Course overview

Our Physician Associate Master's course has been designed for those interested in meeting the challenges of the evolving healthcare landscape and who have a desire to work as part of a medical team in all areas of medicine. 

You will develop skills and knowledge to become an integral part of medical teams in a diverse range of clinical environments, by managing patients and providing high-quality medical healthcare support. On successful completion of the course, you will become eligible to sit the national qualification of the Faculty of Physician Associates (a part of the Royal College of Physicians) registration examination, which will give you formal registration as a Physician Associate, enabling you to practise. This registration will be transferred to the General Medical Council in the coming years.

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"Aston Medical School's new Physician Associate programme, developed in partnership with outstanding NHS colleagues, will offer you the opportunity to train with leading experts in Physician Associate education, in a nurturing environment and join this team of innovators, to make a difference in the lives of countless patients every day and to have one of the most fulfilling careers you can imagine."

Philip Begg
Physician Associate Practice MSc
Course Director

Why Physician Associate Practice at Aston University?

Cerficate
Recognised qualification
Gain eligibility to apply to sit the national qualification of the Faculty of Physician Associates, a part of the Royal College of Physicians
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NHS placements experience
Gain real-world, first-hand experience within NHS trusts as part of clinical placements
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Specialist equipment
Enhance your skills in real-life scenarios using our new £1.5m state-of-the-art healthcare simulation facilities

Course description

Physician Associate Practice MSc

Physician Associates are key healthcare practitioners that work collaboratively with patients and clinical colleagues to diagnose, investigate and manage clinical cases competently and safely; provide emergency care to adults and children; draw up care plans in collaboration with other healthcare professionals; recognise complex and uncertain situations and seek appropriate supervision and support in a timely manner. 

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you, fantastic facilities that will bring your course to life through hands-on, practical experience; years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs. 

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What you will provide
As an postgraduate student, you will be required to balance academic work and research projects. You will be expected to engage with teaching materials, online lectures, and in-person sessions. It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understand that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, you must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel. 

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What skills we teach
You will develop key skills to be able to support clinical specialists, be trained in the medical framework, and learn how to formulate patient healthcare management plans. 

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Career prospects
There is a significant demand for Physician Associates within the healthcare workforce.  The NHS is moving towards a multidisciplinary team of Physician Associates, advanced nurse practitioners, and paramedics, to support clinical workload.

How you will learn

This role works collaboratively with a variety of multi-disciplinary professional teams in a clinical healthcare environment such as hospitals and general practices. The Aston Physician Associate Practice MSc programme is designed to ensure you achieve all key competencies specified by the Faculty of Physician Associates in order for you to be fit for practise as a Physician Associate. 

Your learning will include a mixture of lectures, seminars, face-to-face tutorials, skills lab training, communication skills, and clinical placements. 

Group learning will include medical case-based learning to encourage collaborative learning and group discussions.  There will also be elements of personal independent study. 

Teaching will be a mixture of on campus learning and clinical placements.  Your clinical placement experience will start from year 1, term 1, one day per week, supported by a high proportion of on-campus skills lab learning in Aston Medical School.  

From term 2 of the first year your clinical placements will expand to periods of 6-8 weeks at a time, returning to the campus skills lab to develop further training on medical sciences. 

Blackboard. You will access theoretical learning materials for general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, recorded lectures, online tutorials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more. 

What you will learn

You will develop knowledge of integrated healthcare and practice, the principles and values of integrated care, and the complex interaction of physical, psychological and social considerations of the patient, and sustainable healthcare to improve the health of the patient, and access patient vulnerabilities and needs.  

You will also develop knowledge of the principles and values of holistic and integrated healthcare relating to the management and prevention of disease, identify and respond to patient vulnerability. On the course, you will also plan and develop an independent healthcare project of your choosing, negotiated with your Course Director, over the period of the two years of learning. 

Clinical placement

Students will attend clinical placement from week 2 of the programme, where they will experience General Practice one day per week. In term 2 and students attend General Medicine placements at hospital trusts across the greater Birmingham and West Midlands area for 15 weeks. In year 2 students are exposed to the clinical specialities including emergency medicine, paediatrics, psychiatry, surgery and women’s health.

On clinical placement you will work collaboratively with your clinical supervisor and other healthcare professionals to manage patient care. Clinical placements will vary. You will support medical professionals by identifying patient medical histories, understanding patient treatment plans, formulating management plans, monitoring medications, and gaining knowledge of patient safety and ethics, working in a collaborative medical environment with medical staff. You will develop key interpersonal skills with patients and colleagues and in clinical placement working with a professional multi-professional, and multi-disciplinary teams in a variety of clinical environments, to prepare you for professional practice on graduation. 

Facilities

As a student on the Physician associate progrmame, you able to enhance your skills in real-life scenarios using our new, £1.5m state-of-the-art healthcare simulation facilities in our Aston Medical School; including our high-fidelity manikins, which allow students to simulate treating patients with acute health conditions, and our clinical skills simulation room, where students can practice in emergency settings in a safe learning environment. 

At Aston University, enjoy full access to all the facilities including the university’s library, labs, study spaces, cafes and more. 

Course objectives

  1. Teach you to put the safety of patients first throughout teaching and assessment and by modelling and assessing this approach, ensure you adopt patient safety as the central tenet of their clinical practice  
  2. Promote equality and opportunity, and respect diversity by training, and by requiring all students and staff to treat others with respect and empathy and to apply the principles of equality and diversity to the safe care of all patients.  
  3. Help you enhance their your and ensure that you feel supported and are able to take responsibility for your own welfare and personal and professional development by graduation, so you can progress to look after the welfare of others; and in particular 
  4. Ensure you graduate as caring, competent, effective and safe Physician Associates by providing a challenging and engaging curriculum within a supportive environment.  
  5. Develop the skills, understanding and attributes required to become self-regulated learners, and cope with complexity and changing clinical practice.  

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Stage 1 modules

In the taught stage, you will study the following core modules:

Module Year 1Credits
Foundation Clinical Sciences 
Clinical Placements 1  
Practice of Medicine 
Health Improvement Project Research Methods 
Total120

Stage 2 modules

In the dissertation stage, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Advanced Clinical Sciences 
Clinical Placements 2 & 3 
Elective Clinical Placement 
Health Improvement Project 
Total120

Entry requirements

  • An undergraduate degree qualification in human life sciences or healthcare-related subjects at the level of 2:1 or above. 
  • GCSE or equivalent in Mathematics and English at grade 4 or above. 

Successful applicants will need to: 

  • Hold an acceptable enhanced DBS certificate. 
  • Take part in occupational health screening and undertake to adhere to changing requirements for healthcare students.   

We look forward to receiving your application, along with the required academic entry requirements (min 2:1 in Health/life sciences subjects). We will also be looking for a strong motivation to study in the personal statement. 

Following the shortlisting process of those who meet all of the entry criteria, we will select candidates for attendance at a two-stage interview day, There are limited places on the programme (currently 40 for 2024)  and successful candidates will be selected based on interview performance and problem-solving at a group work exercise. Please note that currently, this course is only available to UK students. 

The interview process

The interview process includes two stages.
Upon successful completion of the first stage, a 20 minute online interview, successful candidates will be invited to a one day interview. This will include a team working station and formal face to face interview with the Programme Directors.
 

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Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:

Email: pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09.30am-4.30pm)

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£10,750

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Assessment

You will be assessed through a mixture of practical assessments, your healthcare clinical placement assessment, and your ongoing professional development. 

Career prospects

On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to sit the national qualification of the Faculty of Physician Associates (a part of the Royal College of Physicians) registration examination, which will give you formal registration as a Physician Associate, enabling you to practice. 

There is a significant demand for Physician Associates within the healthcare workforce.  The NHS is moving towards a multidisciplinary team of Physician Associates, advanced nurse practitioners, and paramedics, to support clinical workload. 

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Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study Physician Associate Practice MSc at Aston University?

Physician Associates have existed in many countries across the world for decades. The profession first started in the UK in the late 1990s and has grown ever since. The NHS has ever-increased demands and has to deliver services in the right place at the right time, with highly qualified high-quality clinical staff, so innovation in the delivery of healthcare is paramount. 

The Physician Associate is that innovation and has become one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions in the NHS. Working as part of the medical team, alongside other great clinical staff, Physician Associates get the opportunity to practice medical healthcare in almost every specialty across the NHS. From Orthopaedics to ENT, Dermatology, Oncology, Neurology, Women's Health, Surgery, Transplantation and every conceivable specialty Physician Associates are working in these teams. 

At Aston University, will be learning in a nurturing environment with clinical academics who have vast experience in teaching and training Physician Associates in the UK. 

You will engage in a patient environment from year 1, term 1, to work with clinicians and general practice experts to get an understanding of the healthcare environment. You will always be supervised by a clinical practitioner. 

As the study develops you will become part of a key clinical support, working as an independent practitioner, working with patients, and supporting medical professionals in a collaborative working way. 

On successful completion of the course, you will be eligible to apply to sit the national qualification of the Faculty of Physician Associates (a part of the Royal College of Physicians) which will give you formal registration as a member of the Physician Associates Register, the qualification clinical practices are looking for. 

Extensive partnerships with NHS regional trusts in the wider West Midlands area ensure you are best placed to get the most beneficial clinical placements throughout the course, gaining real-world, first-hand experience which is key to a successful future career as a Physician Associate. 

You will also be able to enhance your skills in real-life scenarios using our new, £1.5m state-of-the-art healthcare simulation facilities in our Aston Medical School; including our high-fidelity manikins, which allow students to simulate treating patients with acute health conditions, and our clinical skills simulation room, where students can practice in emergency settings in a safe learning environment. 

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding career support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

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