The Doctor of Optometry/ Doctor of Ophthalmic Science is a unique professional doctorate programme that will enable you to enhance your knowledge, and critical awareness of current issues, and to be at the forefront of the academic discipline through taught and research elements.
This qualification is broken down into two elements; taught an research.
- Taught modules: 20 credits each (nominally equivalent to 200 hours of student learning) our modules consist of remote access lectures with electronic formative assessments and a module coursework assignment such as reflective case records, or an essay/literature review related to the module. There are two study periods per year to complete taught modules; 1st October -31st January and 1st March - 30th June. Module results are ratified at Examination Boards held shortly after the end of each study period.
- Research project: This will form the major component of your doctorate, supervised by members of the Aston Optometry School. You will develop your research proposals based upon your own clinical interests, or, you may opt to select a project nominated by an Aston academic. Because this is a distance-learning programme, the research is not normally carried out on the University campus, and it is essential that the you have access to the facilities and resources needed to carry out the research, usually in your place of work. This stage requires a significant long-term commitment, as it is equivalent to around 2 years of full-time work (i.e. 4 years part-time). Candidates ultimately submit a thesis which is examined in a viva voce examination.
The Doctor of Optometry programme is aimed at practising optometrists, who will complete case records where required for taught module coursework and will undertake a practice-based research project.
The Doctor of Ophthalmic Science programme is for eye care professionals who may not be practising optometrists, e.g. medics/ orthoptists/ product designers; these students may complete scientific essays to fulfil the coursework requirements and undertake a non-clinical research project.
Taught modules include:
Flexible credit accumulation
As a new student, you will initially register as LHS postgraduate student within a framework of flexible credit accumulation (FCA). Within this framework it is possible to graduate with a:
As part of the flexible programme as a UK optometrist, you may complete the theoretical element of the General Optical Council approved Independent Prescribing for Optometrists module.
Up to 60 credits may be awarded in respect of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), whether experiential or certificated (e.g. previous completion of the Aston MOptom). To progress to full doctoral registration requires a minimum of 120 taught module credits including the compulsory 20 credit Research Methods module, an approved project proposal, and successful completion of the qualifying report stage, assessed by viva voce examination with an internal examiner. The report and the viva voce examination will be used to assess suitability for progression to the full doctoral project. Candidates may only progress to the ophthalmic doctorate if they achieve 60% in the taught element of the programme and at least 60% in their dissertation that is submitted following completion of the taught element.
Timescales for study
Taught credits are valid for 5 years, so those studying for an MSc/ PgDip/ PgCert must complete their studies within 5 years of enrolment on the programme.
Those undertaking the DOptom/DOphSc programme must complete their taught module requirement and complete the research stage within 6 years of registration. Note that in accordance with University Regulations for part-time research students, the earliest date for completion of the doctoral programme (i.e. submission of thesis/ portfolio) is 4 years following registration.