Glasgow Caledonian University Orthoptics

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Glasgow Caledonian University Orthoptics

Course Details

BSc (Hons)
4 Years
Start Date
11 September 2017
Full Time
Subject Area
Vision Science
GCU Glasgow


Tuition fees need to be paid to the university however some students are eligible for tuition fee support. The fees and financial support that are relevant to you depend on where you lived before coming to university. A guide to fees at GCU.

Additional Costs

Students are required to purchase a tunic for working in the eye-clinic: £17
This is required by all health care professionals and therefore students must undergo the disclosure process, the cost for this is £59
Travel costs to placements are expected to be covered by the student

You will also have to think about accommodation, living costs, travel, books and socialising. To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this available at and

Minimum Entry Requirements

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.
Year 1

SQA Higher: BBBBC including 2 Sciences, plus Maths, English and Physics Nat 5 at B

A level: BBB including one science plus GCSE Maths, Physics and English at B/6

ILC Higher:H2 H3 H3 H3 H3 to include Physics, Maths and English

IB Diploma: 28 points must include a Higher Level Science and Maths at 6

BTEC Extended Diploma in Science/Applied Science DDM plus GCSE English, Maths plus Physics at B/6 or Double Science at BB/66

College: SWAP Access to Science and Technology/Ophthalmics with ABB and including 70% in Physics module. Science or healthcare based HNC/D with B in the Graded Units and including sufficient coverage of Physics. Other science-related HNC qualifications (including Physics) may be considered.

Programme content and structure

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Download course content here. (PDF document)

Programme Description

Orthoptics is a small, highly specialised branch of eye care. Orthoptists largely work in the NHS within the acute hospital setting or within community health care. The correction of amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (squint) makes up the majority of their work with children.

Orthoptists also work in the care and management of patients with conditions that include brain injury, diabetes, stroke, low vision and glaucoma.

They work closely with Ophthalmologists and Optometrists as well as a wide range of other professionals such as maxillo facial surgeons, neurologists and contribute to multidisciplinary teams.

If you are interested in health care, people and particularly children then Orthoptics may be the perfect career for you.

The programme involves learning with other health care professionals and students should receive a truly multidisciplinary experience throughout their four years of study.

On successful completion of the degree students can be registered with the Health Professions Council . They can also apply to become members of the British and Irish Orthoptic Society.

Work Placement

Practice placements are an integral part of the orthoptics degree. As well as attending lectures and tutorials, practical experience is gained through laboratory work in the University. Hospital placements form a core part of this programme. Time spent on placement increases as students progress through the four years of the programme.

Professional Accreditation

The programme has been approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Graduates are eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and for membership of the British and Irish Orthoptic Society.

HM Forces

In partnership with HM Forces, GCU has identified this programme is being particularly suited to military and ex-military men and women. Visit the HM Forces Careers Zone for more information on the services we provide.

Assessment Methods

We place a strong emphasis on developing professional values and clinical knowledge as well as enhancing the communication and team building skills of our students throughout the programme, which is only one of three programmes in the UK leading to the qualification as an orthoptist, and the only one in Scotland.We use a range of teaching methods utilising modern technology in our award winning on-site eye clinic and laboratories. All assessments are designed to ensure that students can show competency in the key areas needed to practice as an Orthoptist as stipulated by the HCPC.

As well as attending lectures and tutorials, practical experience is gained through laboratory and clinical work and through attending clinical placements at hospitals throughout Scotland and UK, enabling the student to put their knowledge into practice helping them to prepare for their chosen career.

Written exam
  • Year 1:  43% 
  • Year 2:  61% 
  • Year 3:  52% 
  • Year 4:  5% 
Coursework assessment
  • Year 1:  45% 
  • Year 2:  8% 
  • Year 3:  23% 
  • Year 4:  67% 
Practical exam
  • Year 1:  12% 
  • Year 2:  31% 
  • Year 3:  25% 
  • Year 4:  28% 

Teaching Methods

Our curriculum recognises the changing needs in health care and has developed a strategy to improve sustainability of eye care in the future for an ageing population, preparing our students for the future challenges as well as developing their skills as part of a multidisciplinary team.We use a range of teaching methods. Our students participate in interprofessional learning with other health and eye care students as well as undertaking practice education in a range of hospitals across the Scotland and the UK. This offers our students a unique opportunity to develop their skills from a UK wide perspective. This practice education is central to developing skills and allows the student to transform learning in the university into patient care.

Scheduled learning and teaching
  • Year 1:  23% 
  • Year 2:  30% 
  • Year 3:  22% 
  • Year 4:  8% 
Independent study
  • Year 1:  70% 
  • Year 2:  54% 
  • Year 3:  52% 
  • Year 4:  52% 
Placement study
  • Year 1:  7% 
  • Year 2:  16% 
  • Year 3:  26% 
  • Year 4:  40% 

Employment Details

As a new programme, developed in response to workforce needs in the profession within Scotland, the employment prospects are excellent. Our qualification is recognised across the world.Our graduates will predominantly work in the NHS and employment prospects are good with our students having job opportunities at home or abroad. Some graduates work in private practice or on the high street within optometry practices. Orthoptists can continue their career development in post graduate study and research is also possible.

Other career paths include working for charities such as the RNIB or Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Our graduates possess a range of skills and attributes that will enable them to contribute to a modern and changing NHS environment.

Scholarships and funding

Glasgow Caledonian University is one of the UK’s most dynamic and diverse higher education institutions, with a tradition of welcoming students from all walks of life. As such, the University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to ensure all students have an equal chance of success. The fees and funding that are relevant to you also depend on where you lived before coming to university.To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this, including links to our award winning student support team, available at