MSc Physician Associate Studies

Course Overview

Physician Associates are healthcare professionals that support doctors in diagnosing and managing patient treatment. Our MSc in Physician Associate Studies is one of the first courses of its kind in Wales. Our integrated two year course will enable students to develop the knowledge and clinical skills they require to pass the National Certification Examination and start work as a Physician Associate.

Key Features

You will spend the majority of Year 1 of the course undertaking university based theory and practical sessions with some early exposure to the working clinical environment. Teaching will be divided into four week blocks according to body systems and Anatomy and Clinical Skills teaching will be integrated into this structure. Teaching will be largely case based and will involve a combination of lectures, seminars, project work and small group learning.

Year 2 of the course is largely spent on clinical placements, with students applying their learning in the care of real patients under the supervision of a clinically qualified mentor. Students will have to work towards an agreed level of competence at a range of clinical skills and must be assessed as safe and competent in those skills. The “Competence and Curriculum Framework for the Physician Assistant (2012)” prescribes, to a large extent, the range of clinical environments in which you will spend their placements

You will be provided with the opportunities to:

1. seek out and recognise the clinical applications of their theoretical learning
2. apply learning within the practice setting
3. reflect on practice to identify your individual learning needs
4. develop clinical reasoning skills
5. develop a range of practical skills
6. recognise, in practice, those principles, assumptions, beliefs and theories which shape that practice
7. work effectively with patients and where appropriate with carers
8. work within a clear understanding of the limitations of your knowledge and skills


Disclaimer: Module selection options may change.

Students will accrue 120 credits in each year resulting in a total of 240 credits to acquire the postgraduate diploma (required, as well as passing the national examination, to practise as a physician associate ). Students may have the option of a further 60-credit dissertation to acquire a masters degree.

Year 1 (Level 7 PGT)

FHEQ 7 Taught Masters / PGDip / PGCert
Compulsory Modules
Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule Name
PMXM01Semester 1 and Semester 2 (Sep-Jun Taught)40Physician Associate Clinical Skills
PMXM02Academic Year40Foundations in Clinical Medicine for Physician Associates 1
SHHM51Academic Year10An Introduction to Health Care Law and Ethics for Physicians Associates
SHHM52Academic Year10An Introduction to Sociology and Psychology for Physicians Associates
SHHM55Semester 1 and Semester 2 (Sep-Jun Taught)20Introduction to Research, Evidence based Practice and Reflection for Physicians Associates

Year 2 (Level 7 PGT)

FHEQ 7 Taught Masters Dissertation
Compulsory Modules
Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule Name
PMXM03The College - Autumn Term (Sep - Dec)40Foundations in Clinical Medicine for Physician Associates 2
PMXM04Semester 1 and Semester 2 (Sep-Jun Taught)40Physician Associate Clinical Skills 2
SHHM25Academic Year40Public Health and Lifelong Learning for Physician's Associates


The modular structure for Year 1 comprises five modules totalling 80 credits:

  • Foundations in Clinical Medicine for Physician Associates  - assessed by two summative Progress Tests (20 Credits)
  • Physician Associate Clinical Skills - assessed by Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE's) (20 Credits).
  • An introduction to Sociology and Psychology for Physician Associates (10 credits)
  • An introduction to Health Care Law and Ethics for Physician Associates (10 credits)
  • An introduction to Research, Evidence based practice and Reflection for Physician Associates (SHHM55* 20 credits) These modules will be assessed by a combination of essays and a presentation.

The modular structure for Year 2 contains 3 40 modules:

  • Foundations in Clinical Medicine - assessed by two summative Progress Tests (40 Credits)
  • Clinical Skills - assessed by two OSCE's as well as workplace based assessments (Mini-CEX) and satisfactory completion of the learning log (40 Credits)
  • Public Health Lifelong Learning - assessed through an essay, presentation and reflective portfolio (SHHM25* 40 credits)

*The module credits for SHHM 55 (taught in year 1) and for SHHM 25 (taught in year 2) combine to provide the 60 credits that form the equivalent of the MSc extended study.

**The course is designed so that all examinations and assessments, including supplementary assessments, will be concluded in time for students to sit the National Certification Examination for Physician Associates in late August/early September of the year in which they complete their studies.


The PA programme is currently supported through Welsh Government bursary (see further details under “Funded Places for 2019 entry”).  At this time, we are unable to offer places for self-funding students.

Entry Requirements

Physician Associate Studies is open to applications from UK/EU ('home') candidates.  Further information about how to confirm your eligibility can be found on the University's Fee Status Assessment page.  

In order to be eligible to apply for the Physician Associate Course, you must not have already pursued another PA course (fully or in part). All applicants must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Evidence of caring experience
  • GCSE Mathematics and English/Welsh at grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • A minimum 2.2 (or predicted 2.2 which is subsequently satisfied*) at degree level in a biomedical science or health related discipline**. Applicants who have achieved a high degree (a 2.1 or a 1st) in a non-related discipline and can provide evidence of relevant work experience and values in line with the NHS constitution may be considered on an individual basis.

*Pending degree results must be evidenced by 31st July of the year of intended enrolment. 

**Degrees awarded in countries other than the UK can be accepted if they are confirmed to be equivalent to awards in the UK system. For applicants holding more than one undergraduate degree, it is the result from the most recent degree that will be considered.

Providing the entry requirements are met, all applications are treated fairly and consistently upon their merits and successful individuals will then be invited to interview.

The PA Course is not open to:

  • Applicants who have previously enrolled on a PA course
  • Applicants who have previously enrolled on a medical degree 
  • Transfers from other PA courses

How To Apply

Competition is anticipated to be high for this innovative and exciting course.

Please read our Guidance Notes before applying online. Online application is the quickest way to apply and receive a decision on your application. 

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The application window for 2019 opens on 1st October 2018 and closes on 31st March 2019. (Application received after this date will not be considered).  

All applications require a personal statement which should include: 

  • An explanation of why you would like to undertake our PA course
  • What values and experience you bring to the role.
  • Evidence of relevant work experience and values in line with the NHS constitution
  • Evidence of caring experience
  • An understanding of the role of a Physician Associate

You will also be required to upload copies of your Mathematics and English/Welsh GCSE certificates in Section 6 of the application form.

For the academic year 2019/20 applications will be considered from UK/EU ("home") residents only although this is subject to change.

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Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU International
MSc Full-time

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

Placements take place across the region and transport between sites is at the expense of the student. Please contact the Medical School Student Information and Education Office for further information.

You may face additional costs while at university, including (but not limited to):

• Buying a stethoscope
• Books, course materials and printing or photocopying costs (many recommended textbooks for this course are available in the University or hospital site libraries)
• Parking  locally and travel to and from campus or Morriston Hospital Teaching site
• Photocopying and buying stationery, USB sticks
• Hiring robes for graduation

The National Certification Examination for Physician Associates is not part of the course and students will need to make their own arrangements to sit this exam. All costs involved in this will be borne by the student.

How we Decide

Applicants who meet the minimum entry requirements are ranked, based upon assessment of the personal statement provided within the application.  Those applicants with the highest rankings are then invited for interview, scheduled to take place on the 5th and 6th June 2019.  We aim to inform all applicants whether they have been invited for interview by mid-May.

We have an ongoing package of measures in place to meet the recommendations to increase the provision of Doctors for Wales. Similarly, for our Physician Associate programme, eligibility for remaining interview places will be determined based on domicile, secondary school attended and region of origin with preference for remaining places given to students applying from Wales. Full details can be found in our Doctors for Wales Strategy

The interview process is designed to take account of the personal and academic qualities needed as a Physician Associate, and the capacity to meet the Competence and Curriculum Framework of the Faculty of Physician Associates.  

In summary these are:

  • Communication Skills
  • Coping with pressure and resilience
  • Insight and Integrity
  • Passion for the programme
  • Understanding the scope of practice

On your interview day, you will be invited to attend two separate interviews, each of 15 minutes duration.  They are conducted by pairs of highly trained interviewers, taken from our panel of clinicians, academics and physician associate students. Your personal statement will be considered and discussed during your interview.

20 Funded Places for 2019 Entry

The PA programme is currently supported through Welsh Government bursary.  For 2018/19 we were able to offer 20 funded places on the PA programme.  We will be able to confirm funding for 2019/20 in due course.  At this time, we are unable to offer places for self-funding students.

Welsh Government has advised that funding for this course is only available for students who are willing to commit to an 18 month period of post qualification employment in Wales. By accepting an offer of an interview you are confirming that you commit to this. Only individuals prepared to make this commitment will be eligible for the full funding package. Please advise us at your earliest opportunity if you wish to withdraw your application or do not wish to take up your offer of an interview. At this time we are not able to offer places for self-funding students.

Get in touch

Telephone enquiries – 01792 606376

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