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    2024 start September 

    Ophthalmology Advanced Clinical Practice (Paediatrics)

    School of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health

    Expand your role in providing eye care for children and young people. Take your career as an orthoptist, optometrist or ophthalmic nurse to the next level and become an advanced practitioner.
    A child having their eyes examined

    Course description

    Lead academic: Dr Charlotte Codina

    This course is designed to help you advance your knowledge, skills and experience in paediatric ophthalmology. Orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmic nurses who provide eye care for children and young people can access key new and improved skills and tools to become leaders in their field and improve the services they provide.

    You will cover all four pillars of advanced practice: clinical practice, leadership and management, education and research. In your first year, you will study how to diagnose and manage a wide range of ophthalmology conditions that primarily affect children and young people, at an advanced level. You will apply this knowledge to your practice through work-based learning.

    In your second year, you will take our Clinical Leadership and Education in Ophthalmology module. This is the only module that focuses on the knowledge and skills leaders and educators need when working in eyecare specifically. There are also optional modules on assessing and managing low vision patients, diseases that affect ocular motility, the prescription and non-prescription medicines that orthoptists can use, and research methods.

    The programme is led by practising orthoptists and eyecare experts. In your final year, you can work with them on an independent research project, either by collecting and analysing your data, or exploring the latest findings on a specific topic.

    This course is also available as an apprenticeship programme, which may be of particular interest to clinicians working in NHS Trusts in England, due to funding available via NHS England’s apprenticeship levy. More information about this route can be found here.


    All applications for 2024 entry must be received by 6 September 2024. 

    It can take up to six weeks for an offer to be made. Please do not contact us for a decision before this time has passed.

    Before you complete your University of Sheffield application, you must have been interviewed for and secured a trainee advanced clinical practitioner post. This will ensure you have the correct funding and supervision in place.

    After this, you will receive a link to a University of Sheffield online application form and be asked to download and complete our ACP admissions checklist. Your completed checklist and all required information should then be uploaded to the application form for your programme. Failure to do this will mean your application can not be considered.


    This programme is accredited by the Centre for Advancing Practice.

    Health Education England’s Centre for Advancing Practice has been established to standardise post-registration education by accrediting advanced practice courses that achieve the standards outlined in the multi-professional Advanced Practice Framework.

    Practitioners who have completed accredited education programmes will be eligible to be listed on the Centre’s Advanced Practice Directory.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    CPD modules

    If you are not ready to apply for the three-year MMedSci programme, most of the modules on this programme can be taken as a standalone CPD module. Find out more on our continuing professional development web pages.

    Core module:

    Paediatrics ACP

    The module is ideal for eye-care practitioners who want to advance their ophthalmic practice skills, to reach the highest levels of innovative and cutting-edge paediatric ophthalmology practice. The module is suitable for practitioners already working in paediatric care, who are forward-thinking, independent learners and who wish to pioneer new or improved services. The module will allow students to gain comprehensive and advanced knowledge of the issues surrounding paediatric ophthalmological care. As well as studying the core elements of how to diagnose and manage a wide range of ophthalmology conditions primarily affecting paediatric patients, students will practise techniques and management solutions during work based learning. Paediatric practitioners desiring to implement patient-led improvements by means of reflective practice and those wishing to reach advanced clinical practitioner status in paediatric ophthalmology, would benefit from this moduleThe core 60 credit first year module includes an introduction to the role of the ACP in paediatric ophthalmology, diagnosing and managing blepharitis, dry eye, allergic conjunctivitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, inherited retinal disease, retinal imaging, electrodiagnostic testing, retinoscopy, glaucoma, contact lenses, investigative techniques, cerebral visual impairment, communicating with vision impaired children, disc and neurological screening, nasolacrimal duct obstruction, chalazion, surgical consent and surgical listing and emergency eye treatment and continued professional development.  

    60 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    Find out what makes us special at our next online open day.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tour


    3 years part-time


    This course is taught through a combination of online and work-based learning. Introductory sessions and tutorials take place online, and during the course, you should expect to spend between 10 and 12 hours each week on self-directed study units and work-based learning activities, applying your knowledge in clinical settings and building up a portfolio of your work.

    • Year 1 introductory day: 30 September 2024
    • Year 2 introductory day: 25 September 2025

    You will need to access additional paediatric clinics for one day per week – particularly in your first year. This is so that you can observe a variety of clinical situations and practise a range of clinical skills under supervision.


    You will be assessed through essays, videos, practical work, a portfolio and a dissertation or research project write-up. The Low Vision and Exemptions modules both have an online exam.

    Your career

    Graduates from this course can work as advanced clinical practitioners, specialising in paediatric ophthalmology.

    Advanced clinical practice for orthoptists

    Find out more about advanced clinical practice

    Entry requirements

    Qualified orthoptists and optometrists, as well as ophthalmic nurses with postgraduate qualifications, are welcome to apply.

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in an eye care-related degree. Lesser qualifications may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    A minimum of three years (ideally five years) of professional eyecare experience is required.

    Applicants must be currently working in paediatric eye care and have the support of a local ophthalmologist or ACP paediatric ophthalmology, to gain clinical experience under supervision, for a wide range of paediatric eye conditions. For this course, you will need to gain practical experience and clinical exposure by attending paediatric ophthalmology clinics.

    You will need to identify at least one local mentor, either Ophthalmologist orACP Paediatric Ophthalmology, who will agree to help, support and supervise you during the programme.

    A local mentor handbook for prospective and current mentors is available to download.

    Local mentor handbook (PDF, 837KB)

    You will need to complete a local mentor support form and return it by email to orthoptics@sheffield.ac.uk at the same time that you submit your application.

    Local mentor support form (Word, 67KB)

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 6.5 in each other component, or equivalent.

    Apprenticeship route

    In addition to the degree requirements above, apprentice applicants will require GCSEs in Maths and English at grade 4/C or above.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    Applicants may be eligible through learning beyond registration and NHS grants via their NHS Trust.

    NHS England funding

    Applicants from England may be eligible for full Masters funding from NHS England via the regional faculties for advancing practice.

    Find contact details for your regional faculty

    Further information on advanced practice


    You can apply to the MMedSci route now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    MMedSci enquiries

    +44 114 215 9042

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.