2021 start

Physician Associate Studies (Top Up) - Critical Development of Clinical Practice

The Medical School, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health

This MMedSci is aimed at Physicians Associates who have completed a diploma. You'll explore how to improve patient safety, clinical effectiveness or the patient experience through a substantial piece of quality improvement work.
Training in communication with a patient.

Course description

This course meets the learning needs of Physicians Associates (PAs) who have completed a diploma and now want to make a masters part of their continuing professional development.

You'll complete a substantial piece of quality improvement work. As part of this, you'll carry out a critical evaluation of the literature on quality improvement and analyse current practice.

We'll ask you to drawn on the academic skills of critical appraisal to review the evidence for quality improvement. Next you will identify a relevant clinical issue related to your practice, critically appraise the related literature and, taking a systematic approach, you'll complete a quality improvement project.

You'll produce an evidence-based report on practice, recommending improvements for clinical practice and reflecting on their success or otherwise.


Module 1: The Process of Quality Improvement

You'll explore the concept of quality in healthcare, including the theoretical concept of quality as an underlying principle in healthcare provision and the differing ontological positions that underpin the nature of evidence for improvement in healthcare. You'll develop research skills in information searching and management, and critical appraisal of literature. This will give you an understanding of how quality can be measured, evaluated and what influences quality of care delivery.

Module 2: Quality Improvement – Project

You'll explore an area of your work that has the potential to improve patient safety, clinical effectiveness or patient experience. Your work will draw on the academic skills of critical appraisal, evaluation methods and quality improvement. You'll identify a relevant issue from your own practice and subject this to systematic analysis to produce an evidence-based report that identifies objectives for improvement through recommendations for clinical practice.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


A blended, distance learning approach, including online e-learning and face-to-face teaching. Online learning may include:

  • Slide presentations
  • Lecture notes and handouts
  • Links to websites and interactive learning materials
  • Tutorials and seminars (face-to-face, telephone or video conferencing)


Assignment for each module: 6,000 words


1 year part-time

Entry requirements

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Physician Studies
  • Current employment in a healthcare setting 
  • An academic reference 
  • An employer reference indicating that they will support you to carry out a significant quality improvement project over the next year

Additionally, students must have passed the national Physician Associates exam and be registered on the Faculty of Physician Associate national register.

Overall IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component, or equivalent.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now



Laura Besson
Course Administrator

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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