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Primary Education*

BEd (Hons)

Our primary education programme is a highly professional course which combines theoretical understanding, practical school experience and personal development.

The wide range of learning opportunities builds on current research to create a sound professional preparation for nursery and primary classrooms.

* Please note that this course is only offered for academic year 2012-2013. If you wish to study with us from September 2013, please see our new MA Education course.

Why study Primary Education at Dundee?

Our BEd in Primary Education is designed for students who want to teach in nursery or primary schools, teaching children in the 3-12 years age range.

Teaching is an exciting and rewarding occupation, requiring a variety of professional skills in communication, management and organisation. Teachers must be able to relate well to other people; exercise a considerable degree of understanding and patience; and rise to the physical, social and emotional demands that the job brings.

Nurturing a vibrant, dynamic, international and inter-disciplinary community is at the heart of what we do. Within the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education, the BEd programme enables some shared interactive learning with students preparing for careers in social work and community learning and development. This is excellent preparation for interprofessional collaboration later in your career as a teacher.

What's so good about Primary Education at Dundee?

Practical Experience

We have significant periods of school experience in each year of the programme including 6 weeks in Level 1. These extensive school placements will give you experience in a range of different settings including nursery schools.

A particular strength of our programme is a placement in a small rural school or multi-stage classroom. This will give you an insight into the management of a class containing a wide range of ages and abilities and the flexibility to work in a variety of situations.

"I feel the BEd programme at Dundee is one of the best in the country and prepares you for the profession through placement and support".
Final year student comment from the National Student Survey 2010

Professional Accreditation

This programme is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Buddy system

We currently have a 'Buddy System' in which students from other years team up with first year groups to help them settle into the campus and the programme.

As part of Freshers' Week there is also a specially designed BEd Induction Programme. This allows you to get to know the University, the School and each other before classes begin in earnest.

You will also be assigned a personal tutor/advisor of studies, who will play a part in helping you to settle into the programme, the School, and student life.

Who should study Primary Education?

The BEd (Hons) is a demanding programme in terms of time and effort, involving in-university work and placements, normally over a thirty-week academic year. In addition to classroom-based work, you will be expected to participate fully in drama, physical education and fieldwork, which is sometimes residential.

Successful BEd students are well-rounded, enthusiastic individuals who care about the individuals they work with, both children and adults.

To be successful on this programme it is expected that you will have particular current strengths in arithmetic, mathematics, reading and writing as these are key elements of a teacher’s job.  You should also be able to lead and support physical education and fieldwork.

Ashley Bell is a mature student from Dundee. She says "In choosing this course, you have the chance to make a difference to children's lives and help shape their futures - an opportunity not to be wasted."

Read a second year student blog »

Degree Combinations

  • BEd Primary Education

Teaching & Assessment

This degree course is based in the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education.

The programme leads to a qualification to teach children from age 3 to age 12, (from nursery to the end of primary school). There are three major elements to the programme:

  • school experience
  • core areas
  • electives

How you will be taught

The programme consists of 24 modules that address school experience, core areas and electives. These are student-centred and contain workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, open-learning elements as well as practical experience in the classroom.The programme is delivered by experienced classroom teachers.

School experience

School experience is gained through blocks of time, (between one and six weeks) throughout the four years, in nursery and primary schools.

Core areas

The core areas cover all subjects that are required to be taught in Scottish primary schools: languages and literacy; mathematics and numeracy; social studies; science technologies; expressive arts; religious and moral education; health and wellbeing, as well as professional studies, which links together the practical and theoretical aspects of education. A core modern languages module in Level 1 gives students the skills needed to meet today's modern language teaching requirements.


Electives provide an opportunity for students to create, from a range of offered subjects, their own choice of study. The electives help to develop a deeper understanding of a range of education matters, ranging from the key subjects in the primary curriculum to creativity and the teaching of thinking skills.

What you will study

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

Applicants with significant teaching experience, experience of inter-professional working and who also can demonstrate that they have met the requirements of Level 1 of the Programme may be considered for Advanced Entry to Level 2.

Typical Degree Programme

Level 1
  • The Developing Professional - Working Together To Achieve Social Justice
  • Introduction to the Primary School
  • Teaching Language and Mathematics
  • Teaching Modern Languages in the Primary School
  • Teaching in the Primary School
  • Observation/School Placement
Level 2
  • The Primary Curriculum in Action
  • Upper Stages Placement
  • Learning and Teaching in the Early Years
  • Nursery Placement

Electives (one from the list below):

  • Scottish Studies
  • Aesthetic Studies
  • Exploring Religion
  • Science
  • ICT
  • Modern Languages in the Primary School
Level 3
  • Early Years Placement
  • Learning and Teaching in the Early Years
  • Research and the Teacher
  • The Multi-Stage Placement
  • Meeting the Needs of Individuals

Electives (one from the list below):

  • Creative Learning
  • Thinking to Learn, Learning to Think
  • Child-centred Education
  • Inclusive Educational Practice
Level 4
  • Research and the Teacher
  • Developing Effectiveness in Teaching
  • School and Community
  • Final Placement

Electives (one from the list below):

  • Professions in Context
  • Learning About Thinking Skills
  • Global Learning

How you will be assessed

A range of different methods is used to assess student progress. You will be given tasks and other assignments, and your teaching in the classroom will be assessed on each placement by academic and school staff.


The prospects for newly qualified teachers have never been better. The report A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century, which provided an improved career structure for all teachers, has ensured that opportunities for employment after graduation are excellent.

There are now increased opportunities for continued professional development, along with associated increases in salary, through the Chartered Teacher Programme. The induction year in Scotland provides a guaranteed salaried post in the year following graduation to further develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required for success in the classroom.

Employment prospects are increased further if you are willing to move out of your home area, in schools through Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Our graduates are now working all over the UK and abroad.

If you want to teach children with special needs, you have to qualify as a Primary teacher first, then after some teaching experience you can study for an additional specialist qualification. Additional Support Needs is, however, an integral part of the BEd we offer.

Read 'A Day in the Life of a Primary Teacher' (on the GTCS website).

Postgraduate Study

Some graduates have continued their studies with us at postgraduate level, studying one of a range of education programmes on offer.


Entry Requirements

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Selection Notes

  1. Applicants under consideration will be invited to a selection process prior to offers being made. This allows us to assess whether you have the knowledge and suitability for primary teaching. It also gives you the opportunity to find out more about the course and its content. If your application reaches the selection process stage you will be given Advice Notes for Candidates which will allow you to prepare in advance.
  2. Applicants are expected to demonstrate knowledge of, and commitment to teaching, usually through work experience in a school setting.
  3. Applicants are also expected to be able to engage in drama, physical education, fieldwork and other physical aspects involved in the role of the teacher.
  4. PVG Scheme Disclosure Scotland Criminal Records check will be conducted, with the permission of the applicant, prior to acceptance.

Courses starting September 2012

Level 1 entry

Qualification Grade
IB Diploma 29 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects English at C (SQA Higher, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level) or English Language and English Literature at C (GCSE) plus Mathematics at Standard Grade (grade 2), Intermediate 2 (grade C), GCSE (grade B), ILC Ordinary (grade B) or IB Subsidiary Level (grade 5).

Other Qualifications

Qualification Grade
SQA A relevant HNC
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher with English at Higher C or above and Mathematics at Standard Grade 2 or Intermediate 2 at C.
SWAP Access Programmes Relevant subjects with BBB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Mathematics at Intermediate 2 grade C.
EDEXCEL A relevant HNC
BTEC A relevant ND
Advanced Diploma Grade C with an A-Level in a literate subject at B. English Language and Literature at GCSE grade C and Mathematics at GCSE grade B.
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with BC at A-Level. English Language and Literature at GCSE grade C and Mathematics at GCSE grade B.
Essential Subjects English at C (SQA Higher, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level or equivalent) or English Language and English Literature at C (GCSE) plus Mathematics at Standard Grade (grade 2), Intermediate 2 (grade C), GCSE (grade B), ILC Ordinary (grade B) or IB Subsidiary Level (grade 5) or equivalent.
Relevant Access courses are considered individually.
Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Applicants with relevant qualifications and experience may be considered for entry to Level 2.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

Fee category Fees for students starting September 2013 Scholarships & Bursaries applicable
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Students from the rest of the UK £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree.
You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.
EU students £1,820 per year of study.
You can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Overseas students (non-EU) £10,200 per year.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

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

All applications must be made through UCAS

UCAS Codes

Institution Code: D65

UCAS Codes
BEd Primary Education

UCAS Application Process

International Applicants

We have information specifically for international applicants on our International website:

What skills, qualities and experience do I need?

Since most of our applicants meet the academic requirements for entry, selection procedures also focus on non-academic aspects of the application. The selectors are particularly interested in the UCAS personal statements including evidence of non-academic personal achievement and voluntary work.

We would normally expect you to have some experience of working with children in a teaching capacity in a primary school - the longer and more varied that experience the better. Examples of the sort of experience that candidates often give are:

  • employment as a classroom assistant
  • work-experience during your secondary school years, preferably recent
  • experience of working with children in Guides, Scouts, or camps is also valuable but is insufficent without recent experience in a primary school.

It is important that students have an understanding of what primary teaching actually is before embarking upon the course.

Independent learning skills - As well as the university attendance, and assessed placement periods, you will also need to spend some time on assignments, reading and set activities. How much time you spend on this will depend on your experience, ability and commitment.

ICT skills (essential) - A knowledge of ICT, or a willingness to develop new ICT skills, is essential as this forms part of the primary curriculum. ICT inputs in the Programme focus more on pedagogy than basic skill development.

Recent study skills - You will need effective study skills to benefit from the course and would normally need to show that you have studied for a qualification in the last two years. If you've not been in education for a while it can be hard getting back into the discipline of studying, but we can advise you on suitable preparation. In particular, it is extremely important that you do some background reading on primary teaching.

Ability to work and study under pressure - As a BEd (Hons) Primary student you are not only working towards an academic qualification but also towards gaining your teaching qualification and registration with GTCS. The amount of study time that is needed will vary from student to student but you will need to be able to balance the demands of studying with periods of placement. And hopefully retain a social life too!

You may already possess a number of these skills, but if not, we will help you to develop them throughout the course.

A breadth of other interests, hobbies, sports and pastimes that you can bring to your teaching is also of benefit.

The selection process

After an initial assessment by the selectors, applicants meeting the required entry criteria will be invited for an interview.  Interviews are held from January until March. 

Applicants who are successful in getting through to the interview stage will be invited to attend a series of selection activities/group interviews at the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education. 

The panel of selectors will look for:

  • confidence, enthusiasm, commitment and maturity
  • ability to communicate effectively
  • realistic understanding of the job
  • up-to-date knowledge of primary and nursery schools and experience with children or young people (in a primary school)
  • general knowledge of some current issues affecting primary/nursery education
  • the potential to work collaboratively

The majority of offers will be made soon after interview.  However some may not be made until March once all interviews have taken place.

Prior to final acceptance an enhanced Disclosure Scotland check will also be conducted.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

Applicants with significant teaching experience, experience of inter-professional working and who also can demonstrate that they have met the requirements of Level 1 of the Programme may be considered for Advanced Entry to Level 2.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Home / EU applicants

Undergraduate Admissions
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 384697/ 384029/ 388547 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384697/ 384029/ 388547 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us

International applicants

International Office
Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 388 111 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 388 111 (from outside the UK)

Contact Us