BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW

Bachelor of Vision Science - Fact Sheet

Are you looking into studying a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW? 

Look no further – we’ve got all the info you need. We’ve scoped out core units, societies, assessments and more! Let us help you decide if your vision is to study Vision Science.

Take a peep below! 

What is a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW?

The Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW is a degree that covers all things optical! Within this degree, students will learn how to analyse, test and implement new and developing technologies in the optical realm. Students who take on Vision Science will become proficient in both theoretical study and practical aspects of it too! 

This degree is excellent for people who want to push themselves with intensive study and be able to help out a vast range of clients through a career in the ophthalmic industry. 

Graduating with a Master’s Degree

Bachelor of Vision Science UNSW - Student Quote

The Bachelor of Vision can be studied with a Master’s degree – with an additional two years of study, students can graduate with a Master in Clinical Optometry! This however, is only possible for students who undertake an interview with unit coordinators regarding their interest and academic potential and maintain a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 60% or above. 

Career Paths

Career opportunities for a Bachelor of Vision Science include:

    • Ophthalmic assistant
    • Ophthalmic industries
    • Eye and vision research

Pursuing further study can lead to careers as optometrists through embarking on a Master of Clinical Optometry. You may even work towards your PhD and engage in research in a specific area!

Core Units for this Degree

The core units within a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW vary, but all super relevant to practising within the actual industry. Something to keep in mind is that there are no majors or specialisations within this degree as the majority of all subjects are just core units. 

Disciplinary Component

Each subject within this degree is typically worth 6 credit points – 132 of the 144 credit points that will be undertaken are considered the Disciplinary Component of the course. This simply means that these subjects must be taken to complete the study of a Bachelor of Vision Science. 

These Disciplinary subjects will teach you all you need to know; the ins and outs of Vision Science! Some of these compulsory subjects include Visual Optics, Molecules, Cells and Genes, Optical Dispensing and more! 

General Education Component

As well as the Disciplinary component of core units within the Bachelor of Vision Science, there is also a General Education Component. The 12 units of this component involve a more flexible set of units to choose from.

General Education subjects are not focused on the Vision Science sector, but can help you gain valuable transferrable skills. The subjects that can be chosen in the General Education realm are extremely broad, ranging from Actuarial Data and Analysis to Qualitative Social Research!

What to Expect from the Core Units

Here’s a little peek at some of the core units you’ll be studying within this degree:

Seeing the World: Perspectives from Vision Science – This subject is offered within the first year of you studies and is an overview of how the eyes and brain collaborate to create the beautiful images we see! This course also covers the professional pathways that Vision Science students can undertake.

The Clinical Environment – This unit provides students with an extension to their problem solving skills, with studies based on real world cases. With a hands on approach, as well as theoretical aspects, students will learn how to consult with patients and how to build relationships to create successful clinical outcomes. 

Development and Aging of the Visual System – The focus of this unit is to provide students with a solid knowledge of how our eyes develop and change over the process of ageing. This course will also delve into the visual system as a whole, introducing concepts such as Critical Periods, Plasticity and The Effects of Retinal Disease.

Are there built-in internships or placements?

There are no internships or placements within the Bachelor of Vision Science degree at UNSW. If students decide to complete a Master in Clinical Optometry, they will have to find their own clinical placements – aided by their tutors!


How to Get into a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW

To gain guaranteed entry into a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW, the ATAR cut off is 96. However, if you are unable to achieve this mark, there are other methods to gaining admission into the degree.

Alternate Pathways

The UNSW ACCESS Scheme was created with equity and accessibility at the forefront. The scheme’s aim is to help students with long-term disadvantages educational standards to achieve their goals of studying at university. 

Another pathway is the UNSW Preparation Program which is aimed towards 17 to 19 year old school leavers who did not achieve the ATAR for their desired course. It lasts for one year and will give students all the educational tools they need for university study; once completed, students may receive an offer to study their desired degree! 

Are there any prerequisites or assumed knowledge?

To study a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW there are no prerequisite subjects to gain admission to the course. 

There are however, quite a few subjects which are considered assumed knowledge – you didn’t have to study these subjects in high school but it is assumed you have an at least HSC level understanding of them. These subjects are Advanced Mathematics, Advanced English, Physics and Chemistry. 

If you did not study these subjects as part of your HSC and feel you have a gap of knowledge from these subjects, don’t fret, UNSW hosts intensive catch up courses to help students feel comfortable and confident to set out on their undergraduate studies! 

Have a look at the catch up courses below – there are catch up courses for all of the assumed knowledge subjects: 


UNSW offers a large range of scholarships, ranging from equity based scholarships to academic scholarships! To check out if you are a fit for any of UNSW’s large range of scholarships, check out the scholarships calculation tool here.

What’s the Teaching Format?

UNSW follows a trimester teaching format, meaning that there are three 10-week teaching periods across a year.

Generally, students will take on three subjects each trimester to complete a full-time load, but students will also have the option to only take two subjects for one trimester per year – which will still keep them on track to finishing their degree on time.

Class Structure

The methods of educational content delivery for a Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW vary from unit to unit, but the main classes you’ll have are tutorials, lectures or labs. 


Within lectures, students will learn the fundamentals of Vision Science concepts such as optics, calculations, eye numbers and more. This will be discussed within a lecture theatre of around 300 students for around 2 hours.  


The tutorial gives students the chance to consolidate their knowledge and revise over what was covered in the lecture. For about an hour, with a class of 30 people maximum, students will collaborate and discuss concepts with one another and their tutors. 


Labs occur with the more clinical-based units. For around three hours, with no more than 25 to 30 students, students get a hands on approach to all of the theory they have been covering so far.

You’ll really get to hone in on your practical skills as labs allow you to try new optical equipment, experiment and embark on mock consultations. 

How often will you spend time on campus?

The number of contact hours for Vision Science students can vary depending on which units you’re taking per trimester. But generally, students will have around 14 or more hours on campus each week, so this can equate to 2-3 days depending on how your subjects are scheduled. 


When starting out, you will have lots of exams as they are the predominant way you are assessed. But in saying this, don’t panic – they aren’t as intimidating as they seem.

Exams happen in the form of midterm and final exams or as weekly quizzes covering content that has been brought up in lectures and tutorials. It’s pretty important for students to show up to their lectures, ask their tutor questions if they aren’t sure and to actively engage! 

Other ways you can be assessed is through report writing and critical analysis of case studies!

Report writing will generally have students read over an academic’s discussion of a Vision Science related topic, students will then write a response agreeing or disagreeing with the original author’s findings.

Critical analysis of case studies have more of a “real world”, in the field type of feel. Hypothetical patient’s cases will be presented with symptoms and their contexts and students will have to devise what has gone wrong or devise a care plan. 

Skills That You Refine and Learn

Bachelor of Vision Science UNSW - Skills

Within the Bachelor of Vision Science, students learn a multitude of skills. Through the application of analytical skills and constant referral to readings and case studies of fictitious clients, students are able to apply their knowledge and customise and curate treatment or identify problems a client has with vision as well as knowing the theory of why or how eye problems or irregularities occur.

Studying this degree means you must also be able to test and see for yourself what is going on within an individual’s eye. Through experimentation with instruments, students will apply and learn practical knowledge

The Bachelor of Vision Science sets students up to be well rounded, critical thinkers who are able to put their knowledge to the forefront of their practice.

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

The Vision Science discipline is a part of UNSW’s huge science faculty!

The large cohort and amount of teachers should not scare you though – lecturers and tutors are known throughout UNSW to be extremely helpful and willing to give their knowledge to anyone who actively seeks it. They are only an email or face to face chat at the end of class away!

This same notion of kindness and camaraderie is echoed through the UNSW Vision Science cohort. The students you sit next to in lectures, collaborate with in labs or even sit next to in tutorials could become lifelong friends.

Societies and Mentorship

A good way to make friends and to get involved within uni culture is to join a society or group! Societies relevant to the Bachelor of Vision Science at UNSW include: 

The UNSW Optometry and Vision Science Student Society – This group caters to students studying both Optometry and Vision Science! The aim of this group is to curate events like balls, cruises and activities for students in the disciplines to socialise and have fun, as well as create events with industry leaders and alumni!

Faculty of Science Peer Mentoring Program – This program is aimed towards pairing first year students within the Science disciplines at UNSW with second-year and above students! The hope with this mentoring is that students will feel confident to ask questions, feel supported not only academically, but emotionally as well.

Matilda Elliott is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and a Communication graduate with a major in Journalism at Western Sydney University. You can find some of her published work in a range of platforms including SBS World News, The Music Network and within her own creative exploits with her twin sister. Matilda is a lover of listening, helping people to tell their stories, making genuine connections, clowning around in her circus troupe and dancing like no one is watching at live music shows!


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