Doctor of Optometry

    • CRICOS Code: 072811B

    The experience


    As a student of this course, you will become a member of an elite group completing the only Doctor of Optometry in Australia. Your interest in the body and its abilities, in particular the brain and nervous system, will be shared by a diverse group of peers.

    Throughout the program, you will be immersed in this rich field of study through innovative and contemporary teaching styles. You will also benefit from witnessing first-hand practical and dynamic bedside manner skills, and hone your own patient management by learning one-on-one from experts with years of experience in primary care.

    As a graduate, equip yourself with an internationally recognised degree that can take you places, including some of the most sought after local and international health organisations and practices.

    The day-to-day experience

    Throughout your four years of study, enjoy learning about healthcare in context as you become a member of an active department that focuses on hands-on learning. Your experience through various yearly placements at leading health organisations will enhance your overall experience in the program.

    Research into contemporary health issues plays an important role in your day-to-day experience. You will engage regularly with world experts focused on specialised eye diseases, including posterior eye disease, glaucoma and anterior eye problems.

    Enjoy the benefits of a small but engaged cohort course with a very active student community. As part of your involvement, you will partake in a two-day Doctor of Optometry student conference. In your final year, you have the opportunity to run the conference as part of the curricula, assisting you to make lasting connections with experts beyond the realm of the stand-alone course and pursue potential employment prospects.

    Learning mode

    Theory and practised-based learning will direct you through the program. A highly practical course, the Doctor of Optometry will see you regularly apply your theoretical knowledge in real-world situations, with a heavy emphasis on clinical practice and contact hours.

    During your second year, you will see your one-on-one patient numbers increase to match your growing clinical skills. As you enter your third and final year, your learning will mostly focus on direct patient care, preparing you for entry into this specialised health arena.


    This degree provides you with over 1,000 hours of clinical practice throughout the program. With this high level exposure, you will have the opportunity to develop a better understanding of what clinical practice path may best suit you post-graduation.

    See what our students have to say about the Doctor of Optometry, and what excites them the most about this program

    Erica Barclay, year 3 student (2017)

    "I majored in Neuroscience during my Bachelor of Biomedicine and found the brain and nervous system fascinating. The Doctor of Optometry combines the scientific field I enjoy studying the most with clinical decision making and patient care."

    What do you enjoy about the Doctor of Optometry?

    "I like that the Doctor of Optometry has small cohorts so there is a lot of peer support and learning. It has helped me to develop skills in research as well as problem solving to tackle all manner of patient presentations."

    What inspires you?

    "Clinicians with an extraordinary wealth of knowledge who easily develop good rapport with patients. Some of these people also have their own research interests and are world leaders in certain optometric areas, a pretty amazing feat!"

    Kyra Stretton, class of 2016

    "The University's resources are unmatched, and I have always felt supported by the expert teaching staff. The focus on research at the University is inspiring, which is especially important in advancing areas like optometry and vision sciences which are evidence-based practices. I knew that a career in optometry would be rewarding, and that I would be constantly challenged and learning about advancing techniques in optometry practice."

    What attracted you to pursue the Doctor of Optometry degree?

    "I learned about optometry gradually through high school and physiology units in my undergraduate degree, and then approached an optometrist for work experience. While I had been interested in the science behind optometry initially, I was fascinated by the complexity of ocular conditions and the dynamic relationships that existed between the patients and optometrist. "

    What do you enjoy about student life at the University of Melbourne?

    "There are lots of clubs and societies to get involved in at the University, and I particularly enjoy the Optometry Student Society events that are held throughout the year. The University’s position in such close proximity to the city makes everything easily accessible, and I love hunting for my new favourite cafe around campus!"

    One day when I have enough experience, I will open my own practice.

    Aaron Yu
    Why did you decide to study the Doctor of Optometry at the University of Melbourne?
    • The fact that this program allows students to gain clinical experience right from the first year was key in my decision.Real people bring a certain level of unpredictability, so I figured the earlier I get started with the clinical component the better. Being Canadian I also considered the fact that this Departments approach to teaching the course material would be akin to how Optometry is taught in Canada and the United States.Having completed a Bachelor of Science, I had very little interest in another degree at Bachelors level, so the University’s switch to the Melbourne model and delivering Optometry at postgraduate level was very important in my final decision.
    What has been your favourite part of the program?
    • This has got to be the clinical component, whether at our new Pre-Clinical facility or at the University of Melbourne EyeCare practice.Getting towards the end of my second year in this course, I am starting to get more experience with patients, which really puts scientific theory into perspective.
    What do you see yourself doing after finishing your degree?
    • Nothing is set in stone but my plan is to work in Australia for a few years and then move back to Canada to get some more work experience there. I might also explore finding work in other parts of the world so I can include a bit of travel.One day, when I have enough experience I will open my own practice.

    Aaron graduated from the Doctor of Optometry in 2014