Whistlejacket 2017

Mode of Study



2 years full-time

Start date

September 2024


Physician Associates are a recent and innovative addition to the medical team. As a Physician Associate, you'll have the attitudes, skills and knowledge to assess and examine patients, initiate and interpret investigations and then recommend an appropriate management plan. 

The Physician Associate works across a range of medical, surgical and mental health specialties, as well as in general practice (primary care) and hospitals (secondary care). You'll be part of the wider clinical team, under supervision of a General Practitioner or consultant.

This MSc Physician Associate Studies Master's degree course is the perfect next step to take a relevant undergraduate degree further, and work towards becoming a Physician Associate. 

You'll gain the clinical skills and knowledge to become a confident medical professional, working and learning under the guidance of experienced colleagues while assisting patients across a range of healthcare settings.

The number of Physician Associates employed in the UK is increasing and the Government has ambitions to increase recruitment into both general practice and secondary care. When you finish the course, you'll have gained experience in a variety of settings and will be well prepared to successfully undertake the national exams.

Entry requirements - indicative

MSc Physician Associate Studies Master's degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience

  • An upper second-class honours degree or equivalent, and demonstration of the ability to study at postgraduate level (typically applicants who have graduated within the last 3 years) or equivalent professional experience.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate a good level of Biomedical Science knowledge, and applicants with Arts and Humanities will need to undertake Biomedical Studies in order to apply. Applicants who have started or completed degrees in Medicine are not accepted. 

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.5 with no component score below 7.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Selection process

  • Applicants are subject to interview.
  • All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and Occupational Health clearance.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Be trained to take medical histories, perform appropriate clinical examinations, make diagnoses, analyse results and devise management plans
  • Work with simulated patients in our extensive simulation and clinical training facilities
  • Experience a range of practice-based learning opportunities across the region, putting everything that you have learnt into practice, under clinical supervision and mentorship

Values and the NHS Constitution

We embed the principles and values of the NHS Constitution in all our health and social care courses. When you apply for this course, we’ll expect you to demonstrate how your values align with the values of the Constitution.

Find out more about the values we look for.

Careers and opportunities

This programme will prepare you to complete the Physician Associate National Exam (PANE) and take on the role of a Physician Associate within healthcare.

What jobs can you do with a Physician Associate Studies degree? 

As a Physician Associate, you can look forward to a dynamic and exciting career assessing, diagnosing and treating patients. 

A vital part of the new medical team, you'll work under the supervision of a consultant in a hospital setting or a General Practitioner in primary care.

In the future, other areas you could work in include leadership, service development, research, mentorship and practice education.

You'll be able to get advice and support from our Career and Employability Service for 5 years after you leave the University.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, you'll get experience of working in real and simulated health settings. Our Careers and Employability service can also help you find relevant work experience that complements your studies.

What you'll study on this MSc Physician Associate Studies degree course

The structure of this programme reflects the requirements of the Faculty of Physician Associates Competence and Curriculum framework. Your time will be split between practice and simulation-based learning and academic learning.

Practice-based learning includes placements in environments including community medicine, general hospital medicine, front door medicine, mental health, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, and paediatrics.

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits. In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 90 credits.

Modules - indicative

Core modules in this year include:

  • Physician Associate Clinical Medicine – 30 credits
  • Physician Associate Clinical Skills – 30 credits
  • Physician Associate Placement 1 – 30 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Health Improvement Project – 15 credits
  • Physician Associate Placement 2 – 30 credits
  • Physician Associate Surgical and Speciality Clinical Medicine – 45 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques


This course provides a balanced structure of lectures, tutorials, directed and self-directed study and practical work. Many elements are delivered via practice and simulation-based learning methods. 

Learning materials are designed and delivered by qualified staff with both NHS and academic experience. As an adult learner, you'll be expected to take an active role in your own learning and development during the course and throughout your career.

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • August to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1 (formative)
  • January to July – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • July – assessment period 2 (summative)

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. Some clinical placements may require shift pattern attendance.

You'll normally get a timetable 4 weeks before the start of a teaching block.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • work-based learning (placement portfolio)
  • clinical examinations (OSCEs)
  • peer review of consultation skills with role players
  • case based presentations and discussions
  • a Master's level health improvement project
  • written exams

You'll have opportunities to assess your knowledge and skills informally before submitting assessments that count towards your final mark.

We'll give you regular feedback on your progress throughout the course and support you towards success.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees 

Note these fees are based on courses starting in 2023. We'll confirm 2024 fees here in July 2023.

UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full time: £11,400 a year (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students:

This course isn't open to students from outside the UK and EU.

Funding your studies

Find out more how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover. 

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government postgraduate loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Tuition fees terms and conditions

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Further costs may be incurred for:

  • Personal equipment
  • Books
  • Travel and accommodation
  • Library fines

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Elements of this programme which are delivered via distance learning will require access to/use of suitable IT equipment.

Please note that your course fees do not cover the fees for the National Examination. In January 2018, this was £150 for the written paper and £350 for the OSCE examinations.



You can apply for this course from July 2023. In the meantime, you can sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an postgraduate course.

This course isn't open to students from outside the EU and UK.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.