Orthoptics (pre-registration) MSc

London, Old Street

Orthoptists are experts in the diagnosis and management of developmental eye conditions, defects in eye movement and binocular vision. On 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 dealt with by Orthoptists.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 31 Jul 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class 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.

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.

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

In Year One, you will learn about the visual system, optics, and foundation and complex Orthoptics, paediatric ophthalmology and neuro-ophthalmology.

In Year Two modules will cover 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 clinical placement with an expert working in the field.

Who this course is for

The UCL Orthoptics MSc (pre-registration) is the UK's first dedicated accredited graduate entry programme that provides an accelerated route becoming an accredited orthoptist in the UK. It provides you with the theoretical knowledge and clinical training that underpins professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Successful completion of this programme will allow you to qualify and practice as an accredited orthoptist. You will be able to work both in private and public healthcare settings (such as in the NHS).

If you are passionate about pursuing a career in the healthcare sector and want to train to become an allied health professional, the Orthoptics MSc programme may be a great option for you.

What this course will give you

The two-year, full-time Orthoptics (pre-registration) MSc programme provides a fast-track route to theoretical knowledge and clinical training underpinning professional registration and practice as an autonomous Orthoptist with approval by the Health and Care Professions Council.

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 supervised placement activity so that you will graduate from this programme clinically experienced.

You will learn how to apply the latest and most updated practices and technology to address eye conditions through instructions with Moorfields Eye Hospital staff.

Our longstanding partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital represents the largest co-located site for eye research, education and care in the world. The Institute of Ophthalmology is also ranked the best place in the world to study ophthalmology (CWUR Rankings by Subject 2017).

The foundation of your career

This programme is designed to equip students with the requisite knowledge and skill to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Orthoptist. Graduates will likely undertake a career in Orthoptics, and will be primed 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.


On completing the programme, graduates should expect to apply for new-graduate Orthoptic posts. Most roles include a 12-month preceptorship, which allows newly-qualified Orthoptists to practice autonomously, but with robust support structures in place to support their early development as clinicians.

UCL Orthoptics graduates have a strong track record of securing jobs across the UK and are well-placed to use the knowledge and skills acquired during the programme to develop their careers as desired.

100% of our 2023 graduates secured employment as Orthoptists within 4 weeks of UCL Results Day.


Students on the Orthoptics MSc programme benefit from:

  • Attending clinical placements at NHS Trusts across the UK, providing an opportunity to network with future employers
  • In the second year of the programme, learners can submit an abstract for the British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) conference. Submissions are assessed by a panel and successful applicants can attend the entire conference and present their dissertation topic during the student research session.
  • Joining the UCL Union Orthoptics Society
  • Attending Employer Showcases


The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Teaching and learning

Modules will be delivered primarily through face-to-face and online lectures, seminars, problem-based learning, case based discussion and clinical skills labs. This will be augmented by attended revision sessions prior to assessment. Independent study will be required in respect to background reading, revision and preparation of the problem-based learning (PBL) assignment for assessment.

Formative and summative assessment will be undertaken and include a combination of multiple-choice and short-form question examinations, and case based discussions/problem-based learning questions, both as oral presentations and in writing. Students will also be expected to keep a formative reflection log whilst on placement.

External accredited clinical placements sites will vary from distinct general hospital, community district hubs to tertiary acute referral centres, so students can experience a range of patients and working environments.  Students will learn how to perform full clinical examinations, including generic skills around communication as well as specific clinical tests relevant to Orthoptic practice.

Block placements have set learning outcomes, and students have time to develop a working relationship with clinical tutors and demonstrate progress in development of skills. Formal feedback is provided every two weeks to capture progress and direct future learning.

We use a range of assessment methods across the programme. This range suits a wider diversity of learners and thus promotes more equality. These methods include:  

  • Case reports

  • Problem based learning scenarios

  • Presentations  

  • Ongoing assessment during placements 

  • Clinical examinations (OSCEs)

  • Unseen written examinations 

  • A library-based dissertation 

For 30-credit taught modules, students have approximately 100-125 hours of contact time (i.e., 5 weeks x 20-25 hours per week, split between lectures, clinical skills labs and tutorials).

For clinical placements, students have 300 hours of contact time (i.e., 8 weeks x 37.5 hours per week) per 30-credit module.


Year 1: Teaching for OPHT0069 and OPHT0070 takes place in Term 1 alongside day placements. OPHT0071 takes place at the start of Term 2 and is followed by 8 weeks of block clinical placement for OPHT0072. Term 3 begins with teaching for OPHT0073 and OPHT0075 and ends with a 4 weeks of block placement for OPHT0074.

Year 2: Term 1 starts with OPHT0066 and OPHT0077 and ends with the final 4 weeks of block placement for OPHT0074. Term 2 begins with the final taught module, OPHT0078, after which the Dissertation module, OPHT0080, commences. The final 8 weeks of block placement for OPHT0079 take place at the start of Term 3. Following these placements, students have the remaining time over summer to complete their final Dissertations.

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 360 credits with level 7 qualification. Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Orthoptics (pre-registration).


At the start of the programme, students are placed once a week at a hospital in/around London for the first term. Over the rest of the two-year programme, students attend 4-week block placements across the UK, for 12 weeks in each year. You will begin to work with patients, carers and other professionals from the outset of your studies to embed your learning in practice.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Orthoptics (pre-registration) MSc

Find out more about the Orthoptics MSc pre-registration programme, leading you to a dynamic and rewarding career as a registered Orthoptist. It is a two-year fast-track pre-registration programme that will allow you to start working as an orthoptist upon successful completion of the programme. You will hear from our programme leadership team and learn more about what you will study, your clinical placements, and the skills you will develop.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There may be additional costs related to your clinical placements, which can include travel and temporary accommodation costs. However, domestic students will be able to claim back expenses via the NHS Learning Support Fund (LSF). For more information about the NHS LSF, including details about caps for claims, please visit their website.

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

Students are eligible to apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund (NHS LSF) grant, which does not need to be repaid. Support includes:

  • £5,000 per year
  • £1,000 per year specialist subject payment for orthoptics
  • Parental support of £2000
  • money back for excess travel and temporary accommodation costs (Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses) while you're on your practice placement
  • students experiencing financial hardship (Exceptional Support Fund)

You can apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund here.

Students can also apply for a £9250 per year tuition fee loan and a means-tested maintenance loan of up to £13,022 (in 2023) from the Student Loans Company.

You can apply for a loan from Student Finance England here.

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 Bioscience Research & Development Scholarship

Deadline: 30 June 2024
Value: £3,500 towards tuition fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: UK

Institute of Ophthalmology International Excellence Scholarships

Deadline: 30 June 2024
Value: £5,000 towards fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • Why you want to study Orthoptics (pre-registration) at graduate level
  • Why you want to study Orthoptics (pre-registration) 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.

Applicants are shortlisted based on their written application and invited to interview prior to acceptance.

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: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.