Postgraduate study

Primary Care Ophthalmology (Online Learning) MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

This programme has provided me with the knowledge, skills and confidence to pursue further research opportunities. It also resulted in two publications in a high impact journal and the offer of a position in a major research project.

Lyndsay Brown MSc Primary Care Ophthalmology 2014-2017

Study length

This three year, part-time, interprofessional Masters programme in Primary Care Ophthalmology, taught entirely online.

It is offered by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd).

The programme leads to the degree of Master of Science (MSc). There are also exit points at:

  • PG Certificate - after one year of study
  • PG Diploma - after two years of study

Who is this programme for?

This programme provides opportunity if you are a postgraduate or health professional working in secondary and primary care, including in the following roles:

  • optometrist
  • orthoptist
  • ophthalmic nurse
  • other ophthalmic allied health professional

This programme is also highly relevant if you are a medical and surgical trainee entering specialty training in ophthalmology, or if you are a general medical practitioner with a special interest in ophthalmology.

The programme is designed to be completed alongside an ophthalmic clinical post.

What will I learn?

The MSc is developed in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) as part of the Scottish Government's directive to empower and enhance the shift of balance of care for cataract, glaucoma, medical retina, emergency and ophthalmic triage from secondary to primary care.

You will enhance your knowledge with particular regard to recognition, diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease as you take on extended, shared care and advanced practitioner roles in the management of eye disease as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.

The Year 3 MSc research project also serves as an opportunity to conduct applied research in your sub-speciality of interest and to develop an academic career.

The programme is taught entirely online.

You are supported by discussion with e-tutors - all leading clinicians in their field. You will also have access to a large learning resource, including subscriptions to key online books and journals.

You will be expected to lead e-seminars and e-journal clubs.

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Research community

As an online student, not only will you have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, you will also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Academic staff

The programme is lead by Professor Baljean Dhillon and Professor Roshini Sanders.

Dr Heather Ellis is the Academic Lead.

How will I learn?

The programme runs on a semester basis over three years - between September until June each year. You will follow a weekly timetable.

The learning content is delivered each week in a flexible, modular manner, through an online learning environment.

The programme involves a minimum of 10-15 hours of study per week.

Courses

All courses are compulsory and are taught and assessed using a clinical problem-based approach and involve participation in discussion boards and reflective portfolios.

You will accumulate credits by completing a series of courses leading to a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Science degree.

The minimum time for completion of the full Masters programme is three years, and the maximum time for completion is six years.

At the Certificate and Diploma levels, students must attend an end-of-year examination with a pre-approved partner institution.

Year 1: Certificate

  • Basic Ophthalmic Science: Anatomy, Pathology, Physiology of the Ocular Structures
  • Basic Examination & Investigation Techniques
  • Basic Glaucoma
  • Basic Macular Disease
  • Basic Acute Eye Disease & Vision Loss
  • eTriage and Refinement of Referral Criteria

Year 2: Diploma

  • Advanced Ophthalmic Science: Anatomy, Pathology, Physiology of the Ocular Structures
  • Advanced Examination & Investigation Techniques
  • Advanced Glaucoma
  • Advanced Macular Disease
  • Advanced Acute Eye Disease & Vision Loss
  • Advanced eTriage and Refinement of Referral Criteria

Year 3: Masters

The final year involves a supervised Masters research project. This will be undertaken on an approved topic that reflects your subspeciality interest and will require the submission of:

  • four written assessments, including a final project report (7,500-10,000) words

The MSc supports learning for achievement of the outcomes of the UK's Ophthalmic Common Clinical Competency Framework (OPT) curriculum.

This was developed by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in collaboration with the:

  • College of Optometrists
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS)
  • Association of Health Professions in Ophthalmology (AHPO)

This degree is aligned with the curricula of the:

  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)
  • International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO)
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth)

This supports learning for their membership and fellowship examinations, making the programme very attractive to domestic and international students.

This programme is designed for you if you wish to enhance your knowledge with particular regard to diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease as you take on an increasingly expanding role in the management of eye disease as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.

Students come from different health backgrounds, including:

  • optometrists
  • orthoptists
  • ophthalmic nurses
  • other ophthalmic allied health professionals

This programme may also be of interest if you are a medical or surgical trainee and aspire to specialise in ophthalmology.

The degree enables you to study in a flexible way towards:

  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCSEd)
  • Fellowship Exam of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (FRCOphth)
  • equivalent

The award of MSc will highlight your commitment to continuing professional development in your chosen career and will ensure a competitive edge when applying for clinical positions.

The MSc will also help prepare you for an academic or research career.

The MSc is also relevant if you are a GP or trainee GP with a special interest in ophthalmology, a family medicine physician, or other eye healthcare professional seeking to advance your understanding of primary care ophthalmology and its interface with secondary care.

A medical degree (MBChB or equivalent), or a UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, in optometry, orthoptics, dispensing optics, ophthalmic nursing or biomedical sciences.

We will also consider your application if you have 3-5 years' relevant work experience or professional qualifications, such as RGN, with appropriate clinical experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Ophthalmology Programme Administrator, Karen Muir
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 536 2041
  • Contact: chm.info@ed.ac.uk
  • MSc PCO Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Surgery Online, Ophthalmology
  • Lauriston Building, 1st Floor, Lauriston Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9EN
Programme start date Application deadline
13 September 2021 27 August 2021

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application.

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Ophthalmology Programme Administrator, Karen Muir
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 536 2041
  • Contact: chm.info@ed.ac.uk
  • MSc PCO Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Surgery Online, Ophthalmology
  • Lauriston Building, 1st Floor, Lauriston Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9EN