The post primary PGCE is a one year, full-time programme that prepares students for a career in teaching.
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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. 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 2018
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.
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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.
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).
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
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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 has been extended to 10 January 2018.
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 2018
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy
To find out more about fees related to this course please visit
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.