This MSc is aimed at students who wish to extend their knowledge and expertise in the eye as an integrated biological system. The programme provides a unique and integrated review of the physiology and biology of the eye, covering molecular and developmental cell biology, complex genetics, immunology and behavioural neuroscience.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £10,430 (FT)
- £25,490 (FT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
Applicants must have a minimum of a second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
The programme offers students the opportunity to develop their knowledge and expertise in ocular cell biology, genetics, visual neuroscience, development and immunology. On completion of the programme, students gain an enhanced knowledge and understanding of scientific communication skills, scientific design and analysis, sophisticated laboratory techniques and valuable research experience.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a research project (90 credits).
- Ocular Cell Biology
- Genetics and Epidemiology of Ocular Disease
- Ocular Immunology
- Ocular Development in Health and Disease
- Either Advanced Visual Neuroscience (30 credits)
- Or Microvascular Biology (15 credits) and Visual Neuroscience (15 credits)
All MSc students undertake either a research or informatics project using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment. The project culminates in a dissertation of 15,000–18,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, problem classes, journal clubs, self-directed studies and laboratory practical courses. Assessment is through long essays, coursework, laboratory practicals, oral examination and the research dissertation.
The Institute of Ophthalmology currently offers the following bursaries for successful applicants on our postgraduate taught master’s degrees: One £5,000 Duke Elder bursaries for non-clinical courses (available for successful applicants on the Biology of Vision, Applied Immunobiology, Applied and Regenerative Neuroscience, and Vision Research degrees). These bursaries are open to home and overseas students and will be received in the form of a fee reduction only.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
This programme provides excellent preparation for a PhD or a successful research career in academia or for positions in the public or commercial sectors. Previous students have also successfully obtained specialist trainee positions in ophthalmology at hospitals across the country.
Top career destinations for this degree
- PG Dip Clinical Ophthalmology, University College London (UCL)
- Research Degree: Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London (UCL)
- Doctor, Mile End Hospital (NHS)
- GP (General Practitioner), Barnet Hospital (NHS)
- Research Associate, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
The programme aims to train first-class basic and clinical scientists in the field of ophthalmology.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why 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.
This MSc programme draws upon the extensive basic and clinical research experience available at the institute and at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Students gain expertise in basic cell biology, genetics, neuroscience and physiology, specialise in the biology of the eye as an integrated biological system and conduct a six-month research project within a world-class research environment.
Department: Institute of Ophthalmology
Student / staff numbers
› 255 staff
including 92 postdocs
› 73 taught students
› 100 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Ophthalmology
82% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"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 CarandiniI contribute to programmes such as Neuroscience MSc, Biology of Vision MSc and Brain and Mind Sciences MSc. I also contribute to PhD programmes such as the one offered by CoMPLEX, and in Neuroscience.
Professor of Visual Neuroscience
"The programme at UCL is unique and exactly what I wanted to study. I could not miss out on the opportunity to carry out some research at the Institute of Ophthalmology."
Faye HornerBiology of Vision MSc
Application and next steps
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.
Who can apply?
The programme is suitable for students with either a science, biomedical or medical degree who wish to specialise in the eye as an integrated biological system. Students undertake a substantial research project making this MSc an excellent preparation for anyone wishing to embark on a career in vision research.
- All applicants
- 1 September 2017
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Biology of Vision at graduate level
- why you want to study Biology of Vision at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this 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.