BSc(Hons) Optometry

An Optometry degree student doing an eye examination with optometry equipment
Entry year
Course code
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Tariff points
Glenside Campus
Three years
Programme leader
Rebecca Allen

This programme is currently undergoing a curriculum review due for approval in January 2023. It is anticipated that the review will consider changes to the placement hours offered.

This course is open for applications

Page last updated 26 May 2023


Benefit from highly specialist on-site optometry facilities and multiple placement opportunities, to get you ready and confident for your pre-registration year.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study optometry?

An optometrist is a highly skilled health professional trained to provide specialist eye care services, including sight tests. They work in hospitals, the community and other related settings.

There is a growing need for people who can provide these services, particularly as the NHS evolves and other providers move into this area.

Studying optometry will set you on the path for a rewarding career as a health professional, with good employment and salary prospects open to well-trained graduates.

Why UWE Bristol?

BSc(Hons) Optometry is a specialist bachelor's degree that will give you the in-depth academic and practical grounding you need to go into your pre-registration year as a trainee optometrist.

With a mix of theory, practical and placement experience in Year one and Year two, and a hospital eye service placement in your Final year, you'll be set up with the skills, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to move forward confidently into this thriving profession.

Benefit from real-world experience and maximum contact time with patients from Year one onwards, with extensive clinical experience at our on-site clinic at the University, and external placements each year.

Hone your clinical skills in our brand new £3.3 million optometry training suite, and treat real patients in our specialist on-site clinic.

Study all the key areas you need to work in this field, including anatomy, physiology, optics, lenses, dispensing, clinical practice, regulation, ocular pathology, and patient contact.

In your Final year you'll also study more advanced areas such as medical retina and glaucoma. We've made sure you'll cover content from The College of Optometrists higher qualifications, to give you a valuable head start in your career.

Graduate in a strong and confident position to move into your pre-registration year.

Where can it take me?

Optometry is a solid and growing profession, and a UK optometry qualification is highly regarded around the world.

After completing your pre-registration year, you can take your skills into lots of different areas, including a hospital environment or private optometry practice, or a related area of work such as optics research or eye care services for charities working in developing countries.

You could progress onto a master's in optometry, or enhance your clinical skills further by undertaking higher qualifications with The College of Optometrists.



Year one

You will study:

  • Anatomy and Physiology for Optometry
  • Vision and Optics
  • Clinical Skills 1
  • Investigative Techniques
  • Anterior Eye and Contact Lenses 1.

Year two

You will study:

  • Anterior Eye and Contact Lenses 2
  • Enhanced Clinical Skills 1
  • Binocular Vision and Paediatrics
  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics 1
  • Clinical Skills 2
  • Professional, Occupational and Business Studies.

Final year

You will study:

  • Clinical Skills 3
  • Posterior Eye
  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2
  • Optometry Dissertation.

Plus, one optional module from:

  • Advanced Glaucoma Studies
  • Medical Retina Studies.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

"The opportunity to gain work experience in community opticians and hospital settings was insightful. It opened my eyes to future career paths while allowing me to network with potential employers. Since graduating, I've become a pre-registration optometrist with Specsavers." Sammy, 2021 Optometry graduate.

Learning and Teaching

Through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical workshops, we'll cover all the main areas of optometry including geometric and physical optics, human and visual biology, contact lenses, therapeutics, clinical skills and ocular pathology.

You'll develop and hone your clinical skills using problem-based learning through different scenarios, and regular placements and on-site clinic time from Year one onwards.

Work on your own research projects, case studies and reports.

Develop transferable skills in communication, critical analysis, research and keeping clinical records.

Learn to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, made up of GPs, nurses and ophthalmologists.

You'll be taught by highly experienced optometrists involved in optometry research. They'll share the latest developments and insights with you to help you move forward confidently in your career.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year


You will have written exams, practical assessments (eg OSCEs), vivas, projects, case studies and other assignments to assess your knowledge and clinical skills.

We'll be making sure that your learning covers the core competencies as specified by the General Optical Council (GOC). The assessments will be spread throughout the year to help balance your workload.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year


Professional accreditation

This course is approved by the General Optical Council.


UWE Bristol's geographical area for placement provision covers the whole of the South, South West and West of England. Placements across this region help support and provide a wealth of clinical experience across many areas within the NHS healthcare service and the Private Voluntary and Independent sector. These placements are vital to meet the professional regulatory body standards in practice for our affiliated health and social care courses.

To access this variety of opportunities within the health and social care courses, there's  an expectation that all students at times will have to travel across large areas. In some cases this can be more than 50 miles away  and may be outside of normal working hours due to the nature of shift work on some courses. 

When considering your application to these courses, you must ensure you have means to travel to your placement location at unsociable hours, and/or funds available to secure short-term accommodation options to participate in your placement, if required.

Clinical placements will give you a variety of work experiences, helping you make informed career choices and putting you in a strong position for employment.

You'll spend time on placement in each year, with the option to gain experience across different optometry settings, including hospitals, private practice and specialist clinics.

You'll get help to find a placement, and support throughout, from programme staff, our dedicated professional placements coordinator and award-winning careers service.

Study facilities

You'll be based at Glenside Campus, where you'll benefit from the very latest facilities, including our dedicated optometry training facility, with simulation facilities where you can develop and refine your clinical skills.

You'll also spend time working in our onsite clinic, where you'll become familiar with the latest optometry equipment and get experience treating real patients.

Glenside Campus has one of the best health and social care libraries in the country with a huge selection of books, journals, audio-visual materials and specialist health and social care software.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Get a feel for the Health Professions facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.



An excellent range of options for all of the Bristol campuses and the city centre.


A stunning city for student living with all the qualities to make you want to stay.

Sports, societies and activities

There is more to your experience here than study. Choose to make the most of it and try new things.

Health and Wellbeing

We provide support in the way you need it.

Campus and facilities

Discover our campuses and the wealth of facilities provided for our students.


Careers / Further study

You'll need to complete your degree with a 2:2 to move onto your pre-registration year as a trainee optometrist. You'll need to successfully complete your pre-registration assessed clinical training in practice to be able to register as a practising optometrist with the General Optical Council (GOC).

Throughout this course, you must be registered with the General Optical Council and follow their standards. Without registration or if your registration lapses, you will not be able to carry out any practical work, and your assessments may not count towards your final award. This may therefore prevent your progression.

We'll support you to arrange your pre-registration year, arrange employer introductions and provide interview practice.

You will only receive a GOC approved award having met both the academic and professional (competency and patient experience) requirements:

  • Sufficient academic credits have been attained
  • The required amount and type of patient experience has been obtained
  • The required GOC core competencies have been achieved
  • A 2:2 classification (or equivalent standard of 50% at master's level) has been attained
  • You have maintained registration with the GOC for the duration of you study

As a registered student optometrist, you'll be well placed to seek work in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, private practice,lens manufacturers, optical laboratories or charities providing eye care services around the world.

You could also go into research, or progress onto a master's in optometry. As you become more experienced, you may choose to enhance your clinical skills further by completing higher qualifications with The College of Optometrists.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

UWE Bristol currently holds approval from the General Optical Council (GOC) to provide the BSc(Hons) Optometry course.


Supplementary fee information

Additional costs

This refers to items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 136
  • Contextual tariff: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 or above in English Language or Literature, Mathematics and Double Science or Physics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy as alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement:

    If your first language isn't English, you need an IELTS score of at least 7 overall. Individual scores for each section of the test must not be lower than 6, with the exception of the 'Speaking' section, where a minimum score of 7 is required. . For full details of the language test, contact the British Council. The University's list of alternative English Language qualifications doesn't apply.

  • A-level subjects: Grade A and B from two of the following: Maths, Use of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science or Psychology.
  • Relevant subjects: The following qualifications are also approved for entry onto this course as equivalent to Level 3: ABDO Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing, BSc (Hons) Ophthalmic Dispensing (grade third class or above), City and Islington College Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing - 65% or above.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: You will need a minimum of ten units across two subjects from Maths, Use of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science or Psychology. You may be asked to do more based on the size of your units. Please list the units you are studying in your application. For further advice on acceptable units, please email us. We do not accept BTEC qualifications in Sport (Performance and Excellence), Sport (Development, Coaching and Fitness), or Sport and Exercise Science.

    For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements page.

  • Access: 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction in at least 2 of the following subjects (15 in each): Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology and Psychology.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum Grade 6 in two Higher Level subjects from Maths, Use of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science or Psychology.
  • Irish Highers: H1 in two of the following: Maths, Use of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science or Psychology.
  • T Levels: You must be studying Science. For further advice on acceptable subjects please email us.

Entry requirements

We require evidence of recent assessed academic study within the last three years.

Additional requirements

All applicants are required to complete:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check*
  • Health Checks*

*All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

About your Health Checks

Offers of places are subject to Occupational Health Clearance and students are expected to disclose pre-existing and historical health conditions. You must be in good health and up-to-date with all routine immunisations that are required for working in health and social care settings. 

If you are offered a place on this course, you will be required to complete a questionnaire and must be prepared to undergo a medical examination. You will also be required to confirm your status in respect of a number of infectious diseases (tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, varicella, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV antibodies) and be prepared to have all required vaccinations. 

Please note that the list of required vaccinations may change, in response to advice from the Department of Health. If your vaccinations are not up-to-date, this will affect your ability to continue on your course. If you have any concerns with regards to vaccinations please raise this at the point of application.

Suitable applicants with Fellow of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians status will be considered on an individual basis

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to travel and accommodation in respect of placements. If you have any questions regarding additional costs, please visit an Information Point on the university campus.

Students are required to purchase their own dispensing rulers (approximately £16 at the time of publication) and may also wish to purchase their own equipment (retinoscope, ophthalmoscope, trial frame, volk lens, budgie stick and pen torch approximately £1,500) for additional practice. The Optometry team will provide opportunities for you to purchase discounted equipment directly from the manufacturers should you wish to do so.

Selection process

Applicants will be required to complete an online selection exercise and a video interview. For more details on the process, please visit our selection page.

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country Information pages. If you are an international student and do not meet the academic requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

If you are applying to study at UWE Bristol and require additional support to meet our English language requirements, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

Deferred entry

We do not accept deferred entry applications for this course.

Read more about entry requirements.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.  

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information


UWE Main Campus