Doctor of Optometry

This page provides information for graduate entry applicants to the Doctor of Optometry (DOpt).

Bachelor degree in Biomedical Science holders or students who are in progress of their first bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science may be eligible to apply for graduate entry into the Doctor of Optometry (DOpt). Students who are in progress of their first bachelor’s degree may apply during their final year, with any course offer being conditional on completion of all bachelor’s degree requirements by 31 December of the year prior to commencement in the DOpt.

Graduate entry into the DOpt is a competitive process based on GPA and an interview process. Places are limited and are awarded to the highest-ranking applicants.

Entry requirements

To be considered for admission into the DOpt, an applicant must have:

  • a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science at UWA, or an equivalent bachelor's qualification, or a bachelor's degree together with demonstrated adequate knowledge in health and/or medical sciences as recognised by UWA. Recognised bachelor’s degrees are those conferred by Australian universities or higher education institutions recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework or the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR).
  • the equivalent of a Faculty Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 5.0 - refer to information below regarding the GPA calculation method

Applicants who can meet the prerequisites may be offered an interview. After the interviews, candidates will be selected based on interview and CASPer score with final ranking for course offers being ranked by GPA and interview score (equally weighted).

Please refer to further details under the headings below.

Eligibility criteria

Domestic
Australian citizens (including dual citizenship holders), permanent residents and New Zealand citizens must apply for a domestic place.

Rural (Domestic)
The Rural program is part of a Federal Government initiative to address rural and remote areas of workforce shortage in allied healthcare. To be eligible, an applicant’s principal home address must have been in an Australian Statistical Geographic Standard Remoteness Area (ASGS-RA) 2-5 (2016) for any five years consecutively or at least 10 years cumulatively. A search engine for towns in areas can be found on the DoctorConnect website - click on ASGS Remoteness Areas 2016. 

Graduate applicants who believe they fit the rural definition must submit the Graduate Rural Eligibility form (PDF 240KB) in order to be considered for a rural place. Contact the Faculty Admissions team for further information. 

Indigenous (Domestic)
Applicants who identify as an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and are accepted as such by the community in which they live, or have lived are eligible for consideration as an Indigenous applicant. Applicants must provide a person or organisation who can verify their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status. Applicants should contact the Faculty Admissions team or the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH) for information regarding this pathway.

International
Applicants who are not Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizens must apply for an international place. International students who have applied or are intending to apply for Australian permanent residency or citizenship need to be aware of the following:

  • An offer for an international place will lapse if the applicant’s residency status changes before commencement. Applicants in this situation will need to re-apply during the next admissions period for a domestic place.
  • A student whose residency status changes after commencement cannot be guaranteed a domestic place in a course subject to quotas.
Quota
Up to 64 places will be offered across all quotas.
The Dean’s List of Commonwealth Supported Places in the Doctor of Optometry

Domestic applicants for the DOpt are able to apply for consideration for The Dean’s List of Commonwealth Supported Places in the Doctor of Optometry (The Dean’s List). Successful applicants to The Dean’s List will be offered one of a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places for the Doctor of Optometry. 

All minimum requirements under the current Admission Rules for the Doctor of Optometry must be achieved in order to be eligible for consideration for The Dean’s List, including attending an interview. 

In addition, the following eligibility categories will be considered for The Dean’s List:

  • Rural applicants – To be eligible for the Rural Pathway, applicants must provide evidence that their principal home address was/is in an Australian Statistical Geographic Standard Remoteness Area (ASGS-RA) 2-5 (2016) for any five years consecutively or at least 10 years cumulatively. A search engine for towns in areas can be found on the DoctorConnect website - click on ASGS Remoteness Areas 2016.  Applicants who have completed the Rural Eligibility Form and returned it to the Admissions Team in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences as part of their application will automatically be included for consideration in The Dean’s List. If you have not returned the Form, and you believe you are eligible, please complete and return the Rural Eligibility Form.  
  • Indigenous applicants – If you believe you are eligible for this pathway, please contact the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health for more information at camdh@uwa.edu.au.
  • Academic Merit demonstrating Financial Need – Forms will be provided during the application period.

Please refer back to this page for updated information as it becomes available.

English language competency requirement

To fulfil the English Language Competency requirement applicants must have:

  • Completed 2+ years or full time equivalent tertiary study in English only at an institution in Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA, Ireland, Canada (except Quebec), and New Zealand; OR
  • IELTS Academic with overall score of 7.0 and no band less than 7.0 (IELTS Indicator will be accepted during the 2020-2021 admissions period):
    • from one test sitting; or
    • a maximum of two test sittings within a six month period only if:
      • a minimum overall score of 7.0 is achieved in each sitting; and
      • a minimum score of 7.0 in each band across the two sittings; and
      • no score below 6.5 in any band.

Applicants who have completed English A-Levels in Singapore are required to submit a IELTS result.  International applicants who require IELTS must provide a valid result by 30 June of the application year. Domestic applicants who require IELTS must provide a valid result by 31 August of the application year.

 
Prerequisites

Before commencing in the DOpt, applicants must complete a bachelor's degree in biomedical science, or an equivalent bachelor's qualification.

Applicants who do not hold a bachelor's degree in biomedical science must have a bachelor's degree together with demonstrated adequate knowledge of health and/or medical sciences at tertiary level 1 or 2.

Candidates who can fulfil the above requirements along with the minimum GPA of 5.0 according to the HMS GPA calculation method will need to sit the current year UWA CASPer score. CASPer is an online situational judgment test. 

Application timelines and due dates

Application deadlines

Interview periods

  • Interviews for domestic applicants will take place in Perth late September or early October (specific dates to be confirmed).
  • Interview arrangements for international applicants are under review due to COVID19 restrictions.
  • Applicants who are eligible for Indigenous entry should contact the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH) regarding interview timelines for the current admissions period.
  • Applicants will be kept informed should changes to interview arrangements be required due to COVID19 restrictions.

Course offers

  • For international applicants, offers will commence late August/early September and continue until all places are filled.  This timeline is subject to change should this be required due to COVID19 restrictions.
  • For domestic applicants, offers will commence during October. Timing of subsequent round offers will depend on the outcome of previous rounds.
Final ranking for course offers
  • Final ranking for non-rural domestic and international candidates will be based equally on GPA and interview score.
  • Final ranking for rural candidates will be based equally on GPA, interview score and rurality rating.
  • Final ranking for candidates who are eligible for Indigenous entry will be based on GPA and interview by the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH).
Degree completion – conditional offers

Applicants who are eligible for a course offer during the final year of their initial bachelor’s degree will be made a conditional offer requiring them to:

  • attain a minimum GPA of 5.0 for semester two of the final year of their degree; and
  • complete their bachelor’s degree requirements by the end of the year prior to commencement.

Applicants who are in progress of their initial bachelor’s degree and undertake a course of action that will result in receiving late results may not meet offer conditions. Therefore applicants must take care when undertaking any course of action which could delay the receipt of results or degree completion. This may include undertaking deferred/supplementary exams, undertaking units that fall outside normal semesters (e.g. summer units or trimester units) or going on exchange during the final year of study. Applicants who do not complete all requirements for their initial bachelor’s degree by the 31 December deadline will have their offer withdrawn.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Details regarding the GPA calculation method are available on the GEMSAS website and should be considered alongside information below regarding UWA’s HMS GPA calculation method.

HMS GPA calculation method

  • Applicants must show they have achieved the course-specific minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) in order to be considered.
  • Each year is weighted equally: ("GPA most recent year" + "GPA 2nd most recent year" + "GPA 3rd most recent year")/3.
  • No preference or scaling is given to particular universities or fields of study.
  • Special consideration cannot be granted as part of the admissions process. GPA will be calculated from an applicant's results as they appear on their transcript.
  • The HMS GPA as calculated by UWA may differ to that calculated according to the GEMSAS instructions.

What is included in the HMS GPA calculation

UWA's HMS GPA is calculated from university study undertaken in the most recent three years. A full time equivalent (FTE) will be calculated for students who have studied part time or overloaded. As an example, three years of full-time or equivalent study at UWA is 144 credit points, at Curtin it is 600 credit points, at ECU it is 360 credit points, at Murdoch it is 72 credit points.

The calculation is from units taken in chronological order, regardless of exemptions, credit or advanced standing which may have been applied to the most recent degree.

The HMS GPA calculation includes recognised bachelor’s, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master’s by coursework, completed honours, completed master's by research and completed PhD levels of study. Note that in order for honours or other research degree studies to be included in the HMS GPA calculation, it must be completed by the end of semester one of the application year. See information below regarding the treatment of research degree studies.

Recognised degrees are those conferred by Australian or overseas universities or higher education institutions recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), or the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR).

Domestic MD applicants who have undertaken additional study (whether postgraduate or additional bachelor level study) should indicate this on the GEMSAS application (when prompted to by the application questions). All other applicants should indicate this on their UWA application form and provide transcripts for studies not undertaken at UWA.

Accelerated degrees and conversion courses

UWA will accept recognised two-year accelerated bachelor’s degrees and one-year conversion degrees for the purpose of graduate admission into Medicine, Dentistry, Podiatric Medicine, Pharmacy and Optometry. Applicants who are in progress of a one-year conversion degree must complete that course before applying, unless they also hold a previously completed bachelor’s degree.

Postgraduate degrees by research

Applicants with a completed PhD at time of application will be awarded a HMS GPA of 7.0. Applicants with a completed master’s by research at time of application will be awarded a bonus of 0.2 to be added to their overall HMS GPA. Incomplete honours, master’s by research and PhDs are not considered in the HMS GPA calculation. In order to be included, all research degree requirements must be met by semester one of the application year.

Applicants who only hold higher degrees

All applicants require a recognised bachelor’s degree for graduate entry into UWA’s MD, DMD, DPM and MPharm. Applicants who have completed a higher degree but have not completed a recognised bachelor’s degree will not be eligible for consideration.

COVID19 - Treatment of Results from Semester 1 2020

Due to COVID19 disruptions in the first half of 2020, some universities have given students the option to have their results shown as either a graded result or as an ungraded pass/fail, while some universities have elected to issue only ungraded pass/fail results. 

Due to this disparity, all results obtained from studies undertaken during Semester 1 2020, and concurrent non-standard study periods, will be treated as ungraded pass/fail in the HMS GPA calculation (more information regarding treatment of ungraded pass/fail results is shown below).  This does not apply to Summer units completed during January 2020, Semester 2 2020 or concurrent non-standard study periods. 

This decision has been taken so as not to unfairly disadvantage applicants whose institutions did not provide the option for a graded result.

Ungraded passes

The credit value/unit weighting of ungraded passes will count towards the three years of FTE study; however, the result itself is left out of the calculation. For example, if a student has 0.125 FTE of ungraded pass in a particular year, that year's HMS GPA will be based on 0.875 FTE of results. The exception is where an applicant has more than one year or FTE of ungraded passes within their most recent three years FTE. In this instance, the calculation will include results from older study where available.

Ungraded fails

Both the result and credit value/weighting of ungraded fails are included in the HMS GPA calculation. An ungraded fail will confer a GPA result of 0 for that unit.

Minimal results in the current year of study

Where an applicant has 0.25 FTE (or less) of results for their final HMS GPA year, the calculation will include older study. Where no older study is available, the HMS GPA will be calculated from only the GPA 2nd most recent and GPA 3rd most recent years. Where there has been no older study, and if an applicant is made an offer, it will be conditional upon their performance in all enrolled units which had been incomplete during the application year (see information below about conditional offers).

Exchange studies

The HMS GPA calculation will use the results that appear on the home university’s transcript. In most cases, such studies are shown as an ungraded pass or an ungraded fail. If an applicant has ungraded pass/fail units amounting to more than one year FTE of their most recent three FTE years of study, the HMS Admission team may require the applicant to provide the host university's actual graded results.

Credit/Exemptions/Advanced Standing

The HMS GPA is calculated from units that an applicant has undertaken in the most recent three years FTE, regardless of credit/exemptions/advanced standing units which have been applied to the most recent degree. For example, if an applicant previously completed 1.5 years FTE, and then transferred into a different degree with credit/exemption/advanced standing applied for 1 years FTE, and has since then completed a further 1.5 years FTE in the new degree, the most chronologically recent 1.5 years FTE from the previous recognised degree studies will be included in the calculation. This will include any Fail results which fall within the most recent 3 years FTE.

Repeated units/subjects

Applicants who successfully complete a unit and subsequently repeat the same unit (or an equivalent unit) will not have the repeated unit included in their HMS GPA calculation, whether or not the unit was taken as part of degree studies. If the applicant has repeated a unit due to failing the first time, then the standard HMS GPA rules apply. That is, all units completed within the most recent three years of valid full time or equivalent study will be included in the calculation, including the fail result if it falls within the most recent three years FTE.

Not for degree studies

Results from individual units which are not taken as part of a degree are not included in the HMS GPA calculation, excepting where not-for-degree study constitutes more than 0.5 year of FTE study.

As an example, where an applicant's study includes 4 Access UWA undergraduate units within the most recent three years, these would not be included as the 4 units are equivalent to 0.5 year of FTE study. If 5 Access UWA undergraduate units have been undertaken within the most recent three years or full-time equivalent, these would be included in the HMS GPA calculation, as this exceeds 0.5 years of FTE study.

Interviews
  • Applicants who can meet the eligibility requirements and prerequisites will be ranked and shortlisted for an interview based on their GPA.
  • The interview is a structured process allowing applicants to display some of the personal qualities considered desirable in allied health practitioners, and increase their competitiveness for a place.
  • The Faculty interviews approximately two to three candidates for each available place.
  • Shortlisted applicants are notified one to two weeks prior to the interview by email.
  • Applicants who accept their interview will be provided with detailed information and preparation material prior to the interview.

Timing

  • Interviews for domestic graduate applicants are held in Perth late September or early October. 
  • Where applicable, interviews for international graduate applicants are held in Singapore, Canada and Perth during July (venues subject to availability).
  • Applicants must attend their interview in person within their given interview period and are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

The interview process

The usual process on the day is as follows:

  • 1. Registration including statement of confidentiality.
  • 2. Interview pre-reading.
  • 3. Preparation for the Explaining Skills Exercise*. This is a short verbal presentation on a topic provided on the day.
  • 4. Undertake the interview. Domestic applicants will commence with the written component where applicable, followed by the Explaining Skills Exercise* and interview. International applicants will undertake the panel interview.

Allied Health applicants who also qualify for an interview for graduate entry into Medicine and/or Dentistry will be interviewed based on their highest preference. As an example, MPharm candidates who are being interviewed in the same admissions year for either medicine or dentistry are not required to attend an additional interview in order to be considered for pharmacy.

*The Explaining Skills Exercise is not included in the international interview process.

What to bring and wear

  • Photographic ID – passport/driver’s licence/school card
  • Mobile phones and other personal effects cannot be carried throughout the interview and will be placed in a secure location. Interviewees may prefer to leave such items at home.
  • Interviewees may carry bottled water and a jacket or cardigan throughout the interview.
  • Dress as if attending a job interview – clothes that feel comfortable and look smart. Layers are advisable in case the venue is cool or warm.
  • Interviewees should not wear any uniform, accessories or badge that identifies membership of a particular organisation. This is to avoid the perception that bias has entered the selection process.

Confidentiality

Interviewees will be asked to sign a statement of confidentiality as part of the registration process, indicating their agreement not to disclose information about the interview.

UWA staff, student helpers and interviewers will not disclose information regarding an applicant’s interview, responses or performance, including to other UWA staff or the applicant’s family. Information from the interview is not placed on an applicant’s student file whether or not they accept an offer to study at UWA.

The interviewers

Interviewers may be representatives from the community or from the University. Interviewers receive regular training to ensure consistency in the way questions are asked and responses assessed.

The assessment is evidence based. The interviewers can only rate interviewees on their responses to interview questions, whether written or verbal. The interviewers will take notes throughout the interview; however, this is to note what the interviewee has said.

Interviewers have a comprehensive set of evidence-based measures with which to rate an interviewee’s responses and formulate a score. For domestic applicants, the final score is aggregated from results across the written component (where applicable), the Explaining Skills Exercise and the interview. For international applicants, the final score is aggregated from panel interview results.

Domestic applicants: One interviewer will assess applicants, who may be a representative from the community or from the University. A second interviewer may be present in a station room to observe or for training purposes. They do not have a formal role in the assessment of the applicant. The written component where applicable will be assessed and marked by relevant University staff.

International applicants: A panel comprising two University representatives will interview each applicant. A third interviewer may be present in a station room to observe or for training purposes. They do not have a formal role in the assessment of the applicant.

Interview criteria

Each year interview criteria will include communication skills and motivation/commitment. A number of other criteria will be selected each year.  In past years criteria have included topics such as awareness of social diversity, provision of assistance, self-awareness, trust and trustworthiness, values and ethics and working with others.

The criteria chosen may not be the same for domestic and international applicants. For domestic applicants, some of the questions may be addressed via a written response, with the remainder during the face-to-face interview. International applicants will be asked questions and provide verbal responses during the panel interview.

Interview questions will not be based on clinical or scientific scenarios which would require specific industry or scientific knowledge. The questions are designed to encourage interviewees to think and to explain their reasoning. The questions may be scenario based, awareness based, or experientially based, but the assessment is evidence based. The interviewer can only rate interviewees on what they say. It is therefore important to give more than one-sentence answers; interviewees should draw on their own experiences and knowledge to address a topic, and to provide appropriate examples.

Applicants will need to respond to the specific questions asked. There are no generic questions or opportunities for applicants to list their achievements and skills outside the scope of the questions.

Interview preparation courses

  • There are many ways to address a question; interviewers are not looking for one specific ‘correct’ answer. Be prepared to articulate your motivation and commitment to working as a health professional in your higher preferenced field. Have some background information about your preferred career and the course.
  • Familiarise yourself with the interview topics. Consider how your own life experiences may reflect aspects of these topics. Find opportunities to discuss the topics with your family, peers and different people in your community.
  • The University of Western Australia does not recommend or endorse third party interview preparation courses, including those held on University premises. The Faculty does not release any information relating to UWA interview questions to any third party, and interview questions within the topics will be different each year. Furthermore, interviewers and interviewees are required to sign confidentiality agreements regarding the interview process. Therefore, third party preparation course providers do not have access to any information which is not already freely available to all applicants.
  • Applicants may benefit more from generic interview preparation rather than interview preparation which purports to aim specifically at UWA courses.
  • Applicants who rehearse detailed answers to specific questions risk not addressing the question they are actually asked on the day.
Curriculum
The UWA DOpt is a three-year course. Full details of the course structure are available in the UWA Handbook.
Registration upon completion

On completion of the DOpt, graduates will have both an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree, ensuring they have a well-rounded skill set as well as the specialist skills needed in their professional career.

The University of Western Australia has applied to the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand for the Doctor of Optometry to be recognised as a qualification leading to registration as an optometrist in Australia or New Zealand. The course is currently not accredited.