Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Jan 2025 Entry

Mixed Mode

2.5 years (Full-time)
5 years (Part-time)



  • Early applications are strongly encouraged, as there is a quota for admissions. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews. Offers will be made on a rolling basis.

  • An incomplete application cannot be processed promptly and may reduce your likelihood of admission. Please complete all relevant fields on the application form and upload all necessary supporting documents.

  • Starting with the cohort 2024-25, all postgraduate students would be required to enrol in a 1-credit subject on Academic Integrity and Ethics (AIE), which would be offered without any tuition charge. Therefore, students enrolled in this programme would be charged tuition for a total of 48 credits only.

About Programme
How to Apply
Aims & Characteristics

Unlike many traditional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees that focus on research, the Doctor of Optometry (DOptom) is a professional doctorate, which offers students the opportunity to broaden and deepen their clinical knowledge and skills by combining advanced courses of study with research in areas of professional significance and relevance. This programme is the first of its kind offered in Hong Kong, dedicated to advancing the knowledge and training of optometrists in selected optometry specialty areas. It equips graduates with the advanced clinical knowledge and skills necessary to become leaders in the optometry profession.


The DOptom programme strives to develop optometry leaders and to prepare practising optometrists to become experts and opinion leaders in their chosen specialty areas. It fosters the development of advanced clinical skills, critical analysis skills, and management expertise, and familiarises students with contemporary research methods used by optometry specialists.


The programme’s aims are

  • to educate practising optometrists to become independent, competent, and evidence-based optometry specialists;

  • to educate practising optometrists to incorporate the latest scientific and technological advances into their optometric services; 

  • to equip practising optometrists with the ability to conduct research and apply research findings in their chosen optometry specialty areas.

Recognition & Prospects

Since its establishment in 1978, the School of Optometry has been committed to advancing eye and vision research, providing professional knowledge transfer, and nurturing professional optometrists for Hong Kong and the region. Our School is the sole provider of undergraduate and postgraduate education in optometry in Hong Kong.


In addition to providing high-quality teaching and professional training, our School strives for research excellence in the fields of myopia and the ageing eye. In particular, we aspire to safeguard eye health through basic research on the prevention, diagnosis, control, and treatment of eye disease. Demonstrating the success of our research efforts, our faculty routinely receive competitive research grants and publish impactful studies in top-tier journals. Our research is highly regarded in the international academic community, particularly our work on myopia control, diabetic retinopathy, and corneal biometry. Our School consistently ranks top in Asia and was ranked 15th out of approximately 245 optometry schools worldwide for research excellence in 2021.


This programme, which is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and training of optometrists in selected optometry specialty areas, is the first of its kind to be offered in Hong Kong. Graduates are equipped with advanced clinical knowledge and skills that will allow them to become experts and leaders in the optometry profession.


The programme is composed of a 24-credit coursework component, a 24-credit research thesis component and 1-credit Academic Integrity and Ethics (AIE) component. The coursework component consists of 3 Compulsory Subjects (15 credits) and 3 Elective Subjects (9 credits). 


The thesis consists of a single piece of work divided into two parts: a proposal and a formal thesis. It is expected to demonstrate a candidate’s ability to apply theoretical and practical knowledge to solve a significant problem of relevance to optometry and/or vision science. 


To be eligible for the DOptom award, students are required to (1) accumulate 49 credits (24 credits in the coursework component, 24 credits in the thesis component and 1 credit in the AIE component); (2) satisfy the University’s National Education (NE) requirement; and (3) have a grade point average of 2.7 (grade B-) or above at the end of the programme.


Compulsory Subjects:

  • SO6001 Orthokeratology Principles and Management 
(6 credits)
  • SO6002 Specialty Contact Lens Principles and Management
(6 credits)
  • HSS6011 Health Economics
(3 credits)


Elective Subjects (three are to be selected):

  • SO5009 Contemporary Myopia Control and Management
(3 credits)
  • SO6003 Applications of Innovative Ocular Therapeutics
(3 credits)
  • SO6004 Contemporary Amblyopia Treatments and Management
(3 credits)
  • SO6005 Ocular Misalignment and Visual Perception
(3 credits)
  • COMP5523 Computer Vision and Image Processing
(3 credits)



  • SO6101 Thesis – Stage I
(6 credits)
  • SO6102 Thesis – Stage II
(6 credits)
  • SO6103 Thesis – Stage III
(6 credits)
  • SO6104 Thesis – Stage IV
(6 credits)


AIE Subject:

  • HTI5T04 Academic Integrity and Ethics (Health and Social Sciences)
(1 credit)




  1. Students who wish or need to terminate their studies after successful completion of 24-credit taught subjects, Thesis – Stage I and the AIE subject may also consider opting for the exit award, i.e. Master of Science in Optometry Research Studies. 

  2. There is no tuition charge for the 1-credit Academic Integrity and Ethics subject. 

Credit Required for Graduation


Programme Leader(s)

Prof. Andrew Lam
PhD (Bradford), MPhil, PDip (Optom), FAAO

Subject Area
Entrance Requirements



(i) Candidates may also be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis if they have a recognised 4-year or 5-year undergraduate degree in optometry with honours not lower than second upper class and have at least 5 years of full-time work experience in optometry practice. Candidates with 2 years of postgraduate residency training experience may also be considered.

(ii) Applicants without a Master’s degree are required to have previous knowledge of research methods before starting the programme. Their undergraduate/postgraduate curricula should have included courses focused on research methodology and analysis.

(iii) Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews.


For further information on academic matters, please contact:    
Prof. Andrew Lam (tel: (852) 2766 6109; email: andrew.kc.lam@polyu.edu.hk). 


For further information on admission matters, please contact:     
Ms Ying Ho (tel: (852) 2766 4863; email: so.doptom@polyu.edu.hk). 

Other Information

Financial Aid

The Extended Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) provides loans to eligible students to cover the tuition fees of specific post-secondary/continuing and professional education courses studied in Hong Kong. For details of the scheme and application process, please visit https://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/en/sfo/postsecondary/enls/overview.php.

Initial Registration Credits

6 for local and non-local students

Programme Leaflet

Please click here to download.

Tuition Fee

HK$11,700 per credit for local and non-local students

Additional Documents Required
Transcript / Certificate

Copies of transcripts and graduation certificates for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. 

(Note: If these documents are not in English or Chinese, you are required to provide official translations of the documents in English; otherwise, your application may not be considered.)

Curriculum Vitae

No more than four A4-sized pages, with a list of publications (if any) included.

Personal Statement

No more than 2 pages, including the reason(s) for applying to the programme.

Research Proposal

Information such as proposed research area/topic/title for thesis/project, project objectives, scope and background of research, research methodology and references.

(Note: If this information is not uploaded with the application, it should be provided before the interview.)

  • A proposed study plan (with subjects to be taken in each semester).
  • Recommendation Letters (up to two from past or present employer(s)/research supervisor(s)).
  • A copy of a valid official score report for an IELTS or TOEFL result (if applicable).



Upon admission, the applicant will be required to ask their university/institution (except for PolyU) and the relevant examination/test provider(s) to send certified true copies of their certificates and the official transcripts and score report directly to our University. Failure to do so or any discrepancies found may lead to nullification of their admission offer and registration at PolyU.