Physician Associate Studies

Why Physician Associate Studies at RCSI Dublin?
Physician associates (PAs) are highly-skilled healthcare professionals who provide a broad range of medical services in a wide variety of workplaces (including all types of hospital and surgical care, GP practices and community health services).

PAs support doctors and surgeons in the diagnosis and management of patients and are trained to perform several roles, including taking medical histories, performing examinations, making diagnoses and analysing test results.

If you are a graduate of the health sciences, and you want to pursue a career that offers you the opportunity to provide patient-focused care in a wide variety of healthcare settings, Physician Associate Studies at RCSI is for you.

This fast-paced two-year Masters programme has a balance of theory and practice, so your focus is on the patient from day one.

Key features of the programme
• The programme is shaped and delivered by PA clinicians with over 35 years' experience
• You are mentored by qualified PA clinicians in clinical practice areas
• You have access to clinical specialities across hospitals and communities
• You have access to world-class simulation facilities in 26 York Street

What you will study
The integration of theory and practice is deemed fundamental to clinical learning.

The theory is delivered via blended learning with a mix of lectures, small group tutorials and problem-based learning at RCSI’s St Stephen’s Green Campus. Your clinical experience will be in both hospital and community attachments.

Throughout the programme, there is a focus on patient care, working across healthcare environments, and the variety and scope within your role as a PA.

The Physician Associate Studies programme is run over two full calendar years with a total of 30 days annual leave, dispersed throughout. Due to clinical rotations and academic commitments, there is no summer break as in some other RCSI Postgraduate programmes.

Subjects taught

• Foundations of Clinical Medicine
This module explores the foundations of clinical medicine using a systems approach and includes anatomy dissection and prosection. You will need to draw on your previous science/health sciences qualification to relate to the underlying pathology and microbiology of diseases.

• Clinical Medicine and Practice
The focus of this module is the application of theory to practice. Emphasis is placed on ensuring your competency in clinical skills and in using a problem-solving, decision-making approach in case-based learning. You will participate in small group clinically-based simulated scenarios in RCSI’s state-of-the-art simulation centre.

• Pharmacology and Therapeutics
PAs need to have detailed knowledge of pharmacology and the related clinical sciences to work as part of a multidisciplinary team. This knowledge applied in the clinical domain will enhance your ability to assess and manage patients/clients presenting with acute health problems and/or complex long-term conditions.

• Personal and Professional Development
The aim of this module is to develop your self-awareness and leadership skills, to equip you to work as part of a multidisciplinary team. It will include an understanding of human factors in patient safety such as clinical judgement, the development of clinical expertise and underlying causes of medical error.

• Evidence-based Practice in Healthcare (dissertation)
PAs are involved in evidence-based practice on a day-to-day basis, whether it is part of a team implementing a change, or as a professional leading an initiative. Your dissertation will focus on a quality improvement project plan which will have an impact on patient outcomes.

• Clinical Practice
You will complete up to 50 weeks of clinical practice during the programme (across Year 1 and 2) with a minimum number of weeks in areas including general medicine, community medicine, general surgery, specialty medicine and an elective rotation of your choice.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a level 8 Health Science or science-related degree with a minimum classification 2.2 award or equivalent qualification.

The MSc in Physician Associate Studies is a postgraduate qualification that includes extensive clinical placement. To be eligible for acceptance to and continuation on the programme, you must hold either a current valid EU/UK* passport or a current valid visa which entitles you to work in Ireland.

*UK citizens are required to make contact via email at in advance on submitting an application to discuss your current status.

Please note
We are currently training and qualifying physician associates to work and remain in the Irish healthcare system.

All RCSI students are classified as healthcare workers and vaccination against COVID-19 is strongly recommended.

Failure to maintain either your EU passport or valid work visa during the programme would render you ineligible to remain on the programme.

Applications for our January 2024 cohort are now closed. Applications for our January 2025 cohort will open in April 2024; please keep an eye on our website for more information.

As part of the selection process applicants are required to submit the following supporting documentation:

- Copy of your passport, showing personal details.

- Personal statement of no more than 1,000 words outlining why you are interested in pursuing a career as a physician associate and why you feel your application has merit.

- Two reference letters, one of which must be an academic reference. Reference letters can be uploaded with your application, or sent directly to by the referee.

- Certified, or stamped copy of academic transcripts (or interim transcripts).

- CV outlining your education qualifications and work experience.

- Copy of an academic IELTS examination or equivalent with an overall score of 7.0 and no individual band below 6.5 (for candidates whose first language is not English). This certificate must be issued with at least two years validity.

- You may also send any additional information that you feel is relevant to your application.

In addition, candidates must be available for interview. For more information, please contact

Garda vetting
Garda vetting is required as a standard part of the registration process. Applicants who accept an offer to register on the course will begin the Garda vetting process prior to registration. All students are provisionally registered until they have received clearance from the Garda authorities. Students who fail to secure Garda clearance or who present with serious criminal convictions may be discontinued.

Please contact if you have any queries.


2 calendar years full-time. Blended learning.

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Your future
While all PA students hold a foundation degree in health science or a science-related area, they come from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Some have previously worked in healthcare, others are from a purely academic background, and all find life as a PA student equal parts demanding and fulfilling.

If you’re interested in a career as a PA and playing a central role in patient care, read and watch some of our current students and graduates stories below and find out first-hand about day-to-day life as a PA.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime,Blended

  • Apply to

    Course provider