The Languages PGCE explores languages teaching and learning by combining theory and practice in innovative, inspiring and effective ways. This helps students develop a critical awareness and strong classroom skills to enable them to become a principled professional and educational thinker.
This programme enables students to engage critically with a number of approaches and issues relating to languages education, such as the teaching of grammar, the incorporation of literature into lessons, target language use and the monitoring and assessment of pupils' learning. It incorporates a range of approaches to effective, inclusive learning, and develops a student’s professionalism and critical awareness to a high level. The programme prepares languages student teachers to teach the 11-16 age range.
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).
Four pathways are available: European languages, European language with EAL (English as an Additional Language) enhancement, Mandarin Chinese with a European Language, and Mandarin Chinese with EAL enhancement.
- Learning, Teaching and Assessing Languages (30 Master's-level credits)
This module will enable student teachers to develop their understanding of the place of Languages in the school curriculum and their knowledge and understanding the aspects of Languages' teaching and learning. Throughout the module student teachers will be encouraged to reflect critically on their classroom experience and to draw on theoretical perspectives in the development of their thinking about the teaching and learning of languages.
Student teachers will: develop their understanding of how learning is monitored in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) lessons, both formally and informally; critically explore the use of formative assessment/Assessment for Learning (AfL) to promote learning in MFL; understand the implications of the assessment process on the planning and evaluation cycle; reflect critically on and articulate the approach to grammar in the National Curriculum for MFL and English; reflect on the different ways in which grammar is taught in English and MFL/Languages lessons and give reasons for this.
- Languages in a Wider Context (30 Master's-level credits)
Throughout this module, student teachers 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 Languages and critically and constructively engage with policy contexts and initiatives.
The module will enable student teachers to: develop understanding of issues and critical insight into professional Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) pedagogic practice; demonstrate the capacity to analyse MFL teaching and learning within immediate and wider professional contexts; refine professional knowledge through critical reflection and engagement with Foreign Language (FL) research and scholarship; analyse the values underpinning or influencing MFL pedagogic approaches, with a view to improving practice.
- 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 subject specialist mentors who support you through your two school placements. We are fortunate to have a good choice of schools with whom we work, with many outstanding mentors and strong Languages 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 the main language (French/German/Spanish/Mandarin) to be taught. The degree must contain at least 50% of the language if it is a combined degree. If a candidate does not have a degree in that language, then they should be a native speaker and have a degree in a related subject. For Mandarin, HSK level 6 may be acceptable along with a degree in a related subject. Italian (whether degree or native speaker) may only be offered in conjunction with main French. Italian with main Spanish may be possible if the candidate also has some French.
All candidates for the European language pathways of main Spanish and German should normally have French A level at grade C or the equivalent as a minimum. However, we are sometimes able to consider applications for combinations of languages not including French but places are extremely limited and early application is necessary.
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 Languages PGCE. 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 languages teachers and heads of department in schools, while others have jobs using the skills they have developed on the programme. Graduates in this area can also be found working as senior leaders in schools.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Secondary School French Teacher, Unspecified Academy
- French and Spanish Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
- Mandarin Teacher, Unspecified Academy
- Head of German, Unspecified School
- Spanish Teacher, Unspecified College
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 Languages PGCE programme is informed by research and places a strong emphasis on cultural knowledge, use of literature in the languages classroom, pupils' use of target language and broader aspects of language learning including issues related to bilingual learners and English as an additional language.
The IOE has well-established partnerships with cultural and educational institutions across London, as well as European and Chinese universities and teacher training institutions. Our partnership with over 200 secondary schools and colleges in Greater London and beyond enables our students to become skilled and confident teachers in their chosen subject specialism.
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