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    Physician Associate Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Nursing & Health

  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    2 years full-time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    22 January 2020

Ask Brunel

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, has launched a national funding strategy for all Physician Associate courses in England. For August 2019 entry, 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.

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.

NHS Values

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.

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.

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

Compulsory Year 1

  • Applied Pharmacology
  • Approaches to Research
  • Foundations of Clinical Medicine A
  • Personal and Professional Development A
  • Principles and Practice of Evidence Based Healthcare
  • Dissertation

Compulsory Year 2

  • Foundations of Clinical Medicine B
  • PA Applied Clinical Knowledge & Skills
  • Personal and Professional Development B
  • Dissertation

Teaching and Learning

From lecturers with over 25 years’ experience of working as a Physician Associate to an examiner for the national exams at the Faculty of Physician Associates for the Royals College of Physicians, you’ll benefit from the expertise of our highly regarded academic team when you study at Brunel. Our lecturers have taught, worked or carried out research across the world and this feeds into their teaching. Your learning experience will be a mixture of classroom based, problem/evidence-based, peer-assisted team based learning, clinical practice, independent and e-learning and assimilated learning in clinical labs.

Should you need any non-academic support during your time at Brunel, the Student Support and Welfare Team are here to help.

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.

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.

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.

Ask Brunel

Visit the Physician Associate - MSc page on the Brunel University London website for more details!




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