Optometrist examining a young patients eye



Please note there are no vacancies on this course for September 2019

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Allied Health Professions
Glenside Campus
Three years
Programme leader:
Dr Rebekah Stevens
Key fact:
Benefit from highly specialist onsite optometry facilities and extensive placement opportunities, to get you ready and confident for your pre-registration year.

Page last updated 14 August 2019


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 this subject 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 balanced mix of theory and placement experience in Year one and Year two, and a clinic placement at a hospital eye service in 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 maximum contact time with patients from year one onwards, with extensive clinical experience at our onsite clinic at the University, and external placements each year with a wide range of employers.

Gain real-world experience with varied placement opportunities, such as involvement in hospitals, high street practices, lens manufacturers or optical laboratories.

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

Accreditations and partnerships:



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.

Year three

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.

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 onsite clinic time from Year one onwards.

Work on your own research projects, case studies and reports. Study with Bristol Business School to learn about running your own optical business. 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 regulated by the General Optical Council.


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 a number of weeks on placement in each year, with the option to gain experience across different optometry settings, including hospitals, private practice and specialist clinics.

Placements will draw on our close links with optometry employers in the region.

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.


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.

The University of West of England currently holds provisional approval from the GOC to provide the BSc (Hons) in Optometry programme. Whilst under provisional approval, students recruited on to the programme are not guaranteed entry to the GOC Register and may be required to undertake additional assessments through an alternative GOC approved education provider in the event that any aspect of the programme when delivered does not satisfy the GOC standards.


Full time

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year473
Home/EU- Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee13000
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1625

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.


We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2019. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 136
  • GCSE: For all applicants, a minimum of five subjects at Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, to include English Language, Mathematics and Double Science or Physics, or equivalent. We don't accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy 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: Two A levels (AB grade) must come from either Maths, use of maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology, applied science or psychology. You can include points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) towards overall tariff. You must have at least three A-Levels.
  • 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: To include twelve units (six in each) in Maths, use of maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology, applied science or psychology. We don't accept BTEC qualifications in Sport (Performance and Excellence), Sport (Development, Coaching and Fitness), or Sport and Exercise Science.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; 45 credits at level 3 of which 30 must be at distinction level and come from at least two specialisms (15 in each) including maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology and psychology. The remaining 15 level 3 credits must be at merit.
  • Baccalaureate IB: At least Grade 6 in two higher level subjects from Maths, use of maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology, applied science or psychology.

Entry requirements

Dispensing Opticians

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

We recognise the individual nature of each application and our typical offer should be viewed as a guide. UWE Bristol welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. We will consider evidence of your relevant personal, professional or educational experience where it demonstrates an ability and potential to succeed on the course. Please include details of any relevant experience in your application.

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.

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.

As well as meeting the academic entry requirements, you will need to complete the Occupational Health Questionnaire.

Health assessment/declaration/vaccinations

You must be in good health and up-to-date with your routine immunisations eg tetanus, diphtheria, polio and MMR. If you are offered a place, 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 and immunisations (tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, varicella, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV antibodies) and be prepared to have all required vaccinations. 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.

Disclosure of criminal background

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply and all convictions, including those which are spent, must be disclosed. This is in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. If you are offered a place, you must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will be required to complete a disclosure application form. All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

Selection event

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a selection event. Your performance will be assessed during all activities, by a team of assessors. Successful applicants will be offered a place.

Offer Types

If you have not received your exam results, your offer from us will be conditional and will be subject to you achieving the tariff points/grades required for your course.

If you have already satisfied the academic entry requirements of your chosen course, you are likely to be made an unconditional offer. Please note that we will only make unconditional offers if you have already achieved your qualifications.

To make sure our applicants are academically prepared for when they start their studies here, we do not make unconditional offers to those that are still studying their Level 3 qualifications (such as A-levels, BTEC, Access or equivalent). We hope that this will encourage our applicants to value their academic achievements as much as we do.

Read more about entry requirements.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.  

For further information

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