PGDE Teacher Education PGDE FAQs

We've pulled together our most Frequently Asked Questions on the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme.

Admission to Initial Teacher Education programmes 2023

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. 

Fees and funding

The funding you are eligible for as a PGDE students can be broken into two categories:

Scottish 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.

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.

International students - Please see our Scholarship Search for further information.

If you’re coming to us as a new Scottish student, you don’t have to wait until you have an offer from us to apply to SAAS for your funding. Get ahead of the crowd and complete your online funding application when SAAS opens in mid-April.

All applications are for one academic year only, so make sure you apply every year. You must register at Strathclyde and collect your student card before your student loan and bursary will be paid.

If you’re coming to us as a new International student, then you can check out our Scholarship search for more help with fees and funding or complete a Financial Support Funds application and submit this along with your supporting documents to the Funding and Financial Support Team. Find out more information here.

Fees for students domiciled in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. All fees are in £ sterling and may be subject to revision. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

You can find information on fees and funding for the programme you are interested in, on the individual subject page.

The application process

Applications submitted through UCAS can be submitted from September, but typically applications are not considered until October.

The deadline for the majority of courses is in January with decisions usually being released in May. For a full list of important dates set by UCAS, please visit the UCAS website.

Please ensure that you give your referee enough time to submit your reference, in advance of the deadline. 

If you applied through UCAS and you met the deadline set by UCAS then you can expect to hear back from us in May. If we require additional information in order to assess your application, we will get in touch with your directly.

Applications from Scottish, EU, and rest of UK students must submit applications for all PGDE courses through UCAS. Therefore, applications for PGDE will follow the same application deadlines as UCAS. Please ensure that all parts of your application are completed including details of qualifications which meet the minimum entry requirements. We may be unable to consider incomplete applications. 

On submitting your application please ensure that you have the following documents to hand. When we require these documents, we will request these from you. Please don’t send documents to us without being asked. 

  • 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

For international students, applicants should apply via the University’s online application system which can be found on the respective course pages. We accept applications from international applicants right up until the August intake but would encourage you apply in advance of this. In order for your application to be fully considered, you will be required to upload the following supporting documents within 7 days of submitting your application. Please ensure that you upload all these documents to Pegasus.

  • 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

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 a 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. This degree should contain at least 80 credits relevant to the PGDE course you wish to study and you must be able to demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of this area of study. As well as academic qualifications, you will need to demonstrate evidence that you have experience working with children in a primary/secondary school setting or related context, an understanding of modern primary/secondary education, and an ability to relate to people.

It is also important to note that due to limited number of places on certain courses and the high number of applications received for certain subjects, it may be necessary to have the Mathematics and English qualifications in place at the time of application.

Higher (SCQF Level 6) English Grade C or above.

National 5 (SCQF Level 5) Mathematics Grade C or above.

The following alternative qualifications in English will be accepted:

  • Communications 4 and Literature 1
  • GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature at Grade C or above
  • Irish Leaving Certificate Higher English at Grade D1/H4
  • (SCQF Level 6) English Access Course offered by the University of Aberdeen at Grade C or above
  • A Level English Literature or English Language Grade C or above

The following alternative qualifications in Mathematics will be accepted:

  • Higher Mathematics at Grade C or above
  • 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 B3/03
  • Irish Leaving Certificate Higher Mathematics at Grade D2/H5
  • National 5 Lifeskills/Applications Mathematics at Grade C or above
  • (SCQF Level 5) Mathematics Access Course offered by the University of Aberdeen at Grade C or above
  • A Level Mathematics Grade C or above
  • Discovering Mathematics MU123 Open University
  • Core 4 Maths Pass Grade
  • Dundee & Angus College Level 5 Maths Online

If you have a different qualification and would like us to check against entry requirements, please get in touch.

For some subjects it is essential to have your Maths and English qualifications in place prior to applying for the course. You will see this information detailed on the individual course page under the ‘Entry Requirements’ tab. The subjects that this is necessary for include:

  • PGDE Physical Education
  • PGDE History
  • PGDE Modern Studies

All other subjects do not require for these qualifications in place prior to submitting your application. However, this is subject to change in line with the limited number of places and the high volume of applications received. For certain subjects it may then become necessary to have the Mathematics and English qualifications in place at the time of application.

Your personal statement is an important part of the PGDE application, it gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and highlight why you want to be a teacher. There is a 4000 character limit set by UCAS who provide useful personal statement guidance for PGDE applicants. It is highly recommended that you do your research before you start writing your personal statement and you should aim to read every supporting document that you can find about the PGDE programme.

If you are applying through UCAS, we require one suitable reference. If you are applying directly to the University of Strathclyde, we require two suitable references. Regardless of whether you have applied via UCAS or directly to us, they should be professional references i.e., an academic, employment or voluntary reference. Your reference should not be from a family member or friend.

Getting experience of working with young people not only helps to set you apart from other applicants, giving you something to mention in your personal statement, but it also serves as a taster of the job that you are planning to work towards.

Experience can come in a number of forms such as volunteering at a local school, working at a youth camp or as part of your current job. For certain subjects which are highly competitive and particularly for Primary Education getting this kind of experience is very important.

Yes, this is done in collaboration with the University and if you are already a member of the PVG Scheme your membership number will be used in your application which can speed up the process. Students who receive an offer of a place will be sent information from the University, which you should follow carefully.

The interview process

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?
  • Does the candidate have a sufficient interest in teaching?
  • Experience of working with young people?
  • Evidence of good written communication skills?
  • A good statement by their referee?

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.

You will be invited to interview by one of our colleagues who has reviewed your application. In this invitation you will be given a time slot for when and where you can expect your interview to take place and how to accept the invitation. Details will be given of the interview format and any special arrangements that will take place eg language assessment for Modern Languages.

Please note that interviews will be held online for entry in August 2023.

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 UCAS. UCAS will then communicate the result to you. Should you wish feedback on the selection process, please contact the subject coordinator.

Course, timetable and placement

The course begins mid-August and runs for 36 weeks, half of which is spent on placement.

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.

The combination of subjects for 2023 entry are:

  • Sciences – any 2 from Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Social subjects and Religious Education – any 2 from Geography, History, Modern Studies and RME
  • Modern Languages – any 2 from French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin
  • Computing with Business Education or Mathematics
  • Physics with Mathematics
  • Gaelic language with any subject

It is possible for students who meet the entry requirements in two subjects to be considered for dual qualification. In most cases (apart from modern languages) students would apply for one subject in the first instance and would then be invited to express an interest in taking a second subject in the first week of the course. If the second subject can fit their timetable, and there is availability in the class, then the student would be able to attend the second class and work towards qualifying in two subjects. Qualifying in two subjects entails attending additional classes and sharing the 18 weeks professional practice between two subjects. There are no additional assignments and no days added to the duration of the PGDE.

Each module on the PGDE carries a credit weighting and these credits can be achieved at diploma level (level 10) or masters level (level 11). You will have the opportunity to submit assignments at the level of your choosing and it is a chance to achieve Masters-level credits, as part of your PGDE. You can apply to have these credits counted towards a Masters-level programme at Strathclyde, or other institution,  if you decide to pursue further academic study. These credits are valid for up to five years after you complete the PGDE. This does not add any time on to the length of the PGDE programme, and there is no additional cost to you. This option is available to anyone studying the PGDE and you will have the choice whether to submit each assignment at level 10 or 11. You may leave the PGDE without any Masters-level credits or you could leave with some, or all 120 Masters-level credits.

We aim to give 2-4 weeks’ notice of placement location. However, unexpected circumstances such as teacher illness, and other issues out with the university’s control can lead to placements changing at short notice.

PGDE placements cannot be completed outside of Scotland.

You are continually assessed jointly by university tutors and teachers in school 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 career long professional learning.

Full time students will be expected to be available for study five days a week. The professional aspect of the PGDE may entail activities from 9am-5pm.

If you are an offer holder, your full timetable will be available during the August induction week. However, an example timetable usually becomes available before the programme begins.

Placements are allocated through the Student Placement System (SPS). SPS is automated and is administered by General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and works on the principle of matching students to schools, based on the information provided by students. You should not normally be required to travel in excess of 90 minutes each way to your school placement from your term time address. Students are not permitted to seek placements independently.  

Part-time study

All secondary subjects can be studied on a part-time basis, with the exception of Technological Studies and PE which are only available full-time. Unfortunately, the primary course can only be studied on a full-time basis.

Please note: the part-time pathway involves four full-time school placements over the two years. See below for more information.

The part-time PGDE pathway takes two years.

In Year 1, you have classes on two or three days: a Thursday and a Tuesday and/or a Friday (depending on your subject). There are two full-time four-week school placement blocks, one starting in October and one in early February.

In Year 2, there are classes on Mondays and occasional Wednesdays, and you will be invited to re-join your Tuesday/Friday secondary subject class immediately prior to school placements. There are also two five-week full-time school placement blocks, one starting in October and one in early February.

You will be in the same classes as full-time PGDE students for Education Studies, Professional Values (ESPV) and Professional Learning Through Enquiry (PLTE) modules. A detailed part-time pathway timetable will be available once finalised.

In Year 1, you will have Curriculum and Pedagogy (C&P) and Professional Practice (PP) modules in your subject area, along with the two full-time four-week school placement blocks mentioned above.

In Year 2, you take the modules Education Studies: Professional Values (ESPV) and Professional Learning Through Enquiry (PLTE), and there are two full-time five-week school placement blocks. You will also be invited to re join your C&P class on a Tuesday or Friday just before school placement blocks begin, and there will be the opportunity for those who are interested to take the Catholic Teaching Certificate (CTC) in Religious Education on occasional Mondays and Wednesdays.

The PGDE assignments are exactly the same for part-time students as those for the full-time course, and you will find full descriptions of them in the main PGDE handbook. The submission dates are also the same as the full-time course, but they are spread over the two years of the part-time pathway as follows:

Year 1: the C&P assignment is due in March (40 credits);
Year 2: the ESPV assignment is due in October (20 credits), the PLTE assignment is due in January (20 credits), the PP assignment (optional) is due in April, and an overall assessment of PP will be made after the final school placement has been completed in Year 2 (40 credits).

After you graduate

The Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) provides a guaranteed one-year training post in a local authority to all Scottish students graduating from the Strathclyde PGDE. The GTCS, in partnership with the Scottish Government, is responsible for the administration of the scheme.

The Teacher Induction Scheme allows probationer teachers to be considered for full registration within one school year (190 teaching days) and offers a number of benefits:

  • A maximum class contact time of 0.8 full-time equivalents (GTCS endorsed)
  • Dedicated time set aside for Professional Learning
  • Access to a teacher for support through the induction year

As part of the TIS, you can indicate in preference order the five local authority areas that you would be willing to work in for your induction year. You must remember that you could be allocated to any of these five areas including your fifth choice.

Alternatively, if you are prepared to work anywhere in Scotland, tick the ‘anywhere’ box and you will receive an additional £6,000 (Primary) or £8,000 (Secondary) less tax and national insurance.

The Strathclyde PGDE is an internationally recognised professional teaching course. The qualification is regulated by both the GTCS and the Scottish Government. Although most of our graduates go on to teach in Scottish state schools, obtaining this qualification opens up opportunities to teach throughout the UK and internationally.

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.

This is funded by the Scottish Government. Please note that the guaranteed one-year probationary placement in a local authority does not guarantee future employment within the same authority post probation. 

You can find out more about the probationary period on the General Teaching Council for Scotland website.