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UNSW revamps optometry program

UNSW's School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS) has announced several changes to its optometry program.

For the past 10 years, the SOVS has offered a double undergraduate degree comprising a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Optometry to those seeking to pursue a career in optometry.

From 2017, however, a new Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry program will replace the previous double undergraduate degree. The new program will comprise a three-year undergraduate course followed by two years of Masters-level coursework, which includes a research project.

The Bachelor of Vision Science will also be available as a standalone thee-year undergraduate course for those seeking a career in vision science.

Head of school Professor Fiona Stapleton told Insight that SOVS regularly reviews its programs and how they compare to those offered in other jurisdictions, noting that the recent changes came about after one such review.

"The skills and competencies taught in our program were more closely aligned with a Masters by coursework according to the Australian Qualifications Framework. As a result, our program has now been revised," she explained. "The recent changes are recognition of the level of training and education offered by the UNSW SOVS."

Prof Stapleton added that Commonwealth Supported Places would be available for the Bachelor of Vision Science/Masters of Clinical Optometry program at UNSW.

"Often this is not available in many coursework Masters programs, many of which attract high fees beyond HECS," she stated. "This means that the Bachelor of Vision Science/Masters of Clinical Optometry remains an equitable program that is open to everybody."

The first student intake will begin the new program in February 2017.

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