• For Entry: August
  • Duration: 36 weeks
  • School: Education & Social Work
  • Study Mode: Full Time

The PGDE course will prepare you for teaching in the secondary sector and is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

The course consists of 2 on-campus modules (14 weeks in total) and 3 school placements (3 x 6 week placements). 

This course is our traditional route into secondary teaching, giving you the Initial Teacher Education phase of your career. When combined with a year-long GTCS Teacher Induction Scheme period working in a school, you will be qualified to teach Chemistry, Home Economics, Mathematics, Physics, or English throughout Scotland. You can also choose to study a dual qualification of any combination of two subjects chosen from Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry.

By studying this course you may be eligible to receive a Scottish Government bursary worth £20,000. See the Fees and Funding section below for more information.

Who should study this course?

This course is suitable if you have secured a relevant degree and now wish to enter the field of Secondary Education, as a subject teacher.

School placements

Each placement is pre-ceded by time on campus where lectures, tutorials and workshops will form the main programme, in addition to tutor directed tasks and individual study time.

You will be invited to return to campus for a Recall Day during each placement where you will be offered tutorial time and talks from guest speakers relevant to your focus at that point. Each on-campus module is assessed through written assignment which can be attempted at Level 10 or Level 11 and each placement module is assessed by the school and university tutor.

You will be allocated a placement tutor who will work closely with you throughout the course, visiting and assessing you on each of the three placements and supporting on-campus through tutorials and individual meetings where required. This provides consistency and encourages a positive, professional working relationship between you and your tutor.

A range of elective options

The course offers a range of elective options in semester two. You’ll be encouraged to engage in at least 2 electives. The electives offer additional guidance in subject areas which may be of particular interest or in areas where you might not feel as confident and may welcome more input.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Many elements are shared with students on the PGDE (P) course to increase cross-sector understanding and collaboration, whilst separate elements address sector-specific matters. The course facilitates competence and confidence in relevant areas of the curriculum and professional matters pertaining to teaching, with strong theoretical underpinning and practical applications.

How you will be taught

This course is comprised of 18 weeks in University plus 18 weeks (a GTCS requirement) and 3 x 6 week placements.

You will be associated with three 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 will also introduce you to the many facilities and people available, in order to enrich your own understanding and, in turn, that of your pupils. We therefore provide a series of opportunities whereby guest speakers are invited to join us, to benefit from their insights.

How you will be assessed

Formative assessment and summative assessment are used throughout the course. There are two university-based assessed modules (both written assignments) and three professional practice modules. Professional Practice (Placement) is assessed with reference to the Standard for Provisional Registration by university staff and school partners. Although this course 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.

"The course is very future focused, keeping you up to date with all current and developing issues and practices."

Marlene McCrea

What you will study

Structure and timeline of PGDE course:

Aug-Sept: 5 week on-campus period (Module 1A)
Sept: 1 week observation in school (Module PP1)
Oct: 2 week on-campus period and one reading week (Module 1A)
Oct-Dec: 5 week placement (Module PP1)
Dec-Jan: 4 week on-campus period (Module 2A)
Jan-Feb: 6 week placement (Module PP2)
Mar: 2 week on-campus period (Module 2A)
Mar-May: 6 week placement (Module PP3)
May-Jun: course completed

As part of Module 2A, you can choose a minimum of 2 Electives to study. Each placement is followed by a study week. See below for more details regarding the placements.


PP1: Focus on S4-6

PP2: Focus on S1-6

PP3: Focus on S1-3

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

The majority of our students go on to enjoy careers as subject teachers initially. Thereafter, they may apply for promoted posts within the management teams in schools, or as Principal Teachers/ Curriculum Leaders. 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 course 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 have been seconded to Education Scotland or returned to academic life as lecturers.

“I have loved the course because it is helping me to do what I want to do, and be who I want to be”

Christopher Milton
Current Student

You must have an SCE Higher grade pass in English or equivalent, a National Qualification in Mathematics at SCQF Level 5 (for example, National 5 Mathematics or National 5 Applications of Mathematics, Credit Standard Grade, or Intermediate 2) or equivalent, and either

The content of your degree must be relevant to the subject you want to teach. TSQC is the term given to the parts of your degree which are related to the subject as it is taught in Scottish secondary schools and which qualify you to enter a secondary teaching course As a general rule, a TSQC will represent approximately one third of the total study in one academic year (at least 80 undergraduate credit points of which 40 have to be at Level 8 or above) for the SCQF Framework for higher education.
Your degree must contain passes in at least two Teaching Subject Qualifying Credits (TSQC) in the subject you want to teach. Students are required to have a satisfactory Disclosure check before commencing the course You will also need ready access to the internet to complete the course

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

By studying this course you may be eligible to receive a Scottish Government bursary worth £20,000. These bursaries are for people looking to change careers and become secondary school teachers in certain STEM subjects. Full details can be found on the STEM Bursary Scotland website

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting academic year 2019-20
Scottish and EU students Fees for September 2019 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2019.
Rest of UK students Fees for September 2019 entry are subject to confirmation by the UK Government and will be published when confirmed.
Overseas students (non-EU) £17,275 per year of study
See our scholarships for International applicants

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

Before being finally accepted, a PVG Scheme Disclosure Scotland check will be conducted.

Personal statement

Your UCAS personal statement is important in terms of showing evidence of voluntary work and non-academic personal achievement. If you are unsure what to include, UCAS have some tips that you may find helpful.

Work experience

Having some experience of working within a school setting, in a teaching capacity, is something we would normally expect. The longer and more varied your experience is, the better.

Examples of experience:

  • Employment/volunteering as a classroom assistant
  • Evidence that you have volunteered within a secondary school
  • Experience of working with children in Guides, Scouts or similar (however, this is insufficient without experience in a school setting)

To gain some experience in a school, try contacting your local secondary school. Contacting schools (this link searches schools in Scotland) directly is also something you might want to consider. Your local authority website usually has a list of schools available.

Application Reference

  • To be considered for a place on this programme we do require a reference. We would request that this ideally be from someone who can provide a detailed reference in relation to your work experience with children in a secondary school setting.  


If your application passes the initial selection process, you will then be invited to an interview. Interviews are held from January until March. The interview consists of three elements, in the form of a group task, a short presentation and a group discussion.

The Panel look for:

  • Confidence, enthusiasm , commitment and maturity
  • The ability to communicate effectively
  • A realistic understanding of the job
  • An up-to-date knowledge of education and experience with in a secondary school
  Degree UCAS Code
Apply nowSecondary Education (Chemistry) PGDE F1X1
Apply nowSecondary Education (Home Economics) PGDE D6X1
Apply nowSecondary Education (Mathematics) PGDE G1X1
Apply nowSecondary Education (Physics) PGDE F3X1
Apply nowSecondary Education (Dual Qualification) PGDE D7X1
Apply nowSecondary Education (English) PGDE Q3X1

Course Contact

Admissions and Student Recruitment

+44 (0)1382 383838

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