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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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.


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; 92 per cent found the course intellectually stimulating, and 100 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing.  (source: 2018 NSS and 2018 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
    • 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 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.

    • 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.

  • 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
    • OPT501 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.

    • OPT502 Specialist Optometry Skills

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

    • OPT503 Paediatric and Binocular Vision

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

    • OPT504 Introduction to Ocular and Systemic 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.

    • SOHP501 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 HPC Standards of Proficiency: 2b.1, 3a.

  • 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
    • 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.

    • OPT302 General Optometric Practice

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

    • 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.

    • OPT305 Clinical Case Management in Optometry

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

    • OPT306 Dispensing and Occupational Optometry

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

    • OPT307 Ocular 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.

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 Programme Specification 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

144 - 136

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. Please note that if you do not have this profile please contact the Admissions Team directly on +44 (0)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.

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. 

Preference will be given to those applicants who have completed a Science or Mathematics A level in addition to the BTEC Extended Diploma.

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

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.

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 01752 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
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 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) N/A N/A
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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.

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

If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.

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 100 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing*
  • ' Optometry practice at our Centre for Eye Care Excellence (CEE)


We aim to give you as much practical experience as possible. You will undertake placements in Years 1 and 2 and this will allow you to build upon the knowledge gained through lectures and laboratory sessions. In Year 1 you will spend one week and Year 2 you will spend two weeks liaising with professionals to gain insight into the profession.  Discover more about how we will support you during your placement. 

Semester dates

Our semester dates are different to many courses, please refer to our semester dates page to find out dates for the next academic year.

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. Read more about the required screening for health courses.

Your location

You will mainly be based at the Peninsula Allied Health Centre (PAHC) in Plymouth.

Watch our video

Introducing optometry at University of Plymouth

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


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.

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.

A clearer vision of the future

The degree consisted of many placement opportunities throughout which strengthened my background knowledge, hence preparing me before stepping into the working life.

Priya Rajbhandary tells us how studying BSc (Hons) Optometry broadened her mind about the career paths available.

Learn more about Priya's journey


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


Join in our conversation on Twitter:


International students

Thinking about coming to study in Plymouth? Find the answers to many of your questions here, as well as links to places where you can discover more.

Find out more about studying in Plymouth

Fee waiver for Kuwait and Lebanon applicants

A £1500 fee waiver will be awarded to international applicants for their first year fees. We will consider entrants in 2018. To be considered, candidates must meet the entry requirements.

These are detailed above in our entry requirements section.

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.