Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) prepares you to teach in locations worldwide. To complete the PGDE you must already have an undergraduate degree in your specialist subject.

We’ve mapped out the process for applying to the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in detail below. Please read this information thoroughly before starting your application. This process applies to both the Primary Education and Secondary Education routes.

Before you apply

1. Prepare: Watch our handy video guide ‘How to apply for the PGDE’ – this gives an overview the application process from preparation, to submission, to interview.

2. Is my subject open?: View our list of subjects. Check that the subject you are applying for is currently open to applications.

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3. Review entry requirements: Visit the programme page for the subject you're applying for and review the entry requirements. Do you meet these? If yes, continue to apply for the current cycle. If no, sign up to be notified with any upcoming events as you work to meet entry requirements for the next cycle.

Each of our subject pages provides information on what exactly is required as a minimum requirement for entry. For our subjects with more complex entry requirements we offer a free transcript check service. If this is offered for your subject of interest, this will be advertised on the individual subject page.

4. Personal statement: Prepare your personal statement, see UCAS personal statement guidance and top tips. Make sure to tell us about any teaching experience you have, what you learned and why this inspired you to become a teacher.

5. Gather references: You’ll need one professional reference to apply for the PGDE. This should either be an academic reference or from current/previous employment. This includes voluntary work.

6. Apply: It's now time to apply. Hit the apply button on the subject that you're interested in and submit your application.

You should:

Congratulations, you have now submitted your application! Find out what happens after you hit ‘submit’ on your PGDE application.

After you apply

  • Clock icon
    Wait to hear
    On submitting your application you should wait to hear from us. This will either be a decision via UCAS Track or our Direct Applications service, or, we may request more information from you.
  • ID icon
    Send additional information
    If successful at the first stage of application, you'll receive an email requesting that you send documents to us. Please read the request thoroughly and don't send us documents until we request them.
  • Two people meeting icon
    Interview
    If successful you'll be invited to an interview. This will be held over Zoom. This is an opportunity for you to showcase your passion for teaching and your subject, and for you to meet tutors.

Course overview

The full-time PGDE at Strathclyde is 36 weeks in duration, split between 18 weeks on campus and 18 weeks on placement. There are three terms: 

  • Term 1: mid-August - Christmas 
  • Term 2: Beginning of January - Easter 
  • Term 3: Easter - early June

The course comprises separate modules that add up to 120 credits. Strathclyde recognises each 10 credits as being the equivalent of 90 hours of student effort. Of these, normally 24 hours will be contact with a tutor/lecturer.

School placements will also account for some of these contact hours. In addition, students will be required to undertake independent and supported study tasks.

The PGDE can also be studied part-time over two years for all secondary subjects, except for Physical Education and Technological Studies. See our Frequently Asked Questions for full details.

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Core classes

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

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

Students attend classes on campus followed by blocks of continued learning on placement in a school in Scotland. You'll have a chance to apply learnings from taught modules directly in the classroom during your school placements.

Your time on-campus time is used to familiarise you with the curriculum, allow you to collaborate with your PGDE peers 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.

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.

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.

  • 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.

Placement

School placements are an integral part of the learning experience when completing the PGDE. It gives you the opportunity to make connections between on-campus learning, academic reading and practical experience in schools. Placement mainly involves observing, assisting and teaching in classes.

During placement you're supported by experienced classroom practitioners and gain an insight into the complexities of the teacher's role. You're guided through planning, assessing and evaluating lessons and encouraged to become self-regulated learners who have a good understanding of the importance of career-long professional learning. 

Students on the PGDE Primary Education course complete three placements split across three different schools: 

  • Placement A: Primary 2-4 - (6 weeks, Semester 1)
  • Placement B: Primary 1-ELC (2 weeks, Semester 1)
  • Placement C: (10 weeks, Semester 2)

Students on the PGDE Secondary courses complete two placements. This is split across two schools.  

  • Placement A: School 1 (8 weeks, Semester 1)
  • Placement B: School 2 (10 weeks, Semester 2)

How am I placed?

Placements are allocated through the Student Placement System (SPS), normally within the nine West Partnership local authorities. This system is used nationally for ensuring that student teachers, throughout Scotland, have access to school experience. SPS is automated and is administered by GTC Scotland and works on the principle of matching students to schools, based on the information provided by universities, local authorities and schools.

You should not normally be required to travel in excess of 90 minutes each way to your school placement, from your stated address. All placements are arranged via SPS, you're not permitted to seek placements independently.

What is expected of me while on placement?

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.

You'll be expected to undertake a series of tasks during placement as well as, increasingly, take responsibility for teaching, under the supervision of school staff. The tasks will encourage you to draw on the in-faculty components of the programme, relating principles and practice within a relevant context.

Schools look for a variety of characteristics, and will use the Standards for Initial Teacher Registration for assessment purposes, but it's fair to say that schools look for students who are enthusiastic, confident, hard-working, experimental, willing to listen and respectful; in addition, a little humility – in the best possible sense – goes a long way too!

How am I assessed while on placement? 

You're continually assessed while on placement and must keep a portfolio of progress. This placement file will form part of the evidence of your meeting the Standards for Provisional Registration and prepares you for the continuation of professional development during your professional teaching career. 

Our subjects

At Strathclyde we offer a wide range of subject specialisms as part of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). In some cases it's possible to specialise in two subject areas. If you choose to specialise in Primary Education you'll also be qualified to teach in an early years setting. 

Our students

Why choose Strathclyde?

Our teaching degrees have a strong track record and are highly valued by our students. Our graduates are sought after by schools around the world. We trace our history back to 1837, when David Stow founded one of the first teacher education institutions in the UK.

The PGDE is the graduate entry route to those who want to become a Primary or Secondary teacher in Scotland. The PGDE is an internationally recognised qualification, newly qualified teachers will be able to apply for qualified teacher status (QTS) or equivalent in their home country.

Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers you can pursue. It allows you to share your passion for your subject whilst motivating and inspiring young people to succeed in learning and in life. Every day will be different and bring new challenges to rise to. For enthusiastic, motivated individuals, it's a huge privilege to play a key role in shaping the lives of young people.

Why study the PGDE at Strathclyde?

  • our School of Education is ranked 3rd in the UK for Education (The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
  • we’re the largest provider of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland
  • opportunity to achieve 120 Masters-level credits
  • learn through taught classes and 18 weeks of placements in a school in Scotland
  • become qualified to teach in locations worldwide
  • option for Scottish students to join the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) providing a guaranteed teaching job for a year following qualification, in a Scottish school
  • as a newly qualified teacher, you can receive an additional financial enhancement in the region of £8,000 under the Preference Waiver Scheme

Top 10 for Education. Complete University Guide League Tables 2022.