Physician Associate Studies PGDip
Why choose this course
Surrey’s longstanding excellent reputation and first-rate facilities combine to provide a postgraduate diploma that will prepare you for an exciting career as a physician associate. You will be taught by Academics who are internationally recognised for their expertise in medicine and who possess a wealth of experience and knowledge.
What you will study
This programme of study, skills development and placement experience allows you to build upon a first degree in biosciences, life sciences or health sciences in order to function as a qualified Physician Associate.
The programme teaches you to assess, diagnose and manage medical problems competently, consulting with patients presenting with a variety of specified conditions on behalf of, and under supervision of, a senior experienced doctor.
By the end of the programme, you will be able to deliver holistic medical care and treatment to a standard defined by the National Examination for Physician Associates, which will enable you to work in either Primary or Secondary Care.
|Qualification||Study mode||Course length||Placement||Start date|
|PGDip||Full-time||24 months||September 2018|
Study and work abroad
There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.
What is a physician associate?
Physician associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. As a physician associate, you might work in a GP surgery or be based in a hospital, but wherever you work, you'll have direct contact with patients.
You’ll be trained to perform a number of day-to- day tasks including:
- Taking medical histories
- Performing examinations
- Diagnosing illnesses
- Analysing test results
- Developing management plans
To understand what a physician associate does on a day-to- day basis, Health Education England have produced this informative Day in the Life of a Physician Associate video.
This programme will be delivered through collaboration with Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex and engagement with Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), Canterbury and Christchurch University (CCU) and the University of Kent.
The majority of teaching, however, will be conducted by Surrey staff and local NHS clinicians. The four HEIs (including Surrey) may share facilities in areas of individual specialist expertise, although teaching will be conducted by Surrey staff.
Working with local NHS Trusts (primary and community care, acute, secondary care and mental health) will enable elements including work-based assessments and summative assessments (the clinical OSCEs).
Surrey Health Partners
The University of Surrey is part of the Surrey Health Partners Alliance, bringing together NHS Trusts in Surrey with the University to enhance learning and teaching, research and clinical practice.
The local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs, covering GP practices) and NHS Health Trusts (covering hospitals, community care and psychiatric care) are all represented fully within Surrey Health Partners.
Following successful graduation from this Diploma course, you will need to sit the National Assessment for Physician Associates, set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, London.
Passing the National Assessment will allow you to be put onto the National Register for Physician Associates, so that you can practise clinically in the UK.
Career prospects for graduates are excellent in the UK. The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, MP, announced in June 2015 that "pilots are planned to ensure 1,000 physicians’ associates will be available to work in general practice by 2020".
The predicted growth of the physician associate role across the NHS to fill an important resource gap indicates strong continued employment prospects for graduates. Physician associates will pursue a profession that is supported by the NHS and the Department of Health: over 30 hospitals currently employ PAs across the UK and the numbers are growing fast.
Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex aims to produce PAs who can work in primary as well as secondary care.
DOULTON J Dr (Health Sci.)
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Learning and disability
We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.
Student Personal Learning and Study Hub
SPLASH is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Additional Learning Support
ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.
The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.
See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.
A minimum 2:1 honours degree from an approved university, in subjects related to biosciences, Anatomical Sciences, life sciences or health.
Alternatively, accredited health professionals with suitable clinical experience (typically five years) may be considered.
Applicants must hold a GCSE minimum grade C in Maths and English.
Other entry requirements
Admission to this programme is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) Section 4 (2) (Exemptions) Order 1975 and DHSS Circular HC(88)9 guidelines regarding police checks and child protection.
Offers are conditional upon satisfactory health and fitness for practice screening, references and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance, or equivalent.
Candidates must also meet national requirements to work with vulnerable adults and children.
Admission is also subject to NHS eligibility for the programme. Proof of eligibility is normally required prior to interview.
Applicants must be immunised against Hepatitis B before registering on the course.
Please note: successful applicants will start on the programme on 10 September 2018.
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 7.5 overall, 7.0 in each component (or equivalent).
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.
Admissions staff will review the information provided within the personal statement and reference to assess applications for evidence of academic ability, insight and motivation.
Personal statements should be comprehensive, with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview and selection day.
Applicants successful at the shortlisting stage will be required to attend an interview conducted by University academics, assisted by staff from clinical practice areas.
Applicants selected to attend one of our interview days will be sent detailed guidance on the interview with their invitation.
|Study mode||Start date||Placement||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees|
Please note these fees are for the academic year 2018/19 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.
There are associated costs with this programme:
- Books/ stationery/ admin: Unable to specify amount - Following successful graduation from this Diploma course, you will need to sit the National Assessment for Physician Associates, set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, London. This exam is not part of the Surrey programme and therefore not covered by your course fees. For further information please refer to the Faculty of Physician Associates website.
- Commuting (local travel expenses): Unable to specify amount - In the first year students will be expected to attend a placement at a local GP surgery one day per week. In the second year students will undertake a series of clinical placements provided by local NHS Trusts. Students will be expected to meet the travel/parking costs incurred whilst on placement.
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check: The University will meet the cost of one DBS check, completed at the start of each new student’s programme or earlier where applicants indicate they have a conviction in their application. The DBS check is a programme requirement: it is mandatory that the DBS process in completed and the student is approved to attend before they can start placement. Applicants offered a place on the programme will be contacted to complete the online process by the deadline specified. The process is not completed until all original documentation has been approved by an appointed DBS approver. This can be completed in advance of Applicants starting their programme using main branches of the Post Office, where there will be a £6 administration fee. Students are also able to get their documents approved by appointed University staff member once they have started their programme.
Health Education England (HEE) have confirmed the following funding for students commencing the PA programme in 2018:
Student Support Allowance:
- A training grant of £5,000 per student, per programme will be offered to all student PAs undertaking training in England. This payment will be paid £2,500 per annum and paid via the University to the student.
Find out about the Government's postgraduate taught student finance support and Career Development Loans.
Scholarships and bursaries
Discounts for Surrey graduates
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Asylum Seeker Bursary 2018 entry
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"I like caring and improving people’s quality of life, therefore being a Physician Associate gives me an opportunity to fulfil that because I will work within the allied medical career."
"We are taught by experts in their fields. I enjoy learning in a collaborative environment characterised by knowledge sharing, passion for the profession and mutual respect."