UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Orthoptics (Pre-registration) MSc

Orthoptists are experts in the diagnosis and management of developmental eye conditions, defects in eye movement and binocular vision. In this programme, you will learn about paediatric ophthalmology, strabismus (ocular misalignment), ocular motility disorders and other eye and vision health issues and diseases that are diagnosed and managed by Orthoptists.

female clinician with a child patient and parent

In this programme, you will learn how to apply the most updated practices and technology to address eye conditions through instruction from UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital staff.

The programme provides an accelerated route to theoretical knowledge and clinical training underpinning professional registration and practice as an autonomous Orthoptist. Graduates will be eligible to apply for registration the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
You will, through blended learning opportunities, learn core research methods and statistics and extended clinical knowledge of complex ophthalmic and neuro-ophthalmic conditions. The programme also provides 1,000 hours of placement activity so that you will graduate with first-hand clinical experience.


Mode of learning

The programme offers a range of learning approaches including clinical teaching in house and across clinical placements across Southern regions of England, online and face-to-face lectures as well as seminars, tutorials and private study. You will have access to the Moodle learning platforms including discussion forums where you can share knowledge with your peers. You will also have full access the library resources and support.


This programme is designed to equip students with the requisite knowledge and skills to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Orthoptist. Graduates will likely undertake a career in Orthoptics, and will be equipped with knowledge and skills to undertake extended clinical roles and/or pursue further training to undertake a clinical academic career. Many students go on to work in the NHS.

Programme Structure
This programme is delivered through a blended learning approach with a combination of face-to-face and online lectures, collaborative and co-operative learning activities, virtual classrooms, self-directed learning and clinical placements.  In Year One, you will learn about the visual system, optics, core and complex Orthoptics, and paediatric ophthalmology.
In Year Two modules will cover neuro-ophthalmology, research methods and statistics, broader Ophthalmology, sale and supply of medicinal products (specific to Orthoptics) and clinical placements. You will enhance your research skills through a library-based research project on a topic related to Orthoptic/ophthalmic practice.

You will be paired with a clinical or clinical academic mentor so you can discuss what you are learning and experiencing in your lectures and clinical placements with an expert working in the field.

All modules are compulsory. These include:

OPHT0069 – Orthoptics I
OPHT0070 – Ophthalmology I
OPHT0071 – Orthoptics II
OPHT0072 – Clinical placement I
OPHT0073 – Ophthalmology II 
OPHT0074 – Clinical placement II
OPHT0075 – Orthoptics III
OPHT0058 – Research methods and statistics
OPHT0077 – Sale, supply and administration of medicinal products
OPHT0078 – Ophthalmology III
OPHT0079 – Clinical placement III
OPHT0080 – Dissertation

Entry Criteria

A minimum 2:2 Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant subject areas include: biological sciences, chemistry, nursing and psychology. Courses undertaken at institutions other than UCL will be assessed for accreditation of prior learning (APL) on a case by case basis and an interview and/or candidates may be required to write a piece of work to support the APL application. 
Your application should demonstrate:
•    why you want to study Orthoptics at graduate level
•    why you want to study Orthoptics at UCL
•    what particularly attracts you to this programme 
•    how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging 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. Your statement is limited to 700 words.

Programme Directors


dipesh patel, programme director

Dr. Dipesh Patel BMedSci, PGDip, PhD – NIHR Advanced Fellow; Population, Policy & Practice Dept. UCL GOS Institute of Child Health and Honorary Clinical Research Fellow (Orthoptics); Moorfields Eye Hospital

Dipesh is a clinical academic Orthoptist whose previous research has informed the development of clinical guidelines for the assessment of visual fields in children with complex ophthalmic disorders, in both clinical and research settings. His current research investigates key issues about amblyopia (lazy eye) management, from generating evidence to support decisions about referral for treatment, to improving understanding of management choices. Dipesh has previously held HEE NCEL and CLAHRC personal Fellowships.

Leena patel - programme director

Ms. Leena Patel BMedSci, MSc – Consultant Orthoptist and Orthoptics Education Lead; Moorfields Eye Hospital and Honorary Teaching Fellow; UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Leena is a consultant Orthoptist who teaches formally and clinically at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital and City University. She is also a member of the Education and Professional Development Committee for British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS).

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Further information

Start date:
September 2021

2 years

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