We regularly get first-hand teaching from top consultants, from many different specialities. The course is challenging but extremely rewarding and I have grown in confidence and gained an enormous amount of medical knowledge and practical skills.

Shona, Physician Associate student

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2 years

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This course allows you to develop and direct your healthcare career in a primary care setting or almost any medical specialty.

Our MSc in Physician Associate Studies, in partnership with the University of Kent, is delivered within the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences which has specialist facilities and medical practitioners engaged in postgraduate education and research.

Physician Associates are skilled members of the health care team who are qualified to provide a wide range of medical services in practice with a licensed physician. This flexibility is unique to the Physician Associate role and makes it an exciting new career choice. Physician Associate training is based on a ‘fast track’ medical school model that was developed in the U.S in 1965.

Why study MSc Physician Associate Studies?

You will learn hands on skills in the simulation suite and elsewhere. The simulation suite is equipped with mock wards as well as a surgical suite with anesthesia and laparoscopic equipment. Highly sophisticated human simulation models will be used to teach skills and prepare you for your second year clinical based modules.

The Physician Associate role was introduced in the UK in 2003. Physician Associates are now recognised as skilled and valued members of the health care profession. The newly qualified Physician Associate post has been evaluated under the NHS Agenda for change at Band 7 with potential to advance to Band 8 with experience and advanced education.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are:

  • An upper second class Honours degree (2:1) or better in a relevant subject in the life sciences (e.g. Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Sports Science, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, etc.); or
  • A good lower second class Honours degree (2:2) combined with substantial other relevant practical healthcare skills and experience; or
  • Applicants with an unrelated (non-science) bachelor's degree will be welcomed and considered for interview if they can show that they have successfully completed university level courses in the following subjects: Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Organic or Bio Chemistry, Statistics, Microbiology.
  • GCSEs (or equivalent) grades A-C in Maths and English
  • Preferably, some experience of health care (if not in employment then through voluntary activity such as St John Ambulance, etc.)

If English is not your first language you require an IELTS overall score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 for most standard undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are some exceptions and if the IELTS requirement differs it will be specified on the course page.

Honours Degree

All about the course

The Physician Associate curriculum begins with a year of rigorous medical science, pharmacology and clinical reasoning taught by a qualified team of specialist clinicians including Physician Associates. One day per week in the first year is spent in a general practice clinical setting. The second year is comprised of six specialist clinical placements and intensive classroom teaching in advanced skills and concepts.

Upon successful completion of the MSc in Physician Associate Studies*, you are eligible to take the National Exam for Physician Associates and be entered on to the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Registry (PAMVR) which allows you to be employed by the NHS. The profession is currently working towards regulation in the UK and is overseen by the Royal College of Physicians.

All modules are taught using a combination of teaching methods, including lectures, problem based learning, short case review and hands-on/skills practice.

Module information

Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

Core/optional modules

*Modules subject to validation

How you’ll learn

The MSc in Physician Associate Studies is delivered within the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) at the Medway campus which has a growing reputation for expertise in medical education and research.

The Institute houses a fully equipped clinical simulation suite enabling clinicians to develop skill and expertise using specialised endoscopic surgical equipment, cardiology diagnostics or otorhinolaryngological techniques and procedures.

The teaching team includes specialists in Cardiology, Mental Health, Endocrinology, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), Women's Health, Paediatrics, Geriatrics, Anaesthesia, Emergency Medicine and Orthopaedics.

The Physician Associate Studies course is full time, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm for 45 – 47 weeks per year. It is very challenging and demanding, therefore we caution students who plan to work while enrolled on the course.

The teaching team includes experienced Physician Associates, Doctors and other healthcare professionals. We will help you to build the professional knowledge and clinical experience you will need to sit the National Examination and practice as a PA.

Pam TrangmarPA-R & Deputy Programme Director

How you’ll be assessed

Your knowledge and skills will be assessed by a variety of methods and processes. These include written case studies, reflections on practice and case presentations to your peers. In order to prepare you for the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) National Examination you will also undertake Single Best Answer (SBA) examinations and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) each year. All assessments integrate theory and practice and contribute to your ongoing professional development.

Formative and summative assessment takes place throughout the programme to enable appropriate feedback to be returned to you between assessments.

Your future career

Physician Associates in the UK work in a wide variety of healthcare settings which include:

  • GP surgeries
  • accident and emergency departments
  • inpatient medical and surgical wards
  • trauma and orthopaedics
  • mental health
  • paediatrics
  • hospital operating theatres
  • surgical specialities.


UK/EU students
Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) Advantage Package

Our aim is to ensure that there are no hidden initial costs when commencing your Health and Wellbeing course. Any additional costs should be kept to a minimum, therefore, we will be providing all our UK/EU Physician Associate Studies students commencing in September 2020 with extra funding support as part of your course fees.

The CCCU Advantage Package covers:

  • Disclosure & Barring Service check costs
  • Occupational Health costs, including immunisation
Overseas students

Overseas students will be responsible for the full cost of their Disclosure & Barring Service check and Occupational Health costs, including immunisation.

2021/22 tuition fees for this course

  UK Overseas
Full-time £10,240 (Yr1) + £10,240 (Yr2) £17,230 (Yr1) + £17,230 (Yr2)
Part-time N/A N/A

Further entry requirements

The admissions process for the Physician Associate programme is highly selective.

Applicants must demonstrate that they are adequately prepared to undertake and succeed in the rigorous, accelerated postgraduate level curriculum.

The ideal preparation for this programme is a BSc in Biological Science at 2:1 or above. However, candidates from other science backgrounds will be considered particuarly if they have recent clinical experience. Academic record, personal character, motivation and an understanding of the Physician Associate role will all be essential in the selection process.

Where English is not a student’s first language, the university will require an overall score of 7.5 in IELTS with no element score less than 7.0 (or the appropriate level in equivalent acceptable English Language qualifications).

Due to the nature of the placements and the profession, successful candidates will also require an acceptable enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and satisfactory Occupational Health clearance.

Candidates with a strong written application will be invited to interview. The interview day will include a written exercise, group discussion (where possible) and a face-to-face interview (we cannot interview by Skype).

Apply now


2 years

UCAS code:



Apply via UCAS