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Duration

Two years full-time, three years part-time (final year full-time)

Application Deadline

01 March 2020

Location

St George's, University of London

UK, EU and non-EU (international) citizens may apply

St George’s is the only university to share its campus with one of the largest NHS teaching hospitals, making it the ideal place to study the Master’s in Physician Associate Studies (MPAS). With unrivalled access to clinical resources and working professionals, the course will fully equip you with all the skills and knowledge required to support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients.

On the UK’s longest running Physician Associate studies programme you will learn how to take medical histories, perform physical examinations, request and analyse investigations, diagnose illnesses and develop treatment and management plans. It is a very challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. The course has an outstanding pass rate on the Physician Associate National Exam and fantastic graduate employment.

What is an MPAS (Master's in Physician Associate Studies)?

A postgraduate-level qualification for life sciences graduates who wish to become Physician Associates.

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Highlights

  • Shared site with one of the largest NHS teaching hospitals.

  • Outstanding pass rate on the Physician Associate National Examination.

  • Longest running Physician Associate course in the UK.

  • Highly experienced Physician Associate as full-time Course Director.

  • Regular timetable of esteemed visiting lecturers from the UK and the USA.

  • Year 1 student to staff ratio approximately 9:1.

  • 12 Physician Associates and four Doctors within the teaching team.

  • Strong history of staff involvement on the board of the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians.

Tuition fees

UK and EU (2020 entry)
  • Full-time MPAS: £10,000 per annum

  • Part-time MPAS: years 1 and 2 £5,500 per annum, year 3 (full-time) £10,000

Non-EU (International) (2020 entry)
  • Full-time MPAS: £21,000 per annum

For more information, see our fees and funding pages.

In order to be registered on the FPA Managed Voluntary Register (MVR) as a Physician Associate you will need to pass the PA National Exam after earning the MPAS. The National 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.

Regulation update

In July 2019, it was announced that the General Medical Council will become the regulator for PAs. When statutory regulation for PAs comes into effect, the PA MVR will cease to exist.

Funding your study

We have a range of funding opportunities available for students. You may be eligible for the following.

  • A Postgraduate Master's loan from the UK government of up to £10,609. Find out more information about postgraduate loans on our fees and funding pages.

  • An alumni discount – if you're a former St George’s student you can qualify for an additional 10% discount from this course.

For more information, see our fees and funding pages.

Read more information about our courses and university services terms and conditions.

You must meet both the entry and personal statement criteria to be considered for this course. If your degree was awarded more than five years ago, the academic team may require suitable candidates to complete an academic qualifying essay.

Entry criteria (2020 entry)

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Undergraduate degree or equivalent

  • A minimum of a 2:2 (lower second class) Honours degree in a life sciences or other health-related subject

  • Must be completed, awarded and certified by 1 August 2020.

If you have a degree that matches the criteria (or an accepted equivalent) that was awarded more than five years ago, you are encouraged to apply for the course. The academic team will review your personal statement and evidence of relevant work experience and invite suitable candidates to complete an academic qualifying essay.  For further information, please email pgdmissions@sgul.ac.uk

If you have a 2:2 Honours degree (or accepted equivalent) in a subject that is not a life sciences or health- related, you will need to complete some life science modules at a 2:2 standard or above. Physiology is a necessity for those not holding a life science degree. Alternative evidence of recent life/health science academic study (NVQ Level 4 and above) will be considered. Please send your academic transcripts and the course specification to pgdmissions@sgul.ac.uk for review before applying.

Please note that graduates of UK Physician Associate Studies programmes are not eligible to work as Physician Associates in other countries (or vice versa).

English language requirement

If your native language is not English, you will need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

English language tests are valid for only two years. If you took a test more than two years ago, you may be required to complete another. Applicants are only permitted a maximum of two test attempts within a one year period.

  • IELTS: Overall 7.5, with 7.0 in all components (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)

Other essential criteria

Health screening

Candidates accepted onto healthcare courses are required to pass an occupational health screening. When admitting a candidate to study and practise as a health practitioner, St George’s has an obligation to patients and students. If you are concerned about a health issue we strongly advise you to contact us prior to applying. All offers of places at St George’s are subject to satisfactory health clearance and an agreement to undergo appropriate blood tests and immunisations.

All candidates will be asked to be immunised against Hepatitis B for personal safety. If you firmly accept an offer made to you by St George’s you will be sent a confidential health questionnaire and further information about the Hepatitis B screening process.

Police screening

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.

Professional registration

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 the circumstances.

We operate a modular system for this course which means the qualification is obtained by a process of credit accumulation – a model used on courses throughout the UK and Europe.

The course is designed to cover all aspects of the Physician Assistant Competence and Curriculum Framework to ensure that graduates are able to succeed in the National Examination at the end of the course and work as physician associates in primary or secondary care.

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Year one

The first year is dedicated to ensuring you have a good grounding in the sciences underpinning health care. Communication and clinical examination skills are a key part of the first year curriculum. You will spend four days a week on campus and one day on clinical placement, which will be organised in a GP practice.

Year 1 teaching is system- or theme-based, following a brief introductory period. We begin with the ‘big three’ systems: cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal. Most themes are covered in two- or three-week blocks, with a large amount of information delivered in each block.

Information is often delivered across multiple modules (see below).

Year two

In the second year you will begin with special topics weeks covering skills such as ECG interpretation and suturing, before beginning your hospital placements. You will then be on campus one day every three weeks as the emphasis shifts towards clinical work and placements, with 36–39 weeks being spent in hospital and six to nine weeks being spent on a GP placement.

Modules

The modules for this course are integrated; your learning throughout one module will significantly inform and influence your learning in another module. The course consists of eight modules totalling 180 credits at level seven.

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Applied Pharmacology (15 credits)

This module lays the basis for future prescribing activity and ensures you have a good understanding of common drugs and their effects. (Please note that PAs do not yet have prescribing rights in the UK. However, strong pharmacology knowledge is essential for PA practice.)

Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare (15 credits)

This module enables you to locate and evaluate evidence underpinning decision-making in healthcare and to develop your skills in critically appraising this evidence.

Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Year 1: 30 credits; Year 2: 15 credits)

This module covers integrated body systems, pathology, differential diagnosis skills, models of decision-making, and applications of the underpinning sciences to patient conditions. It also provides an overview of the clinically relevant elements of human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology and pathology.

Investigations in Clinical Medicine (Year 1: delivery; Year 2: delivery and assessment: 15 credits)

This module runs across both years of the course and addresses the common and pertinent investigations relating to the clinical practice of a Physician Associate. You will learn about the role of clinical investigations and their relevance in relation to common and important presentations in clinical practice. It will involve analysis of common investigations performed in primary and secondary care.

Personal and Professional Development for Physician Associates (Year 1: 30 credits; Year 2: 15 credits)

This module runs throughout the two years. Your achievement of core clinical competencies, procedural skills and work with specific clinical conditions will be documented. Developmental reviews support the practical learning achieved during this module.

Physician Associate Applied Clinical Knowledge and Skills (45 credits)

This module facilitates the application of clinical knowledge and examination skills with appropriate supervision from suitably qualified and skilled clinicians in real clinical environments, preparing you for entry into professional practice.

Sharing our campus with one of the UK’s most renowned teaching hospitals allows us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching.

You will get to interact directly with patients in a variety of settings and collaborate with other students on a variety of healthcare- and science-related courses, creating a diverse learning community where knowledge is shared across disciplines. Reflecting real medical practice, it’s the perfect environment in which to practice working together as an integrated team, resulting in optimised patient care.

Teaching at St George’s is delivered through a compelling and engaging variety of methods including lectures, problem-based learning, self-directed learning, small group discussions, clinical and community placements, role-playing, presentations, and post-mortems.

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Teaching and learning methods

Problem-based learning

Given a clinical problem, you will use self-directed research to make a diagnosis and suggest an appropriate course of action. Problem-based learning encourages learning in context, self-motivation, and deep rather than surface understanding.

Self-directed study

This course requires a significant amount of self-directed study, outside of teaching hours. In the first year, lectures are complemented by group work, designed to develop clinical and communication skills. You are allocated a clinical supervisor who is a General Practitioner and will support you in developing your skills development throughout your GP placement.

In the second year, you'll continue community placements, as well as rotating through a number of acute clinical placements, including:

  • general medicine

  • paediatrics

  • obstetrics and gynaecology

  • emergency medicine

  • mental health

  • geriatric medicine.

Assessment methods

Assessments are designed to prepare you for the PA National Examination and will be a mixture of written papers, written examinations and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations.

A portfolio of your development of the core clinical skills and competencies is monitored throughout both years and is submitted for assessment at the end of each year. Written coursework assignments and/or presentations are set for the modules in Personal and Professional Development, and Foundations of Clinical Medicine.

When you graduate with a Master’s in Physician Associate Studies from St George’s you open a world of opportunities. The sheer breadth of experience that you will gain on the course means you are assured of a varied and exciting career. 

We are proud to boast an outstanding employment record upon graduation. Our unrivalled reputation for excellence means you can expect to secure rewarding positions in GP practices and acute trusts throughout the UK.

The course is very demanding but incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Our multidisciplinary approach means that by the end of it you will be able to:

  • safely practice in a wide variety of clinical settings within your scope of practice and under agreed supervision

  • be an expert communicator who is empathic in a manner appropriate to a healthcare professional

  • critically examine health inequalities and the challenges of working in a multicultural environment

  • be aware of the limits of your competence and committed to acting within these limits

  • critically evaluate the context of multi-professional working in a team environment

  • be adept in the use of communication and information technology skills for healthcare

  • critically appraise the evidence underpinning your practice

  • be a capable and motivated lifelong learner who is continually engaged in active professional development

  • understand the need to maintain and promote health, as well as to cure or palliate disease, and be aware of your obligations to the wider community, as well as to individuals

  • integrate theoretical and clinical learning.

You may find these links helpful in exploring the Physician Associate role:

All applications must be submitted through our online application system.

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How to apply

  1. Click ‘Apply’ above.

  2. Create an account.

  3. Complete the application form and upload any relevant documents. You can save a partly completed form and return to it later. Please make sure you complete all sections. Please make sure that the information you provide is accurate, including the options you select in menus.

  4. Add pgadmissions@sgul.ac.uk to your address book to ensure you do not miss any important emails from us.

  5. When you have checked that your application is complete and accurate, click ‘Submit’.

You can track your application online.

References

Please provide two references to support your application. These must be submitted using the Reference Request Form.

One must be a recent academic reference. The other should be either a second academic reference or a professional/employer reference. They should cover your suitability for the course and your academic ability. (See the form for more detail on what the references should cover.)

Your referees should know you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. We do not accept references from family, friends, partners, ex-partners or yourself.

They should be dated no more than a year before the date of your application, and must be uploaded within two weeks of making your application.

Download the reference request form (Word)

Apply now

Duration

Two years full-time, three years part-time (final year full-time)

Application Deadline

01 March 2020

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