The Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science), Master of Optometry is a double degree offered by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and requires 5 years of full-time study (or up to eight years part-time).

Admission requirements

The minimum requirements for consideration for entry to all undergraduate courses are specified in detail in the University Entry Requirements.

There are specific sub-quotas for rural and remote and Indigenous applicants.

In addition to the direct entry places (for which applicants apply through SATAC) applicants who have completed a prescribed program of study in the Bachelor of Medical Science with a minimum GPA of 5 may apply for admission to Year 2 or Year 3 of the double degree. Ranking for admission to Year 2 or Year 3 will be based on combined scores from a structured interview and the applicant’s GPA in the first year of the Bachelor of Medical Science (for students transferring into Year 2) or the first two years of the Bachelor of Medical Science (for students transferring into Year 3) and is managed by an internal Flinders University process. The interview will count for 35% of the overall selection ranking, with the remaining 65% to be based on GPA.

The course is not available to international applicants.

Course aims

The overall aim of the double degree is to prepare the graduate for beginning clinical practice as an optometrist in a range of urban, rural and remote settings; to be a well-informed health professional; and to acquire critical skills in appraising scientific and clinical information.  In addition the course is designed to produce graduates who as medical scientists are specialists in the area of vision science and possess well-developed skills to undertake a range of careers within the medical sciences.  Students also gain the specialist knowledge, clinical skills and attitudes necessary to be registered by the Optometry Board of Australia as an optometrist.

Learning outcomes

Graduates of the double degree are expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of the fundamental science underpinning the fields of medical science and their science discipline and have a range of transferable professional skills
  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of the factors that influence sight and the visual system
  • undertake basic medical research utilising specialist skills and knowledge in at least one major area of science
  • contribute to developing and/or evaluating new treatments and strategies for health problems by employing specialist skills in a major area of science; and appreciate the cross-disciplinary nature of the medical sciences and work, as appropriate, with other health professionals
  • select and perform common diagnostic and therapeutic optometric procedures
  • identify and treat eye dysfunction and diseases within the scope of optometric therapeutic practice
  • communicate clearly and effectively with patients and other health professionals
  • meet the registration requirements of the Optometry Board of Australia.

Program of study

To qualify for the double degree of Bachelor Medical Science (Vision Science), Master of Optometry, a student must complete 180 units with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic, according to the following program of study.

Students who fulfil the requirements of the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science) award according to the course rule, and have a GPA of no less than 5 in the 2nd and 3rd year topics completed, will be permitted to progress to the Master of Optometry. Students who fulfil the requirements of the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science) but do not have a GPA of 5 or more may exit with the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science) award.

However, the Faculty Board may, under certain circumstances and subject to specific conditions, permit students to continue if they show evidence of fitness for candidature.

Not all topics are necessarily available in a given year.

Core - Year 1 topics

36 units comprising:

 BIOL1101  Evolution of Biological Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1102  Molecular Basis of Life  (4.5 units)
 HLTH1003  Legal and Ethical Aspects of Health Care  (4.5 units)
 MDSC1102  Skills for Medical Scientists 1  (4.5 units)
 MMED1005  How Your Body Works: Human Physiology and Structure  (4.5 units)
 PHYS1702   Physics for the Health Sciences  (4.5 units)

Plus one of:

 CHEM1101  Chemical Structure and Bonding  (4.5 units)
 CHEM1201  General Chemistry  (4.5 units)


 CHEM1202  Chemistry for the Life Sciences  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

 BIOL2771  Biochemistry  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2772  Molecular Biology  (4.5 units)
 MDSC2000  Skills for Medical Scientists 2  (4.5 units)
 MMED2931  Human Physiology  (4.5 units)
 MMED2932  Integrative Human Physiology  (4.5 units)
 MMED2933  Fundamental Neuroscience  (4.5 units)
 MMED2935  Human Immunology and Infectious Diseases  (4.5 units)
 PHYS2711  Optics for Vision Science  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

 MMED3937  Pathophysiology for Medical Science  (4.5 units)
 MMED3934  Principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology  (4.5 units)
 MMED3940  Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics  (4.5 units)
 OPTO3001  Knowledge of Health and Illness for Optometrists 1  (9 units)
 OPTO3002  Ocular Anatomy and Histology  (4.5 units)
 OPTO3003  Clinical Skills 1  (4.5 units) 
 OPTO3004  Communication for the Consulting Room  (4.5 units)

Core – Year 4 Master of Optometry topics

36 units comprising:

OPTO8001 Knowledge of Health and Illness for Optometrists 2  (9 units)
OPTO8002 Ophthalmology (4.5 units)
OPTO8003 Clinical Skills 2 for Optometrists  (4.5 units)
OPTO8004 Optometry 1  (4.5 units)
OPTO8007 Clinical Placements 1  (13.5 units)

Core - Year 5 topics

36 units comprising:

OPTO8005 Optometry 2  (4.5 units)
OPTO8008 Clinical Placements 2  (13.5 units)
OPTO8006 Optometry 3  (4.5 units)
OPTO8009 Clinical Placements 3  (13.5 units)

Prima facie evidence of unsatisfactory academic progress for the purposes of the University’s Policy on Student Progress may be constituted by:

  • the award of a grade of Fail (F) in the same topic on more than one occasion or;
  • failure to complete the course within eight consecutive years