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.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PGDip Full-time 24 months Sep 2018
Stag Hill

Global opportunities

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

You can find further information on the role through the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians (FPARCP) or the NHS careers website.

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.

Collaboration

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.

Career opportunities

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

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.

Programme leader

DOULTON J Dr (Health Sci.)

Our students

  • Scott Munro, PhD Health Sciences

    "My overall PhD experience has been very positive. With the support of my supervision team and the other postgraduate researchers around, I soon settled in to life as a PhD student."

    Read more

  • Hannah Whitmore, PhD Chemistry

    "I love studying at Surrey. It’s a beautiful environment to be in. My Department is very supportive and so is my supervisor."

    Read more

Our graduates

  • Pahim Miah, PGDip Physician Associate

    "Choosing to study at Surrey was the best way for me to begin working towards my career as a Physician Associate."

    Read more

  • Marianna Dalkou, MSc Health Psychology

    Marianna Dalkou, Psychologist, Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children, Thessaloniki, Greece

    Read more

Discover

  • My Surrey experience - Krishni Manorajan, PGDip Physician Associate

    Read more

  • My Surrey experience - Miriam Ncube, Physician Associate PGDip

    Read more

  • My Surrey experience - Ben Hurtley, Physician Associate PGDip

    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.

Timetable

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.

Policies and regulations

Please refer to our academic regulations and student policies and regulations. These may be amended from time to time.

Learning and disability support

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 assist you in developing 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).

Students are encouraged to disclose their condition and register with the service so that they can be appropriately supported during their studies.

The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also provided to students where appropriate.

See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.

Entry requirements

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).

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

Shortlisting

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.

Interviews

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.

Recognition of prior learning

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the Code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2018 £9,800 £19,800

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.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught programmes.

Additional costs

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.

Funding

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught masters programme fees.

For more details

Loans, scholarships and financial support

There are many streams of funding for postgraduate students including awards, scholarships and loans.

For more details

Admission information

Our postgraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students. You can also read our postgraduate applicant guidance.

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222

admissions@surrey.ac.uk

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