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Short Course - IP2 Management & Prescribing for Independent Prescribing

About the course

Independent prescribing (IP) for optometrists at the University of Hertfordshire comprises two modules.

IP1 must be taken and passed before commencing IP2. Both are 30 credit postgraduate (Level 7) modules and each takes six months to complete. Students are able to work at their own pace with the full course normally taking 12 months to complete.

Assessment January 2023 (Date TBC)

You are able to progress through the course at your own rate. It would normally be expected that you would complete the course in 12-18 months. Students must complete module IP1 before commencing this module IP2. Both modules must be taken and passed before sitting a final Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assessment.

Please note that the University does not accept Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)/ Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for this course.

Why choose this course?

The path to becoming an independent prescribing qualified optometrist is a  3-step process:

  1. Attend a course approved by the General Optical Council.
  2. Undertake a clinical placement under the supervision of a consultant ophthalmologist and complete a logbook.
  3. Sit the College of Optometrists Common Final Assessment.

This postgraduate short course is offered as a part-time, flexible learning course and is step 1 in the path to become an independent prescribing optometrist. It will provide you will the skills, knowledge, understanding and practical skills required for the independent prescriber clinical placement and final assessment.

The University places considerable emphasis on the development of professional attitude and on patient-focussed practice throughout the course. You will be taught by a range of professionals from different specialists from optometrists and pharmacists to nurse practitioners, and ophthalmologists.

This short course teaches and assesses students against the General Optical Council’s independent prescribing competencies and it aims to:

  • enable you to learn about the causes, signs and symptoms of conditions they will encounter as an independent prescribing optometrist
  • provide lectures on the investigation and management of conditions you are likely to encounter once you register as an independent prescriber
  • encourage you to research evidence-based practice in their studies and to be self-reflective in order to develop required clinical skills
  • ensure you have the necessary skills to start their clinical placement through a final practical assessment.

Teaching methods

Typical learning hours 300 per module. There is a combination of face to face teaching, online lecture material, self-directed learning and webinar interaction. Each lecture is followed by a series of formative Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ). The assessment for IP2 comprises a practical written work, MCQs and OSCEs.

IP2 consists of the following:

  • Face to face teaching: two days at the start of the IP2 (13-14 September 2022)
  • Venue: University of Hertfordshire, College Lane Campus, Hatfield


  • Classification of glaucoma
  • Investigation of glaucoma
  • Management of glaucoma
  • Management of dry eye and blepharitis
  • Legal and professional ethics for IP optometrists
  • Integrating IP into practice


  • History taking/communication
  • Ocular examination

Case discussion sessions

  • Six case discussion sessions relating to all aspects of independent prescribing

Online Lectures

  • Prescribing in special groups
  • Prescribing in at risk groups
  • Prescribing safely
  • Evidence based practice
  • Management of red eye conditions
  • Medications available to optometrists

Clinical placement

Before commencing the clinical placement the IP2 assessment must be passed. This is to ensure you have developed all of the necessary clinical skills to complete the clinical placement. 

The clinical placement consists of 24 three-hour sessions with an ophthalmologist. It is your responsibility to secure a placement. You are required to identify your ophthalmologist mentor to the University prior to starting the course. The clinical placement must commence no later than two years after the completion of the theoretical modules. To commence the clinical placement following module 2:

  1. You must have been registered with the General Optical Council for at least two years; and
  2. You must have been recently assessed in clinical competence (final OSCE).

The University of Hertfordshire holds full approval from the GOC to provide the independent prescribing course.

The next course will commence in July 2022. For more information email Programme Lead, Colin Davidson.

Course experts

Colin Davidson
Programme Lead

Course fees

Self-funding £2450 which covers both modules.