School Direct (Tuition Fee): Social Science
School Direct (Tuition Fee) is a route into teaching at both primary and secondary levels. Trainees join other student teachers on the established Social Science PGCE programme at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), whilst undertaking their teaching experience at their host school or alliance.
We draw on current research at the IOE and elsewhere to inform a student's social science teaching, encouraging them to engage with recent debates, literature and policy in the field. Our underlying aim is to develop students as reflective and highly skilled teachers. As a 14-19 programme, there is an explicit focus on teaching examination classes in an interactive way.
Students undertake two Master’s-level (level 7) 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 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).
- Subject Studies - Social Science (30 Master's-level credits)
The module examines the distinctive qualities and conceptual underpinnings of social science education, and the implications of these for teaching, learning, and assessment. It aims to help students to become competent and reflective teachers of social science. Students are introduced to the social science curriculum, which covers sociology and psychology as main subjects.
Students will be expected to develop a critical and theoretical approach to these areas. They will be explored through reading and critical reflection on practice and also supported through school-based training and mentoring sessions. Practical issues such as planning lessons, schemes of work and examination specifications are explored as well as the theory underpinning the development of the social science curriculum. These sessions aim wherever possible to bring together practice, research and educational theory.
- Wider Educational Studies - Social Science (30 Master's-level credits)
The module examines the wider educational context in which social science education is located, and the implications of these for teaching, learning, and assessment.
Students are guided in gaining an understanding of recent legislation and current developments in educational theory and practice. They are expected to develop an inclusive approach to the needs of all students, in line with the provision of Equal Opportunities. They will know about the network of services and professional organisations available to support their teaching and the welfare of their students and develop ICT skills relevant to the classroom and professional requirements. They will use methods of marking and assessment relevant to exam requirements and apply wherever possible the principles of assessment for learning. Students will be expected to develop a critical and theoretical approach to these areas.
These sessions aim wherever possible to bring together practice, research and educational theory.
- 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 mentors who support you through your two school placements. Social Science Student Teachers will teach their main social science subject (usually sociology and/or psychology) at AS and possibly A level. At GCSE, most student teachers teach sociology and some teach psychology. In some placements there are opportunities to contribute to relevant vocational qualifications and Key Stage 3 humanities.
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 placement at the host school or alliance. Assessment is by the observation of practical teaching, assignments and a portfolio (which links into continuing professional development in the induction year).
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 with at least 50% Sociology or Psychology content.
Preferably an A level in main teaching subject, plus an additional social science or humanities subject.
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.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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 sociology and psychology teachers, while others have jobs as heads of department and heads of year. Graduates in this area can also be found working as senior leaders and teachers in charge of subject.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Sociology Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
- Religious Studies and Psychology Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
- Psychology Teacher, Unspecified Secondary 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 Social Science PGCE prepares students to teach the social sciences across the 14–19 age range in a flexible and exciting way. Tutors are committed to promoting interactive teaching and learning in their sessions; a collaborative ethos is encouraged so that PGCE students share materials, resources and ideas.
Tutors on the Social Science PGCE are skilled classroom practitioners with extensive experience in secondary schools and colleges, as well as in school leadership, inspection, educational research and consultancy.
Students participate in a range of lectures and seminars designed to enhance their development as a teacher. These highly interactive sessions will cover how children learn, assessment, lesson planning, behaviour management and subject-specific matters.
During their teaching practice placements, students benefit from our partnership with over 200 secondary schools and colleges in Greater London and beyond, which enables each of our students to become a skilled and confident teacher in their chosen subject specialism.
Accreditation: This route leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).
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 is suited to those wishing to gain Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) for teaching in UK Secondary schools 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