Ophthalmic Dispensing Assistants University Certificate

Distance learning undergraduate (1 year)

Distance learning

January, September


Take the first step on the path to a rewarding and fulfilling career with our certificate level university accredited courses (level 4).

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Full description


After completing the University Certificate, you have the option to progress to the Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing, which leads to qualification and registration as a Dispensing Optician. From there? That's up to you

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Introduction to Delegated Clinical Procedures
    We'll introduce the basic concepts required for competent performance by an Optometric Clinical Assistant or Ophthalmic Dispensing Assistant working in optometric practice. Teaching is delivered as a work-based distance-learning module across one semester with engagement with a tutor via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The module begins by describing the basic anatomy of the visual system, which is then applied to the study of common abnormal ocular conditions. The classification of ametropia is studied along with its effects on vision, and the student is introduced to common optometric procedures including objective refraction, oculomotor assessments and ophthalmoscopy. The basic principles of contact lens practice are also taught. These relate to the advantages and disadvantages of contact lenses, the designs and materials of common contact lens types, and the handling, storing and wearing of contact lenses. You'll achieve a basic knowledge of the theoretical principles of clinical optometry.
  • Further Delegated Clinical Procedures
    This module is compulsory and restricted to students on the University Certificate for Optometric Clinical Assistants course. You’ll gain the knowledge required by an Optometric Clinical Assistant working in optometric practice. It's delivered as work-based distance-learning across one semester and combines theoretical study and engagement with a tutor via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. You’ll learn techniques which relate to more specialised aspects of optometry: stereopsis, colour vision testing, visual field examination and tonometry. You’ll also gain knowledge of more advanced aspects of contact lens practice (lenses for presbyopia and astigmatism). You’ll learn about the dispensing of spectacles, including the selection of appropriate lenses and the accurate recording of spectacle lens and frame specifications. You’ll also learn the theoretical principles of advanced aspects of clinical optometry as well as a range of defined delegated clinical techniques, including spectacle dispensing. Assessment consists of a portfolio of coursework and a multiple-choice test in Week 12. The latter is the final assessment task for this module.


During our year-long course you'll spend about six hours per week taking part in tutorials and practical work with your supervisor, who must be a registered optometrist or registered dispensing optician. You'll further your knowledge with extra study in your own time and at the end of the course, your supervisor must confirm that you've gained the necessary practical skills.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Distance learning
Person using laptop

Study at a time that suits you, using our Virtual Learning Environment.

More about distance learning

Fees & funding

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email admissions@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

Entry requirements are for September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.