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Classes are in the Dalhousie Building

Primary Education


Successful participation in this programme enables students to gain provisional registration as a Primary teacher, working with young learners in the 3-12 age group.

You will benefit from a blend of guidance from a range of successful practitioners, peer learning and individual study.

Why study Primary Education at Dundee?

You will work alongside tutors with a wealth of experience to share with you and the ability to help you to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding you will need to fulfil the role of a primary teacher. We offer excellent resources and facilities and a high level of support. You will benefit from placements in two schools, so that you may hone these skills further. We liaise closely with school colleagues, so that they are in a strong position to afford you the experiences you need to make the most of your placements.

Students have the opportunity to work alongside students who will become Secondary teachers, thus building mutual respect and understanding. This will stand you in good stead for future cross-sector work, for example when contributing to Cluster Group working parties.

Masters level study

The programme also offers students the opportunity to have their non-practice placement assignments assessed at Masters Level (SCQF Level 11) and so accrue a total of 60M credits whist they complete their programme of study. These credits can then be used towards future Masters study, representing a considerable saving in both time and cost in relation to the usual Masters study arrangements. We are working closely with the M Ed team within the School to ensure a smooth transition to the Masters programme for those who wish to pursue this possibility.

Professional accreditation

The resulting award of PGDE(P) for all successful participants is recognised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)

and widely outside Scotland, thus widening employment opportunities.

Who should study this course?

This course is suitable for those who have already secured a degree and now wish to enter the field of Primary Education, initially as a classroom teacher.

"I have been amazed by how much I have learned. I have found the course to be very inspirational and am thoroughly looking forward to entering a truly fantastic profession. I would like to highlight the great work of the staff and feel each member brings their own element and area of expertise to the course."
Student comment in Online Programme Evaluation, June 2012

Related courses

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff in the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education..

This programme is delivered to those who wish to become teachers in the nursery/primary sector. Many elements are shared with students on the PGDE (S) programme to increase cross-sector understanding and collaboration, whilst separate elements address sector-specific matters. The Programme facilitates competence and confidence in relevant areas of the curriculum and professional matters pertaining to teaching, with strong theoretical underpinning and practical applications.

The programme lasts for 36 weeks, from August to June. This programme is necessarily very intense.

How you will be taught

Students are associated with two schools (one per semester) in order to capitalise on opportunities to gain deeper understanding and to participate in the wide spectrum of aspects associated with the lives of schools.

We also allow students to develop their areas of strengths/expertise and to support them in areas where they feel less secure. In order to meet the varying needs of students and to address issues as they are identified, we offer "Module Enhancements". Students will be able to choose from a range of learning enhancements which provide enriching experiences for the students, enabling them to personalise their studies. Students will thus be able to capitalise on their strengths and develop areas of interest and need.

We also introduce our students to the many facilities and people available to them, in order to enrich their own understanding and, in turn, that of their pupils. We therefore provide a series of opportunities whereby guest speakers are invited to join us, in order that our students may benefit from their insights.

There will be a blended learning approach, whereby students' ability to self-direct their studies will be utilised in tandem with tutor-directed and tutor-delivered activities.

This approach will utilise workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials and independent (guided and "free choice") study. Students will also benefit from insights and expertise shared by visiting speakers and from visits to a variety of locations. Students can benefit from the close links we have with colleagues in Social Work and Community Learning, in order to gain a firm understanding of proactive collaborative approaches which benefit pupils and the wider community.

What you will study

There are four modules: two university-based modules prepare students for their ensuing Professional Practice placements in schools, in Upper Primary and Nursery/Early Years respectively.  All four modules (2 university-based and 2 school-based) are compulsory.  Students may opt in to an Elective and also participate in a range of Enhanced Learning opportunities, whereby their understanding of educational practice may be furthered, whilst undertaking the university-based modules.

Curricular Studies - The programme covers all aspects of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).  The programme develops students’ understanding of how young learners learn and explores strategies for effective teaching and learning.
Professional Studies - The programme will support and develop students’ awareness and understanding of: inter-agency working, working with parents, meeting the needs of all learners, assessment, classroom management and strategies for promoting a positive ethos for learning, including strategies to support positive behaviour management.
Educational Studies -  Students are introduced to the History of Scottish Education, Comparative Education (education systems in other countries) and Learning Theory.
Professional Practice (Placement) - 18 weeks working with 3-12 year olds in two/three settings.

How you will be assessed

Formative assessment and summative assessment are used throughout the programme. There are two university-based assessed modules (one by essay, the other by ePortfolio) and two professional practice placement modules. Professional Practice (Placement) is assessed with reference to the Standard for Initial Teacher Education by university staff and school partners. Although this programme is at graduate entry, there are components (University-based) which are assessed at SCQF Level 10 and Level 11.  Professional Placement is assessed only at SCQF Level 10.


All successful UK and EU participants are guaranteed one year’s employment in a Scottish primary school via the GTCS Teacher Induction Scheme.

The majority of our students go on to enjoy careers as classroom teachers initially.  Thereafter, they may apply for promoted posts within the management teams in schools, or as Principal Teachers.  Some choose to enter other fields, operating as Education Officers within museums etc.  Others undertake further study, to become Educational Psychologists etc.  It is also possible to pursue a wide range of further careers, e.g. within Education Scotland, as Advisors/Directors within Local Education Authorities, within GTCS or in Initial Teacher Education in universities.

Recent participants in this programme have gone on to secure permanent posts in a range of settings, both within Scotland and abroad e.g. in International Schools. Some are operating within promoted posts in schools; others are specialising in specific aspects within schools e.g. in promoted posts, Learning Support or Outdoor Education. Others have returned to academic life as lecturers.

"The large input on Curriculum for Excellence has been very useful in my career. As tough as it was to stomach at the time, I feel a step ahead of the game now, and I'm reaping the benefits."
PGDE graduate

Entry Requirements

You need to have all the following:

  1. A UK degree, or an equivalent standard from outside the United Kingdom
  2. SCE Higher grade English at Grade C OR GSCE English Language plus GCSE English Literature at Grade C OR Communication 4 plus Literature 1 Modules (or an acceptable equivalent*)
  3. Standard Grade Mathematics Credit Level Grade 1 or 2 OR GCSE Mathematics Grade A or B (or an acceptable equivalent*). We do accept Intermediate 2 Mathematics at Grade C or above as an equivalent to Standard Grade Mathematics at Levels 1 or 2. This qualification can be done at a local Further Education College and consists of 3 modules and an Exam in May.
    Please note we do not accept Core 4 Mathematics at Intermediate 2 Level.
  4. Some recent experience of a primary classroom is normally required and certainly desirable

*Irish Leaving Certificate equivalencies are C2 Higher level English and A2 Ordinary level Mathematics or above.

Overseas students should make contact with the Programme Administrator to discuss their Degree, English and Maths qualifications.

Applicants will be interviewed prior to final acceptance, and are required to have a satisfactory Disclosure check before commencing the programme.

Fees and Funding

Academic Year Scot/EU Overseas Rest of the UK
2012-13 £1,820 £10,000  
2013-14 £1,820 £11,000 £9,000
2014-15 £1,820 £11,500 £9,000

Sources of Funding

Most programme participants are sponsored by their employing colleges.

The School of Education, Social Work and Community Education is not currently offering any school scholarships.

Other sources of funding for postgraduate students can be found on our Scholarships webpage.

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

For full details of the application process and to apply online, visit the UCAS Teacher Training website (formerly known as GTTR), using course code X100.

UCAS Teacher Training applicant introduction

Thinking of applying for postgraduate teacher training opportunities? This detailed video explains the process for applying through the UCAS Teacher Training scheme.


UCAS Teacher Training requesting a reference


UCAS Teacher Training providing a reference

This short videos for referees of applicants through UCAS Teacher Training will explain the technical process for providing references


Applications are scrutinised and a proportion of applicants, demonstrating the strongest applications, are invited to attend interview. Interviews are normally conducted by a University tutor within the department and a colleague from a primary school/LEA.

It is strongly advised that applicants should be aware of current good practice in Scottish primary schools, e.g. by reading widely, volunteering in classrooms and speaking to teachers, wherever possible prior to applying.

Programme Administrator

Katie Bain
School of Education, Social Work and Community Education
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 381499 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 381499 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 381511 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 381511 (from outside the UK)