Doctor of Clinical Research in Optometry

At a glance
Doctor of Clinical Research handbook
Duration: 3 to 4 years
Study mode: Full time or part time

Overview

The Professional Doctorate of Clinical Research in Optometry is an applied research professional degree that is designed specifically for clinicians in optometry or cognate areas. It provides an opportunity to combine a doctoral thesis with the coursework component of the relevant Masters programs. Participation in the DCRO will lead to the presentation of a doctoral thesis. The proposed DCRO is designed as a three-year full-time equivalent program (3 years minimum, 4 years expected duration), structured as one-third coursework (equivalent to one year full-time) and two-thirds research (equivalent to two years full-time). The DCRO may be undertaken on either a part-time or full-time basis.

Units of Credit

48 for the course work component. Previous postgraduate coursework programs can be accredited towards this degree.

Length of Study

3 to 4 years of advanced study full-time (or part time equivalent), leading to the submission of a thesis. This degree is structured as one-third coursework (equivalent to 1 year) and two thirds research (2-3 years).

Entry Requirements

The standard entry pathway is where applicants fulfil all of the admission requirements, including the research training admission requirement, and that of the coursework component undertaken in the first year (equivalent) of the DCRO enrolment.

The admission requirements for this group consist of:
  1. A minimum 1-year post-qualifying professional experience in clinical practice;
  2. A demonstrated capacity for independent research under the guidance of a supervisor at the doctoral level (as defined by the UNSW Higher Degree Research Admissions and Pathways Guideline Version: 1.0 Effective 15 October 2014); and
  3. A first or upper-second class (Distinction) Honours degree in Optometry or in a cognate discipline.
The qualifying program Advanced Standing entry pathway is available for applicants who do not meet the research training entry requirements, i.e. applicants who do not have a research honours qualification within the identified cognate disciplines. The pathway to the program is through completion of a coursework Masters, such as the Master of Optometry (8073). This must contain, in line with AQF requirements, 18 UoC research training, including methodology training and a stand-alone individual project. UNSW currently offers the Master of Optometry (8073), which has two 6 UOC and a 12 UOC research core courses (OPTM7108 Research Skills in Optometry, OPTM7302 Evidence Based Optometry and OPTM7308 Research Project). The coursework results are required to be at a Distinction average (thus, fulfilling the research training requirements of the DCRO).

Students who have completed the Master of Optometry, or who have been awarded a suitable Masters through UNSW or another university, and meet the research training and other entry requirements, may apply for admission to the DCRO with Advanced Standing, with 48 UOC credit for the coursework component of the doctorate. This entry point is consistent with the AQF principle that pathways can facilitate credit for entry into, as well as credit towards, AQF qualifications (AQF Handbook, 2013, p78).

In summary, the admission requirements for Advanced Standing entry pathway consist of:
  1. A minimum 1 year post-qualifying professional experience in clinical practice;
  2. A demonstrated capacity for independent research under the guidance of a supervisor at the doctoral level (as defined by the UNSW Higher Degree Research Admissions and Pathways Guideline Version: 1.0 Effective 15 October 2014); and
  3. A Masters (Coursework) degree with a distinction average and a significant research component, minimum equivalent 18 UOC consisting of methodology training and a stand-alone research project.

Applying

Please fill out an expression of Interest form.

Fee Calculator

Calculate expected course fees here: https://student.unsw.edu.au/fees

Course Structure

The DCRO is designed as a three year full-time equivalent program (3 years minimum, 4 years expected duration), structured as one-third coursework and two- thirds research.

Students will undertake 48 UoC of coursework courses selected from relevant programs including the Master of Optometry (8073), or Master of Public Health (9045) or other suitable Level 9 AQF courses. Core courses will include a OPTM7302 Evidence Based Optometry (6 UOC) and an approved statistical training course appropriate for the field of research (6 UOC).

The 2-year research component of the DCRO may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis and may be based in the student's clinical practice or place of work. Similar to the PhD in Optometry and PhD in Vision Science, the research consists of independent study supported by an academic supervisor and successful completion requires that the study constitutes an original and significant contribution to knowledge.