Course overview

We know that you’re ambitious and want to be more than a standard teacher. We will help you reach your potential as a teacher so you can help your pupils reach their potential.

We have a strong long-standing partnership with 150-200 local schools. We work with schools that are large and small, schools in affluent areas and schools that are challenged. This wide range gives you experiences of teaching in different contexts. Not only will you learn from the pupils you’ll engage with, you’ll learn from experienced school staff. Placements provide a great networking opportunity and can help you decide what kind of school you want to work in once you graduate.

Personalised support for our trainee teachers is important to us. We offer this in many ways including personal tutors, school-based mentors and coordinators, student support groups, and we have a school Welfare Officer. On top of this, you can access all the university’s support services.

We offer additional enrichment opportunities so that you can personalise and enhance your studies. These can include time in a special school, professional development immersion days, special interest groups and School of Education seminars and events.

Key features of the Secondary PGCE

  • Rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in our 2022 inspection
  • Qualified to teach Key Stage 3 to 5 (11-18 years)
  • PGCE qualification (60 masters-level credits) with Qualified Teacher Status
  • Time spent in first placement school from week one of the course
  • Second school placement starts in January
  • University-based days spread across the year
  • Subjects offered: Englishgeographyhistorymathsmodern languagesscience
  • Your 60 PGCE credits can be used towards an MA Education, and 30 credits can be used towards other MA courses

Alumni profiles

View our Secondary PGCE alumni  profiles.

Attend an information session

We hold monthly events from October through to July to give you the opportunity to find out more about starting your teaching career with the University of Nottingham.

Attend an event

Why choose this course?

Rated 'Outstanding'

in our recent Ofsted inspection

High employment level

Many of our graduates secure employment in our local partnership schools.

School partnerships

across the East Midlands

Top 50

in the world for education

Over 100 years

of experience in the field of education

Support from experts

across our partnership. You'll work with excellent teacher educators and school-based mentors.

Course content

This programme is designed to equip you with the skills you need to become an effective educator and to enable you to develop your own theories of learning and models of good practice. It gives you extended placements in at least two schools, enabling you to gain a broad experience of different and contrasting educational settings.

University-based learning

You will actively work with tutors and peers, constantly exploring teaching and learning. You will engage with theory and research to make you a better teacher, for example we will look at theories about behaviour for learning to help you analyse what is and is not working in your classroom. Your university experience will include:

  • working with groups of beginning teachers for your subject and across other subjects
  • modelling of teacher approaches you can use in your classroom
  • exploring research and practice
  • keynote inputs from experts, for example staff that specialise in special and inclusive education
  • peer teaching and learning
  • exploring and practising all elements of being a teacher in a 'safe' space

Placements - school-based learning

We have a very strong, collaborative partnership with the schools we work with. University tutors and school coordinators/mentors work closely with you, and each other, throughout the year, to support and challenge you to develop into the best teacher you can be.

We firmly believe that learning to become a great teacher isn’t about doing as many lessons as you can as quickly as possible. It is about gradually building up your experiences and working with experienced teachers in lots of different ways. Your school-based learning will include:

  • a carefully structured programme to support your progress each term
  • a gradual build-up of teaching
  • observations across all key stages with expert teachers
  • weekly mentor meetings to discuss your progress and agree targets for development
  • involvement in all aspects of school life, for example helping with clubs, school trips, joining staff meetings, break-time duty

Throughout your time in school, you will undertake a wide range of professional development activities to develop your understanding of teaching and learning and the complex role of a teacher. Although placements are intensive and demanding, we carefully structure your progression, with a gradual build-up of teaching commitments, so you are well prepared to teach in different contexts. During your time on placement you will become part of your school's community and work professionally as a member of a team.

As part of your second placement, you will undertake a small-scale research project exploring your subject in relation to schools and society. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a short placement in an alternative educational setting, such as a special school, to further personalise your training and support your ongoing professional development.

Further information about our PGCE courses can be found on the School of Education Initial Teacher Education website.


Core modules

Learning and Teaching in Schools

This 30-credit module explores teaching and learning in subject disciplines and more generally. An extensive programme of lectures and seminars will enable you to develop a practical knowledge of teaching informed by a critical understanding of theories of teaching and learning. The module is assessed through written assignments, presentations and related classroom-based work.

Schools and Society

This 30-credit module considers various aspects of teachers' wider professional roles as well as social, cultural and legal aspects of schooling. Most of the teaching takes place in cross-subject seminar groups and is assessed through written assignments and presentations, some of which are collaborative. Some subject work also contributes to this module.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 31 May 2023.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group study
  • Tutorials
  • Discussion group
  • School-based teaching practice

How you will be assessed

  • Presentation
  • Teaching practice
  • Assignments

Your practical teaching will be assessed by University tutors and school-based ITE leads and moderated by external examiners. All elements of your work across the year will be taken into account and there are no written exams.

You will need to demonstrate your practical abilities as a teacher and your theoretical understanding of this practice and must fulfil the requirements for the Teacher Standards by the end of the course. We take an holistic approach to assessing whether you have met the standards that avoids gathering pieces of evidence to tick off boxes. Our key message is that if you are engaging successfully with all elements of your course you will be meeting the standards.

Fundamental mathematics and English skills

Before being recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you must be able to demonstrate competence in maths and English. At interview we will discuss your current level of ability and if needed, we will direct you to resources to engage with before the course. Throughout the course you will be supported to develop further to ensure you are fully competent by the end of your course.

Contact time and study hours

This is a full-time course and you should therefore expect to work full days when in university and on placement. You can view a draft timetable for a guide as to what to expect.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degreeUK undergraduate degree/equivalent – in all cases we will be looking at the relevance of your degree alongside other qualifications in your proposed teaching subject, plus GCSE/equivalent – English language and mathematics, 4 (C) or above
  • UK undergraduate degree/equivalent – in all cases we will be looking at the relevance of your degree alongside other qualifications in your proposed teaching subject
  • GCSE/equivalent – English language and mathematics, 4 (C) or above
  • Satisfactory medical report
  • Enhanced Disclosure from Disclosure and Barring Service


  • Visit DfE Find for more information on applying
  • Visit Apply for teacher training to start your application
  • Complete and submit the application form following the instructions
  • Complete a personal statement
  • Once you have submitted your application to Apply for teacher training, it is sent to us
  • Suitable candidates will be invited to interview at the university
  • Successful applicants will be offered a place

The last date we will accept applications for courses starting in September 2023 is Monday 21 August 2023. Our final interviews sessions will take place the same week. Applicants must be available to attend an interview when invited between Monday 21 August and Friday 25 August 2023.


Qualification PGCE
Home / UK £9,250
International £20,500

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on a teacher training course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. This includes travel costs to your placement school which will obviously vary according to where you live, where you need to travel to, and your mode of transport.

Some of our courses will also include local visits or field trips which will also incur costs.You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles. The school covers the cost of a DBS check.


Teacher training bursary

You may be eligible for a bursary. Please visit the Department for Education website for further information.

Tuition fee and maintenance loans

You may be eligible to apply for a fee loan which covers the cost of the tuition fee. Maintenance loans are also available. Please visit the Teacher training funding website for more detail.

University of Nottingham Core Bursary

As a student on a PGCE course, you may be eligible for income assessed Core Bursary of up to £2,000.

These bursaries include support for students with financially dependent children or adults, or students who have been in care.


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Our students are very successful at gaining employment after graduation. Many secure positions in local partnership schools. Some graduates go overseas to work as a teacher

Other graduates have gone on to work as counsellors, education advisers and vocational/industrial trainers and instructors.

Your 60 masters-level credits may be used towards an MA Education or MA Education (Flexible) if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

Career progression

As an Early Career Teacher teacher you'll begin on a minimum salary of £25,714, or £26,948 in inner London.

You complete two school placements over the duration of this course and will spend time in your first placement school from week one. The second school placement will start in January.

University tutors and school ITE leads work closely with you, and each other, throughout the year to support and challenge you to develop into the best teacher you can be.

We have a very strong, collaborative partnership with the schools we work with.


Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" The Nottingham PGCE course also places a big emphasis on mental health and well-being, which I believe is of the utmost importance, especially during such an intense course. This made me feel like I would be well supported throughout my time here, and this has since been proven right. "
Ciara Daly - Secondary PGCE Geography - 2021/22

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 31 May 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.