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, 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.

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.

Clinical Assessment and Examination (Theory)

This is when you will begin to develop an understanding of advanced physical health assessments related to each of the main body systems.

You will learn to evaluate a patient’s physical condition and develop the ability to make reasoned judgements relating to the investigation, interventions, treatments and referral of patients.

Within both Clinical Assessment modules you will have the opportunity to learn in a multi-disciplinary environment, studying alongside Advanced Clinical Practitioners.

Clinical Assessment and Examination (Practice)

You will develop more advanced knowledge, skills and competence in a range of core physical health assessments whilst studying this module.

You will learn how to critically evaluate evidence to support advanced decision making and apply high-level clinical knowledge and skills to support all aspects of patient management in a variety of clinical presentations building on a systems-based approach.

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/Service Improvement Research 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 you'll study

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 evoving 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, a generous preceptorship scheme has been launched to help establish the profession within the Yorkshire and Humber region. In practice, this means that hospitals and surgeries across the region can apply for funding specifically to employ Physician Associates, resulting in enhanced support and training and better careers opportunities for graduates.

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 an IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in every component, obtained within the last two years.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2020-2021
  • Home/EU: £9,250
  • International: £22,720
Scholarships and studentships
Health Education England funding

Health Education England (HEE) offered funding of £5,000 per student, to all student Physician Associates starting the programme in September 2019. This payment is paid as £2,500 per annum via Hull York Medical School. This funding is to support travel to clinical placements. Please note this is to be confirmed for 2020 entry.

Hull York Medical School Physician Associate Studentship

We are pleased to offer five £1,000 studentships for our Physician Associate programme. These were awarded as part of the admissions process. Please note this is to be confirmed for 2020 entry.

University of York Graduate Discount

The University of York is pleased to offer a 10% fees discount for its graduates who study our MSc programme. The University of York assess whether you are eligible for the discount as part of your application to study. Please visit the University of York website for details.

University of Hull Graduate Discount

The University of Hull is pleased to offer graduates progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate taught study a £1,000 studentship towards the cost of your tuition fees. Visit the University of Hull website for details.

University of Hull International Studentship Scheme Discount

International students starting a new programme charging a standard undergraduate or taught postgraduate fee will receive a tuition fee discount of up to £2,500 per year from the University of Hull, which is increased by £1,000 for students from low and lower middle income countries as defined by the World Bank.

For information about the eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit the University of Hull website.

Government Postgraduate Masters Loan

If you're starting a Masters you may be entitled to a government-backed loan of up to £10,906. 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

Please apply for the programme through the University of York online application system. We will invite shortlisted applicants to an interview. Priority will be given to applicants who apply before 3 February 2020, and interviews cannot be guaranteed for applicants who apply after this date.

Apply now

What happens at the interview

Interviews take place on Wednesday 4 March 2020. 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.

Interview tips and experiences from current and past students

Our current and past Physician Associate students understand how you may be feeling about coming to an interview. Read their tips for interviews and find our more about their experience of their interviews.

Interview tips from Physician Associate students