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Clinical Ophthalmology (Online Learning) ChM (Clinical Ophthalmology)

Awards: ChM (Clinical Ophthalmology)

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

I would certainly recommend this programme, especially to someone like myself who has been in practice for many years. It really opens you up to new developments taking place in the field of Clinical Ophthalmology.

Dr Lloyd Reynolds ChM Clinical Ophthalmology graduate
Dr Lloyd Reynolds               ChM Clinical Ophthalmology graduate

This two year, part-time masters programme is taught entirely online and leads to the degree of Master of Surgery (ChM).

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

The programme has been developed with the support of NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

Who is this programme for?

The ChM is designed to support advanced ophthalmology specialist trainees in the UK and registrars/residents in ophthalmology, internationally.

This is achieved through a curriculum which recognises your subspecialist ophthalmic interests in preparation for exit examination and hospital-based practice.

Our programme is aligned with the curricula of the membership and fellowship examinations of the:

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

This makes this degree very attractive if you are a domestic or international student preparing for these examinations. It also applies if you are approaching consultancy and specialist practice.

Video resources

Watch our introductory film to learn more about how this online degree can help you hone your clinical skills:

Hear what our ChM graduates think about our programme:

Listen to David Pyott and Professor Baljean Dhillon discussing global education in ophthalmology and The David and Molly Pyott Foundation Scholarships in Ophthalmology for ChM international applicants from low resource settings.

The programme is taught entirely online.

You will be supported by varied 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's Clinical Leads are Professor Baljean Dhillon and Professor Roshini Sanders, Programme Directors.

Dr Heather Ellis, Deputy Programme Director, is the Academic Lead.

Time commitment

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

We recommend that you are able to commit a minimum of 15-20 hours to your studies each week. The learning content is delivered each week in a flexible, modular manner.

How will I learn?

The programme is delivered using a purpose-built learning environment that supports a variety of learning styles, and allows students flexibility in their study patterns.


This degree is aligned with the curricula of the:

  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth)

Core, compulsory courses in each area of clinical ophthalmology support learning for their membership and fellowship examinations. These are taught and assessed using a clinical problem-based approach, supported by systems-based review of the course material.

Academic courses (core and specialist) allow you to explore research and teaching methodology. These will also develop skills to ensure an ability to analyse published evidence and explore interactive and written clinical communication skills.

How will I be assessed?

Knowledge and understanding will be assessed with a formal multiple-choice question (MCQ) exam designed to mirror the trainees' upcoming exit exams. You will also participate in academic discussion boards, leading and facilitating debate, and complete a reflective ePortfolio.

You are required to complete a Masters research project in Year 2 in an appropriate ophthalmology sub-speciality of your choosing.

Year 1

  • Ophthalmology 1
  • Core Ophthalmology
  • Applied Basic Sciences, Examination and Surgical Strategies
  • Clinical Decision Making, Therapeutics, Avoiding and Managing Complications
  • Diagnostics and Technologies in Clinical Practice
  • Acute Ophthalmology, Trauma and Advanced Surgical Techniques

Year 2

  • Ophthalmology 2
  • Core Academic Activity (Reflective ePortfolio)
  • Examination (MCQ)
  • Specialist Academic Activity (Research Project)

Academic courses in Year 2 will explore research and teaching methodology, whilst enabling you to develop the ability to analyse published evidence and enhance your interactive and written clinical communication skills.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a written reflective ePortfolio and an academic research project, for example original research or a systematic review in a relevant sub-speciality.

Peer-reviewed journal

Following completion of the programme, students are encouraged to seek publication of their study in a peer-reviewed journal.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
ChM (Clinical Ophthalmology)Clinical Ophthalmology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

On completion of this programme you will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of your chosen surgical subspecialty
  • be able to apply this knowledge to the systematic assessment and management of medical and surgical patients in the elective, urgent and emergency clinical setting
  • recognise the leadership contribution and responsibilities of the ophthalmologist in the multidisciplinary management of complex medical and surgical disease
  • critically reflect upon day-to-day medical and surgical practice in the context of recent advances
  • engage in critical dialogue with peers and experts in other specialties
  • apply the general principles of clinical study design, ethics, and statistics to critically evaluate the scientific literature in medical and surgical research
  • make informed judgements on new and emerging issues in medicine and surgery
  • exercise a high level of autonomy and initiative in professional activities at a level of independent medical and surgical practice

The programme will offer an alternative to clinical/laboratory research training if you do not wish to take time out of training.

It will develop your academic portfolio and facilitate medical/surgical research projects essential to a research active career.

The ChM programme is designed to align with the membership and fellowship examination curricula of the RCSEd and RCOphth and prepare you for your exit professional examinations.

The award of ChM will highlight your commitment to continuing professional development and will ensure a competitive edge when applying for consultant positions.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A medical degree (MBChB or equivalent) recognised by the General Medical Council in the UK, or an equivalent national body. You should also be based in a supervised specialist training programme in ophthalmology.

UK applicants should have completed initial specialist training (ST 1/2) or core training (CT 1/2) and early intermediate training (ST 3), and will normally be starting their intermediate training (ST 4).

Applicants from outside the UK, and applicants who are not in a recognised training programme, must demonstrate that the programme is directly relevant to their ophthalmic medical and/or surgical training.

You should have completed a minimum of 24 months of core training in the surgical specialties and at least 18 months of specialist training in ophthalmology before enrolling.

We will also consider your application if you are an established ophthalmologist in independent practice.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
ChM (Clinical Ophthalmology)Clinical Ophthalmology2 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.

Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships

The University of Edinburgh is offering twenty Masters scholarships for eligible part-time distance learning Masters programmes offered by the University. Please read the eligibility criteria carefully before you apply.

The deadline for Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships is Monday 3 June 2024.

(Revised 14 May 2024 to add in Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships information)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • ChM Clinical Ophthalmology 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
9 September 2024 23 August 2024

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

  • ChM Clinical Ophthalmology Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Surgery Online, Ophthalmology
  • Lauriston Building, 1st Floor, Lauriston Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9EN