Frequently asked questions

Below are FAQs specific to the Vision and Strabismus course. If you have any other FAQs then visit the AskUS (available right) to browse our questions and answers for prospective students - or ask your own question.

How much of my time will this take?
Students should expect to undertake between 10 and 14 hours of study weekly although this will vary depending on prior knowledge and experience.  Each module is worth 30 credits and the University guidance on study time for this is 300 hours.

What will I be expected to do?
You will work through the prepared units building up a portfolio of your work, developing knowledge, understanding and critical appraisal skills. Each module has specific assignments which must be completed.  The Low Vision module also has a clinical exam.

Are there any exams?
The assessment for the course is through a variety of assignments for all modules except for Low Vision which has a clinical exam.

How will I be supported with my studies?
You will be in regular contact with a named member of staff at the University (telephone or email) and are encouraged to form links with fellow students for peer group support.

Do I have to come to the residential weekends?
Yes, unless illness or other mitigating circumstances make this very difficult. On occasion, we have allowed students with mitigating circumstances to virtually attend a weekend via the use of technology. The majority of students find the face to face contact with tutors and opportunity to mix with fellow students invaluable and view the residential weekends positively. There are two residentials in total, one at the beginning of year 1, and one at the beginning of year 2. For those choosing the Low Vision option to Module 2, attendance for an Introductory Day in Sheffield will be also required (virtual attendance may be possible and you should contact the department to discuss this).  For the clinical examination, attendance in Sheffield on the date given is compulsory.

If I want to stop after 2 years and leave with the PG Diploma, can I?
Yes. MMedSci registered students can finish after 2 years of study if they wish. Similarly PGDip registered students may undertake the final third year of study to gain the MMedSci (assuming they did the Research Methods module in Year 2) if they wish.

If I want to stop after 1 year and leave with the PG Certificate, can I?
Yes.  If you successfully gain 60 credits by completing 2 modules in year 1 you may leave the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate.

The library where I work isn´t very good. Will this be a problem?
It shouldn´t be. You have online access to essential reading material for each module but may need additional references for assignments. The University of Sheffield Library has a specific service for distance learning students and gives access to many journals and publications online.  You will also have access to University libraries via the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Access Scheme.  Check to see if your nearest University / College is a member at

Is funding available for this course?
The University of Sheffield does not provide funding for this course. Some students gain financial support from their employer. Funding is also available in some regions through Learning Beyond Registration (LBR); please follow the link to check for possible funding in your area.

I haven't studied for a while, can I still apply?
Yes.  All students will be fully supported whether or not they have had opportunity for recent study.

When is the course run?
The course has an intake of students every year.  The next course available for new applicants will begin in September 2018.

When can I apply?
Applications for the September intake are invited from mid-October of the year before, and should be made before 31 May of the intake year.  Applicants are invited to apply sooner rather than later in case the course is oversubscribed.  Applications made after the closing date may still be considered subject to availability of places.  

Can I just study one module?
Some modules may be studied as a single module and the Low Vision module in particular lends itself to this. Please see the Course Structure, Key Dates and Entry Requirements & Fees pages for further information on the dates and fees for the particular module you are interested in.

Can I combine any 30 credit modules to gain a qualification?
Yes. Any two modules studied as standalone modules can be combined to gain a postgraduate certificate and any four 30 credit modules can be combined to gain a postgraduate diploma.

I have a 2:2 degree.  Can I still apply?
If you gained a 2:2 in your previous degree, we will still consider your application to study with us.  In such cases if you have undertaken any further postgraduate study already, have gained any specialist clinical skills, or have research experience, this will support your application and you should provide evidence of this at the time of applying. 

Do I still need an academic reference if it has been some years since I studied?
If you haven't studied for a considerable time, it may be that an academic reference would not be the most appropriate means of endorsing your application.  In such cases we would advise asking a professional colleague who can testify to your academic ability instead.

I'm applying for a standalone module - will accommodation be provided for the Introductory Day?
No, accommodation is not provided. If you are attending an Introductory Day, and wish to stay overnight in Sheffield either before or after, you will need to arrange your own accommodation. For students taking the Low Vision module, there is also a clinical exam held in Sheffield, and again, you would need to arrange your own accommodation if you wish to stay in Sheffield.  Lunch and refreshments will however be provided on the day.

Please note: We are now offering the option for students studying the Concomitance & Incomitance in Depth ORT6001 or Stroke ORT6011 standalone module to attend the full residential weekend, as there will be workshops etc being held on the Saturday which might be of interest. Please contact the department if you are interested in attending both days.

Is there a dress code for the residential weekends?
There is no specific dress code for the residential weekends, other than casual / informal attire. 

This is my first residential weekend, do I need to bring anything?
You will need to bring a device (a laptop or tablet would be ideal), as this will be needed for some of the introductory sessions about how the course is delivered. If this might be a problem, please contact the department to discuss.

Am I guaranteed my module choices?
We endeavour to give each student the module choice that they have opted for.  In the rare instance that a very high proportion of students all select the same module, we may not be able to guarantee your first choice.