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ABDO College
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The Vision Science course offers a unique opportunity for dispensing opticians to ‘top-up’ to a degree while still working in practice.

The course, offered by ABDO College in conjuction with Canterbury Christ Church University, is designed for fully qualified dispensing opticians who wish to gain a profession specific degree and acquire graduate skills that can be applied to the workplace. You will be taught through online distance learning via Christ Church's Virtual Learning Environment.

The usual route is 18 months, however, can be completed over three years.

Why study Vision Science?

On a day to day level, thousands of dispensing opticians carry out excellent work with the FBDO diploma and acquired years of skill and experience. For many, there was no choice to pick a degree course when they were studying. A significant number of well-qualified practitioners are seeing the new wave of graduates and thinking, ‘I would have liked a degree too.’

Health and Social Care placements statement

We are proud to provide our students with the confidence and experience to practice in an evolving and dynamic health care service. The experience will enable you to deliver compassionate and evidence-based care. Read more by expanding the below section.

Entry requirements

ABDO Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing (FBDO) qualification. You will require current membership with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.

This course has not yet been validated for International students.

More information about entry requirements.

All about the course

The degree progresses you through a mix of assessments; essays, a poster, a leaflet, a case study, and with the option of a workplace project on a topic that you choose according to your specific interests. There are no attended exams to take. The course comprises three compulsory modules and three optional modules from a list which includes contact lenses and low vision, so, again, you can tailor the degree to your interests. 

The compulsory modules are; Academic Skills Development, Evidence-based Practice, and Transforming Ophthalmic Practice.

The optional modules include The Principles of Contact Lens Practice, The Principles of Low Vision Practice, Paediatric Eyecare, Ophthalmic Public Health, Dry eye & Ocular Surface Disease, and an independent study module where you select a relevant topic. Each module has around 8-10 lectures and several live seminars with your course tutors (via our online virtual learning environment, Blackboard).

The whole degree is offered in a flexible timeframe. You can study two modules at a time and complete it within 18 months, the suggested time, but you have up to three years should you wish to proceed at a slower pace due to other commitments.

Module information

Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

Core/optional modules

How you’ll learn

The team have a range of expertise and experience in delivering research-informed teaching. All of your tutors are experienced dispensing opticians, contact lens opticians or optometrists. They will have significant experience in the subject area and will, therefore, be able to guide you throughout your degree journey. Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) will work in collaboration with our partners, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) College.

You will be taught through a combination of recorded lectures, live seminars and directed study. You will typically have around 2-4 hours directed study and tutor contact per week. Seminars will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in the recorded lectures. You will be able to discuss your progress live with your academic, personal tutor, via video-link, within our virtual learning environment, called Blackboard Collaborate.

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2022.

When not reviewing recorded lectures, attending virtual seminars or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars. Your module tutor will direct you to specific readings and/or activities to complete each week.

Your journey through your degree will typically take 18 months. However you may opt to take one module at a time, staggering the workload and completing your degree over three years instead. Each module will count as 20 credits toward your 120 credit total which will enable you to achieve a BSc (Hons) in Vision Science. You will require access to a computer, ideally with a headset and microphone and web camera facilities.

How you’ll be assessed

The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or 'formative' assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Feedback from formative assessments will not count toward your final grade.


Each module will provide at least three exemplars of acceptable work expected at the assessment. There is a formal or 'summative' assessment at the end of each module.

Assessment methods include various essays, academic posters, case studies, leaflets and presentations. All assessments are designed around the virtual learning environment and are submitted electronically via the ‘Turnitin’ service.

The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark. You must achieve a minimum pass mark of 40 and above in all modules. Each module may be made up of more than one final assignment piece with a varied weighting of each element. You must pass each of these at 40% to be able to pass the module. Each module is weighted evenly when calculating your degree award classification.

Your future career

Once you have completed the degree, it will open a gateway to career opportunities such as lecturing or research.

  • You will be more respected within your workplace, and your patients will benefit from your evidence-based recommendations.
  • You can progress from your bachelor's degree to master’s and then to doctorate level taking your research skills and knowledge to the next level and carrying out groundbreaking research.
  • You will enjoy the foundations for the ABDO low vision certificate and contact lens practice certificate and may go on to study these at ABDO college. 


The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK Overseas
Each module TBC N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

Please read the 2021/22 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2021/22 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

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UCAS code:



ABDO College
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