About This Course
A Physician Associate (PA) is defined as a healthcare professional who, while not a doctor, works to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within the general medical and/or general practice team under defined levels of supervision.
While Physician Associates are not meant to replace doctors, they are urgently needed to meet the increasing demand of a growing and ageing population combined with reductions in the medical workforce especially in the more rural areas of Wales. Working within teams, they enhance patient care both in the community and hospital setting in a more efficient and relatively cost-effective manner.
Graduates from this course will have a broad and relevant set of transferable skills with a focus on medical history-taking, clinical examination, analysis of test results, clinical reasoning and diagnosis, and the development of evidence based patient management plans.
Our Physician Associate course was one of the first of it’s kind in the UK. It will utilise the best teachers in medical science and clinical practice in north Wales - all of whom have a track record of teaching, research and clinical excellence in their specialist fields.
To be eligible to sit the national Physician Associate examination, successful completion of the PGDip or MSc in Physician Associate Studies is required.
- 89% pass rate in national Physician Associate exams, which is considerably above the national average.
- NHS funded places, no tuition fees.
Bangor will accept applications all year round for this course however, we have a limited number of places and recommend applications are submitted as early as possible in the cycle. Once the course is full, applicants will be considered for the following year.
Watch the Royal College of Physicians video on the role of a Physician Associate.
What will you study on this course?
This course uses a multi-disciplinary, research-informed approach to teach clinical and basic science related to the human systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, female reproductive, renal and genitourinary, the eyes, and skin) and diagnostics and therapeutics.
The scientific background is taught in the context of clinical placements in Community Medicine, General Hospital Medicine, Front Door Medicine, Mental Health, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Paediatrics.
Successful completion enables graduates to take the national certification exam, which is mandatory to register and work as a Physician Associate. The modules for this course are integrated; your learning throughout one module will significantly inform and influence your learning in another module. The course consists of 7 modules totaling 180 credits at level seven.
Students benefit from a strong exposure to clinicians and scientists with active research in medically related subjects.
The course, delivered by the Physician Associate Faculty, brings together clinicians and other experts from across the disciplines of primary and secondary medical care. The course content reflects the curriculum and learning requirements for the Physician Associate framework (PA CC 2012).
The Physician Associate course at Bangor includes an integrated placement programme of work-based learning that will provide progressive experiential learning in a range of clinical settings to allow students to attain the standards of knowledge and understanding in clinical practice, including regulatory structures, professionalism and clinical competences expected of a Physician Associate. Placements will be grouped according to the following clinical subject headings and minimum periods:
- Community Medicine (180 h)
- General Hospital Medicine (350 h)
- Front Door Medicine (180 h)
- Mental Health (90 h)
- General Surgery (90 h)
- Obstetrics & Gynaecology (90 h)
- Paediatrics (acute setting) (90 h)
During the course you will learn how to recognise and manage common and complex medical conditions as part of multi-professional team, to make independent and informed judgements on clinical problems and be trained to integrate knowledge and clinical practice. As a Physician Associate graduate you’ll be able to demonstrate outstanding interpersonal and professional skills when working with patients, carers and clinical multi-disciplinary teams in a multicultural environment. You will also have a comprehensive understating of I.T., record-keeping and communication using a diverse range of media in evidence-based practice and understand the importance of health promotion, disease prevention and inequalities in society and local communities.
The course aims to give students a comprehensive knowledge of the concepts, principles and technologies used in clinical practice in the following areas:
- Cardiovascular system
- Respiratory system
- Gastrointestinal system
- Musculoskeletal system
- Female reproductive system
- Renal and genitourinary system
- Diagnostics and therapeutics.
On successful completion of the course, you’ll have gained the key knowledge related to practice as a physician associate, including major concepts related to the principles and theories associated with human anatomy and physiology, cell biology, body/system-drug actions and interactions, mechanisms underlying human pathological conditions and the basis of the clinical and technological methods used to diagnose and monitor these conditions. You be able to demonstrate the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment in the medical domain including history taking and consultation skills, and physical examinations tailored to the needs of the patient and the demands of the clinical situation. You’ll also be able to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the needs of patients/clients, and decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Teaching occurs via lectures, clinical placements, practical classes and group work including case-centred discussions often delivered by academic clinicians who hold joint University and Health board contracts. Students benefit from a high number of contact hours that includes utilisation of our state-of-the art teaching laboratories and simulation suite at the hospital. Academic assessment includes placement reports, observed clinical skills, MCQ and written exams.
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Physician Associate Studies Modules page.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
The Student Awards Services implements the NHS Wales Bursary Schemes, which provides funding for healthcare students on NHS Wales commissioned and funded courses in Wales. The NHS Wales Student Awards Service administers the advance commitment to work in Wales post-qualification. There are Terms and Conditions for the commitment and FAQs about how it works on their website. It is recommended that you check this information and if you have specific queries about it please contact the NHS Wales Student Awards Service.
Please note: This course is not open to International students as they are not eligible for a funded place. Only available applicants who are treated as home students for fees can currently apply for this commissioned course. Undertaking this program in the UK does not currently enable you to work as a PA in any other country.
Candidates should be of the required academic standard and be able to satisfy one of the following conditions:
- have a 2.1 or higher degree in a life science subject (particularly those that are medically related). Examples include: Medical Sciences; Biomedical Sciences, Psychology, Sport Science, Biology (particularly Human Biology), Anatomy etc.
- have a 2:2 in a life science degree with a higher degree (eg MSc) in a relevant subject e.g. Medical Sciences; Biomedical Sciences, Psychology, Sport Science, Biology (particularly Human Biology), Anatomy etc.
Students will be interviewed prior to acceptance.
English Language requirements: IELTS of 7.5.
Risk assessments for disabled persons will be conducted on a case-by-case basis.
Please be advised that if you are offered a place on this course you will need to meet a number of criteria before the offer is made unconditional.
We recommend early applications due to the limited number of places but applications are accepted all year round. Once the intake is full, applicants will be considered for the following year. At the moment we do not offer January intake for this course.
We have a track record in educating excellent graduates in Clinical and Medical Sciences. Many key positions in the NHS are now filled with graduates from our programs. The program outcomes deliver professional expertise and ethos, and are mapped against the key skills required by the General Medical Council and the Core Curriculum for Physician Associates as defined by the Faculty of Physician Associates.
What do Physician Associates do?
Physician Associates can be found working in GP surgeries, accident and emergency departments, and inpatient medical and surgical wards throughout the UK. Physician Associates work within a defined scope of practice and limits of competence. They:
- take medical histories from patients
- carry out physical examinations
- see patients with undifferentiated diagnoses
- see patients with long-term chronic conditions
- formulate differential diagnoses and management plans
- perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
- develop and deliver appropriate treatment and management plans
- request and interpret diagnostic studies
- provide health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients.
Research / Links with Industry
The academics involved with the Physician Associate MSc have extensive clinical and research links with the local NHS University Health Board and other external bodies and companies, which are fully utilised in ensuring that the modules are relevant to the modern clinical and research environment graduates will enter.