Physician Associate Studies

Physician Associate Studies MPAS (Hons)

This is our undergraduate Physician Associate training programme. We also have a postgraduate course.

The integrated Master of Physician Associate Studies provides an exciting opportunity for undergraduates to become medical Physician Associate  professionals, combining university study with practical work-based placements. 50% of the final two years of the programme is spent in clinical environments.

Physician Associates (PA) provide care to patients under the supervision of a Consultant or General Practitioner. Their role includes interviewing and examining patients, ordering tests and making decisions about patient management. This role is an exciting alternative to studying medicine and becoming a doctor.

Our course is the only UK programme offering undergraduate Physician Associate training. It will provide you with a solid foundation of scientific and clinical skills, and the opportunity to build on and use these through a variety of clinical placements in Lancashire and/or Cumbria. All of our course content is in line with the requirements of the Physician Associate Competence and Curriculum framework (2012) laid out by the Faculty of Physician Associates, Royal College of Physicians.

Human Anatomy Resource Centre

Paediatric Clinical Skills Lab

Our programme teaches the fundamentals of medical sciences in interactive small groups practical sessions and lectures. These are supported by case-based learning, providing an opportunity for you to consolidate and contextualise your knowledge. From the start of the course clinical and communication skills are taught using our state-of-the-art facilities, volunteer patients and simulated role players. During the first two years of the programme, you will be learning alongside students who are enrolled onto the MBBS programme. The final two years will employ a spiral curriculum principle to enable continuation of developing confident and competent students to begin their career in the healthcare arena.

Outside of the classroom environment, the provision of clinical placements includes a full spectrum of opportunities: urban and rural, specialised hospital and general practice; single-handed or multi-disciplinary. Teamwork is essential for every PA and these placements will enable working with a variety of groups whilst under the supervision of medical colleagues. The geographical location of UCLan is ideal to enable this amazing combination of clinical opportunities, of which we are very proud.


Year 1:

UM1010: In this module you will learn the fundamentals of medical sciences, studying subjects including anatomy, physiology, microbiology and immunology. An integrated systems-based approach is taken with lectures, small group demonstrations and practical sessions.

UM1020:  Year 1 looks at how health and illness are shaped by factors outside the human body. You will cover topics including psychology, sociology and public health, beginning to develop the critical appraisal skills underpinning evidence-based medicine.

UM1030: In Year 1 you will learn the basic skills required for a clinical consultation. You will learn core examination skills, how to take a medical history and how to perform fundamental practical procedures. Alongside these, concepts of continuing professional development and reflection are explored and developed.

Year 2:

UM2010: In Year 2 you will continue to develop your knowledge of underlying medical sciences, however the focus moves to abnormal structure and function in relation to disease processes. You will also further develop your understanding of therapeutic interventions relevant to specific body systems.

UM2030: This module builds upon the skills developed in Year 1 to prepare you for the clinical placements in Years 3 and 4 of the programme. Existing skills are applied to more specific and advanced examinations, procedures and consultations through small group practical sessions in the clinical skills laboratory.

XY3040: A double module which will enable you to be able to evaluate primary research by critical assessment of original data or published literature through applying a series of research methodologies. There will be the opportunity to apply previously learnt research and practical skills to the completion of an independent research project.

Year 3:

UM4100: This module will enhance your study skills, develop skills in team-working, and will provide you with an opportunity to apply biomedical scientific knowledge to the subject of medicine and more specifically Physician Associate Studies.

UM4200: As you progress with the programme you will continue to develop the attributes and behaviours which are expected of a safe and effective PA and demonstrate the concept of professional practice within the healthcare team. You will also continue to develop skills to communicate effectively with patients, carers and healthcare professionals. This module will also ensure you are able to demonstrate competence in the practical procedures and clinical skills required of a PA in training outlined in the Competence and Curriculum Framework and regulatory body requirements.

UM4300: This module will ensure you develop knowledge of therapeutics and practical procedural skills in prescribing.

UM4602: This module will equip you with the practical experience of working in a variety of clinical settings and within multi-professional working environments, which will enable you to build on and apply the clinical skills studied during the taught element of the course and to integrate your theoretical and professional skills. These opportunities will help you to appreciate the challenges of health inequalities and patient diversity in professional clinical settings.

Year 4:

UM4400: This module will help you to explore through disciplines of population health, psychology and sociology, how these influence delivery of patient care, patient uptake of care and patient concordance with health management.

UM4500: This final theoretical module will help you to consolidate your diagnostic and analytical skills and by applying knowledge of medical sciences and therapeutics, which will involve you making judgments based around effective patient-centred care.

UM4702: Similar to UM4600 with a focus towards more specialised skills in assessment, diagnostics and clinical decision making within the spheres of obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatric, mental health, surgical speciality and emergency medicine the application of theory to clinical placements will be clearly evident.

Key Information

  • Duration:

    4 Years

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time

  • Award Type:

    MPAS (Hons)

  • UCAS Code:


  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Fees 2019/20

    Full-time: £9,250* per year (UK/EU)

Scholarships and Bursaries

The University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to support you through your studies.

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Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for those taking A Levels or international equivalent:

  • A Levels: Minimum grades ABB including Chemistry, a further science & an academic subject
  • GCSEs: GCSE Math’s & English Grade C/4 or above
  • Access to Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy at 128 points, including 15 level 3 credits in Chemistry at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits in a second science at Distinction
  • If English is not first language: English language IELTS 7.0 (or equivalent)

Entry Requirements for those on Foundation Programmes (from a foundation programme provider who works in partnership with SoM, UCLan)
A minimum of 60%

Supporting Information

  • All applications must be accompanied by an academic reference.
  • As part of the application process, candidates who successfully pass the initial selection panel will be invited to interview.
  • You will be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB) and we will guide you through this process
  • All successful applicants will need to undergo occupational health screening (including tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C and HIV) prior to enrolment.


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DBS Checks

This course will involve access to children and/or vulnerable adults. You will be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB) and we will guide you through this process.

Course Overview

Year 1

  • UM1010 - MPAS Integrated Science and Clinical Medicine 1
  • UM1020 - MPAS Evidence Informed Practice of Medicine
  • UM1030 - MPAS Medical Skills and Quality Care 1

Year 2

  • UM2010 - Integrated Science and Clinical Medicine 2
  • UM2030 - Medical Skills and Quality Care 2
  • XY3040 - Research Project

Year 3

  • UM4100 - Integrated Clinical Sciences
  • UM4200 - Medical Skills and Patient Care 
  • UM4300 - Medical Therapeutics and Prescribing
  • UM4600 - Professional Placement (Physician Associate Studies) I
Year 4
  • UM4400 - Evidence-based Practice
  • UM4500 - Medicine through Clinical Practice
  • UM4700 - Professional Placement (Physician Associate Studies) II


Learning Environment and Assessment

A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits and each 20 credit (a standard module) equates to 200 hours of study, which comprises of a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and independent study. Independent study is an important aspect of your degree course. The exact combination of study time will be detailed within your module descriptors, and will depend on your option choices.

Please note that the MPAS (Hons) Physician Associate Studies is an undergraduate Integrated Master’s and therefore lasts 4 years (whereas traditional undergraduate degrees last 3 years).  

Whilst there is much traditional teaching as would be expected at university, the teaching and learning strategy is more than just this. You will have access to state-of-the-art Human Anatomy Resource Centres with a virtual dissection table (anatomage) and to modern clinical skills areas; simulation, typical ward environments, single consultation rooms, paediatric facilities, operating department areas.

Regular cases help to frame each sub-module area of learning, eg respiratory focus, or neurological. Whilst developing teamwork and leadership skills through these sessions, you are directed to focus your learning in a thoughtful and intelligent manner. The assessment strategy for the programme is varied and includes examinations (eg MCQ and SAQ), written assignments and clinical examinations (eg OSCE and DOPS) as examples of our different approaches.


Employability in the NHS for qualified PAs, once you have passed the National Exam as well as the programme at university, is currently 100% as demand is far in excess of supply. As a generalist practitioner, jobs typically are in acute medicine (AMU/AED), surgery and GP practices along with some more specialised areas such as paediatrics and elderly health.

NHS teaching with excellence, and provision of clinical placements, ensures rich and fulfilling relationships across the sectors from the full geographical area. These relationships can facilitate clinical practitioners from the NHS coming into the classroom to help deliver front line, up to date health care materials which is essential in training future Physician Associates, enabling them to enter straight into work on successful graduation.

Physician Associate Studies Brochure

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Important Information

Contact Us

This course is based in the School of Medicine
Telephone us for further information +44(0)1772 892400
or email us at: | Book a visit

Course Handbook

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry: 2018 Entry | 2019 Entry
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Essential and Important Course Information.

Tuition Fees & Finance

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.
For 2018/19 fees please refer to our fees page.

Further Information for students

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Central Lancashire on our Student Contract page.

Entry Requirements

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our Essential and Important Course Information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.