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The post primary PGCE is a one year, full-time programme that prepares students for a career in teaching English, Drama and Media Studies..


Study English with Drama and Media Studies at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

For detailed information about the Post -Primary PGCE in English with Drama and Media Studies and all other Post primary PGCEs at the University of Ulster please go to the School of Education website at:

The course
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.

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About this course

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.

The aim of the PGCE English with Drama and Media Studies course is to prepare students to be a Teacher of English with Drama and Media Studies. Student teachers will learn how to teach English with a particular focus on the additional subject areas of Drama and Media Studies. A range of relevant educational issues such as Classroom Management, Special Educational Needs, Assessment, Information Communication Technology and Learning theory will be explored through subject sessions, lectures, and workshops. Students will also take part in mixed seminar groups in order to have opportunities to discuss these issues with other PGCE students from a range of different subject areas.

The English with Drama and Media Studies PGCE course is designed to enable student teachers to apply the principles and procedures of effective teaching in a variety of contexts related to their specialist subject areas.

The statutory curriculum and programmes of study for English in the Northern Ireland curriculum will be reviewed and analysed, with particular reference to KS3 and KS4, GCSE and AS/ A2. English literature and English Language, Media Studies, Moving Image, Drama and Theatre Studies will also be reviewed and time will be spent considering the development of vocational courses at KS4 and post-16.

A lot of independent study will follow on from subject sessions to ensure all students are aware of the multifaceted nature of the subject ‘English’ and its many embedded micro subjects.


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

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply

Entry conditions

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

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements

a. 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. 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.An offer of a place will be conditional upon satisfying the Selection Committee on all of the above criteria.

8. 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.

Teaching and learning assessment

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).

Exemptions and transferability

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 Ulster University it is not possible to transfer with exemption from another course or institution.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

Career options

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



Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

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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. Students must also attend an Induction Field Trip, with a cost of £75 per student.


Mrs Nicola Marlow

Course Director PGCE English with Drama and Media Studies

School of Education, Coleraine

Telephone: +44 (0)28 701 23935