practice.

How are you assessed?

There will be assessments of theory and practice throughout the course. These include:

  • Academic work including essays, reports, case studies and reflective accounts.
  • Performance based clinical practice assessments including portfolios and simulation
  • In-class tests and examinations
  • Presentations and scientific posters
  • Work-based projects
  • Online learning activities

As is usual practice, the approval from the GOC is currently provisional. This means that recruitment to the programme does not guarantee entry to the GOC Register and you may be required to undertake additional assessments through an alternative GOC approved education provider.


Tutor's View

Optometry Tutor

With an ageing population, the demand for Eye Care services is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Our new integrated Master in Optometry course is designed to ensure graduates are confident and have the necessary skill-set to make a valuable contribution to the workforce. The University of Portsmouth has always prioritised a practical approach to teaching and has built a new clinic with state-of-the-art equipment, creating an innovative learning environment for our Optometry students.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Centre for Simulation in Health and Care

Our aim is to enhance your learning and experiences through the use of innovative technologies. In the early years of the programme, you will practise profession-specific skills on our state of the art teaching laboratory, being introduced to clinical skills and visits to local clinical practice from the outset of first year. In the 3rd and 4th year, you will see real patients our clinic facility to ensure that you meet the requirements of the College of Optometrists and the General Optical Council. Such work-based learning provides a great way to prepare you for future employment.

Practice placements

After you have demonstrated that you have met the stage 1 competencies (around Christmas of 3rd year) you will be placed in clinical practice and undertake the College of Optometrists Pre-Registration programme. During this time, you will experience primary eye care practice and hospital practice, completing your placement with the support of your clinical supervisor and the University of Portsmouth. During each practice placement, you will return to the university on a regular basis, to support and consolidate your learning.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider


You will be expected to pay for travel costs to and from your placements. This will be in the region of £50. However, some funding may be available from the School to help cover these costs. We will issue you with equipment for your placements, free of charge, at the start of the programme (fees of £80 - £900 apply if the equipment is not returned in good condition at the end of the course).


You will be expected to pay for travel costs to and from your placements, which will vary depending on the location and mode of transport. This will be in the region of £50 - £500. However, some funding may be available from the School to help cover these costs.

You are required to be registered as members of the General Optical Council (GOC) for the duration of the course. This will cost you £25 each year. It is your responsibility to ensure your retention on the GOC’s records, failure to do this will lead to you being unable to continue the course.

The School will provide you with all the equipment required for you to learn the clinical skills needed in optometric practice during years 1 and 2 of the course. In year 3 of the course, and when on placement, you will be required to purchase your own clinical equipment. This will cost a maximum of £1700.

Further information on Optometry can be accessed on these websites:

GOC student requirements

College of Optometrists pre-registration scheme and fees

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

Optometrists are primary health care specialists trained to examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormalities and problems with general health. In light of the ageing population, it is likely that the role of the optometrist will evolve, so that they provide more community based care and management of long term eye problems. Our course focuses on developing competent, clinically excellent optometrists who aim to provide comprehensive eye-care to their patients. Optometrists have a wide range of career options available to them.

Roles our graduates could take include:

  • High street multiple practice
  • Independent community practice
  • Specialist practice, including complex contact lenses or sports vision
  • Extended role within the hospital eye service
  • Advisory roles within the optical industry
  • Research and academia
  • Managerial
  • Volunteer and charity work

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

This course aims to develop clinicians who provide comprehensive eye care services in a number of settings. Work based learning forms a major component of this course, both in teaching environments and supervised clinical practice. You will spend half of your 3rd and 4th year in practice placements and study at the University will complement and enhance your learning in the workplace. You will learn to examine and assess the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormalities and problems with general health. When on placement, in order to make the most of your learning, you must expect to engage is some weekend working. You are expected to be an active partner in this learning. Considerable travelling may be required for your practice placements.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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