Melbourne Doctor of Optometry course structure

13 January 2015

The University of Melbourne Doctor of Optometry is a 4-year full-time program that offers intensive training in the area of optometry. The course covers the basic and applied vision sciences that underpin optometry, and delivers comprehensive clinical training starting in the first year of study. During the course, students will undertake a research project, in an area relevant to the discipline, and will have the opportunity for clinical training at an overseas site as part of the final year of study.

University of Melbourne Optometry School
University of Melbourne EyeCare

Year 1
Students study the core biological and physical vision sciences within the Integrated Ophthalmic Sciences subject. This subject builds upon prerequisite knowledge in the general biological sciences, helping students to apply general concepts to understand the structure and function of the visual system. Students also commence clinical training, in the Pre-Clinical Optometry subject, and cover the theoretical aspects of clinical ocular examination and refractive management for the first time. The key techniques of the optometric examination are also practiced for the first time.
Year 2
Through the Applied Clinical Training subject students continue to develop clinical investigation skills, and an understanding of the design and function of ocular appliances. Students learn about the mechanisms and manifestations of ocular disease, and start to consider strategies for the diagnosis and management of disease. In the later part of Year 2 students start to see patients in a clinical setting and develop capabilities in ocular appliance prescribing, fitting and dispensing. In conjunction with this applied clinical training, students carry out a research project under the supervision of an optometry and vision sciences academic. This project enhances the knowledge of the vision sciences, emphasises the evidenced-based nature of clinical optometry practice, and prepares students for future postgraduate research work.
Year 3
During the Clinical Optometry Practice subject, the majority of learning experiences are driven by regular patient contact, primarily in the University of Melbourne‘s Clinical Training Facility (University of Melbourne EyeCare), and at a range of local placement sites. Facilitated case-based simulations enhance this clinical experience. The extended semester length ensures that students experience sufficient clinical contacts to provide a solid base for development of patient assessment and management skills . In the third year, students are also introduced to the business and ethical aspects of clinical practice, through both didactic interactions and experiences at University of Melbourne EyeCare.
Year 4
The final year is entirely clinical (Optometry Internship). Students develop advanced experience in all areas of clinical practice, particularly general optometry practice, disease management, contact lenses, paediatrics and low vision management. Rotations through placement sites that include University of Melbourne EyeCare, primary / tertiary eye care sites in city and rural Australia, and international eye care sites will provide a breadth of clinical experience. The extended length of the clinical year offers a level of clinical exposure commensurate with that of the Doctor of Optometry courses offered in North America.
Capstone experience
Compulsory overseas and national internships form the capstone experience for students of the Doctor of Optometry.
These internships, which see students practicing in a variety of environments, will enable them to develop a national and global perspective on optometry, and to experience the similarities and differences in the practice of eye health management throughout the world.
The following is a list of some of the places where students completed their capstone experience in 2013:

  • Illinios College of Optometry, Chcago, USA
  • Department of Ophthalmology, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore
  • Department of Ophthalmology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
  • Department of Optometry, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Eye Hospital of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
  • Tilganga Eye Care Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • State University of New York, New York, USA
  • Phelophepa Health Care Train, South Africa

University of Melbourne Doctor of Optometry (OD)

Program: Doctor of Optometry (OD)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: Late February or early March
Duration: 4 years

Apply to the University of Melbourne Optometry School!


Find out more about studying optometry in Australia! Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Optometry Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady by emailing or calling toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.