MSc Physician Associate Studies

Key facts

MSc Physician Associate graduates (completing December 2017 and December 2018) have consistently achieved a 100% pass rate in the UKAPA examination. For the January 2019 cohort, UEA ranked 2nd out of all universities in both the written and OSCE components.


Additional Funding

Students starting in January 2020 will receive bursary support from Health Education East of England (HEEoE), amounting to £2,500 per year. In addition, UEA will provide a one-off start of the year Bursary of £1,800 to cover transport costs.

Read It



Stroke is a huge burden on our society. The NHS reports that around 110,000 people in England suffer from a stroke every year, making this the third biggest cause of death following heart disease and cancer and a leading cause of long-term severe disability.

Read It



In developing countries the world over, it can be a difficult task to develop robust and effective healthcare systems that are well-adapted to their needs.

Read It

Key facts

(REF 2014)


Are you interested in an innovative and rewarding career in the NHS? Find out what it means to become a Physician Associate at UEA, where you’ll join a medical school renowned for developing first class junior doctors and be part of a supportive community that will help you develop the skills and experience you need to succeed. Once qualified, you will play a vital role in the future of the NHS, with excellent career prospects within our local NHS Trusts.

Watch It
Train for a Master’s in Physician Associate Studies and you’ll be set for a career as a versatile, dynamic healthcare professional. You’ll play a vital role in supporting doctors in both hospital and community settings, working closely with patients, and helping to diagnose and manage their conditions.

On this two-year course you’ll learn how to deliver the highest standards of care to your patients, working within an interprofessional team of aspiring medical and health professionals. Our programme is split 50/50 between theory and practice and, thanks to strong relationships with local healthcare providers, you’ll benefit from placements that have been carefully tailored to be meaningful and rewarding to you.

You’ll study in the first-class facilities at Norwich Medical School, and at a level that will give you a more rounded experience and a deeper understanding of the needs of both patients and healthcare providers.

Course Start Date: Jan 2021
Course End Date: Jan 2023


Our MSc Physician Associate Studies is a two-year, full-time, intensive postgraduate course in medical science and clinical reasoning. It consists of approximately 50% theory and 50% practice, including over 1,400 hours on clinical placement in both acute and community settings, starting from your second month.

Norwich Medical School has a reputation for pioneering teaching and research. You’ll have access to our first-class facilities, whichinclude the Bob Champion Research and Education Centre and our bespoke Anatomy Suite. And we’re located next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on the Norwich Research Park.

We focus on ensuring our graduates are ready to enter and excel in the healthcare profession. So we ensure that you not only get plenty of hands-on experience across a wide range of placements, you’ll also work within a mixed team of trainee medical professionals on campus, giving you a unique understanding into other people’s working roles.

The course is divided into six modules, the first five of which are clinical in content, enabling you to acquire skills in theory, communication, clinical and procedural practice. Each module will then be followed by a placement when you can put your new skills into practice. Your sixth module will focus on health improvement and is a requirement for Master’s-level qualification.

Studying for an MSc will give you greater understanding of your future employers – and your future patients. Combine this depth of knowledge with placements tailored to your individual requirements, and you’ll have everything you need to get your career off to a brilliant start, benefiting from many and varied job opportunities both locally and nationally.

Our first cohort graduated in December 2017 and achieved a 100% pass rate in the PA National Examination with the UEA average well above the national average.

Our second cohort also graduated in December 2018 achieving a 100% pass rate.

Course Structure

Your time with us will be evenly split between theory and practice. Our two-year course is made up of six taught modules, each of which will be followed by a clinical placement.

Module 1 – Foundation Skills for Physician Associates

This module will equip you with the competence and confidence to learn and practice your basic clinical and procedural skills in the skills laboratory – and then in the workplace, under supervision. It will include knowledge-based lectures covering background clinical science and social science, as well as aspects of law, ethics and professionalism.

Module 2 – General Medicine

This module provides the background learning for the majority of the general medical specialties including cardiology, respiratory, gastroenterology, renal medicine, haematology, endocrinology, dermatology and old age medicine. Your clinical placements will then provide an opportunity to reinforce your campus learning and build on the clinical skills you will have acquired in module one.

Module 3 – Surgery

This module provides the background learning for the major surgical specialties, including vascular surgery, orthopaedics (including rheumatology), urology, obstetrics and gynaecology, ENT and general surgery. Once again, your clinical placement will provide an opportunity to reinforce your learning and to further develop your skills from the previous modules.

Module 4 – Community Medicine and Mental Health

The placement in this module will help you gain experience of mental health care as well as medical care beyond a hospital setting. It will include primary care, community paediatrics, psychiatry, ophthalmology and neurology. You’ll use the time to learn and develop clinical and communication skills, with patients presenting with a range of undifferentiated conditions.

Module 5 - Emergency Medicine (adult and child)

In this module you will be exposed to specialist healthcare for children and will get your second chance to experience acute adult admitting services. This module includes hospital paediatrics, emergency medicine and emergency surgery. By this point in your course it’s anticipated that, under appropriate supervision, you will play a more active role in the delivery of health care, and you’ll be fully integrated into the clinical team.

Module 6 - Student Selected Placement with Health Improvement Project

Ensuring patient safety and continuous improvement in health care quality and efficiency are key responsibilities for all health care professionals. This module provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in health improvement to a specialism that interests you.

Module six will also allow you to demonstrate higher academic skills including synthesis and analysis of evidence. And you’ll have the opportunity to develop real-time experience in planning and executing a clinically relevant health improvement project.

Teaching and Learning


Our teaching will feature a combination of lectures, supplemented by seminars and group work, and anatomy, which will be taught in our first-class anatomy suite. You’ll also be taught communication skills in small groups, with expert facilitators and trained actors.

Your lectures will include lectures, seminars, case based learning and group work, provided by our expert Physician Associate team, as well academics from within the wider Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and senior clinicians from the surrounding general practices and hospitals. Your learning will be supported by electronic resources including Blackboard, our Virtual Learning Environment, in which you’ll find presentations, supporting material and reading lists to accompany lectures and seminars.

As well as theoretical sessions, you will be taught examination and procedural skills in our state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Resource Area (CSRA), next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in the Bob Champion Research and Education Building (BCRE). The CSRA is equipped with high fidelity simulation equipment (SIMMAN), which you will use for at least one session per module during your training. You will also have 24 hour access to our skills laboratory area, providing it is not being used for teaching or OSCEs (Observed Clinical Examinations), enabling you to use the equipment for self-directed practice in your own time. What’s more, you’ll have the opportunity to use a range of training facilities when on placement at our partner teaching hospitals.

Independent study

As a Master’s student, you’ll be expected to identify and redress your own learning needs. And, in order to optimise what you take away from each session, you’ll be strongly advised to read up on topics before your lectures, and supplement your formal teaching with group work and independent study.


You will also have formative written and OSCE (clinical) exams in the middle of your first year, with summative written and OSCE examinations at the end of the year. You will need to pass these exams, as well as the required clinical procedures and case presentations in order to progress onto your second year of study.

You’ll be assessed with mid and end of year exams and further case presentations again in year two.

Your module 6 health improvement project will be assessed through a combination of a literature review, a formative poster presentation and a final written dissertation.

Once you have passed the UEA final examinations you’ll be able to sit the national United Kingdom Academy of Physician Assistants (UKAPA) examination. Pass it, and you’ll be eligible for listing on the National Managed Voluntary Register of PAs.

For more about the national exam visit: The Faculty of Physician Associates.

Study abroad or Placement Year

Not applicable

After the course

Our course was created as a direct response to new healthcare job opportunities at local acute hospitals in Norfolk and Suffolk. We developed the programme in partnership with these hospitals. They include Ipswich Hospital, James Paget University Hospital, The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trusts, as well as general practitioners in the area.

The course has been developed with your future career and the demands of the healthcare system in mind, and after graduation you’ll benefit from many job opportunities both locally and nationally.

Career destinations

  • Acute hospital trusts
  • General Practice/primary care
  • Mental health care
  • Research
  • Management
  • Education

Course related costs

You can find information regarding additional costs associated here

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module is about preparing students to study to become PAs. It will equip students with the competence and confidence to practice their basic clinical skills in the workplace which will allow them to efficiently utilise and build on their workplace learning during the remaining course. There will also be knowledge based lectures covering background clinical science and social science as well as some learning theory and aspects of law, ethics and professionalism. Following formative assessment opportunities in the skills laboratory students will be encouraged to practice basic procedural skills in the work place under supervision. Two observed work-place summative assessments for each skill are required to be signed off.




This module provides the background learning for the majority of the general medical specialities including cardiology, respiratory, gastroenterology, renal and diabetes as well as geriatric medicine. Clinical placements provide an opportunity to reinforce campus learning and develop and build on clinic skills learnt in module 1. Students who have not yet completed all their summative work based assessments of procedural skills will have further opportunity to demonstrate competence.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module the students will be exposed to healthcare for children and adults in acute admitting services. Also to a paediatric placement. It is expected that these senior students will, under appropriate supervision, play more active role in delivery of health care and be fully integrated into the clinical team. At the end of this module there is a written and practical skills (OSCE) examination which is blueprinted across the whole 2 year course. Satisfactory performance in these two assessments will be a pre-requisite for sitting the national UKAPA examination Once the national exam has been passed graduates are eligible for inclusion on the National Managed Voluntary Register of PAs




This placement gives students experience of medical care outside of hospital and of mental health care. They will learn about the NHS and the different roles health care professionals play in the wider community. This module provides the background learning for the Primary Care placement and the Mental Health, Neurology and Ophthalmology placements. In addition it provides the bulk of the Paediatric background although the Paediatric placement will take place in Module 5, there will be significant opportunity for Paediatric patient interaction in the Primary Care placement. Also in this module there will be one day, or the equivalent, for the Health Improvement Project. There are odd sessions within the timetable devoted to Module 6. Clinical placements will provide an opportunity to reinforce campus based learning and to develop and build upon the clinical skills learnt in modules 1 and 2. The placement in Primary Care will encourage the student to be more focused and specific in their examination and develop the knowledge and skills to undertake a brief focused examination as opposed to a full in-depth examination. They will continue to develop their detailed history taking as well as developing more specific management plans.




This module provides the opportunity for students to study one area that interests them in greater depth. The module will also allow them to demonstrate higher academic skills including analysis of evidence as well as planning and organisation. Students will present their projects verbally before submission of their dissertations and the feedback they receive will help them with their final write-up. The summative assessment of this module is by way of a written dissertation.




This module provides the background learning for the major surgical specialities including gastroenterological, orthopaedic, urological surgery as well as obstetrics and gynaecology. Clinical placements provide an opportunity to reinforce campus learning and develop and build on clinical skills learnt in modules 1 and 2. Students who have not yet completed all their summative work based assessments of procedural skills will have further opportunity to demonstrate competence which must be done by the end of this module. Written and practical OSCE examinations at the end of module 3 are blueprinted across the first year (modules 1-3) of the course and determine that students have made sufficient progress to move to year 2 of the course.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Science or Health-related discipline
  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2:1 or equivalent
  • Alternative Qualifications If a student has a bachelor’s degree but does not meet the normal admission requirements for the PA course they may sit the GAMSAT. This was developed and validated by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and is used to assist in selection of students for graduate-entry programs and to assess capacity to undertake high level intellectual studies in a demanding course. The minimum admission requirement for the PA course is an overall GAMSAT score of 50 within the last two years. Please see the website for further details.
  • Special Entry Requirements Applicants will normally have 3 A-levels at grade C or above, including at least one science subject or equivalent.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview. The next round of Interviews will take place in October and November. The dates for these interviews will be confirmed by the end of August.


Special Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to submit two references with their application - one related to their most recent Academic study, while the other may be a professional reference.

Academic study should have been completed within the last 5 years.


The start date for the course is January each year. There is no September intake.

Application Deadline

Early applications are strongly encouraged for this course.  Complete applications, including all supporting documents, references and qualification certificates, must be submitted a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the preferred interview date in order to be considered.  Applications submitted less than 2 weeks before the preferred interview date, may be considered for the next available interview session.  

Interview dates for 2021 intake will take place in July, October and November.  

Fees and Funding

Fees for the academic year 2020/21 (January 2021 start) are:

  • UK/EU students: £9,900 per year.  

Fees for the academic year 2019/20 (January 2020 start) are:

  • UK/EU students: £9,700 per year.  

This course is not suitable for international students.

Students starting this course in January 2021 will receive bursary support from Health Education East of England (HEEoE), amounting to £2500 per annum.

Check your eligibility for the UK Government Postgraduate Loans for Master’s courses.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University. 

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

If you would like to request further information or to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us.

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515