Taught course

Clinical Visual Science

Ulster University · School of Biomedical Sciences

Entry requirements

Students will be considered for entry to the Master's programme on an individual basis. The minimum entry criteria for the MSc in Advanced Clinical Optometry are as follows:

  • Students currently holding at least a (2:2) BSc degree in Optometry or another related discipline from a university in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from an institution which is recognised by the Senate for this purpose; or
  • Students currently holding the European Diploma in Optometry (level 6 professional qualification recognised in Europe and by the GOC in the UK); or
  • Candidates who have an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification;
  • Candidates who do not meet the above requirements but who hold other qualifications and professional experience may be considered eligible for admission to the programme by accreditation of prior experiential learning (APL). Those candidates who wish to be considered in terms of experiential learning must complete an APL portfolio of evidence and send this with their application.

Months of entry


Course content

The course aims to foster advanced knowledge in clinical issues for optometrists, with an emphasis on how research informs practice and the evolution of eye care services and capabilities. The programme recognises and incorporates Professional Certificates from the College of Optometrists. Modules have been designed with contributions from guest experts from ophthalmology, clinicians from hospital settings and other specialists. A number of CET points are available for optometrists undertaking these modules.

This course is delivered by distance learning, on a part-time basis, so is designed for working optometrists to fit their learning around their other commitments.

Graduates of this course will be equipped with skills to undertake extended clinical roles, promote the development of eye care within their region. They will develop critical thinking skills to evaluate and undertake research, and may go on to further research endeavours including doctoral research training.

Ulster University is experienced in delivering courses through distance learning and has bespoke support and online delivery of teaching through the virtual learning environment, BlackBoard Learn. Distance learning offers the student the advantage of learning at their pace and preferred time, and teaching materials have been specifically developed with the distance learner in mind, ensuring access is simple and comprehensive. Support for distance learning students is at hand daily from online tutors and the e-Learning Support Unit at Ulster.

The MSc course is designed and structured so you will have the opportunity to choose a particular area of study that interests you, building from a series of Professional certificates and then going on to study ophthalmic public health and advanced retinal imaging or choosing to undertake the Theory of Independent prescribing for optometrists The skills of self-motivation, independent learning, problem solving and developing and communicating scientific arguments are encouraged and developed through a programme which emphasizes critical thinking and discussion of issues through online media.

Students may not wish to undertake the whole MSc (180 credits), and there are options to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCERT), which amounts to 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDIP), at 120 credits.

For those completing the MSc programme, a research project will be undertaken by the student in an area of their choosing with support and guidance from an academic supervisor. In addition, another member of staff will coordinate this module and provide generic support. This project will be a significant and novel piece of research.

Note: The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. The University calls this process 'academic revalidation’. This course is currently being ‘refreshed’, with changes put in place for students entering from September 2017 onwards. Please contact the Course director for the most up-to-date module information.

Information for international students

Where an applicants first language is not English, they may demonstrate competence of English language through either a TOEFL paper based score of 550 or an IELTS band score of 6.0 or above (with no contributing band less than 5.5).

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
20 months


distance learning
12 months


distance learning
8 months

Course contact details

Dr Julie-Anne Little
+44 (0)28 7012 4159