University led training

  • Universities and colleges throughout the UK offer teacher training courses at postgraduate level.
  • The Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and Post Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) are one year courses offered at Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 
  • If studying for a PGCE/PGDE on a part-time basis the course will take two years. 
  • Students going on to primary or secondary teaching can take a PGCE/PGDE. If an applicant wishes to teach at secondary level they will take a PGCE/PGDE in their specialist subject.

A little about the course

Below we provide an outline of a typical year on a PGCE/PGDE course but strongly advise that prospective students consult with university web pages and admissions departments for more detailed information.

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

group of students with teacher on class © .shock College tutor with student © Monkey Business

Entry requirements

  • Candidates must have an honours degree. If applying for a secondary PGCE/PGDE the degree should be in a relevant subject to their proposed teaching specialism*. 
  • Candidates must have GCSEs (A–C) in Mathematics and English Language**. Primary applicants must also have at least one GCSE (A–C) in Science*.
  • Candidates must pass their Professional Skills Tests prior to undertaking any teacher training in England.

*Those wishing to train for a shortage subject but without a relevant degree may be eligible to apply for a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course before enrolling on the PGCE/PGDE course. More info here.

**Those wishing to train in Wales will need at least grade B.


  • PGCE applications are submitted via the University Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Find courses using our Course Chooser
  • Candidates will be required to attend interview which may include knowledge audits.
  • Candidates are subject to Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks as part of the admissions process.


  • 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. 
  • PGCE courses in Northern Ireland are treated the same as undergraduate courses with students able to 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.
  • If training in England or Wales you may be eligible for training bursaries as well as the typical loans. Please see our section on funding on non-salaried teacher training programmes for England and Wales if applying to train here.

Fully qualifying

  • Teachers who successfully completed their PGCE in England or Wales are awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  • Teachers who completed their PGCE in Northern Ireland are provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). 
  • Teachers who trained in Scotland, successfully completing their PGDE, are provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Please see our After qualifying section for more information, including details about the induction year leading to full registration.