Female student sat in front of eye testing equipment

Orthoptics BMedSci

Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, Health Sciences School

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    You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry. 2024-25 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    Students testing eye sight of other students

    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 pathology, 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.


    A selection of modules are 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.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    Title: Orthoptics BMedSci
    UCAS code: B520
    Years: 2022, 2023
    First year

    Core modules:

    Clinical Orthoptics

    This unit introduces the clinical testing techniques required to assess ocular alignment, binocular vision and ocular motility. Expertise is gained by demonstration and practice on normal subjects at the University. Clinical skills practice provides an opportunity to use these techniques and apply the findings to diagnose and form a management plan for concomitant. This subject also incorporates development of the interpersonal skills for clinical practice.

    20 credits

    To introduce the student to the principles of geometric and physical optics, with particular reference to the eye.

    20 credits
    Participation and Society

    This module aims to introduce students to issues related to understanding persons as individuals, and as members of society. Content includes: theoretical models of disability; psychosocial impact of disability across the lifespan; concepts of self and identity; concepts of attitudes and their measurement; health beliefs and behaviours and the role of gender, socioeconomic and cultural factors in healthcare and education. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own experiences, attitudes and interpersonal skills in the context of their impact on interactions with clients, their families and other professionals.

    20 credits

    To introduce the student to basic orthoptic concepts, with particular emphasis upon the investigation of normal Binocular Single Vision, the investigation diagnosis and management of concomitant stabismus and the diagnosis and management of heterophoria. This Unit concentrates on investigative techniques and interpretation of findingsleading to diagnsis and management plans.

    20 credits
    Anatomy and Physiology

    This unit covers the basic anatomy and physiology of the human body. It provides an overview of how the normal body functions giving a basis for understanding what happens when something goes wrong.

    10 credits
    Ocular Anatomy, Physiology and Neuroscience

    This unit gives detailed anatomy and physiology of structures and functions of the eye and brain. It provides the detail of the function of the eyes and their neural control. It introduces a number of common pathologies encountered in eye clinics.

    10 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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Learning and assessment


    You will learn through lectures, independent study and clinical placements.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours


    You will be assessed by exams, coursework and practical tasks.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible.

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    including a science subject

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBC, including B in a science subject + B in a relevant EPQ; BB, including a science subject + B in Core Maths (not applicable if Maths is taken at A Level)

    International Baccalaureate 32, with 5 in a Higher Level science subject

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in Applied Science

    BTEC Diploma DD in Applied Science + B in an A Level science subject

    Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher ABBBB + B in a science subject

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB, including a science subject

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction and 21 at Merit.

    Other requirements
    • GCSE Maths, English Language and Science grade 4/C

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    including B in a science subject

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBC, including B in a science subject + B in a relevant EPQ; BB, including a science subject + B in Core Maths (not applicable if Maths is taken at A Level)

    International Baccalaureate 31, with 5 in a Higher Level science subject

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in Applied Science

    BTEC Diploma DD in Applied Science + C in an A Level science subject

    Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher BBBBB + B in a science subject

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BC, including B in a science subject

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction and 21 at Merit.

    Other requirements
    • GCSE Maths, English Language and Science grade 4/C

    English language requirements

    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

    Visa and immigration requirements

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    Health clearance

    All new students must obtain occupational health clearance, which may require an individual assessment. This is to ensure that you meet the fitness to practice standards detailed on the Higher Education Occupational Practitioners (HEOPS) guidance.

    We offer support to students with additional needs, for example, through the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service or Student Support Services. You can find out more about the network of support services we provide. A very small number of conditions might, on health and safety grounds, affect your registration with the appropriate regulatory body and your ability to practise in certain clinical situations.

    If you're offered a place, you'll need to comply with the Department of Health and Social Care mandatory immunisation requirements.

    You should have at least two Covid vaccinations to protect yourself and vulnerable people in your placement areas.

    Disclosure and Barring Service

    All applicants are required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure check.

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

    Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, Health Sciences School

    Male Orthoptics student shines torch in students eye

    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. Our relationship with the Royal Hallamshire Hospital eye department means that orthoptic students learn within a high-quality clinical teaching environment. Orthoptic students will also work in orthoptic departments across the UK and Ireland, to build on communication skills and develop the practical skills needed to start their career.


    We have excellent orthoptic teaching and clinical facilities within the Medical School. Our students get to use our state-of-the-art facilities which includes a clinical research space equipped with a large range of clinical tests required for orthoptic assessments.

    Health Sciences School

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university
    QS World University Rankings 2023

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      A top 10 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2022, High Fliers report

    Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, Health Sciences School

    Top 5 in the UK for Optometry, Ophthalmics and Orthoptics

    The Complete University Guide 2022

    Orthoptics BMedSci

    Orthoptics has 100% overall student satisfaction - number 1 in the UK

    National Student Survey 2020

    Orthoptics ranked joint 1st in the Optometry, Ophthalmics & Orthoptics League Table

    Complete University Guide 2021

    Graduate careers

    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.

    Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, Health Sciences School

    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.

    Fees and funding


    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Additional funding

    Home students can apply for a non-means tested grant of £5000 towards each year of your academic fees.

    As orthoptists are listed as a shortage group which are key to delivering the NHS Long Term Plan students will also qualify for an extra £1000, receiving £6000 total per academic year. For further details please see the link below:

    NHS Training Grant

    Visit us

    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

    If we consider offering you a place, we'll invite you to a virtual interview, usually between December and March. The interview will be conducted by academic and clinical staff. An awareness and commitment to the core values of the NHS will form part of the assessment in the interview. There will be an opportunity to meet current students and staff and a tour of our facilities at our offer holder days following the interview.

    Campus tours

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place

    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:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    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.

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

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer