Optometry - Initial Year for Extended Degree in Science


Optometry at City and Islington College

About the course

This course provides a thorough grounding specific to the professions of optometry and ophthalmic dispensing. It prepares students for study at undergraduate level.

Integrating theory, research and practice throughout, the Initial Year Optometry supports progression to the University of Hertfordshire’s MOptom, subject to fulfilling certain requirements. 

Practice placements provide valuable exposure to clinical practice, facilitating the integration of scientific knowledge, evidence and practice, and enabling you to put theory into practice. 

The course comprises human biology, mathematics, problem solving skills, professional conduct and evidence practice. In addition, further modules include an introduction to the theory and practice of subjects and skills relating to optometry and ophthalmic dispensing, including visual optics, optics and ophthalmic lenses.

All teaching on the Initial Year Optometry takes place at City and Islington College’s Centre for Applied Sciences, enabling you to benefit from the College’s expertise in the field of Optics and providing access to optics laboratories and a range of specialist equipment and resources.  

With good job prospects, this career is interesting, rewarding and can make a genuine difference. The career is suited to those who enjoy working with people.

Read the course specification 

The standard entry requirements for the programme are:

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 5 or above, including English Language, Mathematics and a Science, or equivalent.
  • 88 UCAS tariff points, including A Levels in 2 science subjects, which equates to CCD at A Level. A minimum grade C must be obtained in either Biology or Mathematics A Level.
  • A 2-hour group work and competency-based interview to assess the suitability of applicants.
  • An International English Language Testing system (IELTS) minimum score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each category for all international students.
  • Satisfactory Occupational Health clearance and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks 


Compulsory modules:

  • Academic Skills
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Mathematics for Optics
  • Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Geometrical Optics 
  • Ophthalmic Dispensing
  • Professional Development


Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, exercise classes and practical classes, supported by computer-assisted and self-directed study. This approach promotes student involvement, utilising a broad mix of progressive approaches. 

During lectures, you will explore the theory element of the module. You will then complete exam-style questions based on this theory in the exercise classes. The practical classes will allow you to put theory into practice, in correlation with the requirements of your Ophthalmic Dispensing work placement. You will also be encouraged to attend talks by external speakers from industry.

With small class sizes, you’ll enjoy quality contact time with lecturers, and the attention and support when you need it. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor. Contact time varies between modules, but typically comprises of around 2-3 hours contact per week for each module.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including the library and HE hubs.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning hours, and assessment activity plus field trips (where relevant), with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around 10 hours. Your actual contact hours may depend on the course you study. An indication of how much time allocated to different activities is included within course specification.


Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes academics, professional practitioners with industry experience and technical officers.

Please read this PDF for examples of extra costs that may be incurred.

Assessment for the course takes place on a module by module basis, enabling you to demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for each module. 

The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Some modules may contain at least one piece of practice or 'formative' assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or 'summative' assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Method of assessment

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the modules that form part of your course. Further information regarding the methods of assessment for your course can be obtained from the Course Manager.


You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. We normally aim to provide you with feedback on your assessment within 10 working days of hand-in.

Following successful completion of the Initial Year Optometry, you may progress onto Year 1 of the MOptom programme at the University of Hertfordshire, subject to achieving an average pass of 75%, with no less than 50% in each constituent module, and completion of a successful interview. 

In addition, progression to the University’s MOptom programme requires satisfactory Occupational Health clearance and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Students who do not achieve the required pass grade to progress onto the MOptom will have the opportunity to progress onto alternative programmes at the University of Hertfordshire within the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics and the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Course information

Start date
(see other dates)
09 September 2019

Select your preferred start date

Course level
Level 4
Course code
Start date
End date
1 Year
Applied Sciences
Class Type
Full time
Student Type
Adults (19+)
Higher Education

If you are aged 19+ and looking to study a Level 3 or above course, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover your course fees.

£11950.00 per year
£9250.00 per year
Awarding university, University of Hertfordshire logo
Link to HE financial support

HE financial support

Help is available when it comes to funding your studies. Find out more here!

Link to Higher Education courses explained

HE courses explained

From FdAs to HNDs, find out everything you need to know about our courses.

Link to Higher Education Frequently Asked Questions


Have a question about our HE courses? Get them answered here.