BSc (Hons) Optometry

Optometrists are eye care professionals who detect and manage a range of sight problems and eye conditions, prescribe and fit glasses, contact lenses and other visual aids.  They also manage a variety of common eye conditions such as glaucoma. 

GCU offers a high-quality clinical and didactic programme of education in Optometry in our purpose-built Eye Clinic.

Course Details

BSc (Hons)
4 Years
Start Date
12 September 2016
Full Time
Subject Area
Vision Science
GCU Glasgow


Tuition fees need to be paid to the university however some students are eligible for tuition fee support. The fees and financial support that are relevant to you depend on where you lived before coming to university. A guide to fees at GCU.

Additional Costs

GOC Registration
Students on the programme must register with the statutory body (General Optical Council). Student GOC registration fees are £25/year (£100 for 4 years).
Students are required to purchase a tunic for working in the eye-clinic: £17
This is required by all health care professionals and therefore students must undergo the disclosure process, the cost for this is £59
It is recommended that Optometry students have up-to-date tetanus, polio, tuberculosis and Hepatitis B' immunisations. Where necessary the cost of this has to be met by the student.

You will also have to think about accommodation, living costs, travel, books and socialising. To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this available at and

Minimum Entry Requirements

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.
Year 1
SQA Higher: AABBB including English, Maths and two sciences plus Nat 5 Physics at A if not taken at Higher
A level: AAB (one sitting) or AAA (two sittings) including two sciences or one science and Maths, plus GCSE Maths and Physics at A and English at B
ILC Higher: AAABBB including English, Physics and Maths
IB Diploma: 30 points including Higher Level sciences at 4 plus Maths
Btech Level 3 Extended Diploma: D*DD in relevant subject equivalent to minimum grades and contains Physics
College: SWAP Access to Science and Technology/Ophthalmics with AAA on the first attempt and including 80% in Physics module. Science-based HNCs including Physics and Maths with A in the Graded Units. Other science-related HNC qualifications (including Physics) may be considered.
Your Personal Statement
In your personal statement you should include your intent to study optometry. Some work experience always useful.
Disclosure Requirement
All students are required by the General Optical Council to have been cleared by Disclosure Scotland at the advanced level to work in a clinical situation. Disclosure is sought for the Clinic here at Glasgow Caledonian University and applications will be made during enrolment in the first week of the first year of the course. This Disclosure certificate once obtained will last for the duration of the course for the GCU clinic premises only.

Programme content and structure

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Download course content here. (PDF document)

Course Documents

Programme Description

Optometrists are eye care professionals who detect a range of sight problems and eye conditions and prescribe and fit glasses as well as contact lenses and other visual aids. Optometrists are also involved in the management of a variety of common eye conditions such as glaucoma.

Optometrists in Scotland have an extended healthcare role compared to elsewhere in the UK. The advanced skills and knowledge base that optometrists need to fulfil this role are at the centre of our Optometry programme. We offer a high-quality clinical and didactic programme of education that is highly rated by students.

As an integral part of their studies, students benefit from a wide range of clinical experiences in our purpose-built on-campus Eye Clinic.

GCU has been the hub for non-medical eye-care education in Scotland since 1971 and remains the only institution in the Scotland to offer a degree programme in Optometry.

Why Choose This Programme?

Our programme offers an excellent integrated, professional and scientific education in optometry. It emphasises clinical practice and provides ideal training for careers in private practice, hospitals or research.

Throughout the programme you will put the theory into practice by working with real patients through regular placements with hospital eye departments and the Resource Centre for the Blind. This lets you apply the knowledge and skills gained on the programme to real life situations prior to entering the workplace.

All clinical studies feature very close cooperation with academic staff, whose responsibility it is to individually check or assess the work of each student. All our students enjoy the benefit of personal tutors to whom they can come if they require help with studying or personal problems.

Work Placement

Clinical training takes place in our Eye Clinic on campus, with a number of specialist clinical rotations: contact lens fitting, orthoptics, low vision, electrophysiology, infant and learning disability clinics. Students also attend regular placements at local hospital eye departments & the Resource Centre for the Sensory Impaired.

A BSc (Hons) in Optometry from GCU opens doors to professional placements, providing links to future employers throughout the UK. There are also collaborative programmes with international partners.

HM Forces

In partnership with HM Forces, GCU has identified this programme is being particularly suited to military and ex-military men and women. Visit the HM Forces Careers Zone for more information on the services we provide.

Professional Accreditation

Accredited by the General Optical Council. 

Optometry graduates are required to register as student trainees with the General Optical Council to obtain a registration number. Graduates become qualified optometrists after one year’s supervised clinical practice and successful completion of the Scheme for Registration run by The College of Optometrists.

Assessment Methods

The principal aim of the programme is to deliver high quality clinical education that reflects the evolving role and scope of practice of optometry in the UK.

Our programme assesses the clinical competence of our students in a number of innovative ways, including the use of Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) which are similar to those used by our governing body, in their Scheme for Registration. Our programme aims to equip students with the necessary clinical skills. During the programme studies, students develop a portfolio of clinical competence in all areas needed to practice as an optometrist.

Clinical teaching is central to our programme. We provide our students with the means to develop the clinical skills required in clinical practice, which in turn are built from a thorough understanding of the scientific principles underlying the discipline. 

We have strong links with professional bodies, including the College of Optometrists, Association of Optometrists and Optometry Scotland and with a number of industry partners including Specsavers, Optical Express, Birmingham Optical and Optos.
Written exam
  • Year 1:  57% 
  • Year 2:  66% 
  • Year 3:  63% 
  • Year 4:  48% 
Coursework assessment
  • Year 1:  25% 
  • Year 2:  0% 
  • Year 3:  10% 
  • Year 4:  34% 
Practical exam
  • Year 1:  18% 
  • Year 2:  34% 
  • Year 3:  27% 
  • Year 4:  18% 

Teaching Methods

The overall aims of our clinical teaching are to:
  • equip students with the ability to conduct appropriate investigations
  • develop patient interaction and communication skills
  • make appropriate evidence-based clinical decisions
  • acquire efficient and effective clinical management skills
We place a strong emphasis on developing the professional values and clinical knowledge as well as enhancing the communication and team building skills of our students throughout the programme. To do this we use a range of teaching methods utilising new technology in our award winning onsite eye clinic.

In 3rd and 4th year our students benefit from supervised clinical experience in the University Eye Clinic. Experienced optometrists with expertise in a variety of clinical areas provide supervision and feedback for student when they examine patients. A fully equipped clinical area is available to the students, where they can practice and consolidate their clinical skills.

As part of their training, students attend hospital eye departments and undertake community placements, which ensure that they gain clinical experience with a broad range of ocular conditions. This improves clinical and communication skills and allows to establish diagnostic and management abilities.

In addition, students have the opportunity to undertake a range of summer research programmes. Clinical scholarships are available at home and abroad.
Scheduled learning and teaching
  • Year 1:  30% 
  • Year 2:  35% 
  • Year 3:  25% 
  • Year 4:  27% 
Independent study
  • Year 1:  70% 
  • Year 2:  65% 
  • Year 3:  75% 
  • Year 4:  73% 
Placement study
  • Year 1:  0% 
  • Year 2:  0% 
  • Year 3:  0% 
  • Year 4:  0% 

Employment Details

Employment prospects for graduates in Optometry have been, and continue to be excellent with all past graduates entering the required one-year pre-registration period within one year of graduation.

Following registration, optometrists have a range of career options including working in a variety of practice settings, working as part of secondary care in hospitals, or setting up their own business.

Optometrists can continue their career development through various post-graduate schemes. These include training towards qualifications for Independent Prescribing and a range of specialist skills (e.g. glaucoma management), as well as studying towards a Masters degree.

Scholarships and funding

Glasgow Caledonian University is one of the UK’s most dynamic and diverse higher education institutions, with a tradition of welcoming students from all walks of life. As such, the University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to ensure all students have an equal chance of success. The fees and funding that are relevant to you also depend on where you lived before coming to university.

To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this, including links to our award winning student support team, available at

Key Staff

Programme Leader
Prof Gunter Loffler - PhD, Dipl.-Ing. Optometry