Eligibility and Applications
For initial enquiries and advice about admissions, please contact the PGR (Postgraduate Research) Team . You may also like to look at our research pages, and to contact academic members of staff directly to discuss possible research projects in areas of interest to you.
Our online application service provides an easy way for you to submit your application directly
An undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, usually 2.1 or above / masters degree.
•Overseas qualifications will be checked for equivalency via the NARIC service.
•English language requirements for overseas students are as stipulated by the University
Applications are to be made via the Cardiff University Online Application Service. If you are unable to submit your application electronically, you may submit a hard copy. Click here for more information.
Please ensure that you read the admissions criteria below before you submit an application.
For advice and initial enquiries about the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Research Team.
For advice and initial enquires about specific projects, or to discuss the possibility of undertaking postgraduate research in a theme of interest to you, you are invited to view the research pages of our academic staff and contact that member of staff directly.
CARDIFF SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY AND VISION SCIENCES
POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH ADMISSIONS CRITERIA
The School of Optometry Admissions Criteria have been implemented to ensure that the School admits
students of the highest quality who can benefit from the experiences provided by the pursuit of a
The Admissions Criteria are intended to ensure that in meeting this aim, the process of student
selection is objective, transparent, open, fair and free from discrimination of any kind. It is reviewed
annually at the start of the admissions cycle and is not normally changed thereafter during that cycle.
Scope of the Criteria
The School of Optometry PhD course (Research)
Profile of Applications
The School of Optometry does not have a specified number of places and will consider all suitable
applications from graduates with degrees in relevant disciplines (including Optometry and Vision
Sciences, Biology, Biosciences, Biochemistry, Genetics, Medicine, Molecular Biology, Physics,
Psychology, Zoology). The School has 3 research groups (Clinical Investigation and Visual Function,
Visual Neuroscience and Molecular Biology, and Structural Biophysics) which carry out research
covering a wide range of scientific disciplines. Applications will be considered throughout the year, with
entry points at the beginning of the months of January, April, July, and October.
Studentship opportunities arise throughout the year in different research groups within the School. All
studentships are advertised to attract the widest possible pool of applicants, with a stated deadline for
applications. The School operates a ‘gathered field’ approach in this situation, collecting all applications
which arrive prior to the deadline, and then selecting from the entire pool.
Prior to the advertising of a studentship, the proposed project, a person specification and details of the
supervisors will have been reviewed externally to the department. The person specification will identify
the key criteria for the studentship.
All applicants are required to complete the University application form. Applicants can apply on-line
using the ‘on-line’ application form or download paper copies from the University website at
www.cardiff.ac.uk/for/prospective/postgrad/apply/index.html. Application forms can also be obtained by
contacting the School Postgraduate Studies Administrator. Applications may be accompanied by
curriculum vitae. References can either accompany the application or be obtained when an applicant
has been short listed. References must be taken up for all short listed applicants. Only candidates that
meet the essential criteria on the person specification will be short listed.
All short listed applicants will normally be required to attend for an interview. The interview panel will
discuss the applicant and come to an agreement as to whether they are suitable to pursue a research
degree in the department
The School Research Administrator will inform applicants who have been unsuccessful,
of the outcome of their application. Cardiff University Registry will inform all applicants in writing of the
decision made in respect of their application.
ALL applicants are required to complete the University application form and may wish to supply a
curriculum vitae for further information. Applicants can apply on-line using the ‘on-line’ application form
or download paper copies from the University website at
Application forms can also be obtained by contacting the School Postgraduate Studies Administrator. Applicants are welcome to submit an outline of proposed research, however applications are also invited from individuals with a research interest
relevant to the School who have no specific project in mind. Successful applicants will, in this situation,
work with the prospective supervisors to determine an appropriate research project.
Applications for research degrees are invited in any area that falls within the School’s research themes.
Applicants can refer to www.cardiff.ac.uk/for/prospective/postgrad/apply/index.html and http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/optom/research/index.html for information. Before applying, it is advisable
for potential applicants to familiarise themselves with the expertise of the School staff by viewing their
academic profiles at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/optom/contactsandpeople/academicstaff/index.html.
Applicants may wish to directly contact members of staff in the relevant research disciplines informally
before submitting an application, to discuss possible areas of research.
Applications made for Postgraduate programmes are processed by the Admissions Team at the
University’s Registry and are forwarded to the School Postgraduate Studies Administrator. The Director
of Postgraduate Studies will make an initial assessment to ascertain if the School has the resources to
support the applicant in their request to register for a research degree in the School. If the outcome of
that initial assessment identifies that resources are not able to support the application then the
application is deemed unsuccessful. Applicants will be notified in writing by Cardiff University Registry.
If the Director of Postgraduate Studies finds that the applicant may be supported and that the proposed
research is in line with the Departmental research strategy, the application is passed to appropriate
members of staff who have the expertise and background to supervise the applicant. If the supervisor(s)
decide to pursue the application further the applicant is invited for interview by a selection panel. The
interview panel will discuss the applicant and come to an agreement as to whether they meet the criteria
to pursue a research degree in the department. References must have been obtained by the time an
applicant has reached this stage.
Cardiff University Registry will inform all applicants in writing of the decision made in respect of their
School Selection Criteria
At the beginning of each academic year, the Postgraduate Committee reviews the School’s admissions
criteria and the previous admissions cycle and recommends any changes in policy or selection criteria.
Policy and selection criteria will not normally be altered during an admissions cycle.
Initial applications are assessed on the basis of the information contained within the application form
and attached documents.
It is desirable that the applicant possess and can demonstrate some or all of the following personal
· Evidence of potential for high academic achievement (evidenced by academic
achievements or by submitted piece of written work for applicants who are unable to
demonstrate their academic potential through certified or pending qualifications)
· Knowledge and understanding of research methods (evidenced by study at postgraduate
and/or undergraduate level)
· An enthusiasm for the chosen area of research (evidenced by work experience, reference,
· Good communication skills (evidenced by previous academic and work experience,
extracurricular interests/activities, reference)
· The ability to work well as part of a team (evidenced by previous academic and work
experience and extracurricular interests/activities, reference)
· Reasoning and problem solving ability (evidenced by previous academic and work
experience and extracurricular interests/activities, reference)
· The ability to effectively manage one’s own time and work independently (evidenced by
previous academic and work experience and extracurricular interests/activities, reference)
If shortlisted, all of these attributes will be further assessed during the interview.
Minimum Entry Requirements
· An undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, usually 2.1 or above / masters degree.
· Overseas qualifications will be checked for equivalency via the NARIC service.
· English language requirements for overseas students are as stipulated by the University (see
Other requirements are dependent on the nature of the specific project:
· Clinical postgraduate students may be required to have GOC registration for some projects,
and will need to be able to pass a CRB check.
· Lab-based postgraduate students may be required to have experience of the relevant
The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences does not have any standardised admissions test
The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences interviews all shortlisted applicants. If, for any reason, the
applicant is not able to attend the School for an interview, this may be conducted by video or
teleconferencing (although some projects will require the applicants to attend the school to demonstrate
a proficiency in relevant laboratory techniques).
Those applicants selected for interview will be interviewed by a minimum of two individuals. This will
either be two prospective supervisors, or one prospective supervisor and head of the relevant research
group, or nominee. The interview questions will be customised to meet the requirements of individual
projects, but will be standardised across applicants.
The interview panel will discuss each applicant and come to an agreement as to the most appointable
applicant. The successful applicant will be informed by telephone, or in person, by the supervisor(s).
Additional Requirements for Admission
Part time applicants who are employed will be required to provide written proof of the study leave
arrangements made with their employer.
The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences has no objection to the possibility of deferred entry. This
should be clearly stated on the application form, giving reasons for deferral. The same selection criteria
apply to deferred applicants.
Transfer with credit from another Higher Education Institution / Cardiff University
The PhD programme does not accept transfer with credit from other programmes.
Opportunities to learn more about the School and its programmes of study
A University-wide Open Day for postgraduates is held in November of each year and provides an
opportunity to visit the University. The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences has a stand at this
event, where potential applicants can talk to staff/ postgraduate students from the School. The School
also gives a short presentation about the PhD programme. Please see
http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/for/prospective/pg/pgopenday/index.html for further details.
Equality and Diversity Statement
Cardiff University is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its practices and activities,
including those relating to student recruitment, selection and admission. The University aims to
establish an inclusive culture which welcomes and ensures equality of opportunity for all. This
commitment forms part of the Equality and Diversity Policy which is available at:
Details of the School of Optometry internal Equality and Diversity Policy can be found on the School
website pages at:
Disabilities and Specific Needs
Applications from disabled candidates are welcomed at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences.
All such applicants are encouraged to contact the School’s Disability and Specific Needs
Representative at an early stage in the application process so that any needs can be discussed and
adjustments to the process made wherever these are reasonable.
Documents, including the application form and the School’s prospectus, can be supplied in alternative
formats. The Disability and Specific Needs Representative, working with the University’s Disability
Advisers, is able to give information about course delivery and access to the physical environment
relevant to potential applicants with specific needs. Informal visits can be arranged during which
applicants are able to view accommodation and meet academic and student support staff.
Applicants to whom offers are made may be invited to an Open Day. All such applicants are invited to
notify the School of any disability-related or specific needs that they, or an accompanying visitor, may
have so that reasonable adjustments may be put in place. All students have an opportunity to visit the
University to meet with a disability adviser and specific needs tutor to discuss the requirements of the
course and what arrangements or reasonable adjustments may be made.
Further information about the University’s provision for disabled students is available from its Disability
and Dyslexia Service at http://www.cf.ac.uk/dyslx/index.html.
Feedback, Complaints & Appeals
The University has agreed procedures for dealing with requests for feedback, which are set out in
paragraphs 84-90 of the University’s Admissions Framework:
The University’s Applicant Complaints and Appeals Process is available from:
School Contact Details
Mrs Sue Hobbs
School Postgraduate Studies Administrator
School of Optometry and Vision Sciences,