School of Health Professions

MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology

Are you a registered ophthalmic professional who is looking to develop your career to an advanced level of practice in Clinical Ophthalmology? If so, this course is for you!

With a strong clinical focus and alignment to the NHS England Advanced Clinical Practice framework, our future-facing programme prepares optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses to work with a high level of autonomy as part of integrated healthcare teams, in both the primary and secondary care sectors.

Key features

This innovative and flexible MSc programme supports the postgraduate development of registered ophthalmic professionals to an advanced level of practice in Clinical Ophthalmology.

Commissioned by Health Education England and informed by national and local consultation with sectors specialists, it is the first programme of its kind in the Southwest.

Emphasis is placed on the four pillars of Advanced Clinical Practice: Education, Leadership and Management, Clinical Practice and Research, equipping clinicians with the confidence to provide professional leadership and supervision in complex situations and use person-centred approaches to manage defined episodes of clinical care independently from beginning to end.

The incorporation of a variety of optional clinical modules offers the exciting opportunity to tailor the learning experience to meet the interest of both the clinician and employer

Find out more about the NHS Health Education England Advanced Clinical Practice agenda.

  • Undertake an MSc programme of study designed to prepare you to work with a high level of autonomy as part of integrated healthcare teams.
  • Achieve a named MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology which can be used to enhance career opportunities.
  • Develop your clinical expertise, research, education and leadership skills to an advanced level of practice, equipping you to take on lead roles.
  • Complete the programme over 3 years part-time, or flexibly across 6 years.
  • Follow a blended learning approach, with a combination of distance learning, webinars and a face-to-face clinical day at University of Plymouth.
  • Find the programme to be suitable to those working in both the primary and secondary care sectors.
  • Gain recognition against, and support progression through, the Ophthalmic Practitioner Training (OPT) framework (Levels 1 to 3), where applicable.
  • Gain recognition against the College of Optometrists Higher Qualifications, where applicable.
  • Engage in a multidisciplinary study environment allowing rich peer learning opportunities.

Course details
  • Year 1


  • Optional modules
    Two optional clinical modules from:

    Core modules

    • Clinical Leadership, Management and Advancing Practice (ADV779)

      This module will develop students' knowledge and skills in Advanced Clinical Practice, exploring theories of Clinical Leadership and Management. It will encourage students to critically assess their own clinical leadership and management needs, as well as those of their team, helping to build capacity and capability and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

    Optional modules

    • Glaucoma (ACO701)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of glaucoma and develop their clinical skills to an enhanced level to support accurate referral and monitoring of diagnosed ocular hypertension and suspect chronic open angle glaucoma patients.

    • Medical Retina (ACO702)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of medical retina and develop their clinical skills to an enhanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways.

    • Acute and Emergency Eye Care (ACO703)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of acute and emergency eyecare and develop their clinical skills to an enhanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways.

    • Cataract (ACO704)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of cataract and develop their clinical skills to an enhanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules
    ADV780 Education in Clinical Practice (20 credits)
    ADV715 Project Design for Research (20 credits)

    Optional modules
    One optional clinical module from:
    • ACO705 Advanced Glaucoma (20 credits)*
    • ACO706 Advanced Medical Retina (20 credits)*
    • ACO707 Advanced Acute and Emergency Eye Care (20 credits)
    • ACO708 Advanced Cataract (20 credits)
    * College of Optometrists Higher Certificate accreditation pending.

    Core modules

    • Project Design for Research (ADV715)

      You’ll explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module you’ll formulate a research proposal. You’ll learn how to define and refine a research question, select and appraise methodology, address ethical considerations, and select and appraise data collection and analysis techniques.

    • Education in Clinical Practice (ADV780)

      This module will develop students' knowledge and skills as a clinical educator, exploring theories of teaching and learning, and the principles and practices of assessment, feedback and evaluation. It will encourage students to critically assess their own learning and development needs, as well as those of their team, helping to build capacity and capability and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

    Optional modules

    • Advanced Glaucoma (ACO705)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of glaucoma investigation and management and develop their clinical skills to an advanced level to support diagnosis and complex decision making in ocular hypertension and new or established glaucoma.

    • Advanced Medical Retina (ACO706)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of medical retina and develop their clinical skills to an advanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways.

    • Advanced Acute and Emergency Eye Care (ACO707)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of acute and emergency eyecare and develop their clinical skills to an advanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways.

    • Advanced Cataract (ACO708)

      This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of cataract and develop their clinical skills to an advanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways.

    • Advanced Paediatric Ophthalmology (ACO709)

      This module will build upon increasing your knowledge of the development of vision and the eye, and common ocular conditions encountered in childhood to enable you to adapt your routine to meet the specific needs of younger patients and provide high quality paediatric ophthalmology care in a hospital or community setting.

    • Project Design for Research (ADV715DL)

      Students will explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module will formulate a research proposal. The module will explore defining and refining a research question, selecting and appraising methodology, ethical considerations, selecting and appraising data collection and analysis techniques.

  • Final year

  • Core module
    SOHP704 Research in Clinical Practice (40 credits)

    Optional modules
    Any one additional optional clinical module from those listed previously

    Core modules

    • Research in Clinical Practice (SOHP704)

      This module provides students with the opportunity to critically engage in research and quality improvement activity within an area of practice. Students will evaluate, synthesise, undertake, generate, and have knowledge of how to disseminate the findings of their research activity. This will deepen their understanding of the process of research and develop their ability to both link theory to practice, and evaluate the impact or potential impact of their findings to themselves and the practice area.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology standard route programme specification 7423

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

This programme is designed for registered optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses, who are currently working clinically in an ophthalmic setting that will facilitate the successful completion of the programme (primary or secondary care).
  • Applicants will normally have a relevant first degree, BSc (Hons) at 2:1 or above; or a European first cycle equivalent. 
  • Applicants without a first degree, BSc (Hons) at 2:1 or above may be eligible to apply, if combined with appropriate practice related experience relevant to the programme and following submission of a written critical evaluation of advanced practice marked against the Level 7 criteria. 
  • Certified evidence of an appropriate level of competence in clinical examination of the eye, to include slit lamp examination of the anterior eye, slit lamp biomicroscopy assessment of the optic nerve head and retina and tonometry, will be required where applicable, and where necessary for the successful completion of a chosen clinical module.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English through an IELTS average of 6.5, overall minimum of 5.5 in each part. 
  • Due to the blended learning delivery model of this MSc, it is an expectation that applicants will have access to wi-fi and relevant electronic devices that allow them to engage fully with all aspects of programme delivery, teaching, learning and assessment. 
  • All applicants will be interviewed to assess their individual ability to meet the requirements of this programme.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Claims for credit for prior learning, whether certified or experiential are accepted and will be assessed following University of Plymouth regulations and Faculty of Health procedures

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2022-23  2023-24
Home £9,400 £9,900
International £15,700 £17,500
Part time (Home)  £1,100 per 20 credit module £1,140 per 20 credit module
 

*This fee is based on undertaking 180 credits in a single academic year of full time study. Please note that some of the optional modules for this programme are specialist modules and therefore may have different fees. Module fees can be found on the individual module webpages.

Full-time fees shown are per annum. Part-time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

Information about loans and funding for postgraduate study.

Students applying for a postgraduate loan will be subject to stipulations regarding the duration of the programme. Please contact the pathway lead for advice before applying.

Additional costs

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges if you are studying at PAHC, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact pduadmissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Postgraduate Merit Scholarship for international students

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one.
You may also receive:

  • 10% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained
To be eligible you must:

This scholarship will be offered automatically, providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

In order to cater for the needs of the NHS workforce, this full-time programme is also available as a part-time programme, which is flexible in nature and allows up to six years for students to complete the full MSc. For this reason, students on the programme are unable to claim support via the Student Loans Company Postgraduate Loan. The SLC stipulates that only full-time programmes without a part time equivalent can be funded. If you think that you will have trouble funding your place on the programme, we would recommend a discussion with your employer to see whether any financial support can be granted.


How to apply

Applying for this programme

Please visit our PDU admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.

Please return your completed forms to:

Email: pduadmissions@plymouth.ac.uk

Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

What happens after I apply?

After your application is received by the PDU Admissions team, it will be processed and sent to the Programme Lead for a decision to be made on your suitability to study. You may be asked to provide additional information or to take part in an interview (for overseas students this may be by telephone or video conference). Once this decision has been made, you will be sent an email either confirming your place on the programme, or rejecting your application and giving the reasons for this decision (you may request further feedback in order to improve your chances of selection at a later date).

Please note that you will be enrolled on the full MSc programme. You may choose to exit with the qualification of PgCert upon completion of an appropriate 60 credits, or a PgDip upon completion of an appropriate 120 credits. More information is contained within the programme specification.

The deadline for the receipt of international applications is 31 May 2023 for entry in September 2023.

For applicants with disabilities

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services webpage.


Applying for this programme

Please visit our PDU admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.

Please return your completed forms to:

Email: pduadmissions@plymouth.ac.uk

Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

<p>Ophthalmology</p>

MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology

  • Complete the programme over 3 years part-time, or flexibly across 6 years.

  • Gain recognition against the College of Optometrists Higher Qualifications.

  • Modules can also be completed on a stand-alone basis.

  • Engage in a multidisciplinary study environment.

  • Enhance career opportunities.

"This course is aimed at registered ophthalmic professionals looking to develop their career to an advanced level of practice in Clinical Ophthalmology."

Watch our video to find out more

Integrated degree apprenticeship

This programme will also be available to complete as an integrated degree apprenticeship.  Learn about this employer funded route. 

Areas of specialism

  • Primary care optometry
  • Secondary care optometry
  • Orthoptics
  • Ophthalmic nurses
  • Clinical ophthalmology
  • Advanced clinical practice

Course enquiries

If you have any queries about this programme or your suitability, please feel free to contact Dr Stephanie Mroczkowska and Hannah Stewart (Programme Leads) at: acpophthalmology@plymouth.ac.uk.

Applications need to be made via the Professional Development Unit. Please see panel below for application details.