This programme is suitable for graduates from life sciences or health courses and is designed to prepare students to enter the professional role of Physician Associate (PA). The Physician Associate is an advancing role within the NHS and is defined as someone who is:
"A collaborative healthcare professional with a generalist medical education, who works alongside doctors, providing medical care as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working under medical supervision, but who are able to work autonomously with appropriate support." (The UK Physician Associate Curriculum and Programme Standards, FPA 2018)
Physician Associates are trained to recognise, diagnose and manage common conditions under the supervision of a doctor. Physician Associates can work in a wide range of general and specialised areas of clinical practice within both primary and secondary care settings, as well as across integrated care pathways, and have direct contact with patients.
The programme is intensive. It is delivered over two years and leads to the award of a professional Master’s degree. Students are expected to attend full time for 45 weeks of each year, with approximately 50% of this time spent on clinical placement in local hospitals and GP practices. Students graduating with a Master of Physician Associate Studies are eligible to sit the National Examinations, which must be passed in order to practice as a Physician Associate.
The requirements of a competent Physician Associate are not just based on theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Newly qualified Physician Associates need to be reflective practitioners with appropriate professional attitudes and attributes, as well as excellent communication skills, able to critically reflect on their practice at a personal and organisational level and have the confidence and ability to instigate change.
The Master's component of this course is focused on achieving the competencies required of a graduate PA and provides the challenges of enhanced knowledge synthesis, audit, and service improvement to produce Physician Associates with the ability to lead and develop the profession.
Physician Associates are not currently but are soon expected to become a regulated profession. Our Physician Associate course is designed to meet the UK Physician Associate curriculum and programme standards in preparation for achieving regulatory body accreditation in the near future.
- Fully-integrated two-year professional Master's course
- Early exposure to clinical practice with a longitudinal GP placement beginning in week 7 of the first year
- A range of primary and secondary care placements in the diversely-populated Bradford district and across the Yorkshire area
- Opportunity to choose preferred speciality and location within the Yorkshire area for elective placement in the final weeks of the course
- A focus on patient safety and improving quality of care
- Opportunity to be actively involved in development, innovation and research of service provision through completion of a Quality Improvement Project
- Part of a university that has a long-established and successful history in Health Professions education and that supports new and innovative ways of improving health and health care delivery
- Bradford graduates performed among the best nationally at the national qualifying exams in September 2019, with 100% passing at the first attempt in the written examination and 87% passing at the first attempt in the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
The staff here have real charisma and a great depth of knowledge. Most importantly, they have the experience to help you get on your way to becoming not just a physician associate, but a very good physician associate. Mobashar, MPAS Master of Physician Associate Studies graduate
- 2:2 (or above) in a Life Science, Biomedical Science, or Healthcare subject from a UK University or overseas equivalent
- Applicants should offer either a strong science degree with substantial biology content or offer substantial healthcare experience. We will consider academic qualifications and work experience on a case-by-case basis. Please email the Admissions Team with details of your degree course or work experience if necessary
- Recent experience of volunteering or employment in a healthcare environment
We are looking for students to demonstrate that they have the skills required to successfully complete this demanding full-time course, balancing academic study with clinical placements, a willingness to travel and flexible working patterns.
Your personal statement is an important part of our selection process. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to becoming a Physician Associate and describe how your work experience has helped to prepare you for the role.
(Maximum 500 words)
Successful applicants will be required to comply with any health screening as requested by the Department of Health in line with current guidelines for health care workers
This course will include work with children and vulnerable adults so you are required to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. More information about this process will be sent to you as part of the admissions process.
If you are a current healthcare professional or a member of a registered professional body, we ask that you provide details of your registration. If you have had your professional registration suspended or revoked, or undergone a disciplinary/fitness to practise investigation, you will be required to provide further information if selected for an interview. You may also be asked to provide full copies of related documentation.
Previous enrolment on a clinical course
If you have previously enrolled on a Physician Associate Studies or other clinical course which you did not complete, you must declare this on your application and provide information about these circumstances.
Additional entry requirements
As part of the selection process, we interview short-listed candidates prior to making offers.
English language requirements
Where English is not the first language of an applicant we will require an overall score of 7.5 in IELTS with no element score less than 7.0 (or the appropriate level in equivalent acceptable English Language qualifications).
If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details. For further information on English Language requirements please see the dedicated international entry requirements page.
What you will study
The course is mapped to the UK Physician Associate Curriculum and Programme Standards to ensure that graduates are prepared for the National Examination and for entering clinical practice at the end of the course.
Year One teaching consists of integrated units of study focussed on systems of the body (e.g. cardiovascular, respiratory) with learning in one module significantly informing and influencing learning in other modules. Students will have one day of clinical placement per week from approximately October until April and will then go into clinical placement for a minimum of 30 hours per week from May until August.
In year two the emphasis shifts from the classroom to the clinical environment. The majority of time is spent on placement with short blocks of university-based learning for all three Year Two modules.
All module information is for 2021 entry, and is subject to change.
Integrated Medical Sciences 2
Quality and Service Improvement Project
Applied Clinical Knowledge & Professional Practice
Professional Competence 2
Learning and assessment
This is a fully integrated course. Our teaching of the biomedical, clinical and pharmacological sciences is always framed around the application to the clinical practice of working as a physician associate.
You will be taught by a range of healthcare professionals both in the classroom and on clinical practice, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, and of course on clinical placements there are even further opportunities to work in an interprofessional environment. There are also numerous opportunities to work with patients, service users and carers who are involved in classroom teaching sessions.
The programme includes a variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods. It is learner-centred and uses enquiry-based learning, team based learning and problem based learning. Throughout the course we focus on outcomes (what you will be doing in future roles), using case-based and patient centred learning tasks and incorporating clinical placements from the beginning.
Fees, finance and scholarships
Tuition fee 2023
- £10,432 per year
To be registered on the managed voluntary register as a Physician Associate you need to pass the national qualifying exam after you have gained the Master of Physician Associate Studies. This exam is not part of this programme and the cost of the exam is not included in your course fees.
Find out more at the Faculty of Physician Associates website.
There may be additional costs that you may incur as a student. Though these are not essential to your programme of study you need to be aware of them as a student of the University. A list of the sort of costs you might expect can be found on our fees and finance section.
The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.
Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.
On graduation, you will be part of a growing profession with 5900 qualified Physician Associates expected to be working in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) by 2023. You will be eligible to apply for Physician Associate positions in the NHS, subject to success in the Physician Associate national exam that you apply to take after graduation. Physician Associates typically work in the National Health Service and start at Agenda for Change (AfC) Band 7, with internships starting at Band 6.
Further information on careers can be found on the NHS website.
Pay scales as at 1 April 2021 were:
- AfC Band 6: £31,365 to £37,890
- AfC Band 7: £38,890 to £44,503