MSci Optometry

Entry year
Course code
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Tariff points
Glenside Campus
Four years
Programme leader
Dr Angharad Hobby

This course is open for applications

The UK regulator for Optometry, the General Optical Council (GOC) has published revised standards for all optometry providers in the UK. As a result, the current BSc(Hons) course is being adapted and will be replaced by this 4 year integrated Masters (MSci) course for students starting in September 2024, subject to noting by the GOC.

Page last updated 3 May 2024


Benefit from our highly specialist on-site optometry facilities and fantastic placement opportunities to set you up ready to step into your optometry career.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study optometry?

Optometrists are highly skilled health professionals who provide specialist eye care services, including sight tests, eye examinations, and contact lens fitting.

Studying optometry will set you on a path towards a rewarding career with excellent employment and salary prospects open to well-trained graduates.

Why UWE Bristol?

MSci Optometry is a new integrated specialist four-year degree that will give you in-depth academic and practical grounding in your career. After completion you'll be able to register as an optometrist in a strong, confident position.

We combine theory, extensive practical sessions, and placements to set you up for success. Benefitting from real-world experience and patient contact from Year one onwards, you'll gain a variety of clinical experience in our optometry training suite and through external placements each year to support you in shaping your professional identity as an optometrist.

In Year three, you'll see real patients in our specialist on-site clinic, with the support of a qualified optometrist mentor. You'll also have the chance to study advanced subjects such as medical retina and glaucoma, offering you an opportunity to tailor your degree to your interests.

Your final year features an extended placement, in association with the College of Optometrists where you'll put into practice all the skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience you've gained so far.

Where can it take me?

Optometry is a solid, growing profession. On graduating, you can take your skills into many areas, including hospitals, community optometry practices, ophthalmic research, specialist contact lens provision in film and media, or eye care services for many charities.

A UK optometry qualification is highly respected globally. You may also choose to enhance your clinical skills by taking higher level optometry qualifications.



Year one

You'll study:

  • Contact Lenses
  • Dispensing and Optical Appliances 1
  • Foundation Optometry Skills
  • Investigative Skills
  • Ocular Anatomy and the Visual System
  • Professional Development and Communication.

Year two

You'll study:

  • Advanced Contact Lenses
  • Dispensing and Optical Appliances 2
  • Ocular Pathology
  • Primary Care Routine and Binocular Vision
  • The Ageing Eye
  • The Body and Pharmacology.

Year three

You'll study:

Glaucoma Advanced Studies or Medical Retina Advanced Studies


  • Advanced Ocular Pathology and Pharmacology
  • Clinical Optometry and Leadership
  • Clinical Optometry and Preparing for Clinical Learning in Practice
  • Evidence Based Optometry
  • Shared Care and Prescribing.

Final year

You'll study:

  • Clinical Learning in Practice 1
  • Clinical Learning in Practice 2
  • Lifelong Learning Project.

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'll inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, simulations, and practical workshops, we'll cover all the main areas of optometry. These include anatomy, physiology, optics, lenses, dispensing, clinical practice, regulation, pharmacology, ocular pathology, patient contact, and evidence-based practice.

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

You'll work on your own research projects, case studies and reports, and develop transferable skills in communication, critical analysis, and research.

You'll learn to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, consisting of a range of healthcare professionals.

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.


You'll have written exams, practical assessments - such as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), vivas, projects, case studies and other assignments which use 'real world focus' and link to optometric practice.

We'll make sure that your education covers the core learning outcomes as specified by the General Optical Council (GOC).

Your assessments will be spread throughout the year to help balance your workload.

Learn more about our assessments.


Professional accreditation

This course is being adapted as part of the General Optical Council (GOC) Education and Training Requirements.


Our placements take place across the UK, providing varied experience in optometric settings to support your professional development. In Years one to three they're organised through UWE Bristol, and in Year four they run in collaboration with the College of Optometrists.

These opportunities will help you make informed career choices and enable you to gain experience across different settings such as the NHS, and private/independent/corporate/domiciliary practices. To benefit from this, you'll be expected to travel to other areas at times, which may fall outside of standard working hours due to the nature of the profession. When contemplating applying, consider whether you can travel to your placement at unsociable hours, and/or fund short-term accommodation near your placement, if required.

These placements are vital to meet professional regulatory body standards. We'll help you find one, and you'll be supported throughout by our course staff, professional placements coordinator, the College of Optometrists and our 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 hone your clinical skills.

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

The Campus also has one of the best health and social care libraries in the country.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources and specialist health professions facilities, plus take a virtual tour of our health professions at Glenside.



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

To qualify as an optometrist, you'll need to complete your clinical practice placements and pass your master's degree to register as a practicing optometrist with the General Optical Council (GOC).

You'll need to be registered with the GOC and follow their standards throughout the course. If you're not registered at any point during the course, you won't be able to carry out any practical work and your assessments may not count towards your final award. It's highly likely that this would affect your progression.

In your fourth year of study where you undertake your extended placement, you'll benefit from support from both the University and the College of Optometrists. This will enable your transition from a student to a professional, confident, autonomous optometrist. 

You'll only receive a GOC-approved award if you meet both the academic and professional requirements. To do this, you must have:

  • attained enough academic credits
  • obtained the required amount and type of patient experience
  • achieved the required GOC learning outcomes
  • passed the master's degree
  • been registered with the GOC for the duration of your degree
  • passed the Clinical Learning in Practice placement modules and other placement elements of the course.

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

Get inspired

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

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

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


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 fees and additional costs

Learn more about funding.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 136
  • Contextual tariff: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Grade B/5 or above in Mathematics and Grade C/4 or above in English Language or Literature, and Double Science or Physics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills and Numeracy as alternatives to a Maths GCSE for this course.
  • 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 6.5, 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 from the following: Mathematics, Use of Mathematics, 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'll need a minimum of ten units across two subjects from Mathematics, Use of Mathematics, 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 in at least 2 of the following subjects (15 in each): Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology and Psychology.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum of two Higher Level subjects from Maths, Use of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science or Psychology.
  • Irish Highers: You must achieve two of the following: Mathematics, Use of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science or Psychology.
  • T Levels: Science or Healthcare Science will be considered as meeting the equivalent of 1 Science A-Level.

    If you partially achieve your T Level, you can meet our subject requirements if you have at least an A in your Core Section. For further advice on acceptable subjects please email us.

Entry requirements

Please note that due to early clinical contact on this course applicants must turn 18 before the start of placement. Applicants who do not turn 18 by the commencement of the placement will be advised to defer or reapply as appropriate. Please see our admissions policy for further information.

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

UWE Bristol prides itself on being disabilityfriendly and supportive of physical and mental wellbeing, therefore disclosing any needs you might have through the Occupational Health Assessment will enable us to create reasonable adjustments to suit your needs. As part of the assessment you will be required to complete a questionnaire and must be prepared to undergo a medical examination if required. 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. 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

If you're shortlisted, you'll be invited to record a short video presentation (two/three minutes long) and to answer some brief questions in Microsoft Forms. We'll use this information to gauge your suitability for the Optometry course at UWE Bristol.

Recruitment for this course is informed by Health Education England's Values Based Recruitment Framework. The purpose of this framework is to ensure that we recruit students whose individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution.

Watch our video for top tips on writing a healthcare personal statement and download our health and social care personal statement guide (PDF).

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

All applications received on or before the UCAS deadline are considered equally, however, due to the volume of applications received, and to ensure that all applications are given equal consideration, you may attend an interview in December or January but may not receive your decision until May via UCAS or through the UWE applicant portal. The University is unable to enter into individual correspondence regarding decisions made following an interview.

If you have not received a decision on your application within a week of the interview, this means that the University is still considering your application. We appreciate your patience during this time and would like to remind you that if you applied through UCAS and have received offers from any other Universities, you will not lose these offers before your UCAS Reply Deadline.

Read more about undergraduate applications.  

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information