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What makes the Physician Associate MSc at Worcester special?

Our postgraduate physician associate course is open to those passionate about meeting the challenges of our modern healthcare sector. We specially train our graduates to support doctors and medical teams in a demanding and fast-paced clinical environment. We will support you as you gain the clinical skills necessary for diagnosing illnesses, managing patients and providing high quality medical care.



Key features

  • Excellent graduate employability after completing our course
  • 94% first time pass rate for our graduates in the National Certification examinations (2017)
  • The opportunity to complete a clinical placement in your local community
  • A full-time Master's degree completed over 2 years
  • Our programme was the first Physician Associate master's in the UK

Course philosophy

We aim to develop graduates:

  • who are patient-centred
  • who are safe, competent and reflective
  • are prepared for the National Certification Examination
  • with the tools for a career that will involve professional enquiry and health research
  • to be leaders in healthcare
Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have GCSE (or equivalent) grade A-C/4 in Maths and English, a minimum of 250 hours of healthcare experience and


  • A minimum of a lower second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a relevant subject, such as medical, biological or life sciences or other health science from a UK university or an overseas equivalent.


  • A minimum of a lower second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a physical science or engineering subject or social work and appropriate modules in biology passed at a minimum of 55% at QAA levels 5 or 6. 

Alternative professional qualifications (e.g. DipHE in Nursing, Paramedic Science, ODP) with appropriate professional registration and a minimum of two years post-registration experience may be considered. 

Applicants may be required to submit supplementary details, such as course transcripts and asked to complete a short essay.

Applicants whose first language is not English are expected to demonstrate their proficiency in English and would normally be expected to have an IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each element, or equivalent (This is inline with GMC guidance on English language standards). You can check your qualification with our International team via

Other essential criteria

Demonstrated relevant work experience in healthcare or an allied health profession. The relevance of work experience will be assessed during the admissions process.

Two satisfactory references must support the application, both dated within the last year. One must be a recent academic reference and the other should be either a second academic reference or a relevant professional/employer reference. These can be sent after making the initial application.

Satisfactory health clearance and an agreement to undergo appropriate blood tests and immunisations against hepatitis B, MMR meningitis, TB and chicken pox.

You will be required to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (formally a Criminal Records Bureau check).

If you are or have been a member of a registered professional body please provide details with your application submission.

Although we encourage applications from other healthcare professionals, we do not accept applications from candidates with medical degrees or those who have previously studied for, but not completed, a medical degree.

This course is not open to applicants previously enrolled on a Physician Associate course or individuals wishing to transfer from other Physician Associate courses.

Health requirements

The UK Government Health Authorities require that students working in the clinical area must be screened to ensure that they are not carriers of the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).

All applicants who accept an offer will need to:

  • Undertake a screening blood test for Hepatitis B
  • If negative, start a course of immunisation
  • Thereafter provide certified evidence of immunity

Prospective students are strongly advised to take the blood test in good time. Applicants who are Hepatitis B positive or refuse to have a blood test may be refused admission to the course.

Please note in response to guidelines published by the Department of Health, students on the University of Worcester Physician Associate course will not be expected to undertake, or be involved in exposure prone procedures (EPPs)

Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an invitation to a Selection Day or a place on the programme.  

International students

Due to recent changes in funding from Health Education England, we are no longer able to accept applications from international students.

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Course content

Course content

Here is an indicative overview of the modules and placements that may be available on this course.

Year One

  • MSPA4021 – Foundation of Clinical Medicine and Surgery

This module aims to develop understanding of the core conditions that can affect adult health, from clinical science and pharmacology to the presentation in primary and secondary care and emergency presentations. This module will make use of a systems-based approach, covering five major body systems. Each week will explore related conditions within that system across health function of anatomy and physiology to the management of injury and disease.

  • MSPA4022 – Foundations of Clinical Practice

This module aims to bring the principles of evidence-based practice together with clinical skills and clinical reasoning to bridge the gap between theory and practice and to prepare students for the placement year. Clinical skills are taught contextually, dovetailed with the topics in MSPA4021, MSPA4023 and MSPA4025. Students will develop the tools that they need to work as effective physician associates in the clinical setting, providing a basis for taking the national certification examination and a career in healthcare.

  • MSPA4023 – Clinical Medicine and Public Health

This module aims to continue to develop understanding of the core conditions that can affect adult health, from clinical science and pharmacology to the presentation in primary and secondary care and emergency presentations. This module will make use of a systems based approach currently in use. These are predominantly, but not exclusively, conditions seen and/or managed in primary care (including A&E and Minor Injuries Units).

  • MSPA4024 – Research Methods in Health

This module aims to develop the students’ in research methods and research project management, preparing students both to undertake the dissertation in year two, but also to engage in practice-based research when qualified. It introduces the core elements of research methods, including statistics, qualitative and quantitative methods, and research ethics, developing research ideas and managing data.

  • MSPA4025 – Clinical Specialities

This module aims to develop understanding of the core conditions that can affect sexual health, mental health across the life course, women’s and children’s health, across primary and secondary care settings, with particular attention paid to public health.

Year Two

  • MSPA4026 – Clinical Placements

This module allows students to translate knowledge and skills from a theoretical and simulation perspective into clinical practice and aims to prepare students to be graduate Physician Associates eligible to undertake the National Certification examination and practice clinically. Students will work under the supervision and guidance of their clinical supervisor in a range of healthcare environments across our placement sites in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Students will work through a skills passport and will be assessed by mentors throughout the year to develop as competent practitioners. 

  • MSPA4030 – Dissertation

This module aims to develop skills in research that will develop graduate Physician Associates able to engage in practice based research or provide a basis for future academic study. The dissertation focuses on an extended piece of work that explores an aspect of clinical practice, healthcare policy, and public health, sociology applied to healthcare or medical education, however, this needs to be an area in which the University can realistically provide supervision in. This maybe a library-based project or involve data collection.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful. This is especially important at level 7 - master's level. As a graduate of this course you will be working in complex situations that require was reasoned approaches to be taken, often when dealing with uncertainty in the clinical environment.


You are taught through a combination of structured lecturers, clinical simulation, Camtasia with supporting seminars, case based learning, directed and independent study, group and individual tutorials, with the additional support of e-learning strategies using the virtual learning environment. There will be input from other agencies, service users and professionals as appropriate.

A particular feature of the programme is the opportunities for clinical skills and simulated learning including role play, 'hands on' practical skills sessions using a range of simulation manikins. Formative feedback on performance is provided to facilitate safe and effective support for essential skills development, in state-of-the-art simulation suites, replicating hospital and community practice learning environments.

Practice learning experiences are in primary and secondary care environments, including GP practices, hospitals, hospices, community hospitals and other out-patient and community settings. In the pre-clinical phase of the course you will undertake one-day-a-week placements in primary care, A&E and out-patient departments from January to August. These are based predominantly in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, but may include Gloucestershire.

In the second year you must complete 1,600 hours of clinical placements, working 37.5 hour weeks and returning to the University every four weeks for an academic in-day on a Friday. You will be assigned to an acute hospital Trust as a base, with community and primary care placements in the vicinity. However, some travel may still be involved. Base Trusts are currently in Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Coventry and Warwickshire. 

These clinical placements, where possible, will follow the clinical specialty hours set out by the RCP Faculty of Physician Associates. Where clinical specialties hours cannot be completed, hours can be made up in other clinical areas to meet the overall hours required. This aligns with FPA guidelines.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course. Whilst on placement you will be visited in placement by a member of the teaching team and discuss your placements off-site with personal academic tutors.

Contact time

The RCP Faculty of Physician Associates specifies a minimum of 1,600 hours of theory teaching must be completed to be eligible to take the National Certification Exam upon graduating. Therefore all classes are mandatory and you must attend a minimum of 80%.

In a typical week in the pre-clinical phase ( Year 1) for full-time students will be face to face teaching 09:30-16:30 Monday to Thursday and online on Friday. From January to July, students will spend one day a week on clinical placement.

In the clinical phase (year two) you will complete 1,600 hours of clinical placement time, as set out above. You will return to the University one a term for an academic in-week, which will include scheduled academic tutor meetings, formative assessment, including OSCEs, clinical skills, dissertation seminars and updates on clinical topics. During the year you will have meetings to discuss your placements with a reflective approach, with your personal academic tutor. Students will also be undertaking the dissertation in this year.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 14-20 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The core academic teaching team consists of two Physician Associates, an academic specialising in Physiology and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner These are supported by several sessional lecturers, whom are mostly General Practitioners, hospital doctors or Physician Associates from the local area. There is also input from a wider range of professional including other practicing healthcare professionals, practitioners and service users/carers.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 100 per cent of the core academic teaching team (excluding sessional lecturers) have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy or are working towards these qualifications. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include research proposals, unseen MCQ exams, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE), an independent study, reflective case portfolio.

Assessment of practice is facilitated by the clinical skills passport, Practice Assessment Documents for each specialty block, and formative placement reflections and review.

All modules are mandatory modules and a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:


Assessment Strategy


Module Code

Module Title


Assessment type

Assessment elements

Pre-clinical Year

Term 1


Foundations of Clinical Medicine and Surgery


001 Online workbook

Case scenarios

002 Unseen SBA Exam

100 SBA questions



Foundations of Clinical Practice


001 Placement portfolio

150 hours of placement;

Assessed simulation;

Clinical skills passport.

002 OSCE

10 OSCE stations

Term 2


Public Health and Primary Care Medicine


Unseen SBA Exam

100 SBA questions

Term 2


Research Methods in Health


Outline dissertation proposal

2,000 word proposal

Term 3


Clinical Specialities


Unseen SBA Exam

100 SBA questions

Clinical Year



Clinical Placements


001 Placement portfolio

1,450 hours of placement;

Clinical skills passport;

Practice Assessment Documents.


002 OSCE


10 OSCE stations






12,000 word systematic review

or project report


NB: All assessments are on a pass/fail basis and there is no compensation between them.




You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Assessment of practice learning involves formative initial and intermediate interviews, where learning needs are identified and where necessary action plans put in place and an end of placement final summative assessment with feedback provided on a final interview form.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.



Physician associates are highly sought-after clinical professionals in the health care sector. Due to difficulties in recruiting doctors, your role will improve access to healthcare for our increasing and ageing population. You will support the growing demand for assistance needed by GPs, hospital doctors and medical teams in acute and primary care.

After completing this course, our graduates have achieved a 100% employment record, as well as an exceptional record in the National Certification exams. In 2017, our graduates scored above the national average in the written component, and in a significant majority of stations within the OSCE component, with 94% of our graduates passing the exam first time.

Our University trust partners provide clinical placements on this programme. Following successful training, placement mentors often employ our graduates. Our graduates are currently working in many parts of the UK - jobs currently exceed the supply of our graduates, providing promising employment opportunities.

Please note: This is an initial qualification for those aspiring to become Physician Associates. This course is not open to healthcare professionals seeking professional development opportunities.


Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK students registering in the academic year 2024/25 is £12,850 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

Scholarships, bursaries and loans. The funding arrangement for September 2021 entry are as follows:

Health Education England, has provided a national funding strategy for all Physician Associate courses in England, where students received £5,000 towards tuition fees, split equally across the two years of the course. You will not need to apply for this separately.

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan for Masters study. It will be at your own discretion whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs. For full details visit our postgraduate loans page.

Additional costs

You will be required to pay an additional fee in order to undertake the National Assessment at the end of the course.

This fee is set and charged by the  Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians. If students are required to repeat the National Assessment they may be required to pay a further fee for each attempt.

You should also consider the cost of books, a stethoscope, appropriate clothes for clinical placements, the costs of travelling to clinical placements and accommodation, which you will need to pay.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How to apply

Before you apply

First gather together the following supporting evidence:

  • copy of degree certificate
  • copy of degree transcript
  • copy of GCSE English and Maths certificates (or equivalent)

You will need upload this as part of the application - applications without the required supporting evidence will be rejected as incomplete.

Apply for September enrolment

Please make your application via UCAS using the course code: BB96. 

We will be in contact with you after you have applied to ask for further information and documentation.

Apply via UCAS


We will invite shortlisted applicants to attend a selection day at the university. The selection process involves a half day of values-based activities. Selection does not include any tests of knowledge.

Previous applicants that were unsuccessful may apply for a second time in the following academic year. We do not permit further applications if your second application is unsuccessful.

For further information, in the first instance, contact For additional information or an informal discussion, please contact the admissions tutor.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.