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Diary of A Postgraduate: Why I’d Recommend Studying Physician Associate Studies at Swansea University

Swansea University is one of two universities in Wales, and one of 24 universities in the UK now offering the physician associate studies postgraduate diploma. So why choose to study in Britain’s rainiest city? Here are a few reasons why I think Swansea University is the place to be as a PA student.


Excellent Teaching

Swansea medical school
In this year's British Medical Association Awards, four of Swansea's Clinical Teachers (clockwise from left: Dr Helen Gripper, Dr Jayne Dawkins, Collete Hill and Dr Sharon Hartwell) were nominated for prestigious awards.
Source: Swansea University

In this year’s Complete University Guide, Swansea Medical School was ranked third place out of all UK medical schools, topped only by Oxford and Cambridge. They were also ranked first place for research environment and second place for overall research quality, which ensures you’re being taught by the leading researchers in their specialty.

The physician associate course is taught similarly to the graduate entry medicine programme, with each block being taught by experts in that area. For example, the cardiology block is taught by cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, paediatric cardiologists, specialist nurses and pharmacists. The clinical skills classes are taught by GPs, nurses, ODPs, pharmacists and physiotherapists, so you are taught by the people that practice these skills on a daily basis.


Student Experience

whatuni student choice awards

At the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2017, Swansea University came first place for Postgraduate Courses due to the high quality careers service and the excellent teaching. Swansea was also awarded the title of Welsh University of the year in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. The Students’ Union has won several awards for their contribution to student experience; here are 26 things they achieved in the last academic year.



One of the entries to this year's #SwanseaUniLife photography competition. Here, students are enjoying the view of Worm's Head from Rhosilli Bay. 

Swansea has been ranked as the 5th most affordable place for student living in the UK in NatWest’s Student Living Index, due to rent costs being lower than the national average among other factors. Swansea is also a great place to live, having the perfect balance between city life, beaches and green spaces.

The medical school is based on Singleton campus, which is situated within Singleton Park and is within walking distance of the city centre and the local housing where students tend to live. Singleton Hospital is situated right next door to the university, so it’s easy to go onto the wards and see patients in between lectures. How many universities have a beach close enough that you can pop over the road and eat your lunch on the promenade? A little further afield you can find the picturesque Gower peninsula, which is home to Rhossili Bay – Europe’s best beach according to Suitcase Magazine.



swansea university society

Thanks to one of the current PA students, Cameron, Swansea University now has its very own physician associate society, or SUPASOC for short. The society is a group for Swansea PA students to take part in social events, revision evenings and employability events. The SUPASOC website allows new and prospective students to register, and here, they are linked with a “buddy” who is an existing student. This allows for a sense of community and makes the transition onto course a little less scary!


Medical Community in Swansea

Swansea students
Some of the PA students at last year's auction of promises

As well as SUPASOC, there are a variety of other medical societies that PA students can join. MedSoc is essentially the SUPASOC equivalent for graduate entry medicine students, although they are very welcoming to PA students. There’s also a paediatrics society, general practice society, aesthetic society, friends of médecins sans frontieres society and the pre-hospital emergency medicine society.

There are also regular charity events which bring together students, tutors and clinicians from the Swansea area, such as the Auction of Promises. This is an event held annually by the Swansea-Gambia link society, in which staff and students pledge promises ranging from brownie making sessions and wine tasting evenings, to a week away in a holiday cottage. The highest bidder wins the promise and the money goes towards bringing Gambian medical students to Swansea. It’s always a fun night and a good way for PA students to mix with the GEM students and tutors. There are, of course, plenty of non-medical societies and sports teams that you can join too!


If I were to list everything I love about Swansea, I would be here forever; so if you’re considering PA studies, come along to an open day at Swansea Uni, see the beaches, meet the tutors and you’ll never look back!


Until next time,



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