Physician_Banner_01 Physician_Banner_02

Physician Associate Studies MSc

This course will train you to be a Physician Associate (PA). PAs are healthcare professionals who support doctors with the diagnosis and management of patients.

Postgraduate online chat: Saturday 4 July Book now


September 2020 entry

Due to significant demand for this programme, applications to MSc Physician Associate Studies for September 2020 entry are now closed. However, there are still options available for you to consider.

You may choose to apply to study one of the other programmes offered at DMU. We have a wide range of courses available which start in September 2020.

If you would like to discuss your options further don’t hesitate to contact our Enquiry team on 0116 2 50 60 70 or email


Physician Associates are healthcare professionals who support doctors with the diagnosis and management of patients. They are trained to have the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within general practice, hospitals (e.g. accident and emergency, general surgery, paediatrics) and community healthcare, under defined levels of supervision. The role is therefore designed to create a new workforce, which will improve patient access to care.

Roles performed by Physician Associates include; performing physical examinations, formulating differential diagnoses, interpreting diagnostic tests, and recommending treatment plans.

Designed and delivered in collaboration with practitioners from local healthcare providers, through taught sessions, self-directed study and a clinical placement, this course will equip you with the specific knowledge and skills required to practice as a Physician Associate, alongside the development of many transferable skills.

Reasons to study Physician Associate Studies at DMU:

  • Developed in conjunction with local health trusts ensuring that you are taught the skills relevant to PAs in the workplace

  • Develop your practical skills in our clinical skills suite at DMU

  • Improve your critical thinking skills as well as your ability to design, execute and present findings of practice-based research

  • We ensure that your learning is relevant to current practice by having direct input and teaching from experienced clinical colleagues

  • Inter-professional learning opportunities will develop your ability to work as part of a multi-professional team

  • There is currently a high demand for PAs in the East Midlands NHS workforce

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Duration: Two years full-time

Start date: September 2020

Attendance: This is an intensive course; you should expect to attend university/placement full-time (e.g. 09.00-17.00 Mon-Fri) and complete self-directed study in your own time. Placements may include shift work outside of these hours.

Location of study: All academic studies take place at De Montfort University, Leicester. Placements may take place at locations across the East Midlands (please note that you may be required to travel to attend placement).

Fees and funding: £18,000 

Find out more about postgraduate course fees and available funding.

The Physician Associate Studies MSc is not eligible for the VC2020 scholarship.

Find out more about additional costs and optional extras associated with this course.

For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70

Linkedin   Twitter   Youttube  

Not available to international students

Entry criteria

Minimum of a 2:1 BSc Hons, or equivalent, in a life sciences or health-related subject (anatomy, biology, biochemistry, biomedical science, healthcare science, medical science, medical engineering, nursing, paramedic, pharmacy, physiology, etc.)

Alternatively, applicants with a 2:2 or equivalent and significant experience within a patient-facing healthcare/clinical role may be considered on an individual basis if the above requirement is not met.

You must complete a declaration form and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) application form before starting the course, which needs to be cleared in accordance with DMU’s admission policy.

Applicants must also complete a satisfactory health screening.

Applicants will be required to attend a selection event (including an interview and short tests) as part of the selection process. 

As part of the application you will be required to write a personal statement outlining your motivation for becoming a Physician Associate, and your relevant experience and personal qualities.

Equivalent international qualifications will be reviewed with the Admissions Team.

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of at least 7.0 in each domain (speaking, listening, reading, writing), with an overall score of at least 7.5, is essential. This must be achieved in a single sitting and within 24 months of the time of application to this course.

English language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning (CELL), is available both before and during the course.

Please note that it is not currently possible for Physician Associates who have trained in the UK to practice outside of the UK.


Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment



Anatomy & Physiology (15 credits): This module will equip you with a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Clinical anatomy will be taught using a combination of lectures and hands-on workshops using 3D anatomical models. The knowledge gained on anatomical structure will be complemented with functional knowledge through teaching on medical physiology topics.

Community Health (15 credits): This module provides an in-depth view of community health, with a focus on populations and communities rather than individual patients. Content includes primary care, mental health and public health, with discussion on the impact of significant health issues upon local and national health services. 

Clinical & Professional Skills (30 credits): In this module, you will develop key clinical and professional skills related to working as a Physician Associate. For example; research methods, clinical skills, history taking, physical examination, ethics, communication skills, professional guidelines and regulation, evidence-based medicine, inter-professional education. 

General Medicine 1 (30 credits): This module provides a systemic approach to learning about organ systems and clinical pharmacology.  Content will include diseases and health conditions associated with major organ systems (e.g. muscular, skeletal, nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, endocrine, urinary/excretory, reproductive and digestive), and how they are treated. The role of the Physician Associate in therapeutics and prescribing will also be discussed.

General Medicine 2 (30 credits): This module will equip you with a sound knowledge of different areas in the clinical setting, and the role of such specialisms in primary and secondary care. Content includes: paediatrics, orthopaedics, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, emergency medicine, critical care and rehabilitation medicine.

Practice-Related Project (60 credits): This module involves completion of an independent (but supervised) evidence-based, practice-related project. The project will develop your ability to relate research concepts and topics to a clinical setting.

You, in conjunction with a clinical supervisor, will identify a research question or area for development and then design an original project to highlight potential solutions.

You will also complete a clinical portfolio and sit the Physician Associate National Exam – these are not credit-bearing, but are essential for the qualification of MSc in Physician Associate Studies.

All modules are compulsory, and all modules must be passed in order to complete the qualification of MSc.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching typically includes lectures, group seminars, practical skills sessions and workshops. You are encouraged to become an independent and proactive learner, and we will recommend reading and electronic resources for independent study to help develop the breadth and depth of your knowledge.

The majority of your studies will take place at the university but we also incorporate hospital and community-based learning experiences on your placement activities.

Learning activities are designed to help you develop your teamwork, presentation and problem-solving skills, plus more traditional academic skills such as synthesis, evaluation and application. We also help you to develop your skills and understanding in professional areas such as ethics and reflective practice.

You will benefit from the support of a personal academic tutor, who you are encouraged to meet with regularly. We also offer a range of additional support services to help you develop the skills required for MSc level study.

Assessments include a variety of forms, including written and practical exams, case study reports and presentations. You will also be expected to undertake formative assessment, such as self-reflection and peer-review of fellow students. Bespoke guidance materials are provided for all forms of assessment on the course.

Teaching contact hours

Typical contact hours in year one:

Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 6 hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week

Medium group teaching: 12 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week

Large group teaching: 6 hours of lectures each week

Personal study: 12 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using hand-outs, online activities, etc.

Year two of the course is largely placement based, however students will still be expected to attend university for revision sessions and engage in personal study (around 6 hours a week).



Physician Associate courses in the UK are not currently subject to formal accreditation; however this is likely to change in the future. In anticipation of this change the course will meet the Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Physician Associates draft accreditation standards. 

Facilities and features

Health and Life Sciences facilities

Investment of £12 million in Health and Life Sciences has developed our first-class teaching and learning facilities to help you develop your practical experience and theoretical knowledge beyond the classroom.

The 19th century Hawthorn Building has facilities designed to replicate current practice in health and life sciences, including contemporary analytical chemistry and formulation laboratories, audiology booths and nursing and midwifery clinical skills suites.

Purpose-built clinical skills areas allow you to apply theory to practice in a safe environment. You will receive guidance and support from staff, to ensure that your practical ability in the clinical skills suites is accurate.

Library services

The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.

The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Opportunities and careers



The first year of this programme may include some short placements in a local hospital (this is to be confirmed). The second year is predominantly placement-based, and you will spend approximately 41 weeks on clinical placement.

Placements will be provided in general practice, community and acute hospital settings. Most placements will be in Leicestershire, however please be aware that some will be in the wider East Midlands area, and it will be your responsibility to arrange travel to placement locations.


Graduate careers

This programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to pursue a career as a Physician Associate.

DMU Open Evenings

These events are a great way for you to find out more about postgraduate study at DMU.  

See when our upcoming events are taking place. 

Book now

Order a prospectus

Our prospectus will give you a clearer idea of what it's like to live and study at DMU and a snapshot of the courses we offer.

Order your copy

How to apply

We welcome applications from students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Find out more

More about your DMU

Postgraduate Funding
Open evenings
Online chats
Research at DMU

Postgraduate funding 2017/18

Access to funding for postgraduate study is a key part of the decision-making process for many students and there are several funding opportunities to explore. Find out more.


Open Evenings

The perfect way to find out more about DMU is to attend one of the postgraduate open evenings or events that take place all year round. If you can't visit the university in person, you can also sign up for one of our online chats. Find out more.


Online chats

If you are unable to visit the university in person, we hold regular events where you can chat online with an adviser. Find out more.


Research at DMU

De Montfort University (DMU)’s growing reputation for research which benefits society has been confirmed with the publication of the REF 2014 results. Find out more.

Events at DMU

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Discover the DMU campus
Discover the DMU campus

Take a look around DMU by exploring our virtual campus.