Physician Associate Studies PGDip
Why choose this course
This course will teach you the skills you need to make an impact on this new, exciting position within healthcare. It will enable you to develop the well-rounded knowledge and skills that modern practice demands and which potential employers search for.
You will be taught by academics with international recognition for their expertise in medicine, who will inspire you with their wealth of knowledge and experience.
What you will study
With an emphasis on studying, developing your clinical skills and placement experience opportunities, our course provides a natural step up from a successful undergraduate degree in biosciences, life sciences or health sciences if you’re keen to take on the challenge of becoming a qualified physician associate.
This course will give you the skills you need to assess, diagnose and manage various medical problems as a self-assured, confident medical professional. Spending time with an experienced senior doctor, whether working under supervision or alongside your mentor, you will assist patients who present with numerous different conditions.
By the time you complete the course, you will be able to provide medical care to a standard as defined by the National Examination for Physician Associates, allowing you to work in either primary or secondary care.
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. 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 course is provided to you through a collaboration between Surrey and Health Education Kent, Sussex and also engagement with Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Canterbury and Christchurch University and the University of Kent.
Most of your teaching will be conducted by Surrey staff and local NHS clinicians who will motivate you and help drive your ambition.
We work with local NHS Trusts in the areas of primary and community care, acute care, secondary care and in the mental health sector. This has a number of benefits for learning, including work-based assessments and combined assessments which further develop your skills and help towards transforming you into a capable healthcare professional.
Surrey Health Partners
At Surrey, we form a part of the Surrey Health Partners Alliance, which brings together NHS Trusts in Surrey with the University to enhance learning and teaching, research and clinical practice.
Local Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS Health Trusts which cover hospitals, community care and psychiatric care, are all represented fully within Surrey Health Partners.
After your successful completion of our diploma course, you’ll also need to sit the National Assessment for Physician Associates. This is set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians in 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.
You will find career prospects for graduates are excellent in the UK. The UK Government has announced that it wants 1,000 physicians’ associates available to work in general practice by 2020.
Studying to become a physician associate puts you in a great position, especially because of the predicted growth of physician associate roles across the NHS to fill important gaps in resources. By becoming a Physician Associate, you will progress in a position that is supported by the NHS and the Department of Health. Over 30 hospitals across the UK currently employ physician associates, and these numbers continue to grow at a promising rate. We, while working in collaboration with our partners, will help transform you into a Physician Associate who can make their mark 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 (PDF) 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.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
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:
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). View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Learning and disability
We have two services, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.
Academic Skills and Development
Academic Skills and Development 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.
Disability and Neurodiversity Service
The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.
We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.
English language support
Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.
A minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in either Anatomical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Biomedicine, Human Biology, Medicinal Chemistry, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health), Operating Department Practice, Optometry, Paramedic Science, Pharmaceutical Science, or Physiology, or a recognised equivalent international qualification. We'll also consider relevant work experience.
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.
This is a regulated course that requires declaration of criminal convictions at the application stage, please visit our criminal convictions webpage for more information.
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.
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall with 7.0 in each element.
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.
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. Interviews will be conducted in the format of multiple mini interviews (MMIs).
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2019-20 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year full-time PGDip in Physicians Associate, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.
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 ahead of the programme commencement date. The DBS check is a programme requirement: it is mandatory that the DBS process in completed and the applicant is approved to attend before they can enrol onto the programme. 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.