Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology (integrated degree apprenticeship) MSc

Distance learning programme

The aim of this programme is to develop clinical practice and to contribute to the advancement of eye care delivery in primary, secondary or tertiary care settings. The programme has been developed by practicing clinicians for multidisciplinary ophthalmic non-medical clinicians such as optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses. The structure of the programme is based on the four pillars of clinical, leadership, education and research.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Fees to be confirmed
Fees for this programme are available on request from the department.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Fees to be confirmed
Fees for this programme are available on request from the department.
Not applicable
3 academic years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 28 Jul 2023
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The aim of this programme is for you to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours to take on advanced clinical roles and to contribute to the advancement of eye-care delivery in primary, secondary or tertiary care settings. The programme has been developed by practicing clinicians and researchers for multidisciplinary ophthalmic non-medical clinicians such as optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses. It is designed for practitioners in the UK only who have access to workplace-based learning in an appropriate clinical setting.

The structure of the programme is based on the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership, education, and research. Modules that are offered to you provide training in the four busiest ophthalmic specialties in the UK and worldwide: Glaucoma, Medical Retina, Ophthalmic Emergencies, and Cataract.

Who this course is for

The programme is only available to UK based registered non-medical ophthalmic practitioners whose employer can support and fund them through the course. More information on what delivering an apprenticeship requires, including roles and responsibilities of the apprentice, employer and provider can be found here.

What this course will give you

The programme has been designed and delivered by world renowned leaders in ophthalmology and ophthalmic education. This unique partnership between UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital enables a programme to be delivered by clinicians incorporating real patient cases.

After completing the course you will be able to:

  • Understand the disease process underlying common ophthalmic conditions (e.g. glaucoma and retinal disease)
  • Learn how to use diagnostic criteria to formulate patient management plans 
  • Develop decision-making skills underpinned by academic and clinical knowledge

For UK-based practitioners, modules on the programme can be used as a first step to gaining College of Optometrists Higher Qualifications and affixes as well as the Ophthalmic Practitioner Training sign offs when combined with workplace based learning.

This degree will also enable you to expand your scope of practice in ophthalmic care as well as providing you will multiple career options moving forward. Apart from more specialist clinical skills, you will have the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to take on roles in leadership, research and education in the healthcare setting or transferable skills in other settings. You will also have the option to build a varied and interesting portfolio career in some or all the pillars. 

The foundation of your career


Training will enable multidisciplinary ophthalmic clinicians to carry out advanced clinical practice roles in ophthalmology as well as providing the scientific knowledge required in these areas. Upon graduation, extended roles in primary and secondary ophthalmic settings will be more accessible.

You will be able to carry out advanced practice roles in ophthalmology in a community or hospital setting. You will also have skills in clinical leadership, education and research which will enable you to take on roles where you can lead in a team in a clinical setting and/or undertake further research giving you varied portfolio or specialist career options and progression.


The programme is accredited by the Institute for Apprenticeships.

Teaching and learning

Multiple choice questions, short answer questions, patient management case scenarios (problem based questions), essays, visual recognition, interpretation of clinical scenarios, research report, journal article, clinical change report, open book essay exams

Throughout the online component of the programme, tutors will be interacting with students via online forums weekly and live webinars.

Students are expected to spend at least 12 hours a week per module for self-directed study.


The structure of the programme has been focused around you, as busy professionals, and is therefore a fully online programme. In addition to online lectures, there will be webinars, group tasks and patient case discussions to enhance your learning. Cases are based on real patient episodes which are discussed with clinical ‘pearls’ from experienced practitioners and world leaders in the field of ophthalmology.

Online asynchronous learning runs from September to March with online synchronous days throughout your programme. You will undertake assessments after each term in the first two terms for the first two years. The last year is devoted to a research report, journal article, and an end-point assessment. Alongside your degree you will be required to undertake work-based learning and assessments in your clinical setting and build a portfolio with competency sign offs. This needs to be organised and facilitated by your employer.

The programme will start with a compulsory module on the Principles of Advanced Practice and will be followed by six compulsory modules:

  • Fundamental Glaucoma 
  • Fundamental Medical Retina 
  • Fundamental Ocular Emergencies
  • Advanced Practice in Cataract 
  • Clinical Leadership for Non-medical Professionals 
  • Research Methods & Statistics for Non-medical Professionals

You will then decide on one area to specialise in and choose one option from:

  • Specialist Glaucoma
  • Specialist Medical Retina 
  • Specialist Ocular Emergencies

The programme will conclude with a research report and journal article in your specialist area or one of the other ACP pillars and an end point assessment.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology (integrated degree apprenticeship). Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology (integrated degree apprenticeship).


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) Fees to be confirmed
Tuition fees (2023/24) Fees to be confirmed

Fees for this programme are available on request from the department.

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific additional costs for students.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Institute of Ophthalmology International Excellence Scholarships

Deadline: 30 June 2023
Value: £5,000 towards fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

Applicants are required to upload a fully completed and signed application pack with their application for it to be considered as well as evidence of Level 2 (GCSE Grade C) qualifications in English and Maths. Applicants without relevant evidence of Level 2 English and Maths may still be accepted onto the course but would be required to obtain evidence ie. by taking a course/passing an exam before they can pass through the End Point Assessment gateway in their final year and sit their End Point Assessment to complete the course. A copy of the application pack can be found on the IoO apprenticeship course webpage here.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

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