Bachelor of Vision Science

At a glance
Bachelor of Vision Science Handbook
Duration: 3 years full time
Delivery mode: On Campus
Estimated ATAR: 
2018 lowest rank* = 96.00
2019 GE Rank1 = 97.00
2019 IB Diploma = 39
UAC Code: 429740


Vision Science is the study of the sensory processes that underlie vision, and the development and use of vision-related technologies. This broad discipline degree provides comprehensive knowledge and direct training in areas relevant to a career in Vision Science, such as: Optics, anatomy and functioning of the eye, eye disorders, clinical optometry, ocular therapy, sensation and perception, psychophysics, and research design, methods and experimentation.

This degree is designed to develop scientists who can work with ophthalmic industries in the development of new technologies, diagnostic instruments, and patient care options, as well as develop persons who can liaise with ophthalmic practitioners dealing with the patient directly.

Students who complete this degree may be eligible to transfer to the Master of Clinical Optometry degree.

Units of Credit

144 units of credit are required for completion of the Bachelor of Vision Science over 3 years.  

Length of Study

3 years of full time study. Note that attendance is internal only and the study mode is full time only. 

Entry Requirements

Atar Admission:  As a guide, an ATAR rank of 98.00 is required for admission to the degree. A Distinction/High Distinction average is recommended for students who wish to apply for advanced standing.

Normal entry is into stage 1 of the BViscSC program and is limited by a quota. 

Assumed Knowledge and English Language Requirements: Students who do not have the required level of assumed knowledge are not prevented from enrolling but may be at a significant disadvantage. It is strongly advised that students who lack the recommended level of assumed knowledge take bridging courses or undertake other preparation before enrolling. The level of assumed knowledge is:   Mathematics (note that General Mathematics does not meet the necessary level of assumed knowledge), Chemistry, Physics, English Advanced.  

Competence in written and spoken English is essential. It is especially important for the BVisCSci/MClinOptom that you possess excellent communication skills in English.

Progression to the Masters of Clincal Optometry

Students who complete the Bachelor of Vision Science may be eligible for admission into the Master of Clinical Optometry via two pathways.

Direct pathway: Entry into the dual award 3182 Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry. Students must maintain an overall CREDIT average (65%) at the end of the Bachelor of Vision Science component of the program to progress to the Master of Clinical Optometry. Students who do not meet this requirement are expected to exit the program with a Bachelor of Vision Science.

Alternative pathway: Bachelor of Vision Science students not enrolled in the above mentioned dual award program (direct entry pathway) may apply for alternative entry into the Master of Clinical Optometry at the end of their degree subject to a number of conditions. 

Progression into the Master of Clinical Optometry will be a competitive process that is based on academic performance. To be considered for entry into the Master of Clinical Optometry, students must maintain at least an overall CREDIT average (65% WAM) in the Bachelor of Vision Science. However, completion of a Bachelor of Vision Science does not guarantee a place in the Master of Clinical Optometry as only a limited number of places will be available. Students who are unsuccessful in obtaining a place in the Master of Clinical Optometry are expected to Graduate with a Bachelor of Vision Science or may wish to apply for the Science honours program (see below). 

Bachelor of Vision Science (3 years, 144 UOC) ----> Science Honours (4500, Vision Science stream) 1 year, 48UOC 


Please note:

On successful completion of the optometry qualification at UNSW (MClinOptom), students must apply for registration with the Optometry Board of Australia to practice within Australia.  As part of this process, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), on behalf of the National Board, must check an applicant’s criminal history to ensure only those practitioners who are suitable and safe to practise are granted registration in Australia.  Please see for further information.  For information on registration in New Zealand, please see: .

Students who complete the Bachelor of Vision Science may be eligible for admission into the Science Honours program (4500, Vision Science stream). To be considered for entry into Science Honours students must have at least an overall CREDIT average (65% WAM) in the Bachelor of Vision Science.

Fee Calculator

Calculate expected course fees here:

Career Opportunities

Vision Science is a new field with a wide variety of career options. Career opportunities are available in commercial businesses that focus on vision research and the application of vision science to industry. Particularly, graduates with a Vision Science major will be able to pursue careers that focus on:

The development and application of vision correction devices - such as those that correct refractive errors (eg. contact lenses and spectacles), drug development, medical devices (e.g. ocular implants) and imaging. For example, optical lens and contact lens manufacturers will require employees with a Vision Science graduate’s particular mix of skills and abilities when designing and developing new products.

The entertainment industry – developing visual simulators, visual design and graphics, and video games. This area is currently undergoing rapid growth given the demand from the entertainment industry for more visually realistic and immersive graphics.

Government sectors – particularly in teaching, defence technology (e.g. lasers and optical equipment), and contributing to the development of health and occupational policies regarding the importance of vision to quality-of-life and in the workplace.

A career in academic teaching and research is available, particularly to those with higher degrees in Vision Science.

Course Structure

Stage 1
Semester 1
BABS1201 Molecules, Cells and Genes (6 UOC)
MATH1031 Mathematics for Life Sciences (6 UOC) or MATH1131 Mathematics 1A (6 UOC) or MATH1141 Higher Mathematics 1A (6 UOC)*
VISN1111 Geometrical and Physical Optics (6 UOC)
CHEM1031 Higher Chemistry A: Atoms, Molecules and Energy (6 UOC)
* MATH1011 can be taken with permission of the program authority
Semester 2
CHEM1829 Biological Chemistry for Optometry Students (6 UOC)
VISN1101 Seeing the world: Perspectives from Vision Science (6 UOC)
VISN1221 Visual Optics (6 UOC)
PHYS1111 Fundamentals of Physics (6 UOC) or PHYS1121 Physics 1A (6 UOC) or PHYS1131 Higher Physics 1A (6 UOC)
Stage 2
Semester 1
ANAT2111 Introductory Anatomy (6 UOC)
OPTM2133 The Clinical Environment (6 UOC)
PHSL2101 Physiology 1A (6 UOC)
VISN2111 Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (6 UOC) 
Semester 2 
OPTM2233 Optical Dispensing (6 UOC)
PHSL2201 Physiology 1B (6 UOC)
VISN2211 Function of the Visual System (6 UOC)
General Education (6 UOC)

Stage 3
Semester 1
OPTM3133 Vision Science in the Consulting Room (6 UOC)
OPTM3105 Disease Processes of the Eye 1 (6 UOC)
VISN3111 Aging of the Visual System (6 UOC)
General Education (6 UOC)
Semester 2
OPTM3233 Working in the Clinical Environment (6 UOC)
OPTM3205 Disease Processes of the Eye 2 (6 UOC)
PHAR3306 Pharmacology for Optometry (6 UOC)
OPTM3201 Ocular Imaging and Applied Vision Science (6 UOC)