UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Advanced Practice in Ophthalmology (integrated degree apprenticeship) MSc

Developed by UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital, this programme aims to meet the growing demand for ophthalmic care and is delivered in conjunction with eligible UK employers.

student carrying out eye test on patient


The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital have developed this new programme to meet the growing demand for ophthalmic care. This exciting Master's degree apprenticeship has been developed by practising clinicians and will allow you to develop an understanding of clinical care in the context of the latest ophthalmic research and treatments in glaucoma, medical retina, ocular emergencies, and cataract.

The teaching faculty will include a dynamic group of clinical experts and world-renowned researchers in the field. The programme is aimed primarily at non-medical registered ophthalmic professionals such as optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses who work in the UK, seeking formal postgraduate training in advanced clinical practice in ophthalmology.

Programme structure

This Master's programme is a three-year, part-time distance learning degree and is expected to be carried out in full. 
(NB: A Master's programme consists of 180 credits and 60 credits are expected to be completed per annum following a prescribed module diet).

Compulsory modules:

  1. Principles of Advanced Practice (15 credits)
  2. Fundamental Glaucoma (15 credits)
  3. Fundamental Medical Retina (15 credits)
  4. Fundamental Ocular Emergencies (15 credits)
  5. Advanced Practice in Cataract (15 credits)
  6. Clinical Leadership for Non Medical Professionals (15 credits)
  7. Research and Statistics for Non Medical Professionals (15 credits)
  8. Research Report (30 credits)
  9. End Point Assessment and Journal Article (30 credits)

ONE optional module from a chosen specialist clinical area: 

  1. Specialist Glaucoma (15 credits)
  2. Specialist Medical Retina (15 credits)
  3. Specialist Ocular Emergencies (15 credits) 

The glaucoma and medical retina modules are also accredited for the College of Optometrists Higher Qualifications. Work based learning and assessments will give students the Ocular Common Clinical Competency Framework (OCCCF) level 3 competency sign offs. Delivery of teaching is done entirely online, this model lends itself well to working professionals where study can be done at your own pace and your time.

An optional practical skills day will be held at the end of the first year in London. A virtual three day student induction programme is held at the start of term. There will be assessments in December and April/May of each academic year. Work-based learning is expected to be carried out alongside this degree throughout the academic year or in blocks. More information can be found in the information leaflet on this page.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in Optometry, Ophthalmology, Orthoptics or Nursing with an Ophthalmic speciality (Ophthalmic nurses who already have OPT level 1 and 2 competencies desirable). Applicants also require a minimum of level 2/GCSE grade C or equivalent in Mathematics and English. In addition, applicants will need to be employed in the UK by an employer with access to apprenticeship funding who is willing to support throughout the course both financially and in completing work e.g. providing a minimum 20% off the job (OTJ) training time, providing an Educational Supervisor to support locally, managing OTJ activities and hours. Applicants will also need to be working at least 30 hours per week for the employer hosting the apprenticeship.