Degree courses


Orthoptic undergraduate education is undertaken at the University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield and Glasgow Caledonian University. The course is three years in duration (and 4 years in Scotland) and comprises an integrated theoretical and practical programme. Block clinical placements occur throughout each year and so the academic year can be extended up to 42 weeks.

The course in Glasgow is four years in duration (Honours degrees generally last for four years in Scotland). A mixture of daily and block placements run throughout the four years with daily placements during teaching time and block placements in trimester three.

The link to Glasgow Caledonion Uniiversity is here:


The degree programmes are designed to develop professional expertise for clinical practice and develop effective communication, organisation and evaluation skills.

The courses aim to provide the student with a secure foundation of understanding of the relevant basic sciences, upon which practical orthoptic skills can be acquired, through a wide-ranging clinical teaching. Clinical experience is gained not only in the hospital setting, but also in the community and special schools.

course content

The course content for each of the degree programmes includes; theoretical and clinical orthoptics; optics; ocular anatomy; physiology and pathology; general anatomy and neuroanatomy; ophthalmology; electrodiagnosis; paediatrics; visual perception; child health; ethics and epidemiology; interpersonal skills; first aid; NHS structure and management; research methods and information technology; statutory bodies; research dissertation.

A great amount of time early in the course is devoted to the acquisition of theoretical knowledge in order that students derive the maximum ...

... benefit from clinical teaching. Experience is gained in clinical placements and enables the student to become increasingly responsible for the diagnosis and management of patients as the course proceeds. Block clinical placements are undertaken at clinical education centres in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Centres range in size with a varied patient workload thus allowing students experience of many different aspects of Orthoptic practice.


Theoretical and clinical work is assessed in many ways during the orthoptics course. Examinations form only part of the assessment of a student. Theoretical knowledge may be assessed by means of formal written examinations, oral examinations, continuous assessment and project work. Clinical practice is assessed continuously throughout the degree programme. Satisfactory performance in theory and clinical practice is a pre-requisite for progression throughout the course and contributes to the final degree classification. There are written and practical examinations at the end of the final year. To obtain the professional qualification, the student must pass the practical element of the final examinations. Assessed theoretical work, continuous assessment of clinical work and the research dissertation undertaken during the third year make an important contribution to the class of degree finally attained.

support for students

A staff-student committee exists within each department and there is access to personal tutorial systems in order to provide support to orthoptic undergraduates.

curriculum framework

In August 2016 BIOS published a the new curriculum for
student Orthoptists. This updates the knowledge and skills required
and clarifies the level required at graduation. This helps to define the Orthoptic role. Areas  may be expanded and developed post graduation allowing Orthoptists to take on extended roles within the eye care team.

Curriculum Framework_July 2016.pdf

British and Irish Orthoptic Society

0203 853 9797

Salisbury House · Station Road
Cambridge · CB1 2LA
United Kingdom