Bachelor of Vision Science with a Master of Clinical Optometry

At a glance
BVisSci/MClinOptom Handbook
Duration: 5 years full time
Delivery mode: On Campus
Estimated ATAR: 
2018 lowest rank* = 99.00
2019 GE Rank1 = N/A
2019 IB Diploma = N/A
UAC Code: 429750


Optometry combines the theoretical discipline of vision science with the clinical art of primary eye care. Vision science includes the optics of lenses and instruments, the physiology of the eye, the psychophysics of vision and the neuroscience of the brain. 

Optometry includes the diagnosis and management of ocular disease, the dispensing of spectacles and contact lenses, the management of people with special needs (children, low vision), sports vision and vision in the workplace. Graduates of this program will be able to register as an optometrist in Australia. The degree is also recognised in New Zealand and in most parts of Asia. Job opportunities in this field are excellent and are expected to remain excellent given the high visual demands in the modern computer-based workplace, and the ageing population in Australia.

Upon completion of the Master of Clinical Optometry degree, students will be allowed to apply for registration with the Optometry Board leading to the practice of Optometry in Australia, New Zealand and most parts of Asia.

Units of Credit

A total of 240 units of study are required. 144 units of credit are required for completion of the Bachelor of Vision Science over 3 years.  96 units of credit are required for completion of the Master of Clinical Optometry over 2 years.  

Length of Study

5 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 BViscSci/MClinOptom program and is limited by a quota. 

Alternate Entry: Alternate entry to BVisSci/MClinOptom is available for applicants who were not eligible for admission to the course. Applicants are advised to apply for BVisSci and then apply for transfer to the MClinOptom at the end of the third year of study. Positions are limited so to be considered for entry requires a credit average (65% WAM). Those who are unsuccessful can graduate with a BVisSci or apply for a Science Honours program. 

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 in Mathematics (note that General Mathematics does not meet the necessary level of assumed knowledge), Physics, Chemistry, English Advanced.

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

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: .

Fee Calculator

Calculate expected course fees here:

Career Opportunities

Optometrist's advice is sought by people with vision and eye-care problems and by public and industrial organisations seeking to improve the community's ocular health and visual welfare.

Many graduates obtain full-time employment in the Sydney metropolitan area, although this cannot be guaranteed for all new graduates. There are excellent employment opportunities in country areas and interstate. The UNSW degree is recognised throughout Australia, New Zealand, and most parts of Asia.

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

On graduation, optometrists may enter private practice on their own behalf, in partnership with a colleague, or as an employee in an established practice

As employees, graduates may expect a starting salary greater than that of most other university graduates. In private practice the upper limit of income is determined primarily by an individual's ability and energy.

One of the great rewards of the profession is the independence that it offers, the prospect of running your own business, and the satisfaction of contributing to the welfare of the community.

With each patient, optometrists carry out a full eye examination using a variety of tests and procedures. They; prescribe and provide spectacles, contact lenses, visual training, optical aids and advice necessary for the patient's well-being; detect, diagnose and manage eye disease and conditions related to general health; advise on the conditions under which patients use their vision for their occupation and recreation.

Specialities of clinical optometry include paediatrics, contact lenses, occupational optometry, public health optometry, co-management (shared care), low vision, sports vision, behavioural optometry and binocular vision.

In industry, optometrists are called upon to advise on the protection of vision. They also analyse the visual demands of a task and advise on vision standards in order that the comfort and efficiency of employees can be improved.

Optometrists participate in industrial safety programs and advise on the visual capabilities needed for particular tasks.

In addition, optometrists work closely with road safety organisations, applying visual science to problems such as visual standards for motorists, vehicle design and highway lighting.

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)

Master of Clinical Optometry Program Structure - 96UOC

Stage 1 

Summer Session

OPTM6400 Preclinical Optometry (6UOC)

Semester 1

OPTM6411 Contact Lenses (6UOC)

OPTM6412 Clinical Optometry 4A (6UOC)

OPTM6413 Anterior Eye Therapeutics (6UOC)

Semester 2

OPTM6421 Binocular Vision, Paediatrics and Low Vision (6UOC)

OPTM6422 Clinical Optometry 4B (6UOC)

OPTM6423 Therapeutics and the Posterior Eye (6UOC)

OPTM6424 Professional Optometry (6UOC)

Stage 2

Semester 1

OPTM8511 Pediatrics, Low Vision and Colour Vision (6UOC)

OPTM8512 Clinical Optometry 5A (6UOC) 

OPTM8513 Clinical Ocular Therapy 5A (6UOC)

OPTM8518 Research Project 1 (6UOC)

Semester 2

OPTM8521 Clinical Contact Lenses (6UOC)

OPTM8522 Clinical Optometry 5B, (6UOC)


OPTM8523 Clinical Ocular Therapy 5B (6UOC)
OPTM8528 Research Project 2 (6UOC)