The post primary PGCE is a one year, full-time programme that prepares students for a career in teaching.
The closing date for this course is 31 January 2019.
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About this course
In this section
The aim of a PGCE is to prepare the student to become a competent teacher. This is achieved through a variety of teaching and learning methods which are summarised below:
• Tutorials: group or individually designed to advise in the preparation for school experience, curriculum projects and/or school based investigations.
• Practicals: involving simulations, role-play, practical activities and school experience.
• Workshops: designed primarily to allow students to examine the relationship between theoretical perspectives introduced in lectures and their main subject specialism.
Performance on the course will be assessed through coursework and school experience.
PGCE is a full time course. It is 36 weeks in length with the exception of PGCE Technology and Design which is 42 weeks and includes a six week workshop practice in Belfast.
Monday to Friday 9.30 to 17.00. Induction for the PGCE takes the form of a two day residential programme at Bushmills Education Centre during the last week in August.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
School Experience 1
This module School Experience 1 is designed to provide an academically and practically challenging programme which will give students an opportunity to put into practice the professional knowledge, skills and values related to qualifying as a classroom teacher which they have acquired in Foundation for Learning and Teaching. The module will focus on laying a foundation of competence in the pedagogy of Learning and Teaching in a school situation.
School Experience 2
This module builds on the professional, knowledge, skills and values that were introduced in Modules 1, 2 and 3 and is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and understanding of effective learning and teaching in schools and to show competence that will allow them to be awarded the PGCE. The module gives them the theoretical background that provides the context for their teaching. The module will focus on development of competence in the pedagogy of Learning and Teaching in school situations; using ICT in pedagogy and, for post primary students, to complete their subsidiary study and teach it in tandem with their main subject.
Foundation for Learning and Teaching
The module 'Foundation for Learning and Teaching' will provide an academically challenging programme which will give students an opportunity to study the theory and practice of education. The module gives them the theoretical background that provides the context for their teaching and which will be applied during the student's practical teaching experience in Module 2 encouraging reflection and analysis on the ways in which theory informs practice.
Developing Effective Learning and Teaching
This module builds on the progessional, knowledge, skills and values that were introduced in the module Foundation for Learning and Teaching and is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their skills and understanding of effective learning and teaching in school and to show competence that will allow them to be awarded the PGCE and Newly Qualified Teacher Status.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
a. English and Mathematics (GCSE Grade C or equivalent). Please note that for the purposes of entry to this course that the Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.
b. An Honours normally in the specialist subject (Art and Design, English with Drama and Media Studies, Geography, History, Home Economics, Music Education, Physical Education, Technology and Design) in an appropriate NI curriculum subject. In the case of a combined Honours degree at least 50% shall be in the specialist subject. (N.B. The normal minimum offer standard is a 2:2 Honours).
c. Applicants for PGCE Art and Design should provide evidence of having worked with children and young people in a school setting.
d. All applicants need to provide evidence of knowledge, interest and experience in working with young people of post-primary age.
Applicants for the post-primary pathway also require:
1. Two supportive references.
2. Medical certificate of satisfactory health.
3. Applicants will be scrutinised by Access NI and must also satisfy the University and the Department of Education that nothing would prohibit them from working with children.
4. The application form will be examined for spelling, punctuation and use of English and general quality of presentation.
5. Evidence of knowledge, interest and experience in working with young people of post-primary age normally in a formal/informal education setting.
6. Applicants appearing to fulfil the above requirements will be shortlisted. In the event that the programme is oversubscribed, enhanced criteria (e.g. degree classification) will then be applied and candidates fulfilling these criteria will be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the course.
7. Applicants who are deemed suitable but for whom an immediate place is not available will be placed on a waiting list and offered a place if another applicant declines his/her place.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
The PGCE is a complete programme and the student cannot be exempted from any part of the programme. Given the unique structure of the PGCE course in the University of Ulster it is not possible to transfer with exemption from another course or institution.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
The course prepares the student to teach their chosen subject in a post-primary school or college. Successful completion of this course qualifies the graduate to seek registration with the General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland.
Work placement / study abroad
There are two school placements during the year, both in Northern Ireland schools. The first is generally in a non-selective Post-Primary school, beginning towards the end of October and lasting for around 11 weeks. A second placement, also of around 11 weeks, is generally in a selective Post-Primary (Grammar) School, beginning around late March. Placements are arranged by the University from a list provided by you, as far as possible, and may be close to your home rather than the University if that is more convenient. They cannot be in a school that you have attended, nor one with which you have close contact, perhaps by having a relative on the teaching staff.
ApplyHow to apply Request a prospectus
The closing date for this course is 31 January 2019.
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
PLEASE NOTE: As the University has gone paper-light, all correspondence with regard to the Selection process will be sent to the email address which you supply on your application form, it is therefore imperative that this is an up to date address.
If you’re studying towards a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) course you’ll be eligible to apply for the full financial supportincluding Maintenance Loan, Maintenance/Special Support Grant and Tuition Fee Loan. This is regardless of whether you already have another degree.
- September 2019
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Scholarships, awards and prizes
There are a range of subject based prizes and awards associated with the PGCE. We also have two student prizes awarded by The General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland.
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Dr. Jackie Lambe
School of Education
For more information visit
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