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Physician Associate Studies - PGDip

Course Description

Our course will prepare you for the National Physician Associate entrance exam. Successful completion of the exam allows you to work as a physician associate within the NHS. You will gain skills in history taking, physical examination and diagnosis. You will also study clinical theory and undertake clinical placements.

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to qualify as a physician associate. Physician associates provide patient care within the National Health Service (NHS). They work under the supervision of doctors and health care professionals. The course will suit graduates of a bioscience discipline.

You will learn how to work to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base needed to deliver holistic care and treatment. You will develop your understanding of clinical practice through a combination of:
-Case based self-directed learning
-Clinical skills laboratory teaching
-Hands on experience in clinical settings

Additionally, you will develop core knowledge in preparation for the clinical workplace. This will include appropriate knowledge of:

On completion of the course you will be able to take the national physician associate qualifying exam. Satisfactory performance allows you to begin work as a physician associate within the NHS. The exam is overseen by the Faculty of Physician Associates within the Royal College of Physicians.

The course draws on Newcastle University’s considerable excellence in medical training. It was developed in association with Health Education North East.


Year one runs over 46 weeks and includes:
-Six week training in clinical, communication and diagnostic skills using mannequin-based and role play simulations
-A 27 week team-based learning course introducing core clinical knowledge through clinical case studies
-One day a week in a primary care setting developing history taking skills
-A six week apprenticeship in a hospital based setting to introduce the role of the physician associate

Year two comprises rotations in the following areas followed by a two week assessment period:
-Eight weeks of emergency medicine
-Three weeks of mental health
-Six weeks of community medicine/primary care
-Three weeks of obstetrics and gynaecology
-Three weeks of paediatrics
-Eight weeks of general medicine
-Three weeks of general surgery

You will then undertake a ten week senior apprenticeship. Trainees will work as physician associates under clinical supervision.


Alongside learning basic clinical theory you will undertake clinical placements. You will spend at least 1600 hours in clinical placements within NHS trusts and primary care providers in the North East.


Students benefit from a:
-Clinical skills laboratory for acquisition of clinical/procedural skills in a safe, monitored environment
-Simulation laboratory to practice emergency care scenarios on our simulation mannequins
-Unique virtual learning environment for access to high-quality online learning resources and pre-recorded lecture material

Visit the Physician Associate Studies - PGDip page on the Newcastle University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a bioscience or related subject.

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Recipient: Newcastle University

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