Explore this course:

    Applications for 2024 entry are now open. Register your interest to hear about postgraduate study and events at the University of Sheffield.

    2024 start September 

    Physician Associate Studies

    School of Medicine and Population Health, Faculty of Health

    Get the knowledge and skills to support doctors in all aspects of health care, in general practices or hospitals. We place the patient at the centre of care and help you develop your skills as a rounded clinician.
    MMedSci Physician Associate Studies

    Course description

    Physician Associates (PAs) are health professionals who address patients’ health needs while working under the supervision of doctors. Qualified PAs have direct contact with patients by taking histories, performing examinations, making diagnoses and considering management plans as part of the wider clinical team.

    This course is designed to give you the skills, knowledge and experience to qualify as a PA through completion of the Physician Associate National Examination. It is aimed at graduates who are passionate about working in a frontline clinical environment as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

    Your training will give you a solid foundation in generalist medical care so that you can deliver ‘first contact’ health care in multiple health settings including general practice and secondary care trusts.

    The course has an integrated, systems-based approach that places the patient at the centre. The first stage is mainly based on the University of Sheffield campus. In the second stage, you will apply your knowledge and skills to placements in our partner hospitals and GP surgeries.

    The University of Sheffield works closely with local acute trusts (hospitals, mental health) and primary care providers (General Practice) so that our graduates are equipped to meet the needs of potential employers and the public as a whole. Our course team has a majority of practising Physician Associates as leads and tutors and has an excellent rate of students passing the Physician Associate National Examination.

    Professional bodies

    Physician Associate is a relatively new role in UK healthcare. PAs are supported by the Faculty of Physician Associates (part of the Royal College of Physicians) as it works toward the profession becoming registered with the General Medical Council. At present, a UK Physician Associate qualification does not automatically allow you to work as a PA in other countries.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.

    Upcoming open days and campus tours


    2 years full-time


    Our teaching is based on the Physician Associate Competency and Curriculum Framework. We will also go into more detail in key areas to support your development as an all-around clinician. You will learn through lectures, small group teaching and practical sessions.

    You will have contact with patients throughout the course both through our Patients as Educators programme, where you will hear first-hand from patients about their experience, and on placements in GP practices and local hospitals. Clinical skills will be developed in simulation and then in practice, to support both your academic and practical skills progression.


    You will be assessed through written assessments, multiple-choice tests, clinical examinations and workplace-based assessments. 

    To practise in the UK, Physician Associates are required to pass the PA National Examination. This exam is not included as part of this programme and you will be required to cover the costs of taking it. However, the final exam on the MMedSci will mirror the PA National Examination, so that you are well prepared to take it.

    Your career

    After successfully completing your course and passing the Physician Associate National Examination, you will be able to apply for a variety of Physician Associate roles.

    Our graduates have gone on to work in GP surgeries, acute hospital trust departments such as A&E and respiratory medicine, as well as mental health trusts.

    There is more information about becoming a Physician Associate on the Royal College of Physicians website.

    Entry requirements

    You'll require at least a 2:1 undergraduate honours degree including a substantial element of human or animal biology. In addition you will require BBB at A-level (or equivalent appropriate qualification).

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

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

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


    While the MMedSci Physician Associate Studies is a postgraduate course, you will need to apply via the UCAS undergraduate entry route. The UCAS programme code is BB96.

    Apply via UCAS

    You will not find the course on the UCAS postgraduate web pages, nor be able to apply via the University of Sheffield application system.


    Dr James Gray

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

    Our student protection plan

    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.