MSci Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The Manchester MSci Optometry course will enable you to gain the knowledge and skills required to register as a UK optometrist.

The course uses mixed learning methods, but the key Manchester approach is the study of themed patient cases in an active learning environment that will allow you to integrate scientific understanding, clinical skills and professional skills throughout the course. Facilitated group activities will emphasise enquiry, discussion, self-education, and the development of critical faculties and communication skills, all essential skills for healthcare professionals.

You will cover a broad spectrum of industry-relevant study areas that prepare you for work as a professional optometrist, including:

  • the key principles of optics;
  • clinical optics and treating eye and vision disorders;
  • ocular function and structure;
  • the science of vision.

We provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment, with each year group looked after by a team of academics and clinicians. Theory assessments are focused on clinical cases and are taken at the end of an academic year, with plenty of opportunity to practise beforehand. Practical skills are monitored and assessed throughout the year rather than using a single set of high-pressure practical tests.

You will meet volunteer patients in your first year and then receive clinical experience in our university optometry clinics from the second year, seeing real patients and working in teams with students from across the course. You will also have the opportunity to gain clinical experience in a wide range of settings external to the University, for example in community, hospital, and domiciliary practice. In your final two years, you can choose to focus on a specialist area of optometry.


Our course integrates science and clinical learning, so you can apply scientific knowledge, decision-making and critical thinking, and the latest concepts to your clinical practice. We will foster your leadership abilities, and your commitment to continuing professional development after graduation.

Upon graduation, you will be able to apply knowledge to understand and manage the complex healthcare needs of individuals and society. You will also develop the resilience to meet the demands of changing healthcare environments. You will have the practical and professional skills needed to practise person centred optometry.

You will meet the requirements of the General Optical Council to register as a UK optometrist.

Special features

Unique clinical experience

Gain experience at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, one of Europe's biggest eye teaching hospitals, to learn about the management and treatment of eye disease.

Early patient contact

Start to meet volunteer patients in Year 1 and begin to work with real patients in the Manchester Optometry Clinics from Year 2 onwards.

Close-knit student cohort

Join the active student-run Optometry Society to take part in formal and informal social activities.

Integrated master's

Direct registration with the General Optical Council on successful completion of the course.

Opportunity to specialise

Specialise in a clinical or academic area in your final year.

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, clinics and practical sessions. Students learn by applying their knowledge to cases in groups in both simulated and real environments.

Coursework and assessment

Subjects are taught throughout the year will be examined at the end of the second semester. To progress between years and to successfully graduate, students must demonstrate competence in specified clinical practical skills.

The final degree classification is based on marks obtained during all years of the course, weighted as follows:

  • Year 1 - 6%
  • Year 2 - 19%
  • Year 3 - 37.5%
  • Year 4 - 37.5%

Course content for year 1

In Semester 1, you'll gain the skills needed to flourish in your new academic environment, getting ready for successful study and fulfilling university life. You'll then be introduced to the scientific principles behind optometry, including light properties, eye anatomy, and how the brain processes vision. In partnership with your fellow students, you will apply the knowledge you have acquired to clinical cases, considering the ethical and legal dimensions in addition to the scientific aspects. Attending practical sessions will enable you to develop your ability to use optometric instruments and assess ocular function.

In Semester 2, you will build upon the foundational skills and knowledge you've gained, exploring the scientific, legal and ethical principles of optometry in greater depth. In interactive sessions with your peers, you'll have the chance to put your learning into practice. You will further enhance your ability to use optometric instruments in preparation for placements where you will see real patients in your second year.

Course content for year 2

In Semester 3, you will explore a variety of exciting new subjects, including human disease processes, pharmacology, contact lens practice, and binocular vision. Working with your peers, you will apply this knowledge to clinical cases. Additionally, you will enhance your understanding of optics, ophthalmic appliances, and optometric instrumentation. As part of a team, you will have the opportunity to apply your clinical skills while working with students from different academic years and treating real patients at the Manchester Optometry Clinic.

In Semester 4, you will work with your peers to further expand your knowledge of subjects from Semester 3 in the context of clinical cases. As a member of the Manchester Optometry clinical team, you will have the opportunity to apply your clinical skills while working with students from different academic years and treating real patients in our state-of-the-art clinical facility. There will also be opportunities for short clinical placements external to the University.

Course content for year 3

From Semester 5, you will spend more of your time learning from your clinical contacts with patients. The majority of your time will be spent actively engaging with patients at the Manchester Optometry Clinics, taking on greater responsibilities within the clinician team. You will have the opportunity to participate in different clinics at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.

There will also be opportunities for short clinical placements external to the University. As you progress, you will apply clinical and scientific research to your patient management, becoming an evidence-based practitioner. Furthermore, you will critically examine the influence of technology, including artificial intelligence, on the future landscape of optometry.

In Semester 6, you will build further on your ability to lead on personalised patient management within the Manchester Optometry Clinics in an evidence-based way, aided by technology. There will also be opportunities for short clinical placements external to the University. You will work towards being trusted in key clinical areas in preparation for your final year.

Course content for year 4

In Semesters 7 and 8, you will have the chance to specialise in a clinical or scientific area. You will also continue to develop your clinical abilities as you spend most of your time in the Manchester Optometry Clinics, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital or on external placements. You will work towards being trusted in all the core areas of optometric practice to enable you to graduate and join the GOC register at the end of the academic year.

Throughout Semesters 7 and 8, you will apply the basic scientific knowledge and clinical skills you acquired in the earlier years and demonstrate your growing professional acumen as an optometrist. Your clinical placements will also give you the opportunity to learn how a health service works, and understand and experience the role of an optometrist as a first point of contact for patients in the primary care practice.

What our students say

“I have always wanted to be an optometrist, and am absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to study at Manchester. The learning experience is remarkable, with first-rate lectures and practical teaching delivered by practising optometrists, ophthalmologists, and researchers at the cutting edge of development in vision and optometric study.” Sean Matthews.

“I really enjoyed the practicals. They are great for getting to know others in your year, and the majority of the supervisors are practising optometrists, so learning from them provides an invaluable insight into how it is done in practice. Having patients from the first year also vastly improves your clinical and communication skills, and the patients aren't as scary as you might think!” Sophie Godley.

Find out more about what it's like to study at Manchester on the Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog.


You will learn in purpose-built facilities that include a dispensing clinic, 16 bespoke optometric examination rooms, numerous dedicated specialist clinic rooms and dedicated laboratories for non-clinical practical sessions.

Take a look at the optometry facilities tour.

You will also have access to the University's other facilities for undergraduates.

Disability support

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