Education and training requirements

Cardiff and Ulster universities confirmed as first to meet new education training requirements

The two universities are the first to have their Master of Optometry undergraduate qualifications approved, the GOC said

Optometry uni building

Cardiff and Ulster universities have met the General Optical Council’s (GOC) new education and training requirements and will begin to teach optometry undergraduates under the new training system from September 2023, the optical regulator has confirmed.

They are the first optometry schools to receive approval for their reformed courses, following the GOC’s new education and training requirements.

Both universities will welcome their first cohorts of students to their Master of Optometry (MOptom) undergraduate courses this autumn, while continuing to deliver BSc (Hons) optometry to those students who are already part-way through their degrees.

The new training requirements will see students spend an increased amount of time on placements during the course, putting an end to the pre-registration year.
The final cohort of students to begin their studies under the current training system did so in September 2022.

All optometry schools in the UK have been required to submit plans that highlight how their adapted qualifications will meet the new education and training requirements to the GOC.

Once approved, all courses will be subject to the regulator's routine quality assurance processes to ensure they continue to satisfy requirements.

Professor John Wild, head of the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences at Cardiff University, said that the university is “delighted” that the new qualification is one of the first to be noted by the GOC.

He said: “This is an outstanding achievement for the School, and is a further indication of Cardiff University as a leader of optometric education and research in Wales, the UK and internationally.”

RS14979_Coleraine campus_3261
Ulster University's Coleraine Campus, where the Department of Optometry and Vision Science is located

Professor Kathryn Saunders, academic lead for optometry at Ulster University, said: “Our team is hugely proud that Ulster University’s optometry course is the first qualification to be noted under the GOC’s new education and training requirements.

“This achievement reflects not only the hard work of the academic staff, but important, ongoing support from our students, the wider university, and other key stakeholders.”

She added: “We look forward to commencing the new MOptom programme in September 2023 and to maintaining and enhancing Ulster University’s reputation as a provider of high-quality optometric education.”

Samara Morgan, GOC head of education development, said: “This is an exciting time for us, as we begin to see how providers of existing GOC-approved qualifications will adapt to meet the new education and training requirements.

“The adapted qualifications will ensure that all optical professionals continue to be equipped to deliver eye care services in a rapidly changing landscape and meet the needs of patients in the future.”