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Physician Associate MSc

Course code


Start date


Placement available

Mode of study

2 years full-time



UK / EU £9,620

International £18,720

Entry requirements


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Do you have a scientific background, and would you like to work with patients?

Working in the healthcare profession can be inspiring and rewarding. A career as a Physician Associate will mean that you’ll support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. This might be in a hospital or a GP surgery. You’ll be part of a growing profession in the NHS where vacancies currently exceed the supply of skilled professionals.

Our experienced lecturers will prepare you with all the skills you need to provide care and treatment to patients. You’ll learn to carry out a range of medical activities such as physical examinations, medical histories, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. You’ll also learn how to request and interpret test results, diagnose illness and develop treatment and management plans.

At Brunel, we have great links with some of the most highly-regarded health providers in London so you’ll add exceptional work experience to your CV. Your Physician Associate qualification includes over 1,800 hours of professional practice so you’ll be equipped with the experience and expertise to give you an excellent start in your career as a Physician Associate.

Health Education England, has launched a national funding strategy for all Physician Associate courses in England. For August 2019 entry, students will receive a training grant of £5,000 per student, per programme via their university; it is not expected that they will be required to make an application for this allowance. Payments are to be made via two instalments of £2,500 per annum, subject to receipt of allocated places to Brunel, from Health Education England.

Successful completion of the Physician Associate MSc programme provides eligibility to sit for the Physician Associate National Examination and join the Managed Voluntary Register.

If you are considering studying the Physician Associate MSc Programme at Brunel University London then you are committed to working jointly with the NHS to demonstrate the values and beliefs of the constitution.

NHS Values

Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in the NHS and that should underpin everything it does. Individual organisations will develop and build upon these values, tailoring them to their local needs. The NHS values provide common ground for co-operation to achieve shared aspirations, at all levels of the NHS.

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Course content

Your course will be delivered over a period of 45 weeks in year one and 48 weeks in year two. The programme is exciting, innovative and also intense, requiring you to study on campus from 9am to 6pm, five days a week. You’ll have significant contact hours.

Your first clinical placement will start in the first term of year one with weekly one day GP placements. In year two the majority of your time will be spent on clinical placements in a variety of practice settings. You’ll adopt the working patterns of your supervising clinician so you’ll be working roughly a 40 hour week.

This course can be studied 2 years full-time, starting in August.

Year 1

Year 2

This course has a placement option. Find out more about work placements available.

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Careers and your future

Your varied clinical placements will equip you for the working world. In fact the positive relationships made on your placement can often lead to the offer of permanent employment on completion of your MSc.

On your placement practice you’ll have the opportunity to work in the following areas:

  • Accident and Emergency
  • Acute Medicine
  • General Practice
  • Mental Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics
  • Surgery
  • Electives

Whilst on placements you’ll be supervised by doctors and physician associates. All clinical placement modules are organised on the student's behalf by the clinical co-ordination team. This allows us to provide you with a balanced clinical experience both in terms of the specialties/patient groups you work with and the range of healthcare setting you work in. At Brunel, we recognise the importance of ensuring you are exposed to a variety of health settings which are reflective of current clinical practice.

We are sympathetic to your needs when we assign clinical placements. However, we are unable to guarantee your clinical placements will be located close to your home or term-time address and you may have to commute or live away from home for the duration of a placement or two. We do try to give special consideration to students whose personal circumstances fall within specified criteria, ie they have young children, are a main carer, or have a declared disability etc.

After successful completion of your course you’ll be eligible to sit for the Physician Associate National Examination and join the Managed Voluntary Register – the mark of a fully qualified and approved Physician Associate.

You’ll be joining a growing profession where there are currently plenty of vacancies. Physician Associate salaries are usually based in Band 7 of the NHS Agenda for Change while some are offered salaries based in Band 6 if a structured internship is being offered.

PAs work in a variety of clinical settings and specialties including GP surgeries, hospital inpatient wards, and A & E departments. Please see the FAQ page of the Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Physician Associates (RCPFPA) website for more information. The RCPFPA’s most recent census information can be viewed at Census Results.

For additional information regarding the Physician Associate profession please explore:

Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Physician Associates

Matrix Specification of Core Clinical Conditions for the Physician Assistant

NHS Jobs

American Academy of Physician Assistants

Watch this video 'A Day in the Life of a Physician Associate'.

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UK entry requirements

Undergraduate Degree

A UK first or 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification, in a Life or Health Sciences subject area (i.e. Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Medical Engineering, Nursing, Operating Department Practice, Paramedic Pharmacy, Physiology).

Applicants who hold a UK (2:2) Honours degree, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification, with relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

All short-listed applicants will be required to attend an interview.

Personal Statements

Two personal statements of no more than 500 words are required for both of the following statements:

1. Describe your motivation to become a physician associate detailing your experience, qualifications, and personal qualities as they pertain to becoming a member of the profession.

2. Discuss how the physician associate role might fit into the UK healthcare system.


Two satisfactory references are required to support your application, both dated within the last year. One of these must be a recent academic reference and the other should be either a second academic reference or a professional/employer reference. Your referees should know you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. We do not accept references from family, friends, partners, ex-partners or yourself.

Health Screening

Successful applicants will have a satisfactory health clearance and are required to undergo appropriate blood tests and immunisations against hepatitis B, MMR, TB, chicken pox, tetanus and polio.

Disclosure and Barring Service

Successful applicants are required to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly a Criminal Records Bureau check). More information

Professional Registration

If you are a current healthcare professional or a member of a registered professional body, we ask that you provide details of your registration. If you have had your professional registration suspended or revoked, or undergone a disciplinary/fitness to practise investigation, you will be required to provide further information if selected for interview. You may also be asked to provide full copies of related documentation.

Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an interview or a place on the programme.

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EU and International entry requirements

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7.5 (min 7W, 7L, 7R, 7S)
  • Pearson: 73 (64 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 75% (min 70% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding



£9,620 full-time


£18,720 full-time

More information on any additional course-related costs.

See our fees and funding page for full details of postgraduate scholarships available to Brunel applicants.

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase. 

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Teaching and Learning

From lecturers with over 25 years’ experience of working as a Physician Associate to an examiner for the national exams at the Faculty of Physician Associates for the Royals College of Physicians, you’ll benefit from the expertise of our highly regarded academic team when you study at Brunel. Our lecturers have taught, worked or carried out research across the world and this feeds into their teaching. Your learning experience will be a mixture of classroom based, problem/evidence-based, peer-assisted, clinical practice, independent and e-learning, assimilated learning in clinical labs and the use of trained teaching associates for intimate examinations.

Should you need any non-academic support during your time at Brunel, the Student Support and Welfare Team are here to help.

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Assessment and feedback

You’ll be assessed on single best answer/multiple choice questions papers and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) to begin early preparation for the National Examination. Other assessments will include written assignments, oral presentations, reflection papers and a portfolio of evidence.

You will be assessed on placement by your supervising clinician(s). The assessment score from clinical placement modules will contribute to your final degree classification.

All modules must be passed in order to proceed through the course. Normally you’ll be given two attempts at passing each assessment.

Read our guide on how to avoid plagiarism in your assessments at Brunel.