Physician Associate Studies

MMedSci | PG Diploma

A career as a Physician Associate is a great option if you're passionate about working in a clinical environment but haven't had the opportunity to do clinical practice during your undergraduate studies.  As a Physician Associate student at The Medical School, you'll be a part of a world class Russell Group university.   We're proud to have been rated as one of the top universities globally for teaching and research in clinical, pre-clinical, health and life sciences in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019.  You'll benefit from our experience and expertise, acquiring the knowledge and skills required to support, diagnose and manage across a broad range of general medical problems, including working with children, mental health, primary care, medicine, surgery and emergency care.

The course is designed to provide you with a firm grounding in the principles of generalist medical care, preparing you to support doctors in ‘first contact’ health care, both in the community and hospital setting.  This will include emergency care of acute and serious illness as well as well as more complex, less clear presentations of illness.

Our teaching is delivered with a multidisciplinary approach including other students within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health.  Our aim is to foster a greater understanding of the different health care roles and how they come together to provide an effective team.  You'll develop skills in clinical problem solving and communication and you'll adopt an approach to clinical management that focuses on shared-decision making with patients.

Physicians Associates Studies is an accredited course by the Faculty of Physician Associates, Royal College of Physicians.  They are a developing professional group within the National Health Service (NHS) working closely with supervising doctors, supporting the delivery of health care.

Supporting the NHS workforce

The University is working with partners regionally and nationally to promote and support the development of the new Physician Associate role. 

 We work closely with both Acute Trusts (Hospitals) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Primary Care) in the region so that graduates have the right qualities to meet the needs of employers and provide a lasting service to the public within our region.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 or higher in a life sciences degree (such as Biochemistry, Physiology or Biomedical Science) with BBB grades at A level.  You should also have a keen interest in developing practical skills related to health and illness, and to working with the public in the health sector. Selection will be by application and interview.

English language requirements: Overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Interviews are expected to take place in April.

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Funding (for 2019 entry)

A Health Education England training grant of £5,000 is available for each student.  This award will be paid in two instalments of £2,500 per year and can be used towards course fees, travel costs or other costs incurred during the programme.

Students undertaking the Masters Degree in Physician Associate Studies can also apply for a Postgraduate Masters Loan of over £10,000.

Students may be eligible to apply for the Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship of 100+ £10,000 scholarships.  The deadline to apply is 13 May 2019.

Teaching and assessment

You will study a nationally agreed curriculum outlined by the Physician Associate Competency Framework.  The programme is delivered in a systems based, integrated way which places the patient at the centre.  Students will have contact with patients throughout the course, both on placements in GP practices and local hospitals and through our excellent Patients as Educators programme.  Clinical problem solving and clinical communication skills will be developed from day one, along with an approach to clinical management that focuses on shared decision making with patients.  Interprofessional learning activities with students from other healthcare professions will foster a greater understanding of the different health care roles and how they work together as an integrated team to meet the needs of patients.

Assessment will take place throughout the course, with ongoing feedback.  Assessment of knowledge, skills and behaviours will be in the form of written assessments, multiple choice tests, objective structure, clinical examination and workplace based assessments.

Physician Associates are required to pass a national exam in order to practice in the United Kingdom which is taken after completing the course.  Students will be required to fund this exam as it is run externally to the University.