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Physician Associate MSc

Course code


Start date


Placement available

Mode of study

2 years full-time



UK £11,030

International £21,470

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Please note the Physician Associate MSc is now closed to new applications for entry in September 2023.

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 (PA) 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 to your career as a Physician Associate.

Health Education England (HEE), has launched a national funding strategy for all Physician Associate courses in England. For September 2021 entry, eligible students will receive a training grant of £5,000 per student, per programme via their university; it's 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. Please check if you are eligible by clicking here. Please note this funding is subject to annual review by HEE and may not be available in the future

Successful completion of the Physician Associate MSc programme provides eligibility to sit for the Physician Associate National Examination and join the Managed Voluntary Register, until regulation by the General Medical Council (GMC) comes into effect. Please note, the Physician Associate qualification may not currently be recognised in some countries e.g. USA.

The NHS Values are shaped by 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.

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

Got a question about this course? Please view our Frequently Asked Questions

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, usually requiring you to study on campus from 9am to 5pm, 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.

Please note, regulation of Physician Associates in the UK by the General Medical Council (GMC) is in a consultancy phase. Following regulation (late 2021 / early 2022) there may be some changes to the programme to meet GMC requirements. Information will be updated for applicants when further details are available.

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

Year 1

Year 2

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

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

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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 placements, 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 clinical placements, you’ll be supervised by doctors and physician associates. All clinical placements 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 specialities/patient groups you work with and the range of healthcare settings you work in. At Brunel, we recognise the importance of ensuring you're exposed to a variety of health settings which are reflective of current clinical practice.

We're sympathetic to your needs when we assign clinical placements. However, we're 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 currently join the Managed Voluntary Register – the mark of a fully qualified and approved Physician Associate. Please note, the General Medical Council (GMC) is due to take over the regulation of Physician Associates - when this happens, the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register will no longer exist. 

You’ll be joining a growing profession where there are currently plenty of vacancies. Typically, Physician Associate salaries start in band 7 of the NHS Agenda for Change pay scale. However, some Physician Associate roles where an internship is offered, fall within band 6. 

Physician Associates 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

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. Anatomy, 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.

Postgraduate degree

We also accept applicants who have a Master's degree graded Merit or above in a Life or Health Sciences related subject

All applicants must have a minimum of GCSE English grade 4/C or above or equivalent qualification.

Personal statements

You should submit a personal statement focused on your motivation to become a physician associate detailing your experience, qualifications and personal qualities as they pertain to becoming a member of the profession. You will be able to do submit your statement when you apply through UCAS.


We require a copy of your up to date CV. Once you submit your application through UCAS you will be invited to create an account a my Application account with us on eVision. You will then be able to upload a copy of your CV. The CV should include details of any formal or informal work experience, work placements and volunteering activity. It is advantageous for applicants to have clinical work experience and/or patient contact hours. We will not be able to consider your application further until we receive the CV.

So we can review your application quickly please complete this as soon as possible after you submit your application.


One satisfactory reference is required to support your application dated within the last year. The reference must be academic reference if studied in the last 3 years. Your referee 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.

You will be able to include a reference when you apply to us through UCAS.

Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an invite to a Selection Day or a place on the programme.

How to apply

Your deadline to apply for this programme for 2023/4 entry has now passed. Whilst we are still accepting applications, please be advised we will only consider applications received after the deadline where we have places available on the course, and subject to a competitive selection process.

Health screening

Successful applicants will have a satisfactory health clearance and are required to undergo appropriate blood tests and immunisations such as hepatitis B, MMR, TB, chicken pox, tetanus and polio (please note, this list may be updated).

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.

Please be aware that to apply for this course you will need to submit an application through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).


Applicants can apply for the next entry point only. If you receive an offer and would like to defer your offer to the following entry point to the one you have applied for, you should put your request in writing to the Admission Office. They will then liaise with the Admissions Tutors for the course and let you know the outcome. You should have a strong reason for wanting to defer and we regret that we are not able to guarantee that we can accommodate this request.


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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 7.0 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 73 (64 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 73% (68% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 108 (min 20) 

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

2023/24 entry


£11,030 full-time


£21,470 full-time

More information on any additional course-related costs.

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

Fees for EU applicants – For entry in 2023/24 academic year, eligible EU applicants will have the same tuition fees as UK students to continue our support during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course.  

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

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Teaching and Learning

How the course will be delivered

Required equipment

How you'll learn on your course

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Assessment and feedback

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

You will be assessed on placement by your supervising clinician(s). The assessments 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.