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MSc/PG Dip Physician Associate Studies

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

This is an intensive two-year clinical course open to applicants with a first-degree in a health or science related subject. This course prepares you to work as a Physician Associate (PA) in the NHS.

PAs are healthcare professionals who work to a medical model alongside doctors in hospitals or GP surgeries. This course will prepare you to take a medical history, examine patients, diagnose common problems, perform procedures, and recommend treatment. For more information about PAs, please see the Faculty of Physician Associate website.

The Department of Health is committed to increasing the number of PAs in the NHS, particularly in general practice. In Dorset there is a real need for additional healthcare staff in all of the acute hospitals and in GP surgeries and it is expected that PAs will be part of the solution to this workforce shortage.

To be eligible for the postgraduate loan and Academic Excellence Scholarship, you must enrol onto the full MSc route. 

Key information

Next start date:

January 2021, January 2022


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


PG Dip and MSc: 2 years full-time

Required subjects:

Health or Science subject

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:1 or equivalent in a required subject. 

Required subjects: Health or Science related subject, e.g: Biology, Physiology, Neuroscience, Biological Science, Microbiology, Anatomical Science, Physiotherapy, Diagnostic Imaging, Radiotherapy, Paramedic Science, Audiology, Nursing, ODP, Optometry, Biomedicine, Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy, Chemistry

Applicants holding a 2:2 may be considered on an individual basis provided they have evidence of relevant, recent clinical experience.

If English is not your first language, you will need IELTS (Academic) 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in writing, speaking, listening and reading, or equivalent.

For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Please note that due to Health Education England (HEE) funding, applicants must have UK home status to be eligible to apply for this course.

Course details

The Physician Associate Studies programmes at BU involve the integration of theory and clinical practice throughout the curriculum. This integration is based upon the key tenet that experience and learning are closely intertwined. Unlike more traditional courses, students gave substantial clinical exposure from the second month of the course. Fundamental examination and assessment skills are learned initially from simulated patients and in the clinical skills laboratory. As the programme progresses, students will continue to develop and learn more complex skills both in the simulation labs and under the supervision of clinical supervisors in 1400 hours of practice placements. Placements will be within 3 major hospitals across Dorset, general practice and other community services.

The programme is underpinned by problem based learning to develop habits of inquiry and innovation that will promote continued knowledge acquisition throughout a lifetime of learning. Repeated formative assessment will be used to consolidate learning throughout the course and in preparation for the National Examinations for Physician Associates. There will be a key focus on the formation of professional identity throughout the course, underpinned by the four domains of Good Medical Practice (GMC 2013). Team building, peer support, group learning and mentorship will reinforce professionalism and help students to develop resilience. This has been designed to help students prepare themselves for the challenges that working in healthcare demands and to meet the high expectations commanded by the inter-professional team and patients alike.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Download the programme specification (pdf 433kb)

How to apply

You can apply for a MSc/PG Dip Physician Associate Studies by clicking on the ‘apply now’ button and completing the application form. You will need to create an account and complete the application form in full.

You can save the form as you go, enabling you to return to it at as many times as you want before submitting. The form is split into tabbed sections. As you complete each of the tabbed sections they will turn green; only click submit once all of your tabs are highlighted green.

How to apply

Entry requirements

Your staff

On this course you will be taught by staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This could include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners and research students, many of whom are actively engaged in research and/or professional practice which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Please note that teaching staff can change.

Costs and fees

To be eligible for the postgraduate loan and  Academic Scholarship you must enroll onto the full MSc route. PG Dip route do not currently qualify for the loan and scholarship.

Health Education England has agreed a single, national funding model for Physician Associates. Both MSc and PG Dip students will receive a training grant of £5000. This payment will be made at £2500 per annum, paid via Bournemouth University. The training grant can be used against course fees, placement travel, or similar costs incurred during the programme.