Vision Science - VISNBH3566

Stream Summary

Faculty: SCI - Faculty of Science

School: School of Optometry and Vision Science


Program: 3566 - Economics/Adv Science (Hons)


Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours)

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Stream Outline

The School of Optometry and Vision Science offers an honours stream in Vision Science. The school's approach to honours is to provide initial training for future leaders in vision science. Honours in Vision Science provides students the opportunity to engage in sustained research in order to develop advanced disciplinary knowledge in Vision Science, the use of specialised techniques relevant to their chosen research area, critical thinking, evaluation and synthesis of information for scientific research communication in both oral and written forms. These skills and the learning objectives will form the basis for future pursuits in vision research and research and development in the ophthalmic industry.

Stream Structure

Students must enrol full-time in VISN4003 Vision Science Honours (24 UoC) for two semesters. The primary form of teaching is based on research supervision and direction by specialist researchers within the School of Optometry and Vision Science. Students undertake a supervised research project in a research area significant to the school and approved by the Honours Coordinator. While the project is supervised, it is primarily self-directed and the student is expected to demonstrate substantial independence. Students will be required to produce a substantial written thesis that documents their research work. Complementary to this, the program involves a series of tutorials, seminars and workshops (to be scheduled in VISN4003), which provide guidance and training on research design, ethics, academic writing, data analysis and presentations.

Students will also have the opportunity to:
  • Use effective communication skills to present information in a convincing manner
  • Show Strong information literacy skills by conducting an analytical literature review
  • Work effectively to explore a research topic
By the end of the program, students will be able to:
  • Conduct a thorough literature review
  • Design and implement a research plan
  • Collect and analyse data
  • Present an oral presentation at a research seminar
  • Write a scientific paper


Assessments are completed in the 24 UoC (per semester) course VISN4003 Vision Science Honours.

1) The Vaegan Memorial Seminar series and journal club attendance

Fortnightly research seminar presentations (1 hr) by postgraduate students, staff members and visiting academics. In addition weekly journal clubs are held by staff members in the school in which research articles are presented and informally reviewed. Students are required to present at journal club. No assessment is given, but 75% attendance for both components is required for successful completion of the honours program in the School of Optometry and Vision Science.

2) Tutorials or Workshops – 10% to the final honours grade

Fortnightly workshops (2-3hrs) which covers topics such as ethics, research design, statistics and data analysis, thesis writing and synthesis, presentation skills and professional development. Fornightly exercises (e.g., quizzes, problem based learning examples and case studies) will be given and students will be required to submit them for assessment.

3) Literature review and Research proposal – 20% to the final honours grade

The literature review will be marked by the supervisor based on:
  • Demonstrated knowledge of topic area
  • Content and organisation, coverage of key issues
  • Depth and breath of analysis and discussion
4) Seminar Presentation – 10% to the final honours grade

Presentation of project results and conclusions. Assessed on scientific content and communication clarity and style

5) Written Research Report – 60% to the final honours grade

This report will be marked by two independent assessors in the school or elsewhere when expertise is needed. This assessment is based on:
  • Depth and breadth of discussion
  • Content of report, coverage of key issues
  • Appropriate use of figures and tables
  • Correctness and appropriate use of reference
  • Organisation, clarity and format in appropriate scientific style

Honours Calculation

The school will use the following guide as grade to honours

Hons. Class I (>85%)
Work of superior quality in all aspects of research, scientific writing, and oral presentation, demonstrating the ability to organise information in a clear and concise manner, the integration of information from a wide range of sources and containing clear examples of excellent critical evaluation.

Hons. Class II, Division I (75% to 84%)
Work of very good quality in all aspects of research , scientific writing and oral presentation, but showing lesser ability to organise information in a clear and concise manner, integrate information from a range of sources and critically evaluate the literature and research data.

Hons. Class II, Division 2 (64% to 74%)
Good quality in all aspects of research, scientific writing, and oral presentation, but with inadequacies in understanding, critical skills, organisation and presentation.

Hons. Class III (50% to 64%)
Adequate quality work with significant deficiencies in understanding, critical skills, organisation and presentation.

Admissions Requirement and Process

An undergraduate bachelor degree (AQF level 7, from UNSW, or at other institutions) with content and specialisation in Vision Science (e.g., a Bachelor of Vision Science, or a Bachelor degree with a major in Vision Science) and an indicative average mark of credit (equivalent to a 65 WAM).
Students must enrol full-time in VISN4003 in two consecutive semesters of study. Students must make contact with potential supervisors and gain approval from the Honours Coordinator. Following this, students should contact student admissions and complete an honours application form before the due date (typically February for S1 and June for S2).


After the completion of honours, students may be qualified to enrol in higher degree research such as postgraduate level studies Master of Science (MSc) by research or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Students demonstrating outstanding performance in their honours year may apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) to support their studies. Further information regarding postgraduate studies and research in the School of Optometry and Vision Science can be viewed at:

Students graduating with honours in vision science are well suited to find employment in the vision science industry. Employment opportunities exist in a wide range of public and private sector areas that specialise in primary eye care, orthoptics, optical devices and technologies, teaching, and scientific research and development in the ophthalmic industry. Career opportunities are available in industrial and commercial businesses that focus on: The development and application of visual therapeutics – such as devices that correct refractive errors (e.g., contact lenses and spectacles), drug development, medical devices (e.g., ocular implants) and imaging; The entertainment industry – developing visual simulators, visual design and graphics, and video games; Government sectors – particularly in teaching, defence technology (e.g., lasers and optical equipment), and contributing to the development of health and occupational policies regarding the importance of vision to quality-of-life and in the workplace.