The post primary PGCE is a one year, full-time programme that prepares students for a career in teaching.
Sign up for course updates
Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.
We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Our coastal and riverside campus with a primary academic focus on science and healthWatch the video
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. There will be opportunities to be involved in geography fieldwork and a visit to a local Field Centre.
- Workshops: designed primarily to allow students to examine the relationship between theoretical perspectives introduced in lectures and their main subject specialism.
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.
Attendance is Monday to Friday 9.30 to 17.00
- September 2019
Teaching and learning assessment
Formal lectures are a core activity in teaching the Professional Studies generic component of all modules being the most effective way of teaching large classes. Interactive delivery of lectures is promoted through the use of presentation software. Videos, tape recordings and the use of emerging technologies are also used to illustrate lectures. Access is provided to lecture notes which are posted on the PGCE's Virtual Learning Environment site.
Practical classes are fundamental to the study of pedagogy and the delivery of taught material in the main subject area. As outlined in the module descriptors, students engage in a diverse range of practical classes including work done in ICT labs. All practical classes are designed to develop core teaching skills and to link subject pedagogy to research and professional development. Health and Safety procedures in the classroom are emphasised in practical classes.
Seminars are used not only to extend the lecture topics but also equip students with the skills to seek relevant research material and to present the material as a lucid exposition and argument within a given time frame. With the increasing amount of information available on the internet, the knowledge and skills to select appropriate, educationally sound material are vital to all potential teachers. Students are also afforded the opportunity to make both individual and group presentations.
Tutorials are used to support students who need help with their studies. Tutorial time is built into the weekly university programme and the post lesson discussion led by the university tutor and class teacher are in the nature of tutorials.
Group work is an important element of the learning regimen in the School. It is used to help students integrate learning from a variety of sources, to provide opportunities to apply knowledge or case studies for class and seminar work. Role-playing and micro-teaching has also been used to stimulate student participation in classroom discussion.
Problem based learning. In order to gain experience of integrating the professional themes covered in each semester in the general lectures, towards the end of each university based teaching phase students are asked to engage in a problem-based learning activity. These take place in mixed seminar groupings and each group is given time to work collaboratively without direct supervision.
Course work assignments are an essential part of the teaching and learning strategy as it encourages students to be independent learners. Assignments take a variety of forms and are used to encourage students to read the education literature underpinning lectures, integrate and apply knowledge and improve writing skills. Assignments include structured essays, literature reviews, case studies, word-limited reports, poster presentations and the practical ICT Portfolio. It is expected that all students should be able to write a fully referenced educational/curriculum studies paper as evidenced by the School-based Projects at Master’s level. Evidence of achievement at Level 7 is sought through the quality of students’ written assignments, designated at that level. In preparation, in subject sessions, seminars and through group problem-based learning activities students are encouraged to engage with, and evaluate, professional discourse on key educational issues. They are also introduced to the tools of enquiry necessary to collect appropriate evidence to evaluate their practice. Within assignments there must be evidence of an investigative approach informed by a critical review of literature with the framing of appropriate questions related to educational issues. Students are expected to take cognisance of educational research, synthesise its outcomes and use it both to present higher order thinking and to inform and improve their practice. Assignments should reflect the professional discourse encountered in taught sessions and in literature. They should also critique aspects of their practice in a systematic and critical way in the light of this literature. Thus, the course fosters an understanding of the role of the critically reflective practitioner. The PGCE requires the successful student to demonstrate a high level of application of theory within all written assignments. For all level 7 assignments, extended reading lists are provided that require students to underpin their writing by drawing on refereed journal articles and research data. The assignments all require the student to evidence a sophisticated level of critical reflection and the ability to synthesise a broad range of research literature and to link it appropriately to their own practice. To support the student the PGCE course offers a range of lectures and seminars in developing academic writing skills at master’s level. The PGCE is a competency based model and as such the award is based on evidence of holistic student competence and in accordance of the professional standards for teachers ( GTCNI, 2007). The PGCE course is fully cognisant of the Ulster University Qualifications and Credit Framework and successful completion of the PGCE the student will be awarded 120 credit points (60 at level 7 and 60 at level 6).
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
English and Mathematics (GCSE grade C or equivalent). 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 Physical Education should provide evidence of having worked with children and young people in a school setting for at least one year. 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: a. Two supportive references. b. Medical certificate of satisfactory health. c. 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. d. The application form will be examined for spelling, punctuation and use of English and general quality of presentation. e. Evidence of knowledge, interest and experience in working with young people of post-primary age normally in a formal/informal education setting. f. 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. g. An offer of a place will be conditional upon satisfying the Selection Committee on all of the above criteria. h. 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 Geography 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
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
Successful applicants must apply for AccessNI clearance (£33) and complete an Occupational Health Check (£35) and are responsible for costs associated with these applications. PGCE Geography students may be asked to attend some specialst fieldwork courses with a potential cost of c.£15.00 each.
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 Stephen Roulston
School of Education
T: +44 (0)28 7012 3210
For more information visit
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.