Optometry BOptom (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)



Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE


Optometrists perform eye tests and diagnose sight problems, helping to improve people’s vision and manage a range of eye conditions. Our Cambridge-based degree, fully accredited by the General Optical Council, is designed to give you the skills you need to register as an optometrist after a year-long clinical placement. You’ll learn from lecturers who are professional practitioners, use specialist equipment in clinical and lab sessions, and make a difference to people’s lives working in our University Eye Clinic.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

As an optometrist, you might have your own practice, work in a hospital, in the armed forces, become an academic or a researcher, or work in international optical companies.

To register fully with the General Optical Council, you’ll need to work for a year as a pre-registration optometrist under the supervision of a registered optometrist. Once you’ve passed the Council’s professional examinations, you’ll become a registered optometrist yourself.

For students who complete their first year of BOptom Optometry to an exceptional high standard, there may be the opportunity to transfer to Year 1 of MBChB Medicine. It must be noted that this is a highly competitive route and there is limited availability.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology for Optometrists
    In this module you will be introduced the basics of human anatomy and the basic techniques used in laboratory diagnosis of disease. You will be explore cell structure and function, in addition to cells and tissues (functional histology). You will also explore the brain, nervous system and the special senses, the anatomy and physiology of the heart and cardiovascular physiology, the respiratory system and the lymphatic and immune systems. Practical sessions in anatomy and physiology will support the concepts discussed in your lectures.
  • Ocular Anatomy and Biochemistry
    You'll study the detailed functional anatomy of the eye and neuro-optometry, gaining an understanding of the integration of ocular structure and function. You'll conduct preliminary studies of the effects of disruption of the normal system by intrinsic and extrinsic factors and anatomical changes occurring in ocular pathology. These topics will be built on throughout the course in the study of ocular disease and abnormality. You'll also be introduced to the basic principles of biochemistry, with specific references to structural and functional relationships of molecules and macromolecules to include carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins, nucleic acid, the control of gene expression and metabolism.
  • Geometrical, Physical and Visual Optics
    You’ll focus on the principles of optical systems, lenses and the eye which form the basis of many aspects of clinical optometry and vision science. You’ll study the wave theory of light and then be introduced to optical techniques such as ray-tracing methods. General optical principles, such as refraction, are extended to the elementary areas of ophthalmic optics such the nature of ametropia and its correction. You’ll then study more advanced subjects including the theory of chromatic and monochromatic aberrations and their impact on retinal image quality. Our module is delivered over two semesters and combines lectures and laboratory sessions in which you’ll investigate various optical phenomena and observe the effects of ametropia on visual performance. You’ll be assessed through mid-year class-based multiple-choice test, an end-of-module examination and an assessment of your laboratory work.
  • Theoretical and Practical Ophthalmic Lenses
    Understand the principles of spectacle lenses and frames and gain the skills to dispense appropriate spectacles to patients. You’ll focus on the principles of refraction with respect to single vision lenses, as well as lens thickness, astigmatism, prisms and measurement of lens power. You’ll follow this with analysis of lens aberrations and lens design, treated and tinted lenses, and multifocal lenses (bifocal and progressive power lenses). Finally, you’ll cover frame materials and measurements, as well as legal aspects and standards for dispensing spectacles.
  • Clinical Optometry 1- Introduction to Practice
    This is the first of a series of clinical modules in which you'll learn the applications of basic clinical optometric techniques in the assessment of the patient's visual status. You'll develop a strong understanding of the development of effective communication between practitioner and patient as well as skills to encourage effective team building. As well as attending lectures, you'll attend workshops and clinical sessions where you'll be able to put your learning into practice. You'll be supervised by optometrists, giving you expert advice on how best to master certain clinical techniques and communication skills.

Year two, core modules

  • Clinical Optometry 2 -Skills for Optometric Practice
    In this module you'll learn the theory and practice of optometric instrumentation and investigative techniques and continue to develop your refraction skills. You'll also learn how to conduct an eye examination and how to interpret clinical findings. We'll introduce more advanced optometric investigative techniques later in the module. You'll learn how to communicate your findings to patients and other eye care or medical professionals. Your learning is assessed using end of semester written exams and clinical assessments.
  • Monocular, Binocular and Paediatric Vision
    You'll gain a basic scientific foundation to the study of human vision and perception and a basic clinical foundation to the study of paediatric optometry and binocular vision. The progression is from studying the scientific foundations of monocular and binocular vision to the study of the basic clinical principles of paediatric optometry and binocular vision, including normal and abnormal binocular vision conditions, their diagnosis and correction, and the optometric examination of children. You'll cover aspects of visual psychophysics, neurophysiology and neuro-imaging as tools used in the study of Vision Science. Topics covered will include spatial vision, temporal vision, binocular vision and stereopsis, colour vision, eye movements, motion perception, perceptual constancies and illusions. You'll study the basic principles of paediatric optometry and binocular vision, based on a thorough understanding of the principles of functional anatomy and optics of the visual system. We'll develop the theme of abnormalities of binocular vision, their diagnosis and correction and cover the optometric examination of children. Laboratory and/or seminar sessions will provide time for you to participate actively in learning particular skills, or in carrying out particular tasks, which will support your learning of theoretical or clinical concepts.
  • Clinical Optometry 3 - Introduction to Professional Practice
    In this module, you'll be introduced to the various types of contact lenses and to the procedures used to assess their suitability, as well as the use of solutions used in conjunction with contact lenses. You'll learn how to conduct an eye examination, how to interpret clinical finding and how to dispense appropriate optical aids by carrying out eye examinations on volunteer patients. Most of your learning will take place in lectures, practical classes and patient examinations.
  • Pharmacology and Pathology
    You'll build on the knowledge gained in year one in functional anatomy and physiology and ocular anatomy, gaining an understanding of pathological processes relevant to optometrists. You'll be introduced to the principles of pharmacology, based on an understanding of the functional anatomy and physiology of the body, in general, and the eye, in particular. You'll be introduced to important ocular manifestations of systemic disease. The principles of therapeutic drug use in the treatment of ocular emergencies and disorders of the eye provide a key focus to the programme.
  • Introduction to Ocular Disease
    You'll build on the knowledge gained in year one in our functional anatomy and physiology and ocular anatomy module. You'll study pathological processes relevant to optometrists and of the principles of pharmacology, to introduce the concept of diseases and abnormalities of the eye. An introduction to clinical presentation and the optometric and medical management of such diseases and abnormalities will be given.

Year three, core modules

  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Clinical Optometry 4 - Advanced Optometric Practice
    Here we'll build on the foundations of optometric practice covered in Years 1 & 2 of the course in order to develop your knowledge and skills in the detection and management of ocular disease. You'll learn how to interpret the presenting symptoms and signs of patients attending with ocular disease and how to manage them. In addition, you’ll study the management of the patient with low vision, study low vision and cover the causes of visual impairment, procedures for testing and assessment of patients, evaluation of remaining visual function and consideration of the full range of optical and non-optical visual aids and services available. You'll learn the basic principles of epidemiology and how to apply your knowledge to the process of decision-making. We'll also address the sources of and strategies for dealing with errors and uncertainties in clinical decision-making.
  • Clinical Optometry 5 - Professional Practice
    In this module we'll develop the concept of contact lens design and application in a more complex context, examining their use in a variety of optical situations, as well as the consequences of long term wear. You'll spend up to 6 hours per week gaining hands-on experience in the University Eye Clinic performing eye examinations and contact lens appointments on patients, and dispensing the patients with appropriate spectacles where required. We'll assess your learning using a combination of formal examination, continuous assessment of eye examinations and contact lens appointments, a one-to-one eye examination and an OSCE.
  • Optometry, Society and Environment
    You'll consider the place of the optometric profession in society. You'll examine the laws and ethical codes pertaining to optometry, and considering their effects on optometric services and patients. You'll study the relationship between Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments and professional guidelines, and examine the influence of Parliament, the General Optical Council and the College of Optometrists on optometric practice. You'll complete a study of basic ethical theory enabling you to resolve ethical dilemmas and evaluate existing professional guidance. You'll also examine the importance of vision in society by considering the impact of vision on common social and workplace activities such as driving and computer usage. This will include the effects on vision of lighting and radiation along with other environmental factors and hazards.


Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment to measure your progress. Because our course is so practical, a lot of your assessment will be practical, too – including exams and clinical competence. You’ll also do written exams, problem-solving exercises, essays, presentations and data analysis.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Please note, the estimated additional costs for this course are as follows:
PD ruler - £20
pen torch - £10
Occluder - £14
Budgie stick - £10
Retinoscope & Ophthalmoscope - £1385
General Optical Council fees - £30 per annum
Lab coat - £15
Travel expenses for 14hrs of hospital experience: approx. £100
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – Enhanced check £44
Printing costs (optional) – Average: £2.50 - £5.00 per teaching week.



How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

Students must be able to demonstrate capability in all the relevant General Optical Council (GOC) competencies at the end of their training. In a small number of cases, a disability or health condition might make it impossible for a student to meet the requirements of a training course or a competency required by the GOC. If you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to contact our Disability and Dyslexia Support team (disability@anglia.ac.uk), or our Admissions team (admissions@anglia.ac.uk) where we can refer your query to the course leader.

Further details can be found here: https://www.optical.org/en/Education/Careers/index.cfm.

For international students studying optometry in the UK, the College of Optometrists can offer sponsorship after you graduate. This is so that you can remain in the UK to complete your pre-registration period and professional exams with the General Optical Council. Anglia Ruskin University itself does not provide sponsorship for this period.

Bridging information for Canadian students

If you’re a Canadian student wishing to register as an optometrist in Canada you can follow one of the following pathways. 

Current Canadian undergraduate degree holders:

• Study and complete the three-year BOptom (Hons) Optometry degree at Anglia Ruskin University.

• Undertake one year’s pre-registration work in the UK, resulting in registration as an optometrist in the UK.

• Complete the process of registration for internationally educated optometrists as specified by the optometric regulatory body in Canada.  Applicants are advised to seek up-to-date information on the requirements and procedures.   

• Please note that 'registration as an optometrist is provincially regulated and requirements vary slightly from province to province. It is strongly recommended that interested applicants research the specific requirements in the province(s) that are of most interest. Please see the IOBP's website.

Canadian high school leavers:

• Study and complete the three-year BOptom (Hons) Optometry degree at Anglia Ruskin University.

• Undertake one year’s pre-registration work in the UK, resulting in registration as an optometrist in the UK.

• Spend three years working as an optometrist in the UK or outside of Canada.

• Complete the process of registration for internationally educated optometrists as specified by the optometric regulatory body in Canada.  Applicants are advised to seek up-to-date information on the requirements and procedures.   

• Please note that 'registration as an optometrist is provincially regulated and requirements vary slightly from province to province. It is strongly recommended that interested applicants research the specific requirements in the province(s) that are of most interest. Please see the IOBP's website.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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