Postgraduate study

Clinical Ophthalmology (Online Distance Learning)

Awards: ChM (Clinical Ophthalmology)

Study modes: Part-time, Part-time Intermittent Study

Online learning

Funding available

This new two year part-time Masters programme, taught entirely online, is jointly offered by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and leads to the degree of Master of Surgery (ChM). It has been developed with the support of NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

The ChM is designed to support advanced ophthalmology trainees in the UK and internationally through a curriculum which recognises their subspecialist ophthalmic interests in preparation for exit examination and hospital-based practice.

Our programmes are aligned with the curricula of both the FRCSEd and FRCOphth examinations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, making these degrees very attractive to domestic and international students.

The ChM provides advanced training for medical and surgical ophthalmologists preparing for the fellowship examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) in the UK and Ireland and those approaching consultancy. On completion of this programme students will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of their chosen surgical subspecialty, and 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, and 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, and 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

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

The programme is taught entirely online. Students are supported by asynchronous discussion with e-tutors - all leading clinicians in their field - and have access to a large learning resource, including subscriptions to key online books and journals. Students 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.

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

The programme is headed up by Professor Baljean Dhillon.

The programme runs on a semester basis over 2 years and involves approximately 10-15 hours of study each week in a flexible, modular manner.

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.

Core, compulsory modules in each area of clinical ophthalmology are aligned to the curricula of the FRCSEd and FRCOphth. These are taught and assessed using a clinical problem-based approach, supported by systems-based review of the course material. Knowledge and understanding will be assessed with a formal MCQ exam designed to replicate the trainees' upcoming exit exams.

Academic modules (core and specialist) allow the student to explore research and teaching methodology, as well as develop skills which ensure an ability to analyse published evidence and explore interactive and written clinical communication skills. Students are required to complete an e-dissertation involving an academic critique in an appropriate subspecialty area of work, such as that resulting from a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

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

Academic modules will explore research and teaching methodology, whilst enabling students to develop the ability to analyse published evidence and enhance their interactive and written clinical communication skills. Students will also have the opportunity to complete an academic research project in Year 2 e.g. Original research or a Systematic Review in a relevant area of work. Following completion of the programme, students are encouraged to seek publication of their study in a peer-reviewed journal.

Students are supported throughout the programme through asynchronous discussions with e-tutors who are all leading clinicians in their field. Students also have access to a large learning resource, including subscriptions to key online books and journals. A written examination (MCQ)) is held in the second year, following completion of core modules.

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

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 Ophthalmology4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2017/18

The programme will offer an alternative to clinical / laboratory research training for those students who do not wish to take time out of training. It will develop the trainee's academic portfolio and facilitate medical/surgical research projects essential to a research active career.

The ChM programme is designed to follow the FRCSEd and FRCOphth curricula and prepare the advanced trainee for their exit professional examinations.

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

A medical degree (MBChB or equivalent) recognised by the General Medical Council. You should also be based in a supervised training programme.

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 course is directly relevant to their ophthalmic surgery training.

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

We will also consider your application if you are an established, independently practising ophthalmologist.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • ChM Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, ESSQ Office Room G10/G11
  • Simon Laurie House, 196 Canongate
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ
Programme start date Application deadline
10 September 2018 31 August 2018

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit a reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • ChM Programme Administration
  • University of Edinburgh, ESSQ Office Room G10/G11
  • Simon Laurie House, 196 Canongate
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ