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Ophthalmic Dispensing FdSc

Train to be a dispensing optician, or progress to an optometry degree.

Ophthalmic Dispensing

City University logoQuick facts:

UCAS Code: B511 (View this course on UCAS)
UCAS Institution Code: C60
Level: 5
Duration: 2 years, full-time, 4 days per week
Location: Centre for Applied Sciences
UK/EU fees: £9,000 per year (for a September 2015 start)
International fees: £tbc
Average class size: 45 (lectures with City University London)

What is this course about?

This course leads to a rewarding career as a dispensing optician, a specialist trained to dispense and fit ophthalmic lenses and spectacle frames and to recognise basic ocular disorders.

The foundation degree in ophthalmic dispensing allows students to enter their pre-registration training as a dispensing optician or can lead to further study at degree level. Job prospects are good and the career is interesting and rewarding and one that can make a genuine difference. The career is suited to those who enjoy working with people.

Who is this course for? 

This course is for students who would like to train as a dispensing optician while gaining a degree with a strong focus on the workplace. On completion of the course students may complete their pre- registration period and qualify as a dispensing optician or continue their studies to obtain an honours degree in Health Sciences or apply to join BSc Optometry (minimum 2 yrs).

Why study Ophthalmic Dispensing?

  • Leads to a rewarding career dispensing and fitting spectacles
  • Benefit from the expertise at both City University & City and Islington College
  • Approved by the General Optical Council
  • Benefit from a course which is at the forefront of training for dispensing opticians
  • Build credit for further study or you can enter your pre-registration trainingBenefit from the expertise at both City and Islington College and City University

What do I need to get on the course?

  • 180 UCAS tariff points, including at least one science subject at A Level at Grade C or above and GCSE Mathematics and English at Grade A-C

  • BTEC National or Extended Diploma in a relevant science subject with MMM or above
  • Equivalent qualifications are sometimes accepted

In addition:

  • GCSE passes at grade C or above in Maths or Physics, one other science subject, English Language or Literature, and any two other subjects are required.
  • Applications are considered from a wide range of backgrounds and are assessed individually
  • Applicants from overseas are considered on a case–by-case basis.

Applicants who do not meet these entry criteria will be considered based on equivalent qualifications, previous experience, a College assessment and an applicant interview.

For International Students

Overseas qualifications will be assessed on a case by case basis.

If your first language is not English, we will require evidence of English language proficiency. Minimum requirements are:

  • IELTS: An overall band score of 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component
  • TOEFL: 110 internet-based total

What will I study?

In year one, you will be introduced to the basic principles of optics and visual optics that underpin work in ophthalmic lenses, dispensing and optical manufacturing. You will also be taught about human biology so you can understand how the eye functions in health and disease.

Year 1:

  • Visual Optics
  • Human Biology
  • Practice Management
  • Optics and Quantitative Methods
  • Ophthalmic Lenses and Dispensing

Year two builds and expands on the subjects taught in year one so that you can successfully transfer your skills to the work place. In addition, you will cover basic clinical skills used by optometrists and the basics of contact lenses and low vision.

Year 2:
  • Clinical Skills
  • Visual and Neural Biology
  • Ophthalmic Lenses and Dispensing
  • Optics
  • Work Placement
  • Visual Optics and Low Vision
  • Ocular Anatomy and Contact Lenses

The course is a partnership between City University and City and Islington College with the majority of the teaching at the College.

We believe that learning is a joint venture between staff and students. You will be assisted through lectures, tutorials, practical classes, group work and a work placement. This combination provides a superb opportunity both for learning and preparing for your career.

Assessment is based on examinations, coursework test, presentations, practical write-ups practical work and practice based assessment.

What qualification will I get?

You will get a Foundation Degree Science in Ophthalmic Dispensing.

What can I do after the course?

The course is accredited by the General Optical Council (GOC). On completion, graduates may gain exemption from the theory exams of the association of British Dispensing Opticians and continue their pre-registration training to become a registered dispensing optician. You may also continue your studies to obtain an Honours Degree in Health Sciences or apply to join BSc Optometry.

How do I get on the course?

Click here to find out how to apply for this course

View this course on UCAS

International students click here

If you require further information about the course, please email