Physician Associate Studies, MSc

Physician Associate Studies, MSc


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.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
24 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
Location of Study

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 completion 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.

**Please note that the deadline for applications is 1st September each year for studies commencing the following January**

What You'll Study

Year 1

Programme runs from January to August

Compulsory Courses

  • Medical Science 1 (ME5519)
  • Advanced Clinical Method 1 (ME5520)
  • Anatomy 1 (ME5521 )
Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5006)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Year 2

Programme runs from September to August

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.

There is potential to do your second year rotations in various NHS Boards within Scotland including East region and Highland.

Compulsory Courses

  • Medical Sciences 2 (ME5019 )
  • Advanced Clinical Method 2 (ME5020)
  • Anatomy 2 (ME5021 )
  • Clinical Placement 1 (ME54C1 )
  • Clinical Placement 2 (ME57C2 )
  • Clinical Placement 3 (ME57C3 )
  • Clinical Placement 4 (ME57C4 )
  • Clinical Placement 5 (ME58C5 )
  • Clinical Placement 6 (ME59C6 )
  • Clinical Placement 7 (ME59C7 )
  • Clinical Placement 8 (ME59C8 )
Year 3

Programme runs from September to December

Compulsory Courses

  • Clinical Placement 9 (ME50C9 )
  • Clinical Placement 10 (ME50C0 )
  • Clinical Placement 11 (ME541C )
  • Clinical Assessment OSCE (ME5400)
  • Transitions to Practice (Written) (ME5401)
  • E-portfolio Reflection in Practice (ME5402 )

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.

Fee Information

Please note that the PA national exam is not include as part of the MSc Physician 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 Physician Associates website.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year Please note that this is programme spans 2 academic years of full time study. Students will be charged a fee for each academic year.
Home / RUK £11,900
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year Please note that this is programme spans 2 academic years of full time study. Students will be charged a fee for each academic year.

Additional Fee Information

  • 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.

Funding Opportunities

The University of Aberdeen is 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.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

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

  • Clinical Learning
  • E-learning
  • Group Projects
  • Lectures
  • Peer Learning
  • Professional Placements
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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

Summative written and clinical assessments are at the end of the academic 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.
  • Aberdeen has a long and proud history teaching medicine with the earliest English-speaking Chair in Medicine endowed at the University in 1497.

What Our Students Say

Liam Allan

Liam Allan

Liam Allan

Studying MSc Physician Associate Studies has given me the perfect opportunity to enhance my knowledge and learn practical and clinical skills to suit me well to life as a Physician Associate.

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.

**Please note that the deadline for applications is 1st September each year for studies commencing the following January**


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

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

  • Higher/A level Chemistry at grade C or above
  • Nat 5/GCSE 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 Physician Associate Studies Entrance Requirements webpage.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 7.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 7.0; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 100 with: Listening - 21; Reading - 22; Speaking - 28; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 70 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 70; Writing - 59

Cambridge English C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 185 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 185; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference x 2
two reference letters, one of which should be from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employers, or other professional individuals


Physician Associates are a 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 medical 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.

Upon successful completion of the University of Aberdeen assessments, students are eligible to present for the PA national examination. Upon passing the National Exam, candidates are eligible to be entered on the Managed Voluntary National Register (PAMVR) and to practice as a PA in the UK. 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.

Useful Websites

Industry Links

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


In 2019 the Department of Health and Social Care alongside the four UK governments asked the GMC to regulate the Physician Associate profession. For updates on the progress of this, please visit the GMC website

Image for useful fact about this Subject

1st in the UK for Medicine

The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition is ranked 1st in the UK for Medicine (Guardian University Guide 2024)

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Gerard Browne

Information About Staff Changes

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.


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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
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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.

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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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX