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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Physician associate studies

BSMS > Postgraduate > Physician Associate Studies

Physician Associate Studies

Key facts


Full-time: 2 years

Eligible applicants: UK, EU

Location: University of Brighton, Falmer campus, University of Sussex Falmer campus

Course Leader: Dr Richard Howell >

General enquiries:

This course is delivered through specific faculty team at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. 


To see what some of our students have to say about this course, watch our video below.

Watch here >

Key areas of study

  • Integrated curriculum with longitudinal clinical placements in primary care throughout Year 1
  • Anatomy delivered using prosection
  • Access to learning materials from the undergraduate medical course 
  • Simulated-based learning throughout the curriculum
  • Clinical reasoning strategies for diagnosis in case-based learning 
  • Rotational attachments in local NHS trusts in clinical specialities throughout Year 2

Course overview

This innovative course provides students with the knowledge, professional and clinical skills to work as a PA. The integrated curriculum borrows from the successful undergraduate course at BSMS with augmentation through intensive discussion of clinical cases in small groups, and includes significant time in local clinical placements and simulation facilities.

See what some of our current students have to say in our video below.

At a time of significant change in the NHS, PAs are playing an increasingly valuable role supporting doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. The PA is a relatively new role in the NHS, working alongside doctors in hospitals and GP surgeries.

This innovative course, developed in conjunction with Health Education England Kent, Surrey and Sussex, provides students with the knowledge, professional and clinical skills to work as a PA and includes significant time in local clinical placements and simulation facilities. 

You can also keep up-to-date with our Facebook and Twitter channels.

For further information on Physician Associates, please visit

To understand what a Physician Associate does on a day-to-day basis, Health Education England (West Midlands) have produced this informative Day in the Life of a Physician Associate video. 

smiling students

“The varied and interactive teaching style at BSMS, including being able to view prosections in anatomy and developing clinical practice techniques, really solidifies our learning and means that I’m learning a lot really quickly, which is really exciting!”

Katie Morgan-Jones, NHS Clinical Assistant and Physician Associate student 

Course structure

Learning outcomes from the modules listed below are integrated so that students will learn about clinical medicine on a theoretical basis, practice relevant clinical skills in the classroom, followed by supervised practice on real patients in clinical attachments.

Year One

  • Biomedical and Clinical Science for PA (30 credits)
  • Case-based Learning for PA (Foundation) (45 credits)
  • Clinical Practice for PA (Foundation) (45 credits)

Year Two

  • Case-based Learning for PA (45 credits)
  • Clinical Practice for PA (Senior); a series of clinical attachments in local secondary care trusts and CCGs (60 credits)
  • Preparation for Practice; Student Selected Component within Affiliated Trusts (15 credits)
  • Service Improvement Project (based within clinical practice rotations)

In the second year of study, students are on placement in one of the three local trusts; Western Hospitals NHS Trust, East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust or Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Time is also spent at Sussex Partnership NHS Trust doing psychiatry. While every effort is made to accommodate student preferences, no guarantees can be made of any one particular placement.

Career opportunities

Qualification with the MSc in Physician Associate Studies and successful completion of the national examination will allow alumnae to work in a variety of healthcare settings including general medicine, paediatrics, and in community settings.

Following graduation from the course, and subsequent completion of the Physician Associate National Examinations, PAs can expect starting salaries of Agenda for Change Band 7. Progression thereafter will be dependent on competency, attributes and opportunities to progress to higher pay scales.

As the PA role has been identified as a key emergent profession within the NHS, it is envisaged a large number of job vacancies will become available locally and nationally in the coming years.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have gained a 1st or 2:1 in a Bio Science degree or equivalent. Applicants with other health-related degrees obtained within the last five years may also be considered. Registered health professionals with more than five years' clinical experience may apply in exceptional circumstances with appropriate references and a personal statement.

In addition, all applicant must have GCSE Maths and English Grade A*-B or equivalent.

For EU students, an IELTS score of 7.0 or above is required in addition to the academic requirements

This course is only open to applications from UK/ EU/ Island residents.

Fees and funding

The fees listed below are the overall costs for full-time courses taken in the academic year 2019-20. Where courses are taken part-time over more than one academic year, fees are usually charged pro-rata for the modules taken during each academic year.


UK £9,000   

After accepting your place on the course there is a non-refundable £250 deposit required to secure your place. This is then subtracted from your tuition fees once you have started the course.

A training grant from Health Education England of £5,000 is available to all studies across the two year course. Alumnae of the parent universities (the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex) may apply for scholarships in Year 1 if they have a first or 2:1. All students can also apply for a student loan whilst studying a master's degree (£10,250).

Apply here

Applications are made through the University of Brighton online portal.