MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology

How to apply

The potential apprentice will be required to complete an Initial Needs Assessment (INA) with the support of their employer and the University to ensure the apprenticeship programme is an appropriate solution to their skills development needs.

The employer should or can request the Initial Needs Assessment by emailing apprenticeships@plymouth.ac.uk.

Applications are now open for Autumn 2022. The closing date for INAs is Friday 17 June 2022.


Fees and funding

Apprentices do not pay any course fees. Costs are covered by the government and/or the organisation. As education funding experts, we can support you in accessing funding via the apprenticeship levy or can provide alternative funding options to minimise or eradicate any up-front costs.

The total course cost for the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology is £12,000.

Funding models

There are currently two funding models available:

  • Co-funded: Non levy organisations and Levy who have exceeded their Levy contribution.
  • Fully funded: Levy paying organisations.

Co-funded

If you are a non-levy paying organisation or you are a Levy organisation who has exceeded their pot the government will financial co-support your Apprenticeship training – they will contribute 95 per cent of the costs and as the employer you will contribute 5 per cent.

Government contribution £11,400

Employer contribution £600

Apprentice contribution £0


Fully funded

If the annual pay bill of your organisation exceeds £3 million you will pay for your apprenticeship training through your levy account. If you have exceeded your levy contribution you will fund apprenticeship training through the co-funded model – to better understand how this will work please make contact with us.

Employer contribution £12,000

Year 1

One core module:

ADV779 Clinical Leadership, Management and Advancing Practice (20 credits)

Two optional clinical modules from:

ACO701 Glaucoma (20 credits)

ACO702 Medical Retina (20 credits)

ACO703 Acute and Emergency Eye Care (20 credits)

ACO704 Cataract (20 credits)

Year 2

Two core modules:

ADV780 Education in Clinical Practice (20 credits)

ADV715 Project Design for Research (20 credits)

      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)

ACO709  Advanced Paediatric Ophthalmology (20 credits)

Year 3

Two core modules:

SOHP704 Research in Clinical Practice (40 credits)

ACP700 Advanced Clinical Practitioner End-point assessment (EPA) (20 credits)


A variety of assessment methods are used throughout the programme to enable learners to achieve the learning outcomes for each module. This approach illustrated below contributes to achieving an inclusive and equitable assessment strategy.

  • Coursework
  • Written examination
  • Clinical portfolio
  • Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs)
  • Viva examination
  • Case Based Discussion
  • Case Reflections
  • Open book examination and presentation which form the End Point Assessment (EPA).


Our innovative and flexible MSc degree apprenticeship programme supports the postgraduate development of registered ophthalmic professionals to an advanced level of practice in Clinical Ophthalmology. 
Endorsed 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.
With a strong clinical focus and alignment to relevant national frameworks, 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.
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
This programme is aimed at registered optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses, who are currently working clinically in an ophthalmic setting.
It will be of interest to those working in the primary or secondary care sectors who wish to develop their clinical expertise, research, education and leadership skills to an advanced level of practice. Ophthalmology is the largest outpatient speciality within the NHS and due to clinical demand upskilling a multi-disciplinary workforce into advanced roles against the national Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) framework is essential.
All modules will take a blended learning approach, with a combination of distance learning and face-to-face days at University of Plymouth supporting a national approach.
Where applicable the clinical modules will align to both the College of Optometrists Higher Qualification Framework (accreditation pending) and/or the Ophthalmic Practitioner Training (OPT) Framework
 

Course facts
Duration: 36 months (plus EPA)
Hours of study per week: Equivalent to approximately 7.5 hours per week, however this varies across the programme and will be self-managed by the individual
Delivery type: Blended learning (80% distance learning, 20% face-to-face)
Entry requirements: 
  • Registered ophthalmic practitioner, in salaried employment working a minimum of 30 hours a week in a clinical area that supports the successful completion of the programme and module learning outcomes and, in a role, demanding advanced practice skills and knowledge.
  • Certified evidence of appropriate level of competence in clinical examination of the eye
  • Minimum relevant BSc (Hons) degree at 2:1 or above (other degree status will be considered on an individual basis)
  • Level 2 qualification in English and Maths
All applicants will be interviewed

Areas of specialisms

  • @ Primary Care Optometry
  • @ Secondary Care Optometry
  • @ Orthoptics
  • @ Ophthalmic nursing
  • @ Clinical Ophthalmology
  • @ Advanced Clinical Practice
<p>ACP OP</p>

Core skills
  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Leadership and Management
  • Education in Clinical Practice
  • Research competence and an ability to undertake audit to evaluate and further develop your area of expertise to improve care and services for the people you are treating
  • Critical thinking and analytic skills
  • Enhanced theoretical knowledge and clinical competence in the investigation, diagnosis and management of ocular pathologies, to include Glaucoma, Medical Retina, Acute and Emergency Eye Care, Cataract and/or Paediatric Ophthalmology
  •  Ability to work with high level autonomy to produce best care for the patient
  • Knowledge to drive service improvements and educate others within your scope of practice
  • Reflective practice

Benefits to the business 
  • Opportunity to upskill and develop existing non-medical ophthalmic workforce
  • Offer a flexible and progressive training route for employees
  • Embed an ethos of work-based learning
  • Improve staff retention rates
  • Develop clinical expertise of staff against standardised national frameworks
  • Draw on apprenticeship levy to subsidise staff training costs to MSc level
  • Support progression of staff against the Ophthalmic Practitioner Training (OPT) framework 

<p>ACP OP</p>
<p>ACP OP</p>

Benefits to Apprentice
  • Opportunity to pursue funded postgraduate development to an advanced level of clinical practice whilst in paid employment
  • Access to an innovative and flexible programme which offers clinically focused work-based learning and assessment that aligns with relevant national frameworks
  • Knowledge that your employer is supporting and valuing the importance of your progression
  • Protected development time through allocated ‘off the job’ training hours
  • Opportunity to learn in a diverse and multi-disciplinary environment from experts in the field with a provider you can trust
  • Ongoing support and guidance from experienced academic tutors and qualified staff throughout the programme who are dedicated to enabling you to maximise your potential and recognise that everybody learns differently

ACP Ophthalmology Staff list