Physician Associate Studies

MSc ( 2 years Full-time )


Applications for January 2020 entry will be open from 30th May – 30th September, If you have any questions, please contact

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

Physician Associates work as part of medical teams and support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. As a Physician Associate (PA) you might work in General Practice or a hospital department. But wherever you work, you will have direct contact with patients. PAs are required to maintain their generalist clinical skills; which allows them to move between different specialties and areas of practice enabling PAs to have a varied ‘portfolio’ career with a strong patient focus.

This course is an intensive and innovative programme delivered by a leading UK medical school - Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, a major faculty of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

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 of clinicians and educators
  • Innovative approach to course delivery

Programme Aims

The main goal of this programme is to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with the professional standards expected by the Faculty of Physician Associate at the Royal College of Physicians. PAs are trained to undertake many roles traditionally performed by doctors. In doing so, PAs expand and enhance the existing medical work force. PAs acquire the professional skills and attitudes for life-long learning and reflective practice, enabling them to meet the challenges of providing high quality health care that is responsive to the changing needs of the patient population.

These programme objectives are developed through an innovative, student-centred course of study that is aligned with the needs of healthcare employers and the strategic aims of the NHS.

You will acquire a broad range of clinical skills and develop a strong foundational knowledge. The curriculum covers what doctors learn at undergraduate level but in much less depth. At the end of the 24 months you will develop into a competent and safe healthcare professional.

Career Opportunities

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

The History of a Physician Associate

The role of the PA was pioneered in the USA over 40 years ago with the goal of producing skilled healthcare professionals who would relieve the pressure of doctors in various clinical settings. This concept was a huge success and the PA role is now fundamental to the US healthcare system. Here in the UK, Physician Associates are a rapidly growing healthcare profession.


The MSc is 24 months, full-time. January start only.

The course focuses 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 Medicine, Accident & Emergency, Mental Health, General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics.

In addition, students will have an opportunity to complete an elective clinical placement in a speciality of their own choosing.


  • Applied Medical and Social Sciences
  • Clinical Medicine: Physical and Mental Health
  • Community Medicine
  • Clinical Medicine (older adult) and Surgery
  • Research and Quality Improvement Project
  • Care of Women and Children

Years 1 and 2

This course is delivered through a variety of methods including; problem based learning (PBL), small group tutorials and lectures. A flipped classroom model is being developed and expected to go live in January 2020.

Early in the first year of the programme students are exposed to medical practice through clinical placements. At this time, students are trained in the relevant theory and necessary practical skills so that they can make the most of their clinical placements.

In the second year, basic clinical skills are further consolidated and students develop knowledge and skills in the medical specialties with accompanying placements in specialty hospital departments.

Entry requirements

All candidates must have a BSc in a Biological, Biomedical or Health Professions Degree. The first degree can be a bachelor’s degree or a four-year Masters (providing it is the first degree). The minimum academic entry requirement is second-class honours (2:2 minimum). 

We will consider British Bachelor (honours) equivalent qualifications gained in other countries. Only an applicant’s first degree is considered.

Applications from candidates who are in the final year of their degree will be considered provided that they are predicted to achieve a minimum of a lower second-class honours (2:2) degree. If these applicants are offered a place, they must have completed this degree prior to enrolment.
Candidates are required to complete their first degree within the prescribed period allowed by their University.

English Language Requirements

A valid, approved English Language qualification is required from applicants whose native language is not English or those who have not studied in a majority English speaking country: 

Non-academic Entry Requirements

Work Experience

The application form and interview will determine whether applicants have gained sufficient experience and understanding from an appropriate work experience. It is recognised that direct observation of healthcare may be difficult to arrange but applicants should have some experience of working with the public in a caring or service role. To this end, we may check work experience references.

Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB)

All offers of a place on the medical courses are made subject to satisfactory Disclosure and Barring and health checks. The School implements strict deadlines for the submission of this information. These deadlines are conditions of the offers we make, and students who fail to meet them will be rejected, even if they have fulfilled the academic conditions of their offer.

The Disclosure and Barring check will disclose convictions, cautions and reprimands that do not meet the new filtering rules. The cost of the checks and registration process must be paid by you. Once you have been offered a place at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office will send you further information on how to obtain disclosure clearance.

Further details are available on the Disclosure and Barring service website:

Where there is a delay in the processing of your police clearance, you will be asked to sign a full declaration of any spent or unspent criminal record you have received prior to full enrolment. If you think you might have received a conviction, caution, reprimand or final warning from the police, you must declare it.

Health checks

The School welcomes and accommodates people with health conditions and disabilities. However, medical students must be fit to practise and the safety of patients will always be the primary consideration. We have a strong system of student support and anyone with a health condition or disability will be offered the appropriate adjustments and support to help them succeed. However, in some cases, an impairment or health condition may make it impossible for a student to meet the outcomes required by the GMC at the point of graduation. Where all possible options to help the student have been explored and are still unsuccessful, the student may have to leave the course or be reviewed by the Professional Capability Committee.

All students that have declared a disability will receive a letter from the Head of Admissions prior to interview to ensure we can accommodate any specific needs. If you are offered a place on the course, we will send information regarding the requirement for prior assessment. This will be in the form of a confidential health questionnaire which follows the HEOPS guidance, but also we will ask you to make contact with our Disability and Dyslexia Service. This is so that a discussion of reasonable adjustment or discussion of your assessment of needs report can be made prior to the 31 July. We also have to be assured that we can help you practise safely in training and employment. Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has implemented the guidance from the Department of Health on health clearance for new healthcare workers (Health clearance for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV: new healthcare workers)

Hepatitis B status and vaccination

Immunising medical students against hepatitis B and testing their response protects both them and their patients against the risk of contracting hepatitis B in the healthcare setting. We strongly recommend that all medical students are vaccinated against hepatitis B before entry.

Carriers of blood-borne virus

If you are a known carrier of a blood-borne virus (BBV), you should contact the Occupational Health Service (OHS) for further advice. All medical students are offered BBV testing, and, if appropriate, hepatitis B vaccination, on entry to medical school. Students declining testing or found to test positive for a BBV are not cleared to undertake Exposure-Prone Procedures (EPPs) and will be required to follow an EPP-free curriculum. There may be additional requirements relating to other blood-borne viruses as advice is continuously updated and published by advisory bodies.

Should you have any queries about the health requirements for either the medical or dental programmes, please contact the university Occupational Health Service for advice;

Selection Criteria

Applications are firstly reviewed within the Admissions Office to check that they meet the minimum academic requirements. Any applications that do not meet the minimum academic requirements will be rejected at this point. The admissions process follows Values Based Recruitment.
From 2019-20, applicants for MSc Physician Associate will be scored based on a point system by the Admissions Office. Applicants are scored in the following categories: BSc (honours) grades, Postgraduate qualification (MSc/ PhD). 

Academic performance scoring:

Academic performance


MSc or PhD (one point for highest qualification)


BSc 1st class


BSc 2:1 class


BSc 2:2 class


We aim to interview up to 110 applicants. It is not possible to predict what values to put on the threshold required for interview, or to use data from previous years to predict subsequent years’ thresholds, since it is essentially competitive and depends on who applies. Hence, we cannot make this information public.

Assessment Centre Process

Barts and The London Medical School operates an Assessment Centre process for the Physician Associate programme, which usually involves the discussion of case scenarios or topical issues, a DVD of a clinician–patient interaction and a structured interview. The interview panel usually consists of two members of senior clinical or nonclinical staff. Some panels may also have a lay observer. Candidates will also be assessed on their commitment to, and realistic appreciation of the academic, physical and emotional demands to successfully complete MSc Physician Associate programme.

The Assessment Centre will run during early November. Given the competition for places for the MSc Physician Associate at Queen Mary University of London, not all applicants are invited to interview, and no offers will be given without attending the Assessment Centre. Decisions are made once all candidates have been interviewed and are based on performance in the Assessment Centre alone.

The number of places available for the January 2020 intake in the MSc Physician Associate programme is 45.

Extenuating Circumstances for Prospective Applicants

Barts and The London does not consider any applications from students who are re-sitting all or part of their degree thereby taking 4 or more years to achieve the required grades unless protected under the Equality and Diversity Act 2010. Applicants citing this provision must complete the extenuating circumstances form and submit the form along with supporting evidence by 30th June of the year of application to ensure their application is suitable to be considered under this framework.

PG Extenuating Circumstances Request Form [PDF 178KB]

Students with disabilities and health problems

Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry welcomes applications from disabled students. We do, however, have a duty to ensure that candidates admitted to our programmes will be eligible for registration by the GMC on graduation. For this reason, students with disabilities should seek advice from the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office before the deadline for UCAS applications so that each case can be given individual attention and consideration.

This advice should be sought well in advance of the 15th October deadline and no less than four weeks before this date to ensure time for a response.

Disability and Dyslexia Service

The Disability and Dyslexia Service can offer advice, guidance and practical support to students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. This support may include screening students for dyslexia and organising formal educational psychologists’ assessments, arranging individual tutorials from specialist dyslexia tutors, additional time in exams and assisting disabled and dyslexic students to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance. More details are available from the Disability and Dyslexia Service. Students are encouraged to contact the Service before starting their programmes to discuss any specific needs.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 2756
Fax: +44 (0)20 7882 5223

Equal opportunities

The School of Medicine and Dentistry firmly and actively supports an equal opportunities policy. In the case of a specific learning disorder or disability, we would assess any student meeting the required academic standard in accordance with the prescribed professional standards and the Equality Act (2010).

Learning and teaching

You will acquire a broad range of clinical skills and develop a strong foundational knowledge.  The curriculum covers what doctors learn at undergraduate level but in much less depth.  At the end of the 24 months you will develop into a competent and safe healthcare professional.

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, lecture notes and documentary reading material, guided reading exercises, workshops, laboratory practice sessions, self-directed learning, small group tutorials, case presentations, reading lists of books and journal papers. You are assigned a Personal Tutor who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

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.

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 professional 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 be assessed on a written project exploring a research idea in quality improvement.

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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