PGDE Secondary Education: Biology with Science

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Key facts

  • Start date: August
  • Study mode and duration: 36 weeks full-time including 18 weeks of placement experience
  • UCAS code: 8X64

  • Gaelic Medium UCAS code: 8X63 - find out more about studying the medium of Gaelic

  • Ranked: 4th in the UK for Education (The Complete University Guide 2021)

Study with us

  • learn from on-campus classes and 18 weeks of placements in schools
  • become qualified to teach in locations worldwide 
  • opportunity to achieve 120 Masters-level credits
  • funded places available (Scottish and EU students only)

 

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
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Why this course?

The biology component of the PGDE course builds on your existing knowledge of biology to transform it into a form which school pupils can understand. You'll work in groups with other student teachers to explore the practicalities of teaching a biology class before, during and after the lesson. What prior knowledge do the pupils have about the topic? What misconceptions are they likely to have and how can you address them?

What about behaviour management? How can you plan practical work so it engages pupils’ thinking? How can you help pupils to learn to love biology? Once you have the taught the lesson, how you will reflect on what you could do better in future.

Worldwide qualification 

This course is a professional training course which qualifies you to teach secondary education. The qualification is recognised throughout the world and is regulated by :

  • the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • the Scottish Government

Why study for a PGDE?

Hear from students about why they love studying for a PGDE in Secondary Education.

 

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll learn

This course will equip you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you require. The PGDE is modular in structure and students will study three modules across the year:

  • Education Studies; Professional Values
  • Professional Learning Through Enquiry
  • Professional Skills
    • Curriculum and Pedagogy
    • Professional Practice

PGDE operates a model whereby students attend classes on campus followed by blocks of continued learning on placement. The modules run in parallel and learning and practice is cumulative. 

On-campus time is used to familiarise you with the curriculum, allow you to collaborate with students and begin to plan lessons and develop materials. Students will have the opportunity to teach mini-lessons and explore innovative and motivating ways of engaging children and young people.

Placement

You'll spend 18 weeks of the course on placement in a school within Scotland. You'll be continually assessed while there to show you meet the requirements for the Standards for Provisional Registration.

You must attend your placement school throughout the full working day. You must also attend school on staff in-service days unless told otherwise by your school.

Placement is your chance to put what you're learning into practice. You'll explore your own teaching style, learn new techniques and develop relationships with your pupils.

You must keep a portfolio of progress while on placement. This placement file will form part of the evidence of your meeting the Standards for Provisional Registration and prepares you for career-long professional learning.

Future employment

The Teacher Induction Scheme is a scheme whereby eligible applicants are guaranteed a job for a year in a Scottish school. Most PGDE students will be eligible and eligibility is ascertained on a case-by-case basis. Students who successfully complete probation are eligible for full registration status.

Work anywhere in Scotland

As a newly qualified teacher, you can receive an additional financial enhancement in the region of £8,000 under the Preference Waiver Scheme. This is a scheme whereby applicants must agree to work anywhere in Scotland during the induction scheme.

Subject-specific classes

All science teachers in Scotland have a specialist science teacher qualification in physics, chemistry or biology. They're also qualified to teach general science in first, second and third year in schools. In addition to learning about the pedagogy of teaching physics, chemistry or biology, student teachers of science also have an additional twenty hours of study to learn how to teach general science. This component is taught in mixed groups of physics, chemistry and biology student teachers to allow students to learn from one another and to simulate working in a school science department or faculty. The general science component is taught by a combination of experienced science teacher educators and seconded teachers.

In addition, the general science component draws on the expertise of science educators from the Glasgow Science Centre and includes a visit to the Centre or other suitable sites to consider out-of-classroom learning in science. The general science component of the specialist PGDE science courses makes it easy for qualified teachers to find employment as teachers outside Scotland.

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Course content

As part of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to submit two of your assignments at Masters level. If you do this, you’ll be almost halfway towards a Masters in Education qualification. If you go on to do the Masters in Education, all you’ll have to do is complete two masters level classes, a research class, and a dissertation. You can do this on campus or by distance learning.

Education Studies; Professional Values

In this module, you'll explore the theoretical underpinnings of education. You'll be encouraged to engage with issues of the nature and the purpose of education, social justice and equality, and practice and policy in relation to ethical and political ideas. Throughout this module, we aim to disrupt and expand your thinking about education. You'll be asked to reflect on your values and beliefs in relation to a range of educational questions and issues and you will be presented with questions designed to challenge and refine your current thinking.

The module will give you opportunities to consider how theoretical underpinnings relate to the classroom; how your developing understanding translates into the education context; and how your own values and beliefs interact with your developing professional identity. Human Rights and Learning for Sustainability together form the basic architecture of this module.

Professional Learning Through Enquiry

This module aims to develop students as enquiring self-reflective practitioners who are able to work collaboratively to develop skills, knowledge and expertise in an area of professional practice. Students will be supported to develop as autonomous, transformative leaders of change. Across the globe there is a growing call for education systems to be responsive to the increasingly dynamic, complex and fast-changing nature of society. Through this module, students will develop the skills and expertise necessary to respond to the changing circumstances of the learning communities they encounter.

Professional Skills
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Professional Practice

Taught both on campus and in schools, this module will enable you to become an effective teacher through learning pedagogical theory, observing experienced teachers and applying your knowledge and understanding in the practical context.

Masters Credits

You have the opportunity to achieve up to 120 credits at Masters level which can be used towards further study following the course. This is fully supported by additional input during the programme.

Interested in postgraduate study?

Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all of the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde.

Join one of our upcoming online drop-in sessions on:

  • Wednesday 2 December - 3pm to 4:30pm
Register for drop-in sessions

Learning & teaching

The course encourages an active and participative style of learning in order to meet your professional needs, and to promote a commitment to continuing professional development.

Timetable

The hours for this course are 9am to 5pm. You’re expected to be working on course-related activity during those hours.

Assessment

To be awarded the PGDE you must pass all course modules.

Course work

Each class includes course work that involves group or independent study on specified tasks. This may involve presentations and written reports.

Although these are not assessed formally they're essential learning experiences and are course requirements.

Aerial view of students sitting around coffee tables

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Entry requirements

The entry requirements for PGDE courses are based on the requirements set by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). All applicants must meet the minimum entry requirements before the course starts.

The minimum entry requirements that we ask for, are as follows:

Academic requirements / expertise
  • a second class honours degree validated by a higher education institution in the United Kingdom or a degree of an equivalent standard from an institution outside the United Kingdom
  • the degree should contain at least 80 credits in biology. These 80 credits should come from the following subjects:
    • Animal Biology
    • Biochemistry
    • Human Biology
    • Bimolecular Sciences
    • medical-related degrees are not normally considered appropriate due to the clinical nature of the final stages of such degree
    • Higher (SCQF Level 6) English Grade C or above*
      (Above qualification must be obtained prior to applying for the PGDE)
    • National 5 (SCQF Level 5) Mathematics Grade C or above**
      (Above qualification must be obtained prior to applying for the PGDE)

    As well as academic qualifications, you will need to demonstrate:

    • evidence that you have experience of working with children in a secondary school setting or related context
    • an understanding of modern secondary education
    • an ability to relate to people

    Please note: PGDE Biology is a highly competitive programme and therefore meeting the minimum entry requirements does not always guarantee you an interview. The personal statement plays a critical role in determining suitability to be invited for interview.

Admission to Initial Teacher Education programmes 2021/22

At present, it is difficult for all potential student teachers to access schools to gain experience in support of their application for programmes of Initial Teacher Education. Where possible, opportunities should be sought to gain experience in contexts which involve working with children and/or young people. Where this is not possible, we will take particular care to explore potential student teachers' suitability to working with children and/or young people as a part of the admission process.

*Acceptable alternative qualifications in English
  • Communications 4 and Literature 1
  • GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature at Grade C or above
  • Irish Leaving Certificate Higher English at Grade C3 or above
  • (SCQF Level 6) English Access Course offered by the University of Aberdeen
  • A Level English Literature or English Language Grade C or above
**Acceptable alternative qualifications in Mathematics
  • Standard Grade 1 or 2 Credit Mathematics
  • Intermediate Level 2 Mathematics at Grade C or above
  • GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or above
  • Irish Leaving Certificate Ordinary Mathematics at Grade B3 or above
  • Irish Leaving Certificate Higher Mathematics at Grade C3 or above
  • National 5 Lifeskills/Applications Mathematics at Grade C or above
  • (SCQF Level 5) Mathematics Access Course offered by the University of Aberdeen
  • A Level Mathematics Grade C or above
  • Discovering Mathematics MU123 Open University
English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please get in touch before making your application.

Please note that IELTS is not equivalent to a Higher (SCQF Level 6) English qualification. These are two separate requirements. In order to meet the PGDE entry requirements you'll be required to have both or equivalent.

PVG and overseas police check requirements

All applicants who have been offered a place on the PGDE course will be required to complete an application to Join PVG Scheme or an application for Existing PVG Scheme Member prior to starting the course. Students will be required to pay between £18 to £59 depending on the related work they apply to.

If applicable, applicants who have been given an offer will also be required to obtain the relevant oversea(s) certificate(s) of good conduct.

Student Andrew Laing
At Strathclyde the teaching of the PGDE truly sets you up for the classroom, especially in the setting up and running of practical science lessons. It became apparent talking to other students that this was not common across all universities.
Andrew Laing
Biology with Science (PGDE)

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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Scotland

2021/22: TBC

2020/21: £1,820

Rest of UK

2021/22: TBC

2020/21: £9,250

International

2021/22: £14,800

2020/21: £15,300

Additional costs

Course materials

Technological Education subjects: dust coat (£25), sturdy shoes (not trainers/not open shoes), safety glasses, additional bowl blanks (£5 to £20), additional pen blanks (£3.50)

Science subjects: lab coat (white), safety goggles and lab coat £37

Biology: lab coat (microbiology collar) - £30 and goggles - £7.

Home Economics: £20 protective coat

Psychology: £57 textbooks

Placements & field trips

Travel to schools

PVG Scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups)

£59 membership fee, £18 for existing members

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish & EU students

Scottish and EU students can apply to have the cost of their tuition fees paid for by the Scottish Government.  Applications should be made online through the Students Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) website, the PGDE course falls under undergraduate study.

If you've already had funding for a postgraduate course from SAAS you'll only receive funding if you're applying for one of the following shortage subjects:

  • English
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Technological Education

Full-time students who usually live in Scotland may also be eligible to apply to SAAS for a loan, bursary and living-cost grants. Living-cost grants include the Lone Parents’ Grants and the Disabled Students’ Allowance. The exact amount you can get depends on your household income.

Check the SAAS website for more details.

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International

The Dean's International Excellence Award recognises academic achievement. It offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £4,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. 

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Scholarship search

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

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Careers

A degree in education will equip you for a range of careers working with children and young people.

Most of our PGDE graduates go on to work as teachers in secondary schools across the country.  

Secondary School Teachers in Scotland use the Curriculum for Excellence framework. They work with their class to develop skills and abilities, and encourage the pupils to expand their knowledge and understanding further.

Typical jobs

Jobs related to this degree include:

  • Secondary Teacher
  • Head Teacher
  • Further Education Lecturer
  • Special Educational Needs Teacher

Working hours

During term time, you'll officially work a 35-hour week but you may have to work more. You'll be in school before the school day starts and stay after the pupils leave. Most teachers take their marking and preparations home to do in the evening.

You'll also participate in parents evening, after school clubs and activities and school trips.

Holidays

A teacher's total working year is 195 days including five days for in-service training. Every year you'll get 40 days holiday at full pay*.

*Source: Teach in Scotland

Other jobs

There are also many options for those who decide not to go into the classroom. Some alternative job roles are:

  • Charity Adviser
  • Youth Worker
  • Museum Educator
  • Education Liason roles
  • Private Tutor

Skills you'll need

  • excellent communication
  • a good imagination and creativity
  • organisational and time-management skills
  • patience
  • ability to work as part of a team
  • enthusiasm, energy and excitement for what you do

Salary

As a secondary school teacher in Scotland, salaries range from £21,867 to £34,887.*

*information intended only as a guide. Source: The Educational Institute of Scotland

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Apply

Full-time application

Scotland/EU/Rest of UK students

Please ensure that all parts of the application are completed including details of qualifications which meet the minimum entry requirements. We may be unable to consider incomplete applications. In order for your application to be fully considered, you will be required to send the following supporting documents within 7 days of submitting your application. Please email these documents to hass-pgde-docsupport@strath.ac.uk.

  • Your degree certificate (if completed)
  • Your academic transcript listing all the modules you have completed
  • Evidence of Higher English (or equivalent) with a grade between A-C
  • Evidence of National 5 Maths (or equivalent) with a grade between A-C

Please note the maximum file size for sending documents is 5.00MB.

Interview selection

We select those candidates who best meet the following criteria:

Does the candidate have:

  • evidence that they are suitably qualified?
  • evidence of a suitable breadth of knowledge in their degree to cover the Secondary Curriculum?
  • sufficient interest in teaching?
  • experience of working with young people?
  • evidence of good written communication skills?
  • a good statement by their referee?
Interview process

If selected you’ll be asked to an interview with a number of other candidates who have applied for places either in your own subject or that are taught in the same division as your chosen subject.

If selected for interview, applicants will be notified after the UCAS deadline.

Interview result

After the interview, a panel will collate the grades from your presentation and the individual interview.

They will then make a decision as to your suitability for the course.

The possible results of the interview are:

  • Unconditional offer
  • Conditional offer (you still need to satisfy the entry qualifications in some way)
  • A rejection of your application

The subject coordinator will send the results to Registry who will, in turn, communicate the results to the UCAS.

UCAS will then communicate the result to you.

Should you wish feedback on the selection process please contact the appropriate subject coordinator.

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK or EU applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

Secondary Education

Qualification: PGDE
Start Date: Aug 2021
Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Secondary Education (Gaelic medium)

Qualification: PGDE
Start Date: Aug 2021
Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Direct Applications

Our direct application service is for international (non EU) applicants who wish to apply to Strathclyde University at this time.

Secondary Education

Qualification: PGDE
Start Date: Aug 2021
Mode of Attendance: part-time

Secondary Education

Qualification: PGDE
Start Date: Aug 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time

Secondary Education (Gaelic medium)

Qualification: PGDE
Start Date: Aug 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time

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Contact us

Register your interest, check your degree transcripts and find out more

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.