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Physician Associate postgraduate diploma – University of Reading

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  • Train as a Physician Associate

    Excellent career prospects from a course created for your future

Physician Associate postgraduate diploma

The Reading Physician Associate Programme has been developed in partnership with local NHS groups in response to the growing demand for this professional role in the NHS.

With our partners the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the Berkshire Healthcare Trust, and with the collaboration of local clinical commissioning groups, we are committed to providing our students with intensive evidence-based academic knowledge coupled with the hands-on workplace training that is required for this important role in the NHS.

Applications are open now until 11 May 2018.

Created with your future in mind

Qualified Physician Associates are in high demand across the country. Our first cohort of students graduated in 2017, we had 100% pass rate on the national exams, and all of our graduates have found jobs within the NHS.

"The advantage of how my job has moulded itself is that I'm able to get much more skilled in a specialty that I love like neurology, as well as keeping up with general practice knowledge. I love the variability of my role - I can see so much in one day."

Samantha Bautista

PGDip Physician Associate graduate

How you learn

Our programme is an intensive two years of evidence-based teaching in our dedicated state-of-the-art clinical teaching facilities, combined with hands-on workplace training in primary and secondary healthcare settings with our NHS partners.

All of our teaching staff are medically trained and many of our lectures are delivered by clinicians from our partners at Royal Berkshire Hospital and the Berkshire Healthcare Trust, ensuring that you are taught the most up-to-date content by people who have on-the-ground experience.

"Being able to apply real life work scenarios to my lectures really enhances my teaching. I often give my students anonymised case studies about patients I have seen the day before at the hospital! I don't think it can get more current than that."

Alex Reynolds

Physician Associate and Lecturer on the programme

You will learn how to take medical histories, perform physical examinations, diagnose illnesses, request and analyse test results, and develop treatment and management plans.


Health Education England have agreed a single, national funding model for Physician Associates. Students joining our PA programme in 2018 will receive:

  • A training grant of £5,000. This payment will be paid £2,500 per annum via the University of Reading, and can be used against course fees, travel or similar costs incurred during the programme.
  • An uplift of the preceptorship training grant to £10,000 (so £5k + additional £5k) for those students demonstrating recruitment into primary care roles after graduation. The preceptorship payment will be paid via the primary care employer in the first year of employment.

We are developing an option to study for an MSc rather than PGDip for those who wish to access master's loans.

Apply for the Physician Associate postgraduate diploma

You can find out more about the entry requirements, fees and financial support, and how to apply on our course listing page.

Further information on being a Physician Associate can be found on the NHS Careers Website, and with the Faculty of Physician Associates,

 A Physician Associate (PA) is a trained healthcare professional who works as a member of a medical team under the supervision of a doctor or surgeon in GP practices, community health services, and all types of hospital care.

PAs support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients, and are trained to perform a number of roles including:

  • Taking medical histories
  • Performing examinations
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Analysing test results
  • Developing management plans

Further information on being a Physician Associate can be found on the NHS Careers Website, and with the Faculty of Physician Associates.

Excellent career opportunities

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