Birmingham University PA Interview Questions

Advice & Insight From PA Application Specialists

General Interview Information

The University of Birmingham takes between 50 and 60 students each year, in a single cohort. Students are offered places on  a ‘first come, first served’ basis after interviews, meaning that early applications are highly encouraged. In fact, an early application deadline may be imposed if the volume of applications is sufficiently high. You must provide a personal statement, transcript of your undergraduate degree, and details of 2 nominated referees. The following degrees are generally considered suitable: anatomy, biology, biochemistry, biomedical science, dentistry, human biology, human physiology, human pharmacology, medical science, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, psychology, radiography, zoology. 

Interview Format for Physician Associate Studies at Birmingham University

All the online applications will be reviewed by both the program lead and admissions lead. Applicants considered to be competitive will be offered a panel interview, consisting of at least two panel members. The interview will ‘include an exploration of your understanding of the profession and your motivation for embarking on this career.’ Interviews take place in person at the University of Birmingham campus, and should last around 20 to 30 minutes. However, it is possible for the interview to take up to an hour.

Key Dates

Applications open in September for entry to the September program. You should apply as early as possible in order to stand the best chance of admission.

Sample & Recent Interview Questions

Birmingham focuses on (per their interpersonal skills requirements) communication skills, empathy, ethical awareness, motivation for the career, and acquisition of NHS values.

Motivation for the Career

  • When were you first aware of the role of physician associates?
  • Describe the role of a physician associate. How does it differ from that of a doctor?
  • How does a physician associate’s role differ from a nurse practitioner’s?
  • What can you tell me about the history of physician associates in the UK?
  • What changes would you make to the NHS if you were made Health Secretary?
  • Is there a particular part of the NHS that interests you? Are there particular specialties or areas of healthcare that you find more or less interesting?
  • Do you think that PAs will take on a greater part of the burden of care in the UK?
  • Is it possible for a PA to work alone (independent of a doctor)?
  • What are the most important current challenges to global health in general?
  • Tell us about COVID-19 and how it has affected the NHS.
  • What do you think healthcare will look like in 50 years? What about in 25 or 30 years?
  • Which body regulates physician associates in the UK?
  • What do you think a typical day looks like for a Physician Associate in the NHS?
  • What can you tell us about the history of the NHS?
  • How is the NHS run today? Please provide as much detail as you can about the NHS’s structure.
  • What are the 6Cs of Nursing that have since been adopted by the NHS as a whole?
  • Tell us about COVID-19.

What healthcare topics have stood out to you recently, other than COVID-19?

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Learn the best interview strategies and practice with interview questions & model answers.

Ethical Awareness

  • How would you react if you found that the FYs on your ward were not dealing with their responsibilities, and instead leaving them to you?
  • How would you react if you found that one of your fellow PAs had been belittling the nurses on your ward, and speaking about them in negative terms to patients?
  • Is it right for healthcare workers to be able to strike? What particular examples of healthcare workers striking in the UK stand out the most to you?
  • Is the UK government’s drug policy working? Do you believe that a better alternative exists?
  • Imagine that a patient on your ward has been repeatedly sexist to staff. One of the nurses has asked you to speak to him, as you are good at dealing with such situations. How do you approach him? The patient is not known to be physically aggressive.
  • Imagine you discover that a senior surgeon in your hospital has been noted to smell of alcohol whilst at work on multiple different days. How would you deal with this situation?

Communication Skills

  • How have you tried to develop and advance your communication skills?
  • What one experience or activity tested your communication skills to the greatest extent?
  • Which other medical professionals will you have to communicate with, and what kinds of problems or difficulties might arise?


  • Why is empathy important to healthcare workers?
  • Can you explain the difference between sympathy and empathy? What is the difference between compassion and empathy?

Acquisition of NHS Values

  • What are the core values of the NHS?
  • How have you displayed the kind of values that the NHS emphasises during your life thus far?

Birmingham University PA Interview Questions

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