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Discover international ophthalmology at the University of Sydney

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This course is available to be studied in several different study modes, including online or face-to-face. Check study modes offered in the 'course details’ section below.

In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has also reviewed the availability of the face-to-face version of this course, and this will be available for students to study remotely whilst the Australian border remains closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

About this course

International Ophthalmology focuses on the specific training needs of clinicians in developing countries with a particular emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region. It provides students with the skills to competently practise ophthalmology at the highest possible standard with an emphasis on the specific diseases and pathologies of their home countries.

Why study with us?

  • The course provides the opportunity for students to learn both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enable them to competently diagnose and manage common eye conditions, diseases and injuries to the eye. 
  • Clinical and basic sciences are taught online and local and visiting mentors provide valuable teaching and supervision in the student's working environment.

How will you learn?

As a Graduate Diploma of International Ophthalmology student, you will enter one of two streams:

  • the Community Ophthalmology stream, for medical graduates with little or no ophthalmology specialist training from countries without specialised ophthalmology services, 
  • or the Vocational Ophthalmology stream, for students who have completed a specialised training program in their home country.

The Graduate Diploma in International Ophthalmology is embedded within the Master of International Ophthalmology. The master's degree builds on concepts learned during the graduate diploma. You may choose to complete the graduate diploma or use it as a pathway into the master's degree in this discipline.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your admission criteria

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission criteria’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

Open to international applicants only.

Open to international applicants only.


Starting date

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Not available to student visa holders. Available to eligible international students by online mode with a mandatory face-to-face/intensive study component. 

Closing dates

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

What you'll study

The Graduate Diploma in International Ophthalmology consists of 36 credit points (CP), including six core units either in community ophthalmology or post vocational ophthalmology. The majority of the course is in the form of distance learning.

You will take one Practical Ophthalmic Science unit of study, which is offered once each year from November to December. During this unit of study, you will attend a three-week full-time course held at the Save Sight Institute, Sydney Eye Hospital, and the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Sydney.

Download our sample course diagram to learn more about what you will study as part of this degree.

International Ophthalmology course structure (pdf, 405KB)

Units of Study

Admission criteria

A successful applicant for admission to the Graduate Diploma of International Ophthalmology will hold a medical degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification.

In exceptional circumstances, the dean may admit applicants without this qualification who, in the opinion of the school, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.

Applicants from countries without established vocational (specialist) ophthalmology training programs and working in an ophthalmology unit are eligible for admission to the Community Ophthalmology stream.

Applicants who are overseas trained specialists from countries with established vocational ophthalmology training programs and: (a) who have satisfactorily completed the requirements to practice as ophthalmologists in their country of residency; or (b) who are eligible to undertake further fellowship training in their country of residence; are eligible for admission to the Post Vocational Ophthalmology stream.

Credit for previous study

For more information about the University’s credit policy, please see the Credit for Previous Studies page.

Related courses

Short courses and professional development

Sydney Medical School offers a wide range of short professional development courses for health professionals through its clinical schools, disciplines and associated research institutes.

Many of the courses offered are pre-accredited for Continuing Medical Education (CME) points, and other courses may be awarded CME points on request to your relevant association or professional body. 

Learn more about short courses in medicine

Career Pathways

Medical graduates in the Asia-Pacific region interested in ophthalmology will benefit from the Graduate Diploma in International Ophthalmology, which can lead to qualifications endorsed by their local health ministry. Successful graduates may be eligible for ophthalmology positions with an overseas health department.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.