The physician associate program is offered as both a full master’s program and a postgraduate diploma.
Often students get confused about which to choose or which is better in terms of becoming a qualified physician associate.
Difference between the physician associate MSc and PGDip?
The difference between the Physician Associate MSc and PGDip is that the MSc version usually includes a research module and a full master’s dissertation. This enables it to be classed as a full Master of Science program on par with every other MSc program from any other university.
This is optional and if your goal is purely to practice as a physician associate, the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) will allow you to achieve the same thing.
Of course, masters programs are typically looked at more favourably by employers in general but there might be an exception in the physician associate field.
As long as you meet the core competencies and pass your board examinations, you are able to become a qualified PA and become a member of the register.
Should you go for the MSc or PGDip?
The decision to study for the MSc or PGDip is ultimately up to you. Both will allow you to practice as a physician associate in the UK granted you pass your national examinations.
Even if you decide to study the PGDip which is intended to be slightly less work, you are still able to qualify as a full physician associate however you won’t be given a full masters degree certificate at your graduation.
You may however decide to complete a master’s dissertation at any time after graduating with a PGDip to bring up your qualification to a full time masters.
Birmingham is one university that offers this top-up course for students interested in converting their PGDip to an MSc in physician associate studies.
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