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Physician Associate Studies MSc

Ready to become a physician associate? Want to help with the diagnosis, management and care of patients? Undertake clinical training so you can work across the full range of medical specialities. Study with us and get started.


Course length: 2 years full-time
Start dates: September 2023
Location: Edge Hill University
Subject(s): Medicine
Department: Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine
A nurse with stethoscope speaks with a colleague.

Eager to work in the field of medicine? Want to make a difference in an emerging healthcare role? Keen to learn through a combination of teaching and practical placements? Training to become a physician associate at Edge Hill University could be for you.

In our physician associate studies course, you’ll discover everything you need to know about providing patient care under the supervision of a doctor. Learn how to interview and examine patients. Conduct clinical examinations. Order and interpret diagnostic tests. Make decisions about patient management and therapy.

You’ll graduate as a flexible and adaptable practitioner. Once you pass the national exam set by the Faculty of Physician Associates, you can apply to be on the Managed Voluntary Register (MVR) of physician associates. The past ten years has seen a growing demand for newly-qualified physician associates within the NHS – in acute, primary care and mental health services.

Please note, regulation for physician associates is currently under national consideration by the GMC, therefore some requirements are under review.

Course features

  • Professional practice placements

What you'll study

Our MSc Physician Associate Studies covers four central themes that are vital to this field. You’ll continue to build on these foundations throughout with critical application and practice. Increasingly complex medical conditions and different areas of speciality are introduced to put the role in its multidisciplinary context. The four central themes are:

Clinical research – explore the stages of research design, analyse different research strategies and methodologies for conducting research, and study the way findings are reported. A clear understanding of the research process is essential for the critical interpretation of evidence.
Personal and professional development – focus on the professional values, ethics and behaviours essential for the job. You’ll cover a range of subjects, including non-discriminatory practice, safeguarding, professional regulation and supporting vulnerable patient groups.
Clinical science – explore the underpinning scientific theory for the presentation of common diseases. You’ll look at the principles behind investigative techniques and management strategies. Learn to critically describe the structure and function of body systems. Discover the pathological processes which indicate common clinical conditions, and analyse approaches to clinical and pharmacological management.
Translation to practice – a series of supervised clinical practice placements to give you the experience to deliver care and treatment. You’ll gather comprehensive clinical histories of patients, conduct physical examinations, develop diagnostic investigations and action patient management plans. You’ll also apply clinical reasoning to monitor and identify changes in the patient’s condition.

Compulsory modules:

Expand all

Clinical Research Part 1: Critical Appraisal

Clinical Research Part 2: Developing a Research Proposal

Foundations of Clinical Sciences 1

Foundations of Clinical Sciences 2

Personal and Professional Development

Personal and Professional Development 2

Translation to Practice 1

Translation to Clinical Practice 2

How you'll study

The modules on this programme are interlinked and delivered through blended learning. Academic study comprises just under 50% of the course, with the remainder spent on clinical placements. There are 22 weeks of academic teaching each year, with a further 24 weeks per year spent on clinical placements.

The varied approach to teaching and learning includes lectures, video presentations, case-based learning, case study discussions, tutorials, small and whole group discussion, online learning, direct reading, portfolios (including reflections), simulation, clinical skills sessions, and various clinical placements.

You will receive over 1,800 hours of clinical training across the programme, with placements across the full range of medical specialities at teaching hospitals and in community settings. These specialities include general hospital, emergency medicine, General Practice, mental health, paediatrics, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology.

There are three 8-week placements in Year 1 and four six-week placements in Year 2 to enable you to gain extensive hands-on clinical experience. All placements will be arranged for you by the University and aligned to learning outcomes determined by the Competence and Curriculum Framework for physician associates. You will be responsible for travel and parking costs while on placement.

You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed through a combination of written assignments, objective structured clinical examinations, short answer questions, multiple choice questionnaires, case studies, e-portfolios, seminar presentations, writing a research proposal and an appraisal of your subsequent research.

Who will be teaching you

The programme team comprises expert staff who are highly experienced in clinical practice in areas including intensive care, coronary care, forensic mental health, primary care, pharmacology and medical practice.

You will also be taught by associate tutors from primary and secondary care, neurology, paramedic practice, biological sciences and senior healthcare management.

While on placement you will be supported by an educational supervisor (either a consultant or general practitioner depending on the setting) as well as clinical supervisors and the wider multi-disciplinary team.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a science or health related subject. Within your degree you must be able to evidence studying some bioscience or anatomy content. You should also have GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or Grade 4 or above (or equivalent).

Previous experience of working in healthcare is desirable but not essential.

An interview forms part of the selection process. Interviews for September 2023 entry will take place in February and March 2023.

If you accept an offer from Edge Hill you will need to submit a Declaration of Health in respect of physical and mental fitness and will be required to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure indicating that you meet the mandatory criteria of ‘Clearance to Work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults’. Further information will be sent to you after you have firmly accepted an offer.

Example offers

Qualification Requirement

How to apply

Apply full-time

Apply online through UCAS

Read our guide to applying through UCAS to find out more about the application process.


EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, are eligible to apply for this course.

Unfortunately this course is not available to other international students. Please see our A-Z of courses for alternative options.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Did you know?

If you join a full time undergraduate degree at Edge Hill University, we will guarantee you the offer of a room in our halls of residence for the first year of your course.

Discover our accommodation


Faculty of Health, Social Care and MedicineThe Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the leading providers of education and training for health and social care professionals in the North West of England.

Offering some of the best facilities for health, social care and medicine students in the country, the outstanding teaching and learning resources include leading edge clinical skills facilities, an 860-seat lecture theatre, and a variety of teaching rooms and social learning spaces.

Where you'll study

Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre

Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine

Learning resources

The Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre offers a variety of simulated environments from home, through primary and emergency care, to secondary care and beyond. The flexible and adaptable facilities include a ward environment, operating theatre, an anatomy and ultrasound resource centre, a ‘Better at Home’ suite, clinical skills area and consultation rooms.

You will benefit from access to a wide variety of healthcare equipment, as well as a range of full-body patient simulators that can breathe, talk, have pulses and can simulate a wide range of symptoms and clinical conditions. This will enable you to undertake practical scenarios in realistic settings, providing ideal preparation for professional practice placements and future employment.


Tuition fees

UK Full-Time


a year

The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students. As an MSc Physician Associate Studies student, you can expect to receive a contribution of £2,500 a year from Health Education England to assist with travel costs to your clinical placements. There is no application process. Payment will be administered by the University and eligible students can expect to receive confirmation of scheduled payment dates during enrolment.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see our EU student finance page for further details.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for students joining this course in academic year 2023/24 are still to be announced. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Financial support arrangements for eligible UK students joining this course in academic year 2023/24 are still to be announced. You are advised to check this page regularly and once the position has been confirmed we will update this information.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see our EU student finance page for further details.

Your future career

To be employed as a physician associate, graduates must take the national exam set by the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA). You can find out more information, including current exam fees, on the FPA website.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you can apply to be listed on the Managed Voluntary Register (MVR) hosted by the FPA. Clinical trusts are recommended to hire from the register, so it’s strongly advised that you take this step. In the future, physician associates are likely to be regulated by the General Medical Council.

After taking these steps, you can go on to work as a physician associate in:

  • general hospitals
  • emergency medicine
  • mental health
  • surgery
  • primary care

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Download our course leaflet