MSc Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Our MSc Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences course brings together the research expertise in vision from The University of Manchester and the clinical expertise of Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.

The course is aimed at optometrists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists and nurses from the UK and overseas. It is suitable for:

  • individuals who are considering undertaking a research degree in the vision sciences;
  • those interested in professional development;
  • those interested in conducting research as part of their clinical training;
  • ophthalmologists wishing to expand and extend their training into specialist areas;
  • optometrists considering a career in the hospital eye service.

This course will provide you with a firm grounding in the knowledge needed to pursue a higher degree and to conduct high quality research in ophthalmology, optometry or vision sciences.

It also gives an opportunity for vision-related professionals to advance their knowledge of the scientific foundations of ophthalmology and vision sciences.


This course aims to provide those working within the ophthalmic professions (ophthalmologists, optometrists, vision scientists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses) with an opportunity for professional development.

It will give you a firm grounding in the knowledge, understanding and skills you will need to pursue a higher research degree or to participate in research programmes and meet a need for researchers who can form a bridge between basic research and applied clinical research.

Through the research modules and dissertation, you will develop skills of systematically analysing and interpreting a body of literature, designing and conducting a research project, and analysing and presenting research findings within a written dissertation.

Teaching and learning

In each unit, learning will be based on a series of formal lectures on topics relating to ocular disease and treatments, and a series of more informal tutorials on current research. You will receive copies of presentations and direction to relevant literature for personal study.

Many dissertation projects have led to peer-reviewed publications in ophthalmic literature. Recent titles include:

  • Optical coherence tomography measures of the retinal nerve fibre layer.
  • Development of a model cell assay to investigate the cellular processing of ARB mutant bestrophin-1.
  • Risk factors for late presentation of patients with primary open angle glaucoma.
  • Molecular analysis of autosomal recessive retinal dystrophies.
  • In vivo analysis of the wettability of silicon hydrogel contact lenses.
  • Can corneal densitometry be used to assess the treatment outcome after corneal transplantation.
  • A contact lens based technique delivering cultured stem cells onto the human corneal surface.
  • The use of corneal imaging to assessing treatment outcomes of LASIK and LASEK.
  • Addressing the physiological cues needed for trans-differentiation of dental pulp stem cells into limbal stem cells.

The course director is Dr Catherine Porter

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is via:

  • written examinations in January and May;
  • coursework set during the taught units;
  • a research project dissertation.

Course unit details

The course has two different pathways and is designed to be blended learning:

  • MSc: Eight taught units (15 credits each) and a dissertation (60 credits).
  • PG Diploma: Eight taught units (15 credits each) 


  • Medical Retina
  • Genetics of the Eye
  • Contemporary Science of Contact Lenses
  • Low Vision
  • Refractive Management
  • Glaucoma
  • Evidence Based Practice

In addition, you can choose one of the following research modules, depending on your type of project:

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Research Dissertation OPTO61262 60 Mandatory
Medical Retina OPTO70301 15 Mandatory
Low Vision OPTO70312 15 Mandatory
Genetics of the Eye OPTO70322 15 Mandatory
Refractive Management OPTO70351 15 Mandatory
Clinical science of contemporary contact lenses OPTO70352 15 Mandatory
Glaucoma OPTO70362 15 Mandatory
Evidence Based Practice POPH60041 15 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Epidemiology POPH60991 15 Optional
Qualitative Research Methods POPH63121 15 Optional

Scholarships and bursaries

For the latest scholarship and bursary information please visit the fees and funding page.

What our students say

IOVS is a great course overall; excellent content and very enjoyable. - Abid Ali, ophthalmology trainee [UK]

I've enjoyed the insight into new and modern treatments and diagnostic techniques. - Isaac Nunoo, optometrist [Ghana]

I love the way the lecturers teach and explain, and the ease with which you can access information. - Chimdi Emma-Duru, optometrist and PhD student [Nigeria]


Ophthalmology is housed within the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, which is located at the southern end of the University campus. Optometry is housed within the nearby Carys Bannister Building.

Most dissertations are conducted within the University and the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Students may, however, embark on work outside these environments (eg an optometric practice or other hospital). This is contingent on the acceptance of the research proposal and the approval of suitable external and internal supervisors by the course director.

You will also have access to a range of library and IT facilities across the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability and Advisory Support Service .

CPD opportunities

We offer six units from this MSc as standalone courses for continuing professional development (CPD). 

Please see the Ophthalmology and Optometry CPD units page for further details.