School of Health Professions

MOptom (Hons) Optometry

Do you want to pursue an exciting career as an eye-care professional? Here at Plymouth you will benefit from a forward-thinking clinically focused degree. Our course allows you to engage in the industry while equipping you with the core clinical skills, professional training and confidence required for a successful career as a registered optometrist.

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First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning.


What do our students think?

We're proud of our 2022 National Student Survey (NSS) results*, with 92% of respondents feeling satisfied with the quality of the course and 94% agreeing that the course is intellectually stimulating.

Careers with this subject

Optometrists are trained to detect defects in vision, signs of injury or abnormalities and ocular disease, through undertaking eye examinations. They help to identify problems with general health, to make a difference to people with sight loss or visual impairment.

During eye examinations they asses ocular health and prescribe spectacles, contact lenses or low vision aids, where appropriate. Optometrists offer clinical advice to help manage and treat certain eye conditions. They interact with other clinicians within the optometry field, such as ophthalmologists and orthoptists, and work in close-knit teams. They are key in referring patients to other healthcare professionals when further treatment is required.

Eye conditions that optometrists may work with:

  • Short and far sightedness (myopia and hyperopia)
  • Astigmatism
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Stroke.
Within the optometry profession there are a multitude of job opportunities. You could work in the NHS, within the public or private sector. For example:

  • Multiple chain or community practices
  • Hospitals
  • Visiting patients at home
  • Specialist optometry roles
  • Industry
  • Education and academia
  • Research
  • Leadership roles
  • Voluntary roles.

Key features

  • Become part of a pioneering clinical degree programme – the first to bring optometry to the South West.
  • 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 regional practice placements during Years 1, 2 and 4 and a hospital placement in Year 3.
  • Explore the theory side of the course at InterCity Place (new from 2023) 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 practise as an optometrist.
  • 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

    Visual Perception

    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.

    Geometric and Physical Optics

    This module introduces the student to the physical and geometric properties of light and prepares the student for the module Visual optics and Ophthalmic lenses

    Visual Optics and Ophthalmic Lenses

    This module introduces the student to the optical properties of the eye, ophthalmic lenses and other optical instruments

    Anatomy and Physiology

    This module is designed to introduce optometry students to the fundamentals of ocular and human anatomy and physiology relevant to practice in this profession

    Clinical Optometry Skills

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

    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.

  • Year 2

  • In the second year, you’ll learn about advanced ophthalmic examination and study ocular diseases and pharmacology in more detail. 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

    Paediatric and Binocular Vision

    This module will enable the student to understand and assess the extra-ocular muscles and their relation to eye movements and how this should be incorporated to their eye examinations

    Clinical Optometry Skills and Refractive Management

    This module will enable the student extending and enhancing the clinical skills to conduct an eye examination and interpret the results to make basic clinical and refractive management recommendations.

    Specialist Optometry Skills

    This module addresses specialist skills in clinical optometry, including contact lenses and low vision assessments

    Introduction to Pathology and Therapeutics

    This module is designed to develop the necessary understanding, differential diagnosis and investigation of ocular and systemic pathology, including the principles of ocular pharmacology and medicines relevant to optometric practice and use in management of some ocular diseases.

    Project Studies

    This module develops knowledge and skills related to evidence-based practice and lifelong learning. The content is designed to enable the students to understand different research designs, to evaluate the research literature and to prepare them to undertake research at undergraduate level. Meets all or part of HCPC Standards of Proficiency: 2b.1, 3a.

  • Year 3

  • In your third 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. You’ll also investigate the legal and ethical issues around managing a business.

    Core modules

    General Optometric Practice

    This module will enable the student to apply and integrate previous experience to carry out a routine eye examination and consider occupational and lifestyle requirements to make appropriate management decisions

    Specialist Optometric Practice

    This module will enable the student to apply and integrate previous knowledge and skills gained in contact lenses, binocular vision and visual impairment to carry out routine and non-routine patient assessment and management.

    Enhanced Pathology and Therapeutics

    This module is designed to build on and expand the student's knowledge and understanding of ocular and systemic pathology and therapeutics and supplements the second year introductory module.

    Clinical Case Management in Optometry

    This module will enable the students to develop their problem solving and professional reasoning skills, including the legal and ethical framework, in optometric practice. The module will also help to develop an awareness of business skills relevant to optometrists.

    Project Studies

    This module consolidates knowledge and skills related to evidence-based practice and lifelong learning. The content will support the students to undertake research at undergraduate level, to discuss their findings in the context of the contemporary evidence base and to evaluate the implications of their activities on their future practice.

  • Final year

  • In your fourth and final year you will undertake a 44 week placement where you will have the opportunity to hone your clinical skills. During this year you will work in clinical practice under the supervision of a Registered Optometrist.

    Core modules

    Clinical Optometric Learning in Practice 1

    Clinical Optometric Learning in Practice 2

    This module provides you with the opportunity to build upon your clinical experience whilst working in a clinical setting. Each module is made up of a 22 week placement where you will be working in an optometric practice under the supervision of a Registered Optometrist.

    Optional modules

    You will choose two of the modules outlined below to study alongside your Clinical Optometric Learning in Practice modules.


    This module will enable you to extend your theoretical knowledge of glaucoma and develop your 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

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

    Acute and Emergency Eye Care

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


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

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


UCAS tariff

136 - 144


5 GCSEs grade C/4 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/5 grades in Mathematics, English and Science. Please note that if you do not have this profile please contact the Admissions Team directly on +44 1752 585858 or email: and they will be happy to advise you further.

A level:

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.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A level, alongside two science subjects, as listed above. An applicant studying for an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) alongside three A levels that meet the above criteria, will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. To be considered for this the EPQ must be in a relevant science-based topic and be predicted to achieve a strong grade.


BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/National Extended Diploma: D*D*D Science profile, must include either Mathematics, Use of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science, Psychology.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma/National Diploma: D*D* and only considered in conjunction with Science or Mathematics A level at grade A.

BTEC 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: 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all elements.

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 level 3 credits must be at merit.

T level:
Accepted – preference pathways would be Health and Science. Typical offer will be confirmed once an application is received.

Please note: Applications are considered on an individual basis with preference given to those applicants with a strong GCSE profile and those with at least 12 months experience working in optical practice. Preference is also given to those applicants for which it is at least two years since the completion of any previous level 3 qualification. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions team if you have any queries via email or call +44 1752 585858.

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 University of Plymouth 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
  • We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

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

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

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home N/A £9,250
International N/A £16,300
Part time (Home) N/A £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs


All students within the School of Health Professions will spend time in placements away from university. The South West is a largely rural region, which often requires students to travel longer and further distances than may be expected when universities are in largely urban areas. In many cases students will stay away from home for the period of that placement time. Some students on these courses are eligible for reimbursement of additional travel and accommodation costs over normal daily travel costs. This support is part of the Learning Support Fund administered through the NHS Business Services Authority. However, this should be investigated by the student to make sure this applies to your chosen course of study.

It is difficult to give a precise estimate of placement costs for each individual programme, due to the geographical spread of placements, and duration. However it is recommended you attend an Open Day to find out more about what placement costs can be anticipated or discuss placement with a member of our admissions teams.

Despite these costs, clinical placements offer an excellent opportunity to learn from experienced clinicians and are recognised as an essential part of students' development towards becoming a registered practitioner.

Further information

More details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Health additional costs.

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.

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

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

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.

Find out more at or contact our team at

First-class facilities to prepare you for your career in healthcare

From 2023, InterCity Place will be where undergraduate and postgraduate students from a variety of disciplines learn together under one roof.
Complementing existing clinical facilities, our new innovative suites, simulations and practice labs will help us to train and develop the next generation of nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals.

<p>InterCity Place facilities</p>
<p>Optometry clinical equipment and techniques<br></p>


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


We introduce you to working with patients and encourage you to start thinking like a healthcare professional right from the start. Practice placements in the first, second and fourth year and hospital experience in the third and fourth year provide you with the exciting opportunity to engage with your future profession and put your learning into a real world context. This combined with the fantastic hands-on clinical experience you gain at our state of the art Centre for Eyecare Excellence (CEE) throughout the third year of the programme, helps to ensure that you graduate with the clinical ability and confidence required to be a successful clinician, capable of thriving within the evolving and expanding world of optometry. 

Screening for health students

Additional checks are required for all health students. All offers are made subject to receipt of satisfactory screening in terms of your health, welfare and police checks. 

Your location

You will mainly be at InterCity Place based on Main Campus in Plymouth.

The moment I realised... I wanted to be an optometrist

Jumanah Akhtar's experiences in her first year of Optometry made her certain of the career path she wanted to follow.
“I first felt like I was becoming an optometrist when I was performing pre-screening tests during my placement near the beginning of my first year.”

<p>Jumanah Akhtar optometry student<br></p>
<p>Priya Rajbhandary<br></p>
"The many placement opportunities strengthened my background knowledge" Priya Rajbhandary
<p>Mariam Bhojani</p>
"The degree at Plymouth focuses on bettering your clinical skills" Mariam Bhojani
Gagandeep Matharu
"There were opportunities for gaining plenty of practical experience" Gagandeep Mathuru



Vision is responsible for more than 80 per cent of input to the brain, so our research encompasses how we see, what we see, and in turn how these processes affect other parts of the body and mind.

Our lecturers are working to make a difference for patients with a range of eye health problems and visual impairments.

Find out more about our research
<p>Eye and vision</p>

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.

Plymouth Hoe