3 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available

About this program


Optometrists are trained to examine the visual system and establish its health through investigating for defects in sight, ocular diseases and problems relating to general health. Where necessary, they provide a refractive correction using optical appliances such as spectacles and contact lenses.

This degree will allow you to gain the knowledge and skills required of an optometrist to satisfy the eye care needs of the public. Designed around this aim, our course contains syllabus recommendations from the General Optical Council (GOC) and the Optometric professional body, the College of Optometrists.

This program also aims to provide you with the knowledge and transferable skills needed by any student of the health and life sciences. This approach prepares you for the changes in the profession, and it enables you to undertake and enjoy lifelong learning and continuing professional development. Such an approach means you will not be isolated from other career options.

GOC registration is required in order to practice optometry. Achieving a Second Division Honours Degree (2:2) or better and achieving a Certificate of Professional Competence at Stage 1 will allow you to enter your pre-registration placement. A Certificate of Professional Competence at Stage 2 (the end of your pre-registration placement) is required to be placed on the GOC Register.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the academic year. The final modules will be published by September.

Admission requirements

Typical A level offer

AAA-ABB including two science subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics. Please note, General Studies or Critical Thinking will not be accepted.

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Year one

  • Basic Clinical Techniques
  • Optometric Dispensing and Appliances
  • Geometrical and Visual Optics
  • Research and Study Skills
  • From Cells to Systems
  • Ocular Anatomy and Physiology
  • Physiology of Vision

Year two

  • Clinical Studies and Dispensing
  • Contact Lenses
  • Investigative Techniques
  • Binocular Vision and Optometric Neurophysiology
  • Ocular Pharmacology
  • Colour Vision and Perception

Year three

  • Optometric Practice
  • Binocular Vision and Special Needs
  • Abnormal Ocular Conditions
  • Low Vision and Contact Lenses
  • Occupational Optometry, Law and Business
  • Investigative Optometry and Case Studies
  • Research in Optometry and Vision Science

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.


  • Tuition fees for UK and Ireland Students: £9,000 per year.
  • Tuition fees for International Students: £23,450 per year.


You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

You should also demonstrate the ability to:

  • effectively communicate with patients and colleagues, particularly by keeping comprehensive and accurate clinical records and writing clear referral letters
  • flexibly address clinical problems of an unfamiliar nature
  • understanding the application of IT to practice management
  • review the evidence-base for clinical interventions and having sufficient statistical knowledge to critically evaluate clinical research findings
  • critically review major issues relevant to the future development of optometric practice.

Computing, statistics and communication skills developed should mean that you are able to:

  • clearly maintain accurate and appropriate records
  • effectively communicate by written and oral means and relate to various social and ethnic groups
  • evaluate data generated through audit and research
  • critically evaluate relevant literature
  • effectively manage your time and organise your workload
  • solve problems using data manipulation and other technologies.

The course seeks to provide you with knowledge, understanding and skills in four principal areas: Basic Science, Clinical Science, Subject Specific and General Transferable Skills. This will include elements described in the GOC core curriculum, ensuring you are equipped to meet the changing demands of health-care delivery in the UK. As a result of engaging fully with this course, you should have the following:

  • knowledge and understanding of the fundamental scientific principles relevant to the practice of optometry in the context of primary eye care. You should be able to apply these principles to the following subject areas:
  • human Biology – the detection, recognition, diagnosis, prevention and management of systemic diseases;
  • ocular and Visual Biology – detection, diagnosis, recognition, prevention and management of ocular disease and trauma;
  • visual Perception and Psychology – the perceptual and behavioural aspects of critical periods in visual development and interpersonal communication in optometric procedures;
  • optics – the detection, treatment, prevention and management of refractive, oculomotor and sensory integrative conditions.
  • ability to examine patients safely and competently under the supervision of an experienced
  • optometrist, applying knowledge of basic science and their undergraduate clinical experience to the prevention, diagnosis and management of visual disorders;
  • awareness of the normal development of the visual system and the disruptive effects on development of congenital and infantile abnormalities;
  • competence in the diagnosis and management of functional and developmental visual anomalies of a non-pathological nature, such as refractive errors, presbyopia, heterophoria, and heterotropia;
  • familiarity with the design, materials and optical principles of spectacles, low vision aids and contact lenses.You will be able to dispense these appliances, instruct patients in their use, monitor progress and assist patients to achieve maximum visual performance;
  • ability to advise patients on occupational, sporting and protective ophthalmic appliances and to dispense the appropriate appliances to the required standards;
  • understanding of the optical principles of widely used ophthalmic instruments;
  • knowledge to distinguish morbid ocular and visual conditions from normal variations;
  • ability to use principles of visual physiology and pharmacology in the management of ocular abnormality;
  • ability to make appropriate management decisions including referral for medical opinion;
  • understanding of the general principles of pharmaceutics, pharmacology and toxicology, and familiarity with common systemic medications;
  • ability to monitor and report on the ocular side effects of systemic medications;
  • detailed knowledge of the pharmacological principles underlying the use of drugs in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease, and the law relating to the sale and supply of ophthalmic preparations;
  • understanding of common systemic diseases that may have ocular manifestations and awareness of adverse ocular reactions that may be induced by medical management of common systemic diseases;
  • an awareness of your role within the NHS and the healthcare framework;
  • ability to sustain lifelong learning and continuing professional development.

Career paths

Qualified optometrists can choose a career in private practice, the hospital eye service, universities conducting research and teaching or various options in industry. Registration also opens possibilities to work abroad as an optometry qualification from the UK is highly regarded worldwide.

Employers included universities, various NHS Trusts, multiple and independent optometrists and companies such as Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Cardiff University optometry graduates are significantly ahead of the national average in gaining their professional qualifications. To make the transition from a student to a professional optometrist, trainees are required to complete a pre-registration period governed by the College of Optometrists.

After graduating you must complete a period of supervised practice if you wish to register with the UK's General Optical Council (GOC). This is called your pre-registration placement and you must gain at least a Lower Second Class degree (2:2) to enter this training. Our graduates rarely have difficulty securing pre-registration positions, a process that begins in your second year. Many employers visit us to recruit future graduates, and are familiar with the high calibre of Cardiff students. Several of our graduates are successful each year in gaining much sought after hospital pre-registration positions.

You will become UK qualified after satisfactory completion of the pre-registration period (normally 12 months), where you will undertake work-based assessments to demonstrate Stage 2 competencies, and which will conclude with a final assessment. The pre-registration placement and final assessment is administered by the College of Optometrists

Graduate careers

  • Optometrist

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About this institute

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK. As part of the Russell Group, our students benefit from our outstanding research quality and reputation, while...

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Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

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