MSc in Physician Associate Studies

We're inspiring future medical professionals

Welcome to Hull York Medical School, where we deliver exceptional medical education.
We train Physician Associates to deliver confident, compassionate care, working as part of multi-disciplinary teams in hospitals, general practice and other healthcare settings.
If you are as passionate as we are about delivering high quality patient care, then your journey starts here. 
What is a Physician Associate?

As a qualified Physician Associate, you will provide support to doctors, GPs and surgeons in the diagnosis and management of patients.

A Physician Associate is a relatively new profession in the NHS, and a highly valued position providing crucial support in multidisciplinary healthcare teams.

You’ll work under the supervision of a doctor, and perform a number of day-to-day tasks.

There are also opportunities for leadership and senior roles.

Typical tasks
  • Taking medical histories from patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions
  • Performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Analysing test results
  • Developing care management plans
  • Providing health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients

About the programme

Our MSc in Physician Associate Studies is a two year, intensive professional Masters programme, developed to meet the requirements of the National Competence and Curriculum Framework for Physician Associates.

Taught by practising clinicians and healthcare professionals, including Physician Associates, you will be trained to diagnose and treat according to the medical model – similarly to medics and allied health professionals – so you will be well prepared to compliment general practice but also work independently with appropriate support.

Your learning is centred around problem based learning led by expert clinicians. This is supplemented by clinical skills, where you will hone your communication and physical examination skills, and procedural skills at our hospital sites.

You will be completely immersed in medicine and be exposed to patients very early in your programme in a diverse variety of placements – starting in week 3 of the course. These placements compliment your learning at the new £28million health campus at the University of Hull, and teaching facilities within our teaching hospital sites.

In your second year, you will also undertake a quality/service improvement project. Experience of carrying out this type of project is highly sought after in the NHS. Your project provides you with the opportunity to apply the research and critical appraisal skills you have developed throughout your course to recommend approaches to improve quality within a healthcare setting.

Health Education England provide a grant of £5,000 (£2,500 per year) to students to support travel to clinical placements.

On successful completion of this programme you will be eligible to sit the National Licensing Examination, administered by the Faculty of Physician Associates, in order to gain entry into the profession and begin practice. The national exam costs are not included in the MSc course fees. 


Introductory Medicine for Physician Associates

This module has been specifically designed to introduce and prepare you for your first experiences of clinical practice. In particular, it will emphasise the role, identity and what it means to be a Physician Associate.

It will also consider the expectations, demands and challenges of being a new healthcare professional in the NHS, working alongside doctors within a multi-professional team.

Early clinical experience in a healthcare setting is a fundamental feature of this programme and this will commence in this first module, supported by clinical and educational supervisors.

Clinical Science and Practice I

During this module you will increase your knowledge and develop skills and achieve basic competencies in a range of generalist patient presentations that Physician Associates will frequently encounter in clinical practice.

The knowledge, skills and competencies you develop will be complemented by clinical placements in General Practice and General Hospital Medicine. In this way, the module will build on the basic skill-set acquired in the Introductory Medicine for Physician Associates module – establishing a foundation of core competencies before exploring a broader range of more specialist presentations in subsequent modules.

Foundations of Pharmacology for Health Care Professionals

This module will provide a broad grounding in pharmacology for PA students. The module will cover the key concepts and principles of drug action, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and adverse drug reactions. In addition, the module will then demonstrate how these concepts affect how drugs are used in infectious diseases, biopharmaceuticals and gene therapy, and lifestyle drugs and drugs in sport.

Therapeutics for Health Care Professionals

This module builds on the foundation knowledge from the previous module but turns more specifically to understanding and prescribing drug treatments in disease. We will cover the clinical aspects of pharmacology, in particular exploring therapeutics and areas of uncertainty in modern medicine.

The rationale for the use of drugs underpins modern medical practice and this module will explore the use of drugs in various disease areas, as well as areas of uncertainty around the prescription of medicines. This module will equip you with the knowledge and skills you require for clinical practice.

Clinical Science and Practice II

This module will focus on medical and surgical specialities and will enable you to acquire knowledge and develop a standardised range of clinical skills to enable you to effectively assess and manage a range of more specialist clinical presentations.

This will be complemented by clinical placements in mental health, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery and community medicine. This will be integrated with an extended longitudinal clinical placement in General Practice.

During this module you will also gain a specific understanding of the research methods used in health and social care.

Clinical Science and Practice III

This module will focus on acute care and you will learn how to assess and manage a range of emergency presentations, supported by clinical placements in emergency medicine, acute admissions, critical care, urgent care and minor injuries.

You will continue to develop your research skills during this module, applying principles of evidence-based healthcare.

This module will also include a clinical placement ‘elective’ which you will choose in consultation with staff within the School. The elective placement is a great opportunity to return to a favourite clinical specialism, gain experience in an area to help your career, or try something different.

Quality Improvement Project

This module provides the opportunity to undertake a prolonged period of independent study and complete a substantive quality improvement research project which you will choose in consultation with your supervisor.

You will draw on your experiences on clinical placements to identify an area for improvement, analyse the problem, and identify potential solutions informed by the relevant scientific literature, information gathering and analysis using relevant theory and research methodologies.

Quality improvement is a key NHS priority and the clinical research skills you develop through your project will help prepare you for future clinical practice and help you to advance your career.

I absolutely feel I am making a contribution to both my patients and to my clinical areas. Through my time running independent clinics in primary care, to assisting in surgery, and assessing and managing patients in A&E, I’ve had an opportunity to positively impact patients’ journeys in all stages of my training.

Tony Cosgrove MSc Physician Associate Studies alumni

How is the programme taught?

Supporting your learning

This Masters is intensive and challenging, but ultimately rewarding. You will have plenty of support throughout your programme from the following:


The NHS is constantly evolving to keep pace with the needs of patients. When you graduate from this programme, we are confident you will have the skills, knowledge and experience that the NHS wants and needs from its workforce, including evidence-based practice and research skills.

Many of our graduates students have secured permanent jobs locally within the NHS, working in hospitals, GP surgeries and community settings, and we are continuing to work with our regional partners to expand and develop further employment opportunities.

For example, there is a preceptorship scheme to help establish the profession within the Yorkshire and Humber region which provides a framework for enhanced support and training and better career opportunities for graduates.

We also have graduates from our programme teaching our students both in the university and on clinical placement, so there are also education opportunities. 

Typically, when you graduate, you will be employed at Band 7 on the NHS pay scale, and can progress to Band 8 with experiences and career development.

For more information about a career as a Physician Associate, visit the NHS health careers website.

Entry requirements

You must have at least a 2:1 in a relevant Biosciences Degree (for example, Biomedical, Biological or Medical Sciences, Biochemistry, Sports Sciences, Pharmacology), or be predicted to achieve this at the time of application. Applicants must have GCSE Mathematics at Grade C and English at Grade B, or equivalent. Alternative entry qualifications may also be considered.

You will need to demonstrate a sufficient grounding in Chemistry either through your degree, or A-levels to successfully engage with the pharmacological aspects of the programme. If you are unsure whether you meet this criterion, please upload your degree transcript when you submit your application which will then be reviewed by the Programme Director.

You will also need to demonstrate your commitment to the role of a healthcare professional and have excellent communication skills. Evidence of work experience in a clinical or healthcare setting (e.g. healthcare assistant or care home) is desirable but not essential.

All applicants whose first language is not English will need to have evidence of their proficiency with one of the following:

  • IELTS: 7.5, with no less than 7.0 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 73, with no less than 67 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from Jan 2015): 191, with no less than 185 in each component
  • TOEFL: 102, with no less than 24 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: Level 3, with 'Distinction' in each component
  • Duolingo: 130, minimum 120 in each component

Fees and funding

Fees for 2021/2022 are:

UK (home) tuition fees

  • Full time (1 year): £9,250

International (including EU) tuition fees

  • Full time (1 year): £23,300
Scholarships and studentships
Health Education England funding

Health Education England (HEE) offers funding of £5,000 per student, to all student Physician Associates starting the programme in September 2021. This payment is paid as £2,500 per annum via Hull York Medical School. This funding is to support travel to clinical placements.

Graduate Scholarship

We are pleased to offer a 10% reduction in fees to University of Hull and University of York undergraduate students and alumni applying to this Masters programme.

More information

Government Master's Loan

If you're starting a Masters you may be entitled to a government-backed loan. Visit the Government website for details.

Other sources of funding

Our parent universities also have details of further funding opportunities. Please see the University of Hull and the University of York websites for details.

How to apply

The first stage of the application process is an online application on the University of York website.

Providing you meet the entry criteria for the programme you will then be invited to attend an interview.

Apply now


What happens at the interview

Your interview will consist of a series of mini panel interviews where you will be asked competency and value-based questions that are designed to assess you against our trainee physician associate person specification. The interview process takes no longer than an hour.