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Secondary Education (Science, Biology) PGCE

Biology is the most popular science choice at 'A' level and, in addition to being a key component of Science in the National Curriculum, is also being offered as a separate GCSE option in many schools.

The PGCE Secondary Biology option provides a pathway into teaching for good biology graduates who, ideally, also have a strong background in at least one other science at 'A' level. It is designed to prepare students for teaching all aspects of science to at least Key Stage 3, and biology at GCSE and 'A' level.

Development of subject and teaching knowledge and understanding is a priority and the team of science tutors includes specialists in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology teaching.

Topics covered include:

  • the aims of science teaching
  • the planning, preparation and evaluation of learning experiences for children of different ages and abilities
  • school laboratory management
  • the use of information and communications technologies to support science teaching and learning

Entry requirements

A typical student will have obtained good GCSE grades in ‘double science’ or in each of the three separate science subjects. They will have a good ‘A’ level grade in biology and ideally in another science subject and a good degree (first or upper second class Honours) with at least 50% of the content related to biology. Equivalent or alternative qualifications are always considered.

Before applying it is always very helpful to gain an understanding of what being a secondary school biology/science teacher involves through gaining some experience in a secondary school science department.

Course modules

The programme has three fully integrated components:

Secondary Education and Professional Studies Module
The Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles within a range of educational contexts. The module is followed throughout the year with both University and school-based elements and is concerned with classroom issues, whole school issues and the role of education in the wider society.

Secondary Professional Learning Module
Central to school-based work is the development of your ability to meet the standards of professional competence which trainees must demonstrate in order to meet national standards for the award of QTS.

Secondary Biology Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy Module
This module aims to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the background issues and practice of the current teaching of Science and Biology in the secondary school, and to enable them to meet the Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (DfES 2002).

Assessment methods

Through University and school-based assignments. There are no formal exams.

There are two main assessment strands:

  • Assessment of the Standards relating to professional attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills that need to be reached in order to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  • Assessment at Masters level to gain the PGCE.

Sponsorship information

Bursaries are available for graduates training to teach biology.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
PGCE Full-time £ 9,250 (Whole course) Home/EU 36 Weeks
PGCE Full-time £ 16,500 (Whole course) International 36 Weeks

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