Doctor of Optometry

4 years full-time, Parkville — Domestic and International students. CRICOS code: 072811B

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Knowledge:  Graduates of the Doctor of Optometry course will have:

  • an understanding of the normal human visual system and its physical, chemical and biological foundations;
  • an advanced understanding of the mechanisms and associated manifestations of ocular and visual system disease;
  • an expert knowledge of current best practice management strategies for the safe and effective use of ocular therapeutic drugs;
  • knowledge to be competent in the practice of optometry at a level that enables them to achieve and sustain registration with the appropriate professional bodies;
  • knowledge required to manage the establishment, planning, promotion, finances, operations and workforce of an optometric practice;
  • a strongly developed sense of professional and ethical responsibility for patients, colleagues and the community generally, and be aware of the moral and legal responsibilities of professional practice;
  • knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to optometry and the vision sciences.

Skills:  Graduates of the Doctor of Optometry course will have:

  • skills to quantitatively describe light and its passage through optical systems (including ophthalmic instruments, ophthalmic lenses and the eye), design optical systems to meet required specifications, and quantitatively assess the nature and quality of optical images;
  • skills to construct appropriate differential diagnoses, and to acquire additional information to arrive at correct definitive diagnoses;
  • expert competency in clinical ocular examination using current best-practice methods, enabling them to fully assess and manage the health and visual performance of their patient;
  • interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal, that allow them to establish and maintain professional relationships with their patients, professional colleagues and the general community;
  • skills in the practice of optometry at a level that enables them to achieve and sustain registration with the appropriate professional bodies;
  • skills to take on a leadership role in the advancement of optometry on a global stage, both in clinical and research spheres.

Application of knowledge and skills:  Graduates of the Doctor of Optometry course will demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills:

  • by resolving new situations in clinical practice in an effective and innovative way;
  • by solving scientific problems in the visual and/or clinical sciences, as well as particular problems presented by patients;
  • by developing a sense of intellectual curiosity and a desire for lifelong learning, an ability to adapt to scientific, technological and social change, and a capacity to be creative and innovative.

Specific graduate attributes have been carefully defined, developed and mapped to every component of the course.

Course Description

The Doctor of Optometry is the pathway to an exciting and rewarding career in optometry.

The Doctor of Optometry (OD) program is a masters level professional entry degree that creates a new benchmark in 21st century optometric education. As an internationally recognised qualification with full accreditation from the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ), the OD program is the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Clinical studies commence in first year and gradually increase to full-time in the final year. The course is of four years duration and consists of a combination of on-campus teaching and clinical placements. A research project, with clinical relevance, is conducted as a required component of the degree.


Optometry is the occupation of measuring eyesight, prescribing corrective lenses, and detecting and managing eye disease. It is a professional allied health discipline based on the optical, visual, and biomedical sciences. An optometrist's role is to solve their patients' visual problems.

The Doctor of Optometry is a 4-year full-time program that offers intensive training in the clinical discipline of optometry. The course covers the basic and applied optical, visual, and biomedical sciences that underpin optometry, and delivers a comprehensive clinical training that commences in the first year of the study. During the course, students will have the opportunity to undertake a research project, in an area relevant to the discipline, and will be given the opportunity to undertake clinical training at metropolitan, rural and overseas sites as part of their final year of study.

Completion of the Doctor of Optometry satisfies the legislative requirements that permit students to register as optometrists in all states and territories of Australia and in New Zealand. The qualification also affords the opportunity, either with or without further study and examination, to register to practice in other countries around the world.

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for Australian and New Zealand citizens and Permanent Resident visa holders undertaking this degree. Due to limited availability, these places will be awarded on the basis of academic merit. Full-time students enrolled in this program are also eligible to apply for Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy. Refer to the financial support web page for more information.

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