Course details

A Levels BBB Other entry requirements
UCAS code B520
Duration 3 years
Fees and additional costs Home students Overseas students Fee status help
Related subjects Orthoptics

Any questions?

Admissions Secretary
Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, Health Sciences School
Telephone +44 114 222 2083

Department of Opthalmology and Orthoptics

97% overall satisfaction
National Student Survey 2019

UK top 5 for optometry, ophthalmology and orthoptics
Complete University Guide 2020

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 and Ireland. 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

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 + additional qualifications BBC, including B in one of Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics + grade B in EPQ in a relevant subject; BBC, including B in one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics + B in Core Maths. Not applicable if Maths is taken at A Level
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
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher ABBBB + B in either Biology, Maths, Chemistry or Physics + Interview
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB, including one of Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics + interview.
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • General Studies is not accepted
  • GCSE Maths, English Language and Science grade 4 or grade C
  • 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 4/C; 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

Second year

Core modules:

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

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.

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 and research facilities are excellently equipped to perform clinical and non-clinical based research.

We're part of the University's Health 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. We offer a distance learning Masters in Vision and Strabismus specifically aimed at orthoptists and offer excellent PhD opportunities.

This orthoptics degree is recognised worldwide. Graduates have worked in New Zealand, Australia, USA, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Malta, Cypress, Denmark and Gibraltar.
Orthoptists can progress into more senior positions and clinical management as their clinical experience develops. Many orthoptists also take on one or more specialist role which may involve ocular assessment, diagnosis and treatment in example Low Vision, Stroke and neuro-rehabilitation, Vision Screening, and ocular diseases such as Glaucoma, Age Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Cataract.

Student profile

"You get so much hands-on experience in the hospital with actual orthoptists. You see so many interesting cases, which really helps to embed everything you’ve learnt in class."


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.

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
Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, Health Sciences School
Telephone +44 114 222 2083

Department website >

Visit us

University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Book your place >

Applicant days
If we consider offering you a place, we'll invite you to an interview day, usually between December and March. This day will include interviews conducted by academic staff, an opportunity to meet current students and staff and a tour of our facilities. An awareness and commitment to the core values of the NHS will form part of the assessment on the interview day.

Campus tours
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Find out more and book a place online >