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Physician Associate MSc – University of Reading

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  • Train as a Physician Associate

    Excellent career prospects from a course created for your future

Physician Associate MSc

The MSc Physician Associate programme at Reading 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.

Key dates

Applications for 2019 are now closed, and the next available intake is in September 2020.

Created with your future in mind

Qualified Physician Associates (PAs) are in high demand across the country. Our first cohort of students graduated in 2017, we've had 100% pass rate on the national exams for two years running, and all of our graduates have found PA 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.

"Physician Associate students work with us a set number of days. Because of limited time, we get them involved with patients as soon as we can. It's been really rewarding to train others - I feel part of a developing profession, and am helping develop general practice."

Dr Amit Sharma

GP at Brookside Group Practice

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.

You will be required to complete the "Research methods" and "Research project" modules (total 60 credits). Students who do not want to undertake a research project can be awarded a PGDip Physician Associate qualification.


Health Education England have agreed a single, national funding model for Physician Associates. Students joining our PA programme in 2019 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.

Apply for the msc Physician Associate programme

You can find out more about the entry requirements, fees and financial support, and how to apply on our course listing page. Applications for 2019 are now closed, and the next available intake is in September 2020.

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

MPAS Physician Associate Studies

We expect to offer a four-year MPAS Physician Associate Studies programme by September 2020. The programme has been designed in partnership with our local NHS partners to respond to career needs within the NHS. The final two years of the programme mirror our established MSc Physician Associate Studies programme. Please check back here for more information.

*These figures apply to our first two cohorts of students, who all undertook the Postgraduate Diploma Physician Associate programme.

 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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