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What is a PGCE Degree?

What is a PGCE Degree?

What is a PGCE Degree?

As you start applying for more and more courses at university, you’ll soon start to notice different phrases or terms thrown around. While a University Terms Glossary can certainly help you, you will mainly need to find out a lot of these terms for yourself. As you go through university, you will hear more and more about studying a Bachelor degree, studying a Master’s degree and crucially (If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher or studying a Teaching degree) a PGCE degree.

Now, you might be wondering what a PGCE degree is, well, luckily for you, we’ve got a helpful guide for you below to help you understand everything about a PGCE degree?

What is a PGCE degree?

A PGCE degree is a higher education course that is run in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a course that is aimed at students that are looking to become teachers. The degree itself is a good choice for those that are looking to complete a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

What does PGCE stand for?

Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

How do I study a PGCE?

There are two ways to study a PGCE. You can study traditionally, which is a university-led teacher training course on site, or you can attain another qualification and have it completed when at school (Generally as part of a placement or employment requirement).

Why isn’t a PGCE offered in Scotland?

Oh but it is! Yeah, we know, we didn’t mention it in the first paragraph, but it is offered in Scotland, only with one minor catch. It has a different name. It has different initials which are PGDE, which stands for Professional Graduate Diploma in Education.

If I want to be a teacher, do I need to have a PGCE?

Well, it’s not essential at all, but if you want to stand a good chance of getting the job when you eventually go for the interview, then it’s probably a good idea! That being said, many schools and universities are beginning to windle down applicants to those that only have a PGCE, those without may soon find themselves unable to apply, so it’s in your best interests to get one, while you still can.

Who handles PGCE course applications?

As with all university applications, you need to apply through UCAS Teacher Training, and you will obviously need to add this to your UCAS application as well. UCAS has its own portal specifically for the course area, which works similar to UCAS Track.

Do I need a PGCE if I want to become a university lecturer?

As above, it’s not essential, but it soon could be. Right now, a PGCE is not a requirement, but universities that offer the course will soon be aware of how important it is. The thing you need to remember is that universities are always looking to offer what’s best for their students. Whether they be the best university in London or the best coastal university, they will want to maintain a certain level of excellence, and a PGCE is incredibly useful to them when they are trying to maintain that level.

Does a PGCE include a placement?

Yes, it does. Most university courses involving teaching will involve placements of some kind and obviously having to do placements during university is something that everyone will most likely have to get used to, especially if you’re studying abroad with the Erasmus Programme. You’ll most likely be asked to complete a placement as a way of gaining experience for your PGCE, this also helps because a lot of schools, institutions, colleges and universities won’t even consider you if you haven’t worked in an educational environment at some point.

Are there any bursaries, grants or scholarships available for a PGCE degree?

There are indeed plenty of bursaries, grants and scholarships. These are offered, however, based on your degree’s classification, basically, how the government ranks your degree, in terms of prestige. The money is split, however, depending on the subject that your teaching degree is specialised in, too.

  • Physics: £30,000 – Degree in the first division.
  • Maths: £25,000 – For those with a 2:2 or above.
  • Modern Foreign Languages, Computing, Geography and Chemistry (First Division): £25,000 (£20,000 if you have a 2:1 or a 2:2)

Other subjects have been known to fetch anywhere between £3,000 and £15,000.

Who are the training providers for the PGCE?

These are all depending on the country that you’re studying in. The bodies are listed below:

In Northern Ireland however, you need to have eligibility to teach, which is granted through the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland. The bodies can vary in Scotland depending on what area of study you are focusing on.

How much does it cost to study a PGCE?

This can all very much depend on the country that you’re studying in. The rates also can depend on the universities themselves, so make sure you read and understand student finance before you apply, obviously, Student Finance in Wales and Student Finance in Scotland, works slightly different as well.

Do I need a PGCE if I’m going to be teaching at an independent school?

As with the others above, it’s starting to become the required industry standard if you want to be able to apply for a job. Independent schools do not require any specific qualifications for applicants, but they prefer applicants with PGCEs, which means that Independent Schools are very much ahead of the curve.

If I have a PGCE will I be able to work in other countries?

Woah, slow down there, slick! Overall, the qualification does allow you to work abroad if you’re so inclined, but only in countries that recognise the qualification. For many countries, the qualification can only be used by those in the nation with which it was earned, but most universities or schools or colleges will still acknowledge that you have a PGCE and as a result, will most likely allow you to move forward with the application, so it won’t always prove a complication, but be prepared, just in case.

So there you have it! Everything that you need to know about the PGCE degree is all there! Remember, that you need to think about some of the external factors, such as student finance and what you need to have if you are a mature student at university. Good luck!


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