Postgraduate Certificate of Education
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Education
The post primary PGCE is a one year, full-time programme that prepares students for a career in teaching.
The closing date is 31st December 2019.
On successful completion of initial teacher education student teachers will be able to evidence their competence and be awarded the Post Graduate Certificate in Education allowing them to register with the General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland. They will also accrue 60 CATS points towards a Master’s degree in Education. In total the PGCE is worth 120 points ( 60 at Master’s level 7 and 60 at Post graduate level 6).
Sign up to register an interest in the course.
Our coastal and riverside campus with a primary academic focus on science and health
In this section
“The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives.” The overall aim of our PGCE programme at Ulster is to support this aim and to foster the development of pedagogical competences in the following three areas: - Professional Values and Practice; Professional Knowledge and Understanding and Professional Skills and Application. To achieve these aims the PGCE post-primary programme at Ulster University prepares student teachers to be competent in the following: - the ability to plan, teach and assess worthwhile learning activities in their subject area(s) in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland for the 11-18 age group; - the acquisition of the knowledge, understanding and skills that are essential for the promotion of learning among pupils; - to assume responsibility for developing as competent reflective practitioners, able to monitor and evaluate their teaching performance; - to realise a commitment to on-going personal and professional development in pursuit of sustained pupil learning and school improvement. Student teachers on the PGCE will evidence their competence through achieving the following objectives: - by demonstrating a critical understanding of the Northern Ireland Curriculum and of National Curriculum requirements; -by demonstrating a knowledge of their subject and its contribution to the area of study and to the “Big Picture” of the curriculum at Key Stages 3 & 4 with its objectives of:
a) developing the young person as an individual;
b) developing the young person as a contributor to society and
c) developing the young person as a contributor to the economy and the environment.
The successful completion of the PGCE also requires the student to: recognise and take account of those factors which influence curriculum planning in a particular school context; understand how children learn and appreciate the social, moral, psychological and cultural factors which affect educational attainment; plan, teach and evaluate lessons, units and schemes of work organise and manage classes effectively; use a range of teaching and learning methodologies supported by resources for pupils of all ability levels, including those with special educational needs; recognise the need for continuity, progression and differentiation in pupils' learning; assessment for learning and assessment of learning; assessing, recording and reporting pupil achievement; develop pupils' language and numeracy skills through the teaching of their subject; promote skills of problem solving, decision making, presentation, teamwork, leadership and independent learning; develop pupils' personal and interpersonal skills; promote fairness and equality of opportunity; build and sustain good relationships with both pupils and staff; work co-operatively with colleagues and other student teachers and contribute to school wide activities; develop skills and confidence in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and emerging technologies for both personal and professional use.
This is a programme of professional training of teachers for the teaching profession. Attendance therefore is compulsory for all activities, modules and components of the course. Students are required to attend all classes and course activities including placement in school.
Students must be available for registration and an induction programme during the last week in August.
a) 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.
b) 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.
c) 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.
d) 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.
e) 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.
f) 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.
g) 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).
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:
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
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.
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 '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.
This module builds on the professional, knowledge, skills and values that were introduced in the module for Learning and Teaching and is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their skills and understFoundation anding 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).
b. An Honours degree normally in the specialist subject (Home Economics)
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). It is up to candidates to make clear on their application how their Honours degree meets the requirements of the subject they wish to teach.
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 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.
There are no exemptions recognised for entry to this course and it is not possible to transfer from other courses. Access to the PGCE is by the successful completion of the application and interview process.
In this section
The PGCE is an internationally recognised programme for Initial Teacher Education leading directly to a career in teaching. The post primary PGCE is for those who wish to teach the 11-19 age range.
In this section
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: £4,275.00
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
Successful applicants must apply for AccessNI clearance (£33) and complete an Occupational Health Check (£35) and are responsible for costs associated with these applications.
Students must also attend an Induction Field Trip, with a cost of £75 per student.
There will be a small charge to cover the cost of ingredients for practical cookery workshops.
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.