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.

physician associate students in a lecture

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

Year one

Year one 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. The module descriptors are found 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 a hospital and six to nine weeks being spent on a GP placement.


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.

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 an 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 and 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.



Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2019 16:26