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University led training – PGCE/PGDE

The PGCE – Postgraduate Certificate in Education (England, Northern Ireland and Wales) – and the PGDE – Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Scotland) – are qualifications offered for graduates who want to become teachers. Courses are led by many universities and colleges, known as Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers, across the UK.

If you wish to pursue primary teaching you can take a PGCE/PGDE. If you wish to teach at secondary level you will take a PGCE/PGDE in your specialist subject. Courses last a year, or two years if studying on a part-time basis.

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PGCE/PDGE table

Student raising hand in class

How the PGCE/PGDE course works

Below is an outline of a typical year on a PGCE/PGDE course. However, consult with university web pages and admissions departments for more detailed information.

  • You’ll begin the course with an induction period at your university. This usually lasts a few weeks and gives you a crash course in all things teacher-related, including subject knowledge and pedagogy, and development of professional practice.  
  • You’ll take part in your first school placement, putting your learning into practice. The first placement will take you up to the Christmas break. As an ITT student you’ll spend a minimum of 120 days in a school during the course.
  • You’ll then normally spend a short period in university further developing subject pedagogy and professional practice. After this period, you’ll complete your second school placement.
  • Throughout the course you’ll complete written assignments. Assignments are designed to make sure you evaluate your approach to teaching. At least one assignment will be a piece of action-based research. This means implementing a teaching practise and reporting on its impact on learning, all with the purpose of helping you to reflect on and improve best practice.

What are the entry requirements for a PGCE/PGDE?

  • An honours degree – if applying for secondary education the degree should be in a relevant subject to your proposed teaching specialism*.
  • GCSEs (A–C) in Mathematics and English Language** – if you’re applying for primary education you must also have at least one GCSE (A–C) in Science*.
  • You are subject to Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks as part of the admissions process.
  • You must pass your Professional Skills Tests prior to undertaking any teacher training in England.

*If you wish to train for a shortage subject but don’t have a relevant degree you may be eligible to apply for a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course before enrolling on the PGCE/PGDE course. See more information.

**If you wish to train in Wales you’ll need at least grade B.

How to apply for a PGCE/PGDE

PGCE/PGDE applications are submitted via the University Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Find courses using our Course Chooser.

You’ll be required to attend an interview which may include knowledge audits.

What funding is available for PGCE/PGDE?

If you’re applying to train in England or Wales you may be eligible for a training bursary as well as a loan. See our section about funding for non-salaried teacher training programmes.

PGCE courses in Northern Ireland are treated the same as undergraduate courses where you can apply for loans, grants and bursaries on the same terms as undergraduate students. For more information consult the Student Finance Northern Ireland website. No nationwide specialist training bursaries exist as there are no shortage subjects reported in Northern Ireland.

The Scottish PGDE is treated the same as undergraduate degrees in Scotland. The Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay fees for eligible Scottish and other non-UK EU residents. A small number of PGDE subjects qualify students for training bursaries. Go to Teach in Scotland for more information and contact details.

How you qualify

Successfully complete your PGCE in England or Wales and you’ll be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Successfully complete your PGCE in Northern Ireland and you’ll be provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI).

Successfully complete your PGDE in Scotland and you’ll be provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

See our after qualifying section for more information.

PGCE/PGDE table

The two qualification are among the most popular routes into teaching. The table below shows how universities fare when it comes to their postgraduate teacher trainee students finding employment as a teacher after graduating. 

The table shows:

  • the number of full-time PGCE/PGDE students
  • the percentage of those students who found employment as a teacher six months after leaving*

*data comes from HESA 2016–17 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE).   

University No. of full-
time students
% of students employed as a
teacher six months after graduating
Winchester 131 98%
Derby 178 98%
Dundee 170 98%
West of Scotland 168 98%
Aberdeen 272 98%
Aberystwyth 38 97%
Strathclyde 682 97%
Glasgow 322 97%
St Mary's 228 96%
Edinburgh 225 96%
Leeds Trinity University 204 96%
Hertfordshire 149 96%
Roehampton 223 96%
London South Bank 74 96%
Greenwich 179 96%
Hull 173 95%
Brunel 122 95%
York St John 142 95%
Wolverhampton 181 95%
Middlesex 97 95%
Reading 232 95%
Nottingham Trent 134 95%
Leicester 172 95%
Birmingham 305 95%
Goldsmiths 227 94%
Leeds 87 94%
Northampton 52 94%
Sussex 207 94%
Cambridge 220 94%
East London 218 94%
Highlands and Islands 50 94%
Southampton 199 94%
Kingston 115 94%
Bath Spa 273 94%
London Metropolitan 159 94%
Newman 139 94%
Oxford Brookes 92 93%
Staffordshire 76 93%
Sheffield 90 93%
Liverpool Hope 332 93%
Worcester 257 93%
Oxford 113 93%
Liverpool John Moores 364 93%
Exeter 322 93%
Manchester 208 93%
University of Wales Trinity Saint David 305 93%
Sheffield Hallam 480 93%
Canterbury Christ Church 297 93%
Brighton 201 93%
East Anglia 159 92%
Nottingham 197 92%
York 97 92%
Bangor 119 92%
Huddersfield 95 92%
Buckingham 209 91%
Durham 130 91%
Bedfordshire 97 91%
Ulster 97 91%
Gloucestershire 116 91%
Edge Hill 452 90%
University College London 504 90%
Plymouth 82 90%
Warwick 225 90%
King's College London 153 90%
Manchester Metropolitan 543 90%
Chichester 180 90%
Chester 260 90%
Cardiff Metropolitan 221 90%
Loughborough 48 90%
Bristol 134 90%
Cumbria 475 89%
West of England, Bristol 122 89%
Plymouth Marjon 65 89%
Newcastle 74 89%
Portsmouth 73 89%
Bishop Grosseteste 200 89%
Birmingham City 270 89%
Queen's – Belfast 114 88%
Northumbria 159 87%
Sunderland 111 87%
Leeds Beckett 82 87%
South Wales 4 75%