Course details

A Levels BBB Other entry requirements
UCAS code B520
Duration 3 years
Fee Look up tuition fee and additional costs
Related subjects Orthoptics

Any questions?

Admissions Secretary
Opthalmology and Orthoptics in the Health Sciences School
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 5540

Department of Oncology and Metabolism

100% said 'my course has provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learnt'
National Student Survey 2018

Course description

Our BMedSci is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. It provides you with all the necessary knowledge and training for professional practice as an orthoptist worldwide.

An orthoptist specialises in the investigation, diagnosis and management of visual defects and abnormalities of eye movement. You'll explore ocular misalignment (strabismus), eye-movement (ocular motility) disorders and ocular diseases in patients of all ages.

Year 1 introduces you to the topics of strabismus, clinical skills and optics, and gives you the scientific background you need to understand the normal eye. You'll also examine the importance of, and different approaches to, interpersonal and communication skills and how this relates to working in the NHS.

In year 2 you'll examine ocular motility abnormalities and disease states, and study topics such as visual perception, pathology and medical microbiology, electrodiagnosis, medical ethics and law, and the organisation and structure of the NHS. At the end of year 2 you'll learn how to carry out research.

Year 3 introduces new subjects such as paediatric neurology, associated professional studies and sale, and the supply and administration of medicinal products.

You'll put your skills and knowledge into practice with a research project on a specialist topic. You might have the opportunity to present your findings at a conference or you could even have your work published in a medical journal.

Your third year involves more self-directed study. You'll manage your own time while you carry out assignments, presentations and your research project.

Clinical work
The course includes 33 weeks on placement. You'll work in orthoptic departments across the UK, Ireland and Gibraltar. This gives you the comprehensive clinical experience to build on communication skills and develop the practical skills needed to start your career. The final year includes a two-week clinical placement in an orthoptic clinic of your choice.

Over the three years, you'll examine patients of all ages. The most common patient groups are children, the elderly and those with disabilities.

Your future
Your career prospects as an orthoptist are excellent. Once you've completed your degree, you'll be eligible to apply for registration with the Health Professions Council (HPC) to practise as an orthoptist. Most graduates gain a position in the NHS soon after graduation. There are good opportunities for progression such as specialising in various areas of orthoptic care.

Modules: what you study and when


Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an orthoptist.

Financial help from the University - bursaries

If you're a UK student, you could be entitled to a University bursary. A bursary is the same as a grant - you don't have to pay it back.

How our bursary scheme works

Entry requirements

Qualification Grades
A Levels BBB, including one of Biology/Human Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics + an interview
A Levels + Extended Project Qualification BBC, including B in one of Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics + grade B in EPQ in a relevant subject
International Baccalaureate 32, 5 in either Higher Level Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics + an interview
BTEC DDD in BTEC Extended Diploma level 3 Applied Science
Cambridge Pre-U M2 M2 M2, including one of Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics (Biology is preferred, but not essential) + interview
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher BBBBB with grade B in either Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics (Biology is preferred, but not essential) + interview
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB, including one of Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Physics (Biology is preferred, but not essential) + interview
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • At least one of your three A Levels should be in acceptable subjects
    Guidance on acceptable A Level subjects
  • GCSE Maths, English Language and Science grade 4 or grade C
  • General Studies is not accepted.
  • You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade C/4; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
  • Access Sheffield - find out if you're eligible for additional consideration or an alternative offer
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department

Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

Ophthalmology and Orthoptics website

First year

Core modules:

Clinical Orthoptics
Participation and Society
Anatomy and Physiology
Ocular Anatomy, Physiology and Neuroscience
Interpersonal Communication Skills

Second year

Core modules:

Associated Professional Studies
Clinical Orthoptics
Clinical Visual Optics
Introductory Pathology
Medical Microbiology
Strabismus and Ocular Motility
Visual Optics
Visual Perception

Third year

Core modules:

Clinical Orthoptics
Paediatric Neurology
Research Project
Strabismus and Ocular Motility
Sale, Supply and Administration of Medicinal Products

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.

Learning and assessment

These figures give an indication of how you'll learn and be assessed. They're a combined average of all the years of the course. The learning and assessment percentages could vary depending on the modules you choose.

Scheduled teaching 22%
Independent study 44%
Placement 34%

Exams/tests 55%
Coursework 27%
Practical 19%

Ophthalmology and Orthoptics

Ophthalmology and Orthoptics is a vibrant teaching and research active department. We're dedicated to nurturing students' talents and upholding the core values of the NHS in supporting the highest standards of excellence and professionalism. Our practical teaching facilities and research labs are excellently equipped to perform laboratory and clinical based research.

We're part of the University's Heath Sciences School in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health.

Ophthalmology and Orthoptics website

What our graduates do

Our graduates work in orthoptic clinics in hospitals, health centres and schools for children with special needs. Others go on to postgraduate research in orthoptics and related fields.

This orthoptics degree is recognised worldwide. Graduates have worked in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Hong Kong, Malta, Cypress, Denmark and Gibraltar.

Orthoptists work with patients of all ages - they play a key role in the hospital eye service and are also involved in community health. Orthoptists frequently work with other health professionals such as ophthalmologists, optometrists, vision scientists, paediatricians and neurologists.

Orthoptists can progress into more senior positions and clinical management as their clinical experience develops.

Student profile

"I chose to study orthoptics because I definitely wanted to do something in healthcare. It is such a versatile course: the placements you go on, the types patients that you see of all ages. I thought it was really interesting."

Emma Smyth
Ophthalmology and Orthoptics

Clinical placements are a compulsory element of the degree, which means that there will be an additional expense for travel and accommodation.

If you are a UK student you will be able to apply for reimbursement.

For EU and international students the additional placement costs will be self-funded. It is estimated that these costs will be up to approximately £1,500 in year 1 and up to £3,000 in year 2 and 3, however this cost may be less.

You can find all the latest information about funding for 2017-18 at The Funding Clinic.

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply:

How to apply >

When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website: >

Contact us

Admissions Secretary
Opthalmology and Orthoptics in the Health Sciences School
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 5540

Department website >

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