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PgCert/PgDip/MSc Clinical Visual Science

Why study Clinical Visual Science with Ulster?

Our course team have many years experience in teaching optometry and vision science to undergraduate and post-graduate students at Ulster. We have developed this distance learning MSc in Clinical Visual Science to foster advanced theoretical knowledge in clinical issues within the field of vision science, with an emphasis on how research informs practice and the evolution of eye care services and capabilities. Students also have the opportunity to study for a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Visual Science.

The University of Ulster has pioneered the delivery of courses offered through distance learning and has many years of experience in providing bespoke support for students learning online. This MSc in Clinical Visual Science compliments and extends our current General Optical Council approved BSc (Hons) Optometry course which has been producing high quality graduates for over 13 years.

Is this course for me?

Graduates of this course will develop an enhanced knowledge of vision science, and be equipped to evaluate and undertake research. The skills acquired through successful completion of the course will provide the graduate with knowledge to undertake extended clinical roles, promote the development of eye care within their region and may provide a pathway for further research endeavours including doctoral research training.

Distance learning offers the student the advantage of learning at their own pace and preferred time. Teaching materials have been specifically developed with the distance learner in mind, ensuring access is straightforward and comprehensive. Distance learning means you can develop your academic qualifications within a UK institution experienced in both eye care education and online learning without affecting your daily work and life commitments.

Course at a glance

The distance learning MSc programme normally comprises five semesters completed over two academic years.

Year 1: Students complete the introductory Scientific Ethics & Research Governance module along with the choice of one Vision Science module in Semester 1. In Semester 2, students complete the Evidence-based Healthcare Practice module.

Year 2: In Semester 1 the student completes the Research Design & Statistics module, along with the choice of another Vision Science module.

The Vision Science modules on offer include:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration: Assessment & Management
- Glaucoma Diagnosis & Management
- Paediatric Eyecare
- Retinal Imaging & Visual Electrophysiology

Research Project: Following successful completion of the taught modules, students will conduct an independent piece of research with the support of an academic supervisor at the University. Students will normally complete the project over a period of two semesters.

Professional accreditation & careers

Graduates will gain a Masters in Clinical Visual Science from a UK university designed to enhance their academic and professional development. Graduates will gain valuable experience of undertaking research activities and producing high quality scientific reports. These skills will support the graduates who wish to develop their research careers. Graduates may use skills obtained to effectively promote and develop eye care in their area.

Key facts section

MSc/PgDip/PgCERT in Clinical Visual Science

  • Part time
  • Distance Learning
  • Intake: September
  • Duration:
    • MSc 5 semesters (2 academic years)
    • PgDip 3 semesters
    • PgCERT 2 semesters
  • Credit points
    • MSc 180 points
    • PgDip 120 points
    • PgCERT 60 points


For current information visit

Fees are calculated per credit point.

Fees do not need to be paid in a single payment: payment plans can be set up to facilitate easier payment schedules.

Entry Requirements:

Students will be considered for entry to the Masters programme on an individualbasis. The minimum entry criteria for the MSc/PgDip/PgCert in Clinical Visual Science are:

- Students currently holding at least a lower second class (2ii) BSc degree in Optometry or a Bachelor’s degree in Orthoptics, Medicine, or another related discipline from a University, or from an institution which is recognised by the University of Ulster Senate for this purpose; or
- Students currently holding the European Diploma in Optometry (level 6 professional qualification recognised in Europe and by the GOC in the UK); or
- Candidates who have an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification in a related subject;
- Candidates who do not meet the above requirements but who hold other qualifications and professional experience may be considered eligible for admission to the programme by accreditation of prior experiential learning (APL). Candidates who wish to be considered in terms of experiential learning must complete an APL portfolio of evidence and send this with their application. (The faculty APL policy can be accessed via this link:
- Candidates will have to provide evidence of adequate English language skills, and UK applicants must have GCSE grade C or equivalent in English. Overseas applicants may demonstrate competence through either a TOEFL paper based score of 500 (or computer based score of 173), or an IELTS band score of 6.0 or above.

Apply online Closing date for applications: approximately July each year

Useful information

- MSc Prospectus webpage
- Vision Science webpages at Ulster
- BSc Optometry at Ulster
- European Academy of Optometry & Optics
- Support Services
- Services for international students

Should you require any further information please contact: Dr Julie-Anne Little

© University of Ulster, March 2012