Ophthalmology: Retina MSc

Options: PG Diploma, PG Certificate

Ophthalmology is becoming increasingly specialist in nature, and evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills within each subspecialty is therefore of great value. The Ophthalmology MSc: Retina pathway at UCL offers students the opportunity to acquire practical skills and advanced knowledge in this expanding subspecialist area.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Flexible 2-5 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £10,800
  • Overseas Full-time: £35,300

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

Students gain a comprehensive theoretical and practical training in the pathology and treatment of retinal disease. This includes the assessment of patients and the different disease modalities available, together with their limitations and side-effects. They gain the skills required to analyse scientific literature and the efficacy of novel treatment strategies.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is one of the premier centres in the world for the study of vision and the mechanisms, diagnosis and therapy of eye disease. We embrace fundamental research, through the entire spectrum of translational medicine to clinical trials.

Close links with laboratories in Europe and North America and growing commercial partnerships enrich the opportunities for learning and provide networks for future career development.

This MSc offers students the opportunity to gain subspecialist knowledge. It will be of particular benefit to overseas ophthalmologists who do not have the opportunity to access subspecialty teaching within their own system.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of eight core modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months) is offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits, full-time six months) is offered.

Core Modules

  • Basic Clinical and Research Skills
  • Retinal Structure, Function and Imaging
  • Diabetic Retinal Disease
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Hereditary Retinal Disease
  • Retinal Vascular Disease
  • Uveitis
  • Posterior Segment Surgery And Laser
  • Complications Of Posterior Segment Surgery


  • There are no optional modules for this programme.


All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, presentations, clinical demonstrations, practical and patient sessions and workshops. Assessment is through MCQ examination, case-based assessments, short-answer papers, seminar presentations, essays, observation work and the dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a minimum of a second-class UK Bachelor's degree in optometry, orthoptics or a medical discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Standard

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

The deadline for applications is 1 August 2014.

Who can apply?

Aimed at Ophthalmologists approaching the end of their training and looking to demonstrate their subspecialty expertise, this programme is particularly suitable for overseas trainees, but will also appeal to UK doctors who are not in a recognised training programme and wish to acquire knowledge and practical skills in this field.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Ophthalmology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Ophthalmology at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


Previous students have successfully obtained positions in Ophthalmology at various hospitals across London and the UK. Others have gone on to undertake further postgraduate study at UCL.


This specialism is likely to be of increasing value to ophthalmologist trainees with the expansion of the management of retinal conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, particularly with the advent of novel intravitreal therapies.

Next steps


Mrs Anne Snowling

T: +44 (0)20 7608 6878


Institute of Ophthalmology

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Student View

"Participating in some observership clinics with my supervisor was extremely helpful for me, and writing the dissertation with all the new things I learned from this experience. Ophthalmology is one of the fastest evolving medical specialties, and dealing with vision was always my dream."

Abbas Fahem

Degree: Clinical Ophthalmology MSc

Staff View

"In London, and at UCL in particular, I am surrounded by excellent colleagues who have helped me to shape my research in numerous ways. At least half of the techniques we use today in the laboratory were unknown to me until I joined UCL and started collaborating with colleagues."

Professor Matteo Carandini

Professor of Visual Neuroscience