Optometry Graduate Diploma

Course overview

Entry requirements for 2019

  • For entry requirements, see below for details.
More information

Key Dates

  • 2019 entry
    Applications for 2019 are closed. Please check back for future application dates.

Accredited by the General Optical Council (GOC)

96% Overall satisfaction (Undergraduate Optometry, NSS, 2017)

Modern, purpose built Vision Sciences building with first-class teaching facilities

4th in the UK for Optometry (Complete University Guide, 2019)

Course summary

This course is for you if you did not achieve the grades required for automatic progression onto the UK pre-registration period, your certificate of clinical competence has expired or you obtained an optometry qualification from outside the UK. Learn from academics with a world-class reputation for research and ophthalmologists from several local eye departments.

Entry requirements for 2019

Mode of delivery: Full-time, campus based

Duration: Mid-September to June

Please note:

  • This programme is available for those who have a 3rd or Pass degree classification in a BSc Optometry degree from a UK university. Students from outside the UK may be eligible for this programme if they have a recommendation from the General Optical Council. It can also be taken by practitioners whose certificate of clinical competence has expired.
  • Places on the course are very limited and therefore we require all candidates to successfully complete an interview with us prior to any offer being made. A decision on your suitability for the course will be made based on the information provided in your application and your performance at interview. Please note, all applicants must provide a Statement of Purpose of at least 500 words showing a clear interest in the programme
  • We welcome applications from candidates interested in our courses who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on all previous and predicted qualifications, experience, references and motivation.
  • This course requires all applicants to uphold professional standards of behaviour.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.
  • We recommend applicants check with the GOC that successful completion of this course will allow progression into the pre-registration period in their particular circumstances.
  • The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Start date: September - please note applications for 2019 entry are closed. Please check back for future applications dates. 

How to apply:

  • Please contact pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk for further details.


Fees for 2019

Fees for future applications dates will be listed as they become available.  

Criminal Records Check (DBS) & Fitness to Practise information

Students enrolling onto this course will be required to undertake an Enhanced Level Criminal Records Bureau check (known as a DBS check).

In line with national requirements for courses leading to a health professional qualification, this course is also subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations.

Fitness to Practise regulations involves the assessment of building a relationship of trust and confidence between clinician and patient. In order to fulfil this requirement, students are prohibited from wearing a full veil during clinical teaching sessions or otherwise obscuring their face in a manner that may adversely affect communication and compromise the relationship of trust and confidence.

Discover more about DBS Checks & Fitness to Practise.

Course outline

This course is designed for:

  • Optometry graduates who have not achieved the grades required for automatic progression onto the UK pre-registration period (i.e. students that have not achieved at least a 2:2 in their degree and/or competence in key skills).
  • Practitioners whose certificate of clinical competence has expired.
  • Students from outside the UK who have a recommendation from the General Optical Council and need to obtain an appropriate qualification to work in the UK.
What you will study

The modules that make up the Graduate Diploma in Optometry course are:

  • Anterior Eye 
  • Posterior Eye and General Ophthalmology
  • Binocular Vision and Paediatrics
  • Clinical Practice
  • Elective Studies
  • Professional, Occupational and Low Vision
  • Ophthalmic Drugs
  • Evidence-based research project.
Learning, teaching & assessment

Teaching takes place in lectures, tutorials and practical/clinical classes.

Assessment is by written examination (75%), and assessment of practical and clinical performance (25%).

All examinations need to be passed and an overall average of at least 50% achieved for successful completion of this programme.

Performance in the Graduate Diploma in Optometry will not alter the classification of the optometry degree initially awarded.

Professional accreditation

This course is regulated by the General Optical Council (GOC). 

Students must be registered with the GOC before the start of the academic year - university staff are on hand to help you with this during Freshers’ week. The GOC asks students to disclose any prior criminal convictions that may render them unsuitable for training.

After completion of the Graduate Diploma in Optometry, you must complete a pre-registration period that leads to a series of College of Optometrist exams through the Scheme for Registration.  Success in the College's exams earns you the qualification MCOptom (Member of the College of Optometrists) and allows you to register with the GOC as a fully qualified optometrist. Entry to pre-registration training is regulated by the GOC and minimum entry requirements apply - visit their website for more information.

The Pre-Registration period involves working in-practice, being supported by supervisors, and taking a number of assessments. You will be responsible for finding your own Pre-Registration post, however the Aston Careers Team and the Optometry careers tutor will be on hand to support you. In addition, as one of the UK's leading Optometry courses, we are regularly targeted by the major high street optometry chains and other companies that offer Pre-Registration posts.

Your future career prospects

Aston University’s Optometry graduates consistently achieve high levels of graduate employment.

Our graduates enter careers in hospitals, community-based practice, private practice, the optical industry, optometry research, and roles outside healthcare. Some undertake postgraduate courses.

Roles of recent graduates from our undergraduate courses include:

  • Assistant Optometrist, Specsavers
  • Audit Associate, Deloitte (Accountancy firm)
  • Clinical Demonstrator, Aston University
  • Optician, Boots,
  • Optician, Specsavers
  • Optometrist, Boots,
  • Optometrist, Specsavers
  • Optometrist, Vision Express
  • Pre-Registration Optician, Boots
  • Pre-Registration Optician, Specsavers
  • Pre-Registration Optician, Tesco
  • Pre-Registration Optician, Vision Express
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist Dispenser, Specsavers
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist Dispenser, The Royal Liverpool University Hospital (NHS)
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist Dispenser, Vision Express
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, Boots
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, L Dollay Optometrist
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, Neil Gordon Opticians
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, Specsavers
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, Tesco
  • Pre-Registration Optometrist, Vision Express.

Our modern, purpose built Vision Sciences building provides outstanding facilities for undergraduate and postgraduate learning, research and clinical work. The facilities that you will benefit from include:

  • A fully functioning Optometry clinic. You will help to provide patients with a full range of eye care services under the close supervision of our clinical staff, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists and dispensing opticians.
  • A clinical skills laboratory, equipped with the latest instruments identical to those that you will use in practice.
  • Unique virtual patient simulators help you develop clinical skills.
  • The onsite Optegra refractive surgery hospital. This day hospital is unique in Europe and houses the first university cornea and refractive research centre in the UK. It brings together our research in areas such as brain imaging, human myopia (short sight) and epilepsy.
  • Refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment.
  • A virtual learning environment used general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more. 
  • Course texts and relevant journals are available from the library either electronically or in book form.

As an Aston optometry student, your proximity to all this expertise will give your studies additional context and interest. 

Note that, although you will have access to key equipment, you will need your own retinoscope, ophthalmoscope, trial frame, pen torch, cover stick & a near Snellen stick. This equipment will also be required during the pre-registration period and future practice.

optometry equipment

optometry equipment

optometry equipment

optometry equipment

optometry equipment

optometry equipment

Teaching Staff

Optometry at Aston University is part of the School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS), which also includes the Pharmacy School, Biology, Biomedical Science and Psychology undergraduate programmes and a thriving research culture. There are over 30 staff in Optometry with other School of Life and Health Sciences staff also undertaking Life/Health Sciences/Physiology related teaching and research. In addition, the Optometry department includes a team of technical and support staff. 

Prof Leon N Davies is the Head of Optometry 

Dr Amy Sheppard is the Programme Director and Deputy Head of Optometry

Dr Hannah Bartlett is the Admissions Tutor

  • Prof Frank Eperjesi - Joint module leader for Binocular Vision and Paediatrics
  • Prof Stephen J Anderson - module leader for Professional, Occupational and Low Vision
  • Dr Olivia Hunt - module leader for Clinical Practice
  • Dr Doina Gherghel - module leader for Posterior Eye and General Ophthalmology 
  • Dr Shehzad Naroo - module leader for Anterior Eye
  • Dr Nicola Logan - Joint module leader for Binocular Vision and Paediatrics

Meet the Optometry team.

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