Taught in a thriving medical school, our MSc in Physician Associate Studies delivers a modern and dynamic curriculum which ensures that you are equipped with the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to become a valued and key member of the clinical team.

All 2017 entrants are guaranteed employment with NHS Grampian upon successful completition of the course and National Exam.

Key Facts

2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

Interested in this Degree?

Call +44 (0)1224 437923 Email Enquire Using an online form Next Steps Find out how to apply


This highly regarded Physician Associate programme has been designed to train a new generation of healthcare professionals to support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. Physician Associates (PA) are trained to perform a number of roles including taking medical histories, performing examinations, diagnosing illnesses, analysing test results and developing management plans.

This is a two-year full time programme requiring ninety weeks of study and combines the theoretical and scientific basis of medicine with clinical experience. The programme leads to the award of MSc in Physician Associate Studies. Upon successful completition of the course, graduates are eligible to sit the national examination which entitles entry onto the national register and practise as a PA in the UK.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 2 year full time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.

Year 1


Year 1 of the course is focused on establishing the foundations of anatomy, medical sciences, clinical medicine, clinical diagnostic and communication skills. As the course progresses towards the end of the first year students will complete the first three of eleven clinical rotations before progressing to Year 2 where they will complete the remaining eight clinical rotations.

Compulsory Courses

  • Medical Science 1 (30 Credits)
  • Advanced Clinical Method 1 ( 15 Credits)
  • Anatomy (runs over both 1st and 2nd half sessions (30 Credits)
  • Medical Sciences 2 (30 Credits)
  • Advanced Clinical Method 2 (15 Credits)
  • Clinical Placements 1 - 3 (15 Credits each)

Year 2


Through the second year there are a series of clinical rotations through specialities such as general surgery, emergency medicine, reproductive health and paediatrics where students learn about common disease presentation whilst dealing with real patients. During these rotations, students will benefit bedside teaching, seminars and tutorials whilst working alongside a variety of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals.

Compulsory Courses

  • Clinical Placements 4 - 11 (15 Credits each)
  • Clinical Assessment OSCE (15 Credits)
  • Transitions to Practice (15 Credits)
  • E-portfolio Reflection in Practice (15 Credits)

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

In 2006 the Department of Health released the Competence and Curriculum Framework (CCF) for the Physician Associate, developed in partnership with The Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners. The CCF defines the role and scope of practice standards for education and assessment of Physician Associates. This document has recently been reviewed in order to update it in light of the changing role of the Physician Associate.

During year 1 there is an emphasis on communication and clinical skills whilst learning about the scientific basis of medicine. As the course progresses towards the end of the first year and through the second year there are a series of clinical rotations through specialities such as general surgery, emergency medicine, reproductive health and paediatrics, where students learn about common disease presentation whilst dealing with real patients.

During these rotations, students will benefit from bedside teaching, seminars and tutorials whilst working alongside a variety of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals consolidating knowledge and developing their skills.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects
  • Group Projects
  • Clinical Learning


Assessment is continuous ensuring that basic skills are mastered before moving on to more advanced topics.

Summative written and clinical assessments are usually at the end of a year.

Why Study Physician Associate Studies?

  • Taught in a thriving medical school,  that is co-located on one of the largest clinical sites in Europe with superb teaching and extensive facilities.
  • The Physician Associate programme at Aberdeen is the second longest running in the UK, and we are currently the only University in Scotland to offer this exciting programme.
  • On our established programme you will benefit from a modern, dynamic and clearly delivered curriculum using a systems-based, integrated approach. Student feedback is encouraged and is extremely important in informing future developments of the programme.
  • The MSc aims to produce professionals who have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to function as Physician Associates and the personal and intellectual attributes necessary for lifelong professional development.
  • MyPA is a bespoke virtual learning environment for Physician Associate staff and student course materials and interactions. In addition to timetable and learning resources provision, MyPA hosts and processes Student Course Evaluation Forms, allow students to “star rate” teaching events, and provide very detailed feedback on formative and summative assessments.
  • The University of Aberdeen is ranked 7th in the UK for medicine (Guardian University Guide, 2016).
  • Aberdeen has a long and proud history teaching medicine with the earliest English-speaking Chair in Medicine endowed at the University in 1497.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Please note that the National Exam is not include as part of the MSc Physican Associate Studies course fee.

This means that upon successful completion of the course, graduates are liable for fees and associated costs of sitting the exam. Further information can be found on the Faculty of Physican Associates website.

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students
Please note that this is programme spans 2 academic years of full time study. Students will be charged a fee for each academic year.
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £9,400
International Students
Please note that this is programme spans 2 academic years of full time study. Students will be charged a fee for each academic year
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £17,200
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with a degree from the University of Aberdeen. More information can be found on the Finance and Funding page.

(Please note this cannot be claimed in conjunction with any other scholarship award.)

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Medical School Top 10 - 2017

Our Medical School is ranked 7th in the UK and 2nd in Scotland (The Guardian University League table, 2017).

Guardian League Table 2017

Entry Requirements

A personal statement and two references must be submitted with each application.

One of these should provide an academic reference and the other should be able to comment on your suitability to enter the healthcare profession.

Applicants from the USA should be aware that the UK PA qualification is not verified or recognised in the USA.

Applications for September 2017 entry must be submitted by midnight, Monday 1st May.

Face to face interviews are a compulsory part of the application process. Successful applicants will be emailed and invited to interview. Currently, these are schedued to take place on 29th May and 7th June 2017.


2:1 or 1st class honours degree in a medical or health related science.

  • Higher (or A level) grade C or above in chemistry
  • Standard (or O level) grades B or above in English and Mathematics (Experience in healthcare may contribute and compensate if the above requirements have not been fully met).

For full information, please visit the School website

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Candidates whose first language is not English must also achieve an IELTS overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in the speaking section.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Certificatea degree certificate showing your qualifications
  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Referencea reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability


  • Suttie Centre

    Suttie Centre

    The Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare is a purpose-built facility providing excellent teaching and training facilities. Each floor is dedicated to topics such as Anatomy, MBChB, NHS Grampian training and Clinical Skills.

    Find out more
  • Foresterhill Health Campus

    Foresterhill Health Campus

    The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

  • Library facilities

    Library facilities

    A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.


Physician Associates are a new and rapidly growing group of graduate professionals in the UK. Whilst not doctors, they work to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within the general medical and/or general practice team under defined levels of supervision. With ever increasing demands on our National Health Service, the role of the PA is designed to supplement the medical workforce, ultimately improving patient access.

Following the two year course and after qualification, PAs can expect starting salaries of Agenda for Change Band 6. Thereafter career progression will be dependent upon competency, attributes and opportunities to progress to higher pay scales.

The Physician Associate role has been identified as a key profession in NHS service within the UK. It is envisaged that a large number of job vacancies will become available in forthcoming years.

Industry Links

The University of Aberdeen has close links with the NHS in Grampian, Highland, Lanarkshire and Tayside, where students can undertake clinical attachments.

Our Experts

Deputy Programme Coordinator
Mrs Linda Watson
Programme Coordinator
Dr James McLay

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition
University of Aberdeen
Polwarth Building

AB25 2ZD
+44 (0)1224 437923
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