About the course

This course provides a thorough grounding specific to the professions of optometry and ophthalmic dispensing. It prepares students for study at undergraduate level.

Integrating theory, research and practice throughout, the Initial Year Optometry supports progression to the University of Hertfordshire’s MOptom, subject to fulfilling certain requirements. 

Practice placements provide valuable exposure to clinical practice, facilitating the integration of scientific knowledge, evidence and practice, and enabling you to put theory into practice. 

The course comprises human biology, mathematics, problem solving skills, professional conduct and evidence practice. In addition, further modules include an introduction to the theory and practice of subjects and skills relating to optometry and ophthalmic dispensing, including visual optics, optics and ophthalmic lenses.

Please note that all teaching on the Initial Year Optometry takes place at City and Islington College’s Centre for Applied Sciences, enabling you to benefit from the College’s expertise in the field of Optics and providing access to optics laboratories and a range of specialist equipment and resources. The course is a separate one year programme taught at the college in London. Upon completion, you will have the opportunity to progress onto the Master of Optometry programme at the University.

Find out more about studying at City and Islington College

With good job prospects, this career is interesting, rewarding and can make a genuine difference. The career is suited to those who enjoy working with people.

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 Initial Year for Extended Degree in Science - Optometry
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 Initial Year for Extended Degree in Science - Optometry

Why choose this course?


Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, exercise classes and practical classes, supported by computer-assisted and self-directed study. This approach promotes student involvement, utilising a broad mix of progressive approaches.

During lectures, you will explore the theory element of the module. You will then complete exam-style questions based on this theory in the exercise classes. The practical classes will allow you to put theory into practice, in correlation with the requirements of your Ophthalmic Dispensing work placement. You will also be encouraged to attend talks by external speakers from industry.

With small class sizes, you’ll enjoy quality contact time with lecturers, and the attention and support when you need it. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor. Contact time varies between modules, but typically comprises of around 2-3 hours contact per week for each module.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including the library and HE hubs.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes academics, professional practitioners with industry experience and technical officers.

Course details


Following successful completion of the Initial Year Optometry, you may progress onto Year 1 of the MOptom programme at the University of Hertfordshire, subject to achieving an average pass of 75%, with no less than 50% in each constituent module,

In addition, progression to the University’s MOptom programme requires satisfactory Occupational Health clearance and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Students who do not achieve the required pass grade to progress onto the MOptom will have the opportunity to progress onto alternative programmes at the University of Hertfordshire within the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics and the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Work Placement

Practice placements are organised by the college, and provide valuable exposure to clinical practice, facilitating the integration of scientific knowledge, evidence and practice, and enabling you to put theory into practice. 


  • Level 0
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Professional Development 15 Credits Compulsory
    Ophthalmic Dispensing 15 Credits Compulsory
    Ophthalmic Lenses 30 Credits Compulsory
    Mathematics for Optics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Anatomy and Physiology 15 Credits Compulsory
    Geometrical Optics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Academic Skills 15 Credits Compulsory
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS pointsA LevelBTEC

    CCD: To include 2 A Levels from science subjects i.e. Biology, Human Biology, Maths, Physics or Chemistry. A minimum of Grade C must be obtained in either Biology or Maths. A-Levels in General Studies and the Extended Project are excluded.

    MMM: BTEC Extended Diploma with a science profile (not including Early Years or Health & Social Care, must be science based subject to include Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Applied Science)

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 5 Years


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    17/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    17/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)