PG Dip Physician Associate Studies

Course Overview

PG Dip Physician Associate Studies

Physician Associates are healthcare professionals that support doctors in diagnosing and managing patient treatment. The PG Dip in Physician Associate Studies in Swansea is one of the first courses of its kind in Wales. Developed as a collaborative venture between Swansea University Medical School and the College of Human and Health Science this integrated two year course will teach students the knowledge and clinical skills they require to pass the National Certification Examination and start work as a Physician Associate.

Key Features

Students will spend the majority of Year 1 of the course undertaking university based theory and practical sessions with some early clinical exposure to the working environment . Teaching will be divided into four week blocks according to body systems and Anatomy and Clinical Skills teaching will be integrated into this structure. Teaching will be case based and will involve a combination of lectures, seminars, project work and small group learning.

Year 2 of the course is largely spent on clinical placements, with students applying their learning in the care of real patients under the supervision of a clinically qualified mentor. Students will have to work towards an agreed level of competence at a range of clinical skills and must be assessed as safe and competent in those skills. The “Competence and Curriculum Framework for the Physician Assistant (2012)” prescribes, to a large extent, the range of clinical environments in which students will spend their placements

Students will be provided with the opportunities to:

1. seek out and recognise the clinical applications of their theoretical learning
2. apply learning within the practice setting
3. reflect on practice to identify their individual learning needs
4. develop clinical reasoning skills
5. develop a range of practical skills
6. recognise, in practice, those principles, assumptions, beliefs and theories which shape that practice
7. work effectively with patients and where appropriate with carers
8. work within a clear understanding of the limitations of their knowledge and skills



The modular structure for Year 1 comprises two 40 credit modules delivered by Swansea University Medical School ( SUMS) and three modules delivered by the College of Human and Health Science (CHHS) with a combined value of 40 credits. The knowledge based module (Foundations in Clinical Medicine for Physician Associates) will be assessed by two summative Progress Tests. The “Physician Associate Clinical Skills” module will be assessed by Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE's). The CHHS modules are “An introduction to Sociology and Psychology for Physician Associates” ( 10 credits), “An introduction to Health Care Law and Ethics for Physician Associates” ( 10 credits) and “An introduction to Research, Evidence based practice and Reflection for Physician Associates” ( 20 credits) The CHHS modules will be assessed by a combination of essays, a research presentation and a reflective portfolio.

The modular structure for Year 2 contains two 40 credit modules delivered by SUMS. The “Foundations in Clinical Medicine” module will be assessed by two summative Progress Tests. The “Clinical Skills” module will be assessed by two OSCE's as well as workplace based assessments (Mini-CEX) and satisfactory completion of the learning log. The CHHS modules are” Public Health and Epidemiology for Physician Associates” ( 10 credits), “Learning,Teaching and Assessing for Physician Associates” (10 credits) and “Critical reflection for Physician Associates” (20 credits) The CHHS modules will be assessed by a combination of an essay, a presentation, a written narrative and completion of a reflective portfolio.

The course is designed so that all examinations and assessments, including supplementaries, will be concluded by the end of August allowing students to be ready to sit the National Certification Examination for Physician Associates in early September.

Entry Requirements

Physician Associate Studies is open to applications from UK/EU ('home') candidates for 2017.  Further information about how to confirm your eligibility can be found on the University's Fee Status Assessment page.  


In order to be eligible to apply for the Physician Associate Course, you must not have already pursued another PA course (fully or in part). All applicants must be able to demonstrate the following by 31st July 2017:


  • Evidence of caring experience
  • GCSE Mathematics and English/Welsh at grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • A minimum of a 2.2 in a biomedical science or health related discipline**. Applicants who have achieved a high degree (a 2.1 or a 1st) in a non-related discipline and can provide evidence of relevant work experience and values in line with the NHS constitution may be considered on an individual basis.


**Degrees awarded in countries other than the UK can be accepted if they are confirmed to be equivalent to awards in the UK system. For applicants holding more than one undergraduate degree, the result from the most recent degree will be considered

Providing the entry requirements are met, all applications are treated fairly and consistently upon their merits and successful individuals will then be invited to interview.


The PA Course is not open to:

  • Applicants who have previously enrolled on a PA course
  • Transfers from other PA courses

How To Apply

Competition is anticipated to be high for this innovative and exciting course.  The closing date for 2017 entry is midnight on Friday 31st March 2017.  

Please read our Guidance Notes before applying online. Online application is the quickest way to apply and receive a decision on your application.

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All applications require a personal statement, this personal statement should include 

  • An explanation of why you would like to undertake our PA course
  • What values and experience you bring to the role.
  • Evidence of relevant work experience and values in line with the NHS constitution
  • Evidence of caring experience

You will also be required to upload copies of your Mathematics and English/Welsh GCSE certificates in Section 6 of the application form.

For the academic year 2017/18 applications will be considered from UK residents only although this is subject to change.

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Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2017/18 are as follows:

UK/EU International
PGDip Full-time £9,250 N/A

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

Placements take place across the region and transport between sites is at the expense of the student. Please contact the Medical School Student Information and Education Office for further information.
Books and course materials will also be at the expense of the student.

You may face additional costs while at university, including (but not limited to):
• Buying a stethoscope
• Books, course materials and printing or photocopying costs (many recommended textbooks for this course are available in the University or hospital site libraries)
• Parking at the recreation ground and travel to and from campus or Morriston Hospital Teaching site
• Photocopying and buying stationery, USB sticks
• Hiring robes for graduation

The National Certification Examination for Physician Associates is not part of the course and students will need to make their own arrangements to sit this exam. All costs involved in this will be borne by the student.


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