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MSc in

Physician Associate Studies

We train Physician Associates to deliver confident, compassionate care, working as part of teams in hospitals, primary care and community settings. On successful completion of this programme, you will be eligible to sit the National Licensing Examination to gain entry into the profession.

Course length 2 years full-time
Start date September 2024
Location University of Hull
Physician Associate Students at Castle Hill Hospital


About the programme

Physician Associates provide crucial support to doctors, and work as part of multi-disciplinary teams in the diagnosis and management of patients. While still a relatively new profession in the NHS, numbers of Physician Associates are increasing across the UK, and with that comes the recognition of the vital role they play in delivering high quality care. This is supported by professional regulation of Physician Associates by the General Medical Council.

Our MSc in Physician Associate Studies is a two year, intensive professional Masters programme, developed to meet the requirements of the General Medical Council (GMC) pre-qualification educational framework. On successful completion of this programme you will be eligible to sit the Physician Associate National Examination (PANE), administered by the Faculty of Physician Associates, in order to gain entry into the profession and begin practice.

Physician Associate students will mostly be based at the University of Hull and study in the award winning Allam Medical Building at the heart of the University’s £28 million health campus. Procedural skills teaching takes place in our dedicated teaching facilities at Castle Hill Hospital and Hull Royal Infirmary, part of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, where you will learn and practise medical procedures.

You will experience a diverse range of clinical placements throughout the Yorkshire and Humber region, beginning in week three of the programme - including one or more of the main hospital sites at Hull, York, Scarborough, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. You will gain a huge breadth of experience, whether that be in the major trauma centre of Hull Royal Infirmary, or in a rural GP surgery outside Scarborough. These experiences will be invaluable in shaping you as a resilient, knowledgeable, empathetic and highly skilled health professional, enabling you to meet the challenges ahead.

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.

You will also complete a 5-week Elective clinical placement at the end of Year 2, enabling in depth study in an area of personal interest embedded in a clinical team, which provides excellent preparation for clinical practice.

This MSc is intensive and challenging but ultimately hugely rewarding. You will be assigned a Personal Academic Supervisor who will support you throughout the two year programme, regularly reviewing your performance and progress. This regular feedback will help inform your learning and ensure you get the most out of your academic studies and clinical placements. In addition to the student support services at the University of Hull, we also have our own dedicated student support team providing a range of pastoral services.

Course content


The programme is made up of seven core modules, totaling 180 credits.

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

Teaching and assessment

Clinical placements

Beginning in week 3, you will experience clinical placements at GP surgeries (primary care) and hospitals (secondary care) across the Yorkshire and Humber region. Your placements provide an invaluable opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you acquire in the classroom to the real-world clinical environment.

In your first year, you will spend one and a half days a week in secondary care and one day a week in primary care. In your second year, you will be in a secondary care setting for 3 or 4 days a week, rotating through various medical and surgical specialities, together with a further placement in primary care. You will also undertake an elective at the end of the programme.

You will experience a range of speciality placements in secondary care, including mental health, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery, emergency medicine and acute care.

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

A Physician Associate student at Castle Hill Hospital
Physician Associate students at Castle Hill Hospital
Physician Associate students practicing clinical skills
Physician Associate students in clinical skills training

Teaching and assessment

Clinical and procedural skills

Led by a practising clinician, you will learn the different components to performing a consultation, including history taking, mental state examination, physical examination and diagnostic reasoning.

You will practise consultations with a simulated patient, receiving feedback from your peers, the clinician and patient so you can hone your skills. You will also practise physical examinations on your peers and develop your professional behaviours during those examinations.

Procedural skills teaching takes place in our dedicated teaching facilities at Castle Hill Hospital or Hull Royal Infirmary. Here you will learn the theory and practical skills to carry out procedures with realistic anatomical training products, such as venepuncture, ophthalmoscopy, cannulation, stitching and arterial blood gas sampling.

Teaching and assessment

How is the programme assessed?

We employ a range of assessments which are both formative to support your learning and development, and summative to ensure you have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills. These include a variety of written and clinical assessments specific to each module, and a personal portfolio that you will build throughout the programme.

On completion of this programme, you will be eligible to sit the Physician Associate National Examination (PANE) in order to gain entry into the profession and begin practice. The National Licensing Examination costs are not included in the MSc course fees.

Physician Associate students in the Allam Medical Building at the University of Hull
Maddy Rhynehart


Starting placement in week 3 attracted me to the programme. It seemed daunting at first, but I learnt so much from early patient contact. The early introduction into communicating with patients teaches you so much, it helps you to apply clinical knowledge to real life situations.
Year 2 Physician Assiociate

Maddy Rhynehart

Student talking to a member of the Student Support Team
Physician Associate students practicing clinical skills

Teaching and assessment

What support is available?

You will be assigned an academic supervisor for the whole programme who will meet with you each term to review your performance and progress. They can also support you by regularly reviewing and commenting on your formative work. We find that this regular feedback really helps students get the most from their clinical placements and university-based teaching and learning.

In addition to the student support services at the Universities of Hull and York, we also have our own dedicated student support team providing a range of pastoral services to all our Hull York Medical School students.

Support and wellbeing


Career prospects

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 as a Physician Associate, including evidence-based practice and quality improvement research skills.

100% of our graduates have secured substantive positions as qualified Physician Associates in the NHS, many of which are in the local area. We work with our regional partners to continually develop employment opportunities.

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

We also have graduates from our programme contributing to teaching our current students both in the university and on clinical placements.

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

Physician Associate students at Castle Hill Hospital


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. We will also accept specific nursing Health Sciences degrees with sufficient scientific grounding and extensive postgraduate clinical experience.

Applicants must have GCSE English Language at Grade B/6 and GCSE Mathematics at Grade C / 5 or above, or equivalent. Alternatively, we may be able to accept GCSE English Literature at Grade 6, or GCSE English Language at Grade 5, in combination with a higher grade in your degree. 

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.

We do not accept applications from students who currently or have previously studied on a UK or international Physician Associate programme, or accept transfer requests from Physician Associate students studying elsewhere.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must have 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
  • LangCert C1 Expert High Pass (minimum score 33/50)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Fees listed are for 2024 entry; fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation as fees are reviewed on an annual basis and may change.

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (Home) or International (including EU) student. Check your fee status on the University of York website.

UK (Home)

  • Full-time: £10,590

International (including EU)

  • Full-time: £29,400


There are a number of funding options available to help with costs and support your postgraduate study. To apply for funding, you will need to hold an offer to study at Hull York Medical School.


How to apply

How to apply

Applications for the MSc in Physician Associate Studies are made via UCAS.

You will need to register first if you do not have a UCAS account and then submit an application via the UCAS website.

You will need to enter the Hull York Medical School UCAS institution code and the UCAS course code of your our Physician Associate course in the 'Choices' section as shown below:

  • Institution code: H75
  • Course code for MSc Physician Associate Studies: BB96

Closing date for applications

Applications for 2024 entry are now closed.

Please join our mailing list to be notified of when applications open for 2025 entry.


Your interview will consist of a series of mini panel interviews, where you will be asked competency and value-based questions. These are designed to assess you against our trainee physician associate person specification.