Physician Associate Studies

MSc ( 2 years Full-time )


Policy for Admissions to MSc Physician Associate Programme

The MSc Physician Associate is 24 months, full-time, starting in January 2019.

The course is ideally suitable for life science graduates, nurses, allied health professionals or anyone interested in pursuing a challenging and exciting career in healthcare.

This is an intensive and innovative programme delivered by a leading UK medical school - Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, a faculty of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The programme has been designed to give students the skills and knowledge required to become an effective physician associate (PA).

Physician associates work as part of medical team and support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. As a PA you might work in a GP surgery or be based in a hospital, but wherever you work, you'll have direct contact with patients. PAs are required to maintain their generalist clinical skills, in contrast to doctors; this allows them to move between different specialties and areas of practice enabling the PA to have a varied ‘portfolio’ career with a strong patient focus.

Course Highlights

  • Early exposure to clinical environments
  • Excellent employment opportunities
  • Fast-paced and intensive 24 month course
  • Excellent student placements in a variety of clinical environments
  • Taught by a dedicated academic faculty who are leaders in their fields
  • Innovative approach to course delivery

Programme Aims

The programme aims to equip graduates with the knowledge, skills and attitudes, in line with the professional standards expected by Faculty of Physician Associate at Royal College of Physician. PAs are trained to undertake many roles traditionally performed by doctors and as such will augment the existing medical work force. PAs will have also have acquired the skills and attitudes for life-long learning and reflective practice, enabling them to meet the challenge of providing high quality health care, responsive to the changing needs of the population and the NHS.

These aims are met though an innovative, student-centred course of study, which is responsive to the needs of employers and the strategic aims of the NHS.

You will learn a broad range of clinical skills and knowledge. The curriculum covers much of what a doctor learns at undergraduate level but typically in less depth. Over the 24 months of the course you will develop into a highly competent healthcare professional.

Where Will Students Be Based?

Learning and teaching occurs in a variety of educational settings and is distinguished from other PA courses offered in the UK by the very early exposure to clinical environments.

Students will be based at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Whitechapel campus), clinical placement will take place throughout North East London at a number of leading GP practices and NHS Trusts including; Barking Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, East London Foundation Trust, Homerton University Hospital Foundation NHS Trust, North East London NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust.

Career Opportunities

The career path of a Physician Associate is a highly attractive option for anyone who wishes to start a career in healthcare. Currently positions for PAs in the UK far exceed the number of individuals available to fill them, giving PAs tremendous flexibility to live and work anywhere in the country.

The History of a Physician Associate

The US pioneered the role of the PA over 40 years’ ago with the aim to create skilled healthcare professionals who would relieve the pressure of doctors in various clinical settings. The concept was a huge success and the role of a PA has now become fundamental in the US health system. Here in the UK, the PA has become a rapidly growing healthcare profession.

How to Apply

The application process for the January 2019 intake is now closed. The application process for 2020 entry will re-open in May 2019.  If you have any questions, please contact


The MSc is 24 months, full-time, starting in January.

The focus of the course is on general adult and paediatric medicine.  However, some specialty care training is also provided.  This includes 1,400 hours of clinical training in a range of settings, including Community & Hospital Medicine, Accident & Emergency, Mental Health, General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics. In addition, students will have the opportunity to attend their choice of speciality for their elective clinical placement.


  • Basic Medical Science
  • Healthy People, Healthy Society
  • Care of the Adult
  • Women and Children’s Health
  • Care of the Older Adult
  • Mind, Body and Health
  • Care in the Community
  • Research, Evidence and Quality

Years 1 and 2

The course adopts a problem based learning (PBL) approach, with a flipped classroom model and small group tutorials and lectures. Early in Year 1 itself, students are exposed to medical practice, and equipped with the necessary clinical skills to both learn and participate in the delivery of medical care during placements in the hospital and community.

Entry requirements

Policy for Admissions to MSc Physician Associate Programme

We require applicants to be able and motivated, capable of sustaining the considerable effort required to complete this challenging course, and willing to be present for teaching sessions outside of traditional classroom hours.

Who Should Apply?

The course is suitable for candidates with a lower second class honours (2:2) or above in a biomedical, health or life science degree. This will usually be a Bachelors degree, and may be a four-year Masters, but the latter only if it is a first degree. In addition, candidates must have A-level or equivalent in two science subjects. One science subject should be either in Chemistry & or Biology (minimum grade C).

Applications from nursing and allied healthcare professionals who wish to build on their clinical skills and knowledge will be considered.

If an applicant is offered a place, he/she must have completed this degree prior to enrolment. Candidates are required to complete their degree within the prescribed period allowed by their University. Only an applicant’s first degree is considered. For further information, please refer to Admission policy for MSc Physician Associate program.

Learning and teaching

Students will learn a broad range of skills and knowledge. The curriculum covers much of what a doctor learns at undergraduate level but typically in less depth. Over the 24 months of the course you will develop into a highly competent healthcare professional.

The course employs a flipped classroom model similar to The Khan Academy, which means lectures are delivered in video format and contact time with faculty focuses on explaining the key issues within small group tutorials.

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. A variety of teaching and learning methods will be employed including; Problem based Learning, online lectures, podcasts, lecture notes and documentary reading material, guided reading exercises, , ‘Ask the expert’ sessions, demonstration videos if applicable. workshops, laboratory practice sessions, self-directed learning, small group tutorials, case presentations, reading lists of books and journal papers. You are assigned a Course Tutor who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Each module is examined separately by coursework and/ or written exam at the end of the module. All modules must be passed at the end of year exams. The research project assessment is in the form of a written dissertation.


You will also be assessed on a 10,000-15,000 word dissertation.

Qualifying as a PA

All students must pass both the university assessments and the UK Physician Associate national examination to qualify as a practising PA. Successful completion of the national examination permits students to be placed on the PA Managed Voluntary Register (PMVR) at the Faculty of Physician Associates, Royal College of Physicians. PMVR is a mandatory requirement to be able to work as a Physician Associate in the UK.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,650
Part-time study is not available for this course


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717



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