School of Health Professions

BSc (Hons) Optometry

Do you want to pursue a career as an eye care professional? You will benefit from a pioneering, clinical degree set up to bring optometry to the South West, built in consultation with expert professionals in the field. You will be trained in both the classroom, laboratory and, from the very first semester, the workplace – be that practices, hospitals or in the community – gaining key knowledge, skills, experience and confidence that you need to succeed as the future of the eye care profession.

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This programme is part of the largest range of healthcare study options in the South West.

Key features

  • Study on the only course of its kind in the South West – one of just nine optometry courses available in the UK.
  • Develop your clinical and communication skills while working with real patients at our Centre for Eyecare Excellence (CEE) optometry practice throughout your third year.
  • See your studies in a real-world context, with placements at practices in the region during Years One and Two.
  • Explore the theory side of the course at the Peninsula Allied Health Centre with brand new clinical facilities, equipment and learning spaces. 
  • Join a close-knit team of staff and students and benefit from an open, supportive environment.
  • Boost your employability through learning in a way that’s based on solving problems, working together and communicating well with others.
  • Graduate with the scientific and clinical knowledge, as well as the professional training, required by the General Optical Council (GOC) to enter the pre-registration year for qualification as an optometrist.
  • 81 per cent of students felt staff were good at explaining things; 89 per cent found the course intellectually stimulating; 89 per cent felt their communication skills improved during their studies; 89 per cent felt, as a result of the course, that they were more confident tackling unfamiliar problems and situations, and 95 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing.  (source: 2016 NSS and 2016 DLHE survey results available on Unistats*).
  • To complement your formal learning we offer regular PALS sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll focus on learning the basic scientific principles of optometry. You’ll also begin developing the clinical skills essential to the profession. During your one-week observational placement, you’ll see first-hand what working as an optometrist involves.
    Core modules
    • SOHP401 Preparation for Practice

      This inter-professional module will introduce students to professional practice and the inherent standards expected of them. The characteristics and identity of allied health professionals, as evidence based practitioners, will underpin learning.

    • OPT401 Human and Ocular Anatomy and Physiology

      This module is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of both human and ocular anatomy and physiology relevant to professional optometric practice.

    • OPT402 Clinical Optometry Skills

      This module enables the student to develop the skills and competencies to conduct a basic refraction examination.

    • OPT403 Optics

      This module introduces the student to the physical and geometric properties of light, understand the optical properties of the eye, ophthalmic lenses and other optical instruments.

    • OPT404 Sensation and Perception of vision

      This module is designed to help the student develop the necessary knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of visual perception, visual pathways and psychophysical methodology associated with visual perception.

  • Year 2
  • In the second year, you’ll learn about advanced ophthalmic examination and study ocular diseases and pharmacology in more detail. You’ll also investigate the legal and ethical issues around managing a business. On your two-week clinical placement, you’ll start getting hands-on experience, applying the skills you’ve learnt so far and working directly with patients.
    Core modules
    • OPT202 Specialist Optometry Skills

      This module addresses specialist skills in clinical optometry, including contact lenses and visual impairment.

    • OPT204 Pharmacology and Ophthalmic Drugs

      This module will enable the student to understand the principles of ocular pharmacology and medicines relevant to optometric practice.

    • OPT208 Law, Ethics and Business Management

      You’ll explore the legal and ethical framework of optometric practice and find out more about the business skills you’ll need to carry out your work when you’ve qualified.

    • OPT203 Introduction to Ocular Diseases

      This module is designed to develop the necessary understanding and differential diagnosis of ocular disease

    • OPT201 Clinical Optometry 2

      This module enables the student to extend the skills and competencies to conduct a refraction examination.

    • OPT205 Optical Dispensing

      This module will enable the student to understand frame materials and ophthalmic lenses and their relation to refractive error.

    • OPT206 Binocular Vision and Neurophysiology

      This module will enable the student to understand and assess extra-ocular muscles and their relation to eye movements.

    • OPT207 Project Studies 1

      Research is an essential part of career development. This module will help you gain skills related to evidence-based practice – focusing on understanding different research designs, evaluating research literature and preparing you to carry out your own research

  • Final year
  • In your third and final year, you’ll continue developing confidence and clinical skills by working directly with real patients at the University’s Centre for Eye Care Excellence optometry practice. Alongside this practical learning, you’ll study complex case scenarios in the key areas of optometry and complete a supervised research project in an area you’re interested in.
    Core modules
    • OPT303 Advanced Optometric Practice

      This module will enable the student to apply and integrate previous experience to carry out non-routine patient assessment and management.

    • OPT301 Project Studies 2

      Using the research skills you’ve developed throughout the course, you’ll carry out a research project, looking in-depth at an area of particular interest and direct relevance to the field of study.

    • OPT306 Dispensing and Occupational Optometry

      This module will enable the student to consider occupational and lifestyle requirements and make appropriate management decisions.

    • OPT302 General Optometric Practice

      This module will enable the student to apply and integrate previous experience to carry out a routine eye examination.

    • OPT304 Ocular Pathology and Therapeutics

      This module will enable the student to apply and integrate previous experience to carry out assessment and management of patients with abnormal ocular conditions.

    • OPT305 Clinical Case Management in Optometry

      This module will enable the students to develop their problem solving and professional reasoning skills.

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

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

BSc Hons Optometry 4321

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


5 GCSEs grade C or above to include mathematics, English and science. Preference is given to applicants who have obtained these grades on application and who have achieved at least B grades in mathematics, English and science.

A levels:
AAA-AAB. Typical offer: AAB from three A levels. Two A levels must come from either maths, use of maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology, applied science, or psychology. General studies will not be considered as part of the offer.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: D*DD Science profile, must come from either maths, use of maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology, applied science, psychology.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

International Baccalaureate:
36 - 34 points overall to include 3 subjects at Higher Level and 2 of these subjects must be at 6 points Higher Level. Subjects must come from either maths, use of maths, physics, chemistry, biology/human biology, applied science, psychology.
English accepted within
If Advanced Level = 4+ (A1) or 5 (A2/B)
If Standard Level = 5+ (A1) or 6 (A2/B)
If overseas and not studying English within IB – must have IELTS

IELTS: 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and reading and 6.0 in listening and speaking.

All Access courses: Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. science, combined science, medicine with at least 45 credits at level 3 of which 30 must be at distinction level and come from at least two specialisms including maths, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology. The remaining 15 credits level 3 credits must be at merit. Must have GCSE English and maths at grade C or above.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered. Alternatively if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on 01752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Extended entry requirements

  • In addition to the above, evidence of academic study within the last five years is required.
  • Please note we do not accept Key Skills Level 2 in place of GCSE English or mathematics.
  • You must pass disclosure and barring service and occupational health checks satisfactorily in order to be able to start this course.
  • If English is not your first language and you do not have GCSE English grade C or above you will have to achieve an IELTS or equivalent qualification at the grades stated below. 
  • IELTS - 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and reading and 6.0 in listening and speaking  (if you need to improve your English language to get onto a degree course at Plymouth University, you can book a pre-sessional academic English course).
  • Meeting the academic minimum is the first stage of an application being considered. Applicants must also submit a strong personal statement in order to be considered further.
  • English language requirements
Further information

Deferred entry

Due to the professional nature of this course we are unable to accept applications for deferred entry.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,250 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
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.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

  • 3 The only course of its kind in the South West
  • S 95 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing (unistats)
  • ' Optometry practice at our Centre for Eye Care Excellence (CEE)

BSc (Hons) Optometry

Benefit from hands-on experience from the start, a graduate employment rate of 100 per cent (unistats) and good jobs prospects in the region.

Admissions Tutor Kiki Soteri introduces optometry at Plymouth University

English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.

These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.

Find out how we can help you reach your potential.

Student insight: Madeline Hocking

There's a brand new clinic with the latest equipment and a number of professional supervisors who ensure we get the best teaching possible.
Madeline tells us more

Graduate profile - Gagandeep Matharu

A huge advantage of studying optometry at Plymouth was the chance to attend placements in different optometric settings, as well as at Derriford Hospital.
Learn about Gagandeep's experience on the course

Claire Gorman – BSc (Hons) Optometry graduate

After finishing her undergraduate degree and becoming a fully qualified optometrist, Claire Gorman has returned to Plymouth to undertake a PhD.

Read more about Claire Gorman


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Whether you decide to work in high street practices, alongside other healthcare professionals in hospitals or make your mark in vision science research, throughout your degree we’ll help you plan for a successful career.

See where your career could take you.


Lecturers on our optometry course are also working on research to bring new knowledge to the profession and make a difference for patients with a range of eye health problems and visual impairments.

Find out more about our research

Rochanne Wootton - student profile

The best part of the course is definitely when we get to be in our third-year clinic, testing the general public. Here, all of the things we've learnt in the past two years come into practice and it finally feels like we’re ready to go into the workplace!

Find out more about Rochanne Wootton