The English PGCE introduces students to the broad scope of English as a curriculum subject, including media and drama, across the 11–16 age range. Along with practical knowledge, it offers perspectives on the role of language in learning, the teaching of literacies and literature, the principles of syllabus design and evaluation, and assessment and recording.
You will develop an understanding of classroom practice and the theories underpinning teaching and learning in English, media and drama. Tasks set throughout the year will enable you to reflect on your own as well as children’s learning and development. Most of our schools offer opportunities to work with pupils who have English as an additional language or special educational needs.
Students undertake two level 7 (Master’s-level) modules of 30 credits each, totaling 60 credits. These can be carried forward onto full Master’s programmes at the IOE.
The Secondary PGCE consists of three core modules: two Master’s-level (level 7) modules, which are assessed through written assignments, and the Professional Practice module, which is assessed by the observation of practical teaching in placement schools.
Completion of the Professional Practice module and the two level 7 (Master’s level) modules (60 credits) will result in the award of a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). Completion of the Professional Practice module and one or two level 6 (undergraduate/Bachelor’s level) modules, will lead to the Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PgCE).
- Language, Culture and Learning (30 Master's-level credits)
This module enables students to develop their understanding of the cultures and histories of London school students and to engage with issues of culture, continuity and change in English classrooms. From the beginning of the course we focus on learning. We ask students to consider the diversity of pupils by asking the question "Who are the learners and what do they know?". The individual, social, cultural and linguistic diversity of pupils is a distinctive feature of London classrooms and how this diversity affects teaching and learning is central to the course. Along with a practical knowledge and understanding of English methods, the module offers theoretical perspectives on the role of language in learning, the teaching of literacies and literature, the principles of syllabus design and evaluation, and the assessment and recording of learners progress. The work of this module is underpinned by social, cultural and historical theories of learning.
Throughout the module, students are encouraged to reflect critically on their own experiences as learners and teachers, to engage with recent and relevant theories of learning and teaching as they relate to the field of English studies and critically and constructively engage with policy contexts and initiatives.
- English, Media, Drama (30 Master's-level credits)
This module serves as a broad introduction to and foundation for teaching English studies, including Media and Drama, across the secondary sector. Individual sessions focus on specific aspects of the English curriculum, providing knowledge and understanding of the National Curriculum together with an understanding of the framework of statutory and non-statutory requirements. The module draws on the range and variety of the subject knowledge that students bring with them onto the course and enables students to reconfigure this knowledge in the context of their developing experience of teaching and learning in London secondary classrooms.
- Professional Practice
The Professional Practice module combines practical experience in schools, where trainees observe and undertake classroom teaching, subject knowledge development through UCL Institute of Education (IOE) sessions as well as pedagogical and professional development in schools and IOE-based sessions. During teaching practice, trainees gain the practical experience they need to meet the Teachers Standards as required for the recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Assessment for this module is undertaken by school-based mentors in collaboration with IOE tutors.
You will spend most of your time (120 days) in schools, working with English mentors who support you through your two school placements. We are fortunate to have a wide range of schools with whom we work, with many outstanding mentors and strong English departments. The Professional Practice module is assessed through these placements, associated tasks and a portfolio.
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered via keynote lectures, subject lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the IOE, as well as time spent in placements. Assessment is by practical teaching, assignments and portfolio tasks.
Students will also record their progress in a Career Entry and Development Profile statement. This will form part of an ongoing portfolio charting the student's continuing professional development.
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
Normally a minimum of a lower second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in an English-related subject, including Drama. Other subjects may be considered if A level English, or the equivalent, has been obtained and the candidate has a suitable depth and breadth of subject knowledge.
A pass in English, or equivalent, required where degree subject is not in a cognate field.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C.
Prospective students must complete a minimum of five days of school experience before they can be enrolled on the Secondary PGCE. This may involve observations, work experience (e.g. as a teaching assistant or cover supervisor), or voluntary work. Applicants must have a minimum of one day's school experience before interview; some subjects will be looking for significantly more than this. Applicants must ensure that their school experience is relevant in helping them to prepare for the Secondary PGCE, during which Student Teachers are placed in a wide range of schools across London and the South East.
If you are made an offer you will be required to successfully complete Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks. The total cost of these checks is £125. These checks are required to ensure you meet the Department for Education’s requirements for physical and mental health to teach, as well as assessing your suitability for access to children and vulnerable adults. More details can be found on the Entry requirements page.
All applicants must successfully complete professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy before they can enrol. More information can be found on the Get Into Teaching website.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting September.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
Bursaries of up to £9,000 are available to students who meet the eligibility criteria for the English programme. To find out what funding may be available to you, please visit the Department for Education website.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as English teachers and heads of English departments and faculties in schools, while others have jobs as mentors of English PGCE students. Graduates in this area can also be found working as senior leaders in schools.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Secondary School Teacher, Unspecified School
- Faculty Administrator, IOE
- English Teacher, Unspecified Girls' School
- Secondary School English and Drama Teacher, Unspecified School
- English and Media Teacher, Unspecified School
Graduates of the Secondary PGCE programme are highly employable and sought after by schools and colleges in London and beyond. Almost all graduates secure their first teaching post by the time they finish the PGCE programme. Graduates of the programme also have great career prospects, with many becoming Head of Department or a Head of Year within 2-5 years, often acting, in their schools, as mentors to new PGCE student teachers. Many of our graduates become senior teachers (such as Assistant Headteachers or Head of a Faculty) in 5-8 years of graduating, and some are now Headteachers. Others have developed their careers as subject specialist teachers and educators, both becoming lead teachers in the classroom and researching, writing and advising other teachers themselves. The Secondary PGCE Programme is a springboard into a rewarding career, not just as a skilled teacher, but as an educational leader.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Education's (IOE) partnership with over 200 secondary schools and colleges in Greater London and beyond enables each of our students to become a skilled and confident teacher in their chosen subject specialism.
The IOE offers the largest English PGCE programme in the country, allowing students to benefit from a team of tutors with unparalleled expertise in the subject. Students will also be able to develop supportive peer networks, sharing ideas and resources.
Sessions at the IOE are interactive and students will participate in a range of group and individual activities, some of which involve collaboration with schools and other organisations including Shakespeare’s Globe and the British Film Institute.
Accreditation: Students who successfully complete this programme will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Department: Institute of Education
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Education
78% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
The Secondary PGCE full-time programme is suited to those wishing to gain Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) for teaching in a UK maintained (state-funded) school and who have fulfilled the appropriate entry requirements.
Early application is advised as programmes may close as soon as places are filled.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
Secondary PGCE - Programme overview
Watch PGCE Secondary programme leader David Mitchell