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Physician Associate Studies (PGDip)

Physician associates are a new type of healthcare professional who are able to carry out many of the day-to-day activities normally performed by doctors.

Physician Associate Studies Overview

Year of entry: 2017

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Physician associates are permanent members of the medical team, responsible for performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests and recommending therapy.

The role of physician associates is increasingly important within the healthcare workforce and individuals with this qualification are in demand. Our PGDip in Physician Associate Studies aims to develop the skills required to become an effective practitioner through a combination of teaching and practical placements.

A range of benefits are provided by the University to support your career development:

  • you will receive a salary during the course;
  • on successful completion of the programme (having also passed the national examinations and fulfilled all other required competencies) you will spend a further two years in clinical practice within the NHS by applying for a range of funded posts with primary and acute care providers across the north-west;
  • Year 2 provides you with an elective period and the opportunity to develop your skills through working abroad (travel bursaries may be available);
  • develop your skills in our dedicated medical department with first class facilities;
  • integrated training in prescribing safety (in anticipation of prescribing rights for Physician Associates) and communication skills is provided;
  • the University will provide iPads with access to a range of online resources, which are essential during placements;
  • after two years you will have the opportunity to specialise in an area of your choice.

Through our course you will:

  • develop intellectual skills in problem solving and enquiry, critical analysis, logical thinking, clinical reasoning and reflection;
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of relevant principals and practical approaches in the clinical, behavioural and social sciences;
  • develop basic clinical and patient-centred consultation skills.

Please note we do not accept applications for this course from international students.

Degree awarded
Postgraduate Diploma
2 years FT
Entry requirements
  • Applicants should hold a minimum of a second class honours degree in a relevant subject.
  • Suitable subjects include (but are not limited to) the life sciences (Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Healthcare Science etc.) or allied health professions (e.g. Pharmacy, Audiology, Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy etc.).
  • All applicants should hold GCSE qualifications in Maths and English at grade B or equivalent.
  • Applicants with equivalent or non-standard qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
Contact email
Contact telephone
+44 (0)161 275 5220
How to apply

Applications for 2017 have now closed.

The next intake will be January/ February 2018 and we expect applications to open again in November 2017.

If you wish to be added to our mailing list please contact

Course options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning

Course description

This course aims to develop the skills required to become an effective physician associate. Physician associates first joined the NHS workforce nearly ten years ago and are now employed throughout the UK in increasing numbers.

They are a new type of healthcare professional who are trained according to the medical model and are able to carry out many of the day-to-day activities that are normally performed by doctors, including the diagnosis and treatment of common and complex diseases, in collaboration with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Physician associates are permanent members of the medical team and perform physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and recommend therapy.

The physician associate (or physician assistant) role was first developed in the US during the 1960s, and the profession has grown considerably in the last ten years to the point where there are now over 95,000 registered physician associates in the US.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2017, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £9,000

You will be an NHS employee during training and will receive a salary of circa £14,500 in Year 1 and £15,500 in Year 2. This is taxable; however you will still be exempt from council tax as a full-time student.

You must be eligible to work in the UK and have home/EU fee status.