The Geography PGCE programme will develop the professional skills students need to teach geography, as well as developing their knowledge of contemporary issues in geography education, and an understanding of how to support effective learning for all pupils in the 11–16 age range.
Students follow a programme of study that introduces them to the philosophy of education, epistemology, curriculum theory, pedagogical methods including fieldwork, cognitive psychology and child development, assessment, pedagogical content knowledge for the geography curriculum and contemporary education issues.
This theoretical study is combined with teaching practice, which consists of one placement in the autumn and one in the spring/summer. Fieldwork is undertaken in both London and the Lake District.
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).
- Secondary Geography: Developing Teaching and Learning (30 Master's-level credits)
This module aims to develop your ability to plan, teach and critically evaluate your geography teaching and the geographical learning of your pupils. This will help you to:
- develop a clear and justifiable geographical and educational rationale for your teaching
- plan sequences of lessons which link together and progress coherently
- analyse learning outcomes closely, using the evidence of pupils work to draw conclusions about the geographical learning.
- Secondary Geography: Learning in a Wider Context (30 Master's-level credits)
The aims of this module are to:
- expand your knowledge of educational theory and practice by focusing on one wider aspect of education (see topics below)
- consider geographys role within this broader dimension of education
- Technology/GIS/Spatial Thinking
- Assessment & Progression
- Values and the Curriculum
- Differentiation/Special Educational Needs/English as an Additional Language
- Contemporary Issues/Current Affairs in Education
- 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.
Students will spend most of their time (120 days) in schools, working with geography mentors who provide support during two school placements. We are fortunate to have a good choice of schools with whom we work, with many outstanding mentors and strong geography departments.
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 Geography, or a Geography-related degree. Successful applicants with a degree closely-related to geography are frequently required to attend a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course in the summer preceding the start of the PGCE. These are usually 8-12 week courses designed to help non-geographers develop a better understanding of the discipline and subject knowledge of the curriculum. For students starting in September 2017 we are currently recommending the courses offered by University of Sussex, University of West of England or Manchester Met University.
Geography at grade C required if the first degree subject is not Geography.
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:
Scholarships and bursaries of up to £27,500 are available to students who meet the eligibility criteria for the Geography 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 teachers and heads of department in schools and colleges, while others have jobs as headteachers and assistant heads. Graduates in this area can also be found working as mentors of Geography PGCE students.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Geography Teacher, Unspecified Academy
- Geography Teacher, Unspecified Grammar School
- Teaching Assistant, Unspecified Primary School
- Geography Teacher, Unspecified Girls' School
- Geography Teacher, Unspecified Boys' 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?
Tutors on the Geography PGCE are skilled classroom practitioners with extensive experience in secondary schools and colleges, in school leadership, inspection, educational research and consultancy. The UCL Institute of Education's 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 Geography PGCE helps students to explore the purpose of teaching geography, developing their own philosophy for why a geographical education is important for young people. We believe in the practical competence of teachers being matched by a spirit of intellectual enquiry, focused on pupil acquisition of worthwhile geographical knowledge and skills. An appropriate balance of these attributes is the prerequisite of proficiency in the classroom.
The programme is designed to foster interest and expertise in geography education beyond the PGCE, and many graduates go on to complete their Geography Education MA in the first year of teaching.
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