Taught course

Physician Associate Practice

University of Central Lancashire · School of Medicine and Dentistry

Entry requirements

  • Applicants should hold at least 2:2 degree or equivalent in related subject such as life sciences or allied health professions.
  • A postgraduate qualification at merit or distinction may be considered for admission in cases where the applicant’s first degree is lower than 2nd class award.
  • Interview required demonstrating the NHS’s required values and behaviours.
  • DBS and health check required.
  • Non-standard applicants may be considered.
  • A detailed admissions procedure will be forwarded on application.
  • IELTS: Score of at least 6.5 or equivalent.
  • GCSEs: English and Maths at grade 4 / C or equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

This is our postgraduate Physician Associate training programme. We also have an undergraduate course.

If you’re interested in supporting the healthcare team and working alongside doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients, analysing results and developing treatment and management plans then our MSc Physician Associate Practice course could open doors to a rewarding career.

On this rewarding course you’ll train to become a Physician Associate, a rapidly growing, in-demand role within the NHS with an attractive starting salary.

A Physician Associate is a medical professional who provides patient care under the supervision of a Consultant or General Practitioner, with a focus on diagnosis and management. Their daily activities include interviewing and examining patients, ordering tests and making decisions about patient management.

As part of this course you must be prepared to travel to clinical placements sites throughout Lancashire and Cumbria, with travel of up to 90 minutes both ways. Approximately 50% of the programme is spent on clinical placement across urban, rural, specialised hospital and general practice settings. During the rest of the programme you’ll be taught by University staff who are highly experienced in the clinical sector and include four trained Physician Associates.


  • You’ll be taught in state-of-the-art facilities. Our clinical skills laboratories have a vast range of equipment to help you develop clinical skills in hospital and GP surgery environments.
  • You’ll develop a comprehensive understanding of the human body through our Human Anatomy Resource and Learning Centres (HARLCS). We also make use of fantastic teaching resources such as our Anatomage Table and diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Over 50% of the course will be spent on clinical placements with our NHS clinical education partners across Lancashire and/or Cumbria. You will receive £2,500 per annum to support your travel to placements.


  • You’ll be taught in small groups offering unrivalled student support and direct contact hours with staff. You will be timetabled to have over 25 hours per week of direct, interactive teaching.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to learn from our Physician Associate graduates who regularly attend sessions to share their experiences of working in a professional healthcare environment.
  • You’ll be exposed to variety of patients and medical conditions during placements in both urban and rural NHS hospitals and GP practices.


This course is offered at either Preston city campus or Westlakes Campus near Whitehaven, close to the Lake District. Each applicant has the option to nominate their chosen campus. Both campuses offer affordable and attractive living compared to other city campuses.

The academic content of this course is centred around giving you the clinical competencies required of a Physician Associate. All our course content is in line with the requirements of the Physician Associate Competence and Curriculum Framework (2012) laid out by the Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians.

You’ll develop in-depth knowledge through a range of lectures and practical activities. Over 50% of the course will be spent on clinical placements with our NHS clinical education partners across Lancashire and Cumbria. This will include both GP and hospital environments.

We’ll use various methods to assess you, including written assignments, practical and theoretical examinations, workplace-based clinical activity and portfolio content.


On completion of the course, you’ll be well prepared to take the National Exam. After completing this successfully you’ll be able to become a Physician Associate and apply to join the profession’s voluntary register, which the General Medical Council (GMC) will soon be assuming responsibility for.

There is currently around 100% employment of UK graduates of Physician Associate programmes. When you become a Physician Associate there is the flexibility, designed within the generalist role, to pursue a wide range of clinical specialist jobs in both primary and secondary care.


We have a close relationship with the local NHS, including East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Morecambe Bay Trust, and Lancashire Care Foundation Trust.

This course is run in partnership with Health Education England North West (HEENW) as part of the North West Physician Associate programme.

These organisations provide the clinical placement training which represents 50% of the whole programme. They also offer the main employment opportunities in the North West. This is ensures that you receive training which is both nationally accredited and locally relevant, ensuring that you can transition smoothly from student to graduate Physician Associate.


The course prepares the candidate for the Faculty of Physician Associates, Royal College of Physicians examination which is required to practice as a PA in the NHS. Successful completion of the MSc Physician Associate Practice (MPAP) enables the student to sit this national examination.


The School has a number of opportunities for ongoing studies once you are a qualified Physician Associate, including a DProf pathway.

You will also have opportunities to undertake a number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules, available across the School and wider Faculty. When you’re a Physician Associate you’ll be required to complete 50 hours of CPD activity every year.


As the admission process is very competitive, we highly recommend that you are able to demonstrate prior healthcare experience. It shows your interest in this field and enables you to decide if a patient-facing role is for you before you embark on the programme.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Course Enquiries
+44 (0) 1772 892 400