School Direct (Tuition Fee) is a route into teaching at both primary and secondary levels. Trainees join other student teachers on the established Biology PGCE programme at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), whilst undertaking their teaching experience at their host school or alliance.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £9,250 (FT)
- £17,110 (FT)
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.
This route leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).
A minimum of a lower second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in Biology or a Biology-related subject.
No specific subjects required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
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:
About this programme
Students on the Biology PGCE will acquire a critical understanding of current debates and issues relating to Science education, and will be guided and supported in developing their subject knowledge. We expect students to engage with reading and research into Science education and to regularly reflect upon their own progress, towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards across the 11–16 age range.
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).
- Science Education in the Broader Context (30 Master's-level credits)
- Wider Educational Studies - Biology (30 Master's-level credits)
- Professional Practice
- There are no optional modules for this programme
Student Teachers undertake at least two placements (totaling 120 days) at a school or college, during which time their teaching practice will be supported by a school subject tutor and mentor. The Professional Practice module is assessed through these placements, associated tasks and a portfolio.
You may teach:
Key Stage 3: Science (including elements of physics, chemistry and biology)
Key Stage 4: Science (all areas) and/or biology (depending on school placement)
Key Stage 5: AS/A2 level biology
Teaching and learning
The Secondary PGCE is delivered via keynote lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the UCL IOE, as well as time spent in placement in the host school/alliance. Assessment is by the observation of practical teaching, assignments and a portfolio (which links with continuing professional development in the induction year).
Bursaries and scholarships of up to £20,000 are available to students who meet the eligibility criteria for the Biology PGCE. To find out what funding may be available, please visit the “Get into Teaching” website.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the UCL Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as school leaders, while others have posts as biology teachers, science teachers and heads of department (both in UK and abroad). They can also be found working as lecturers in science education and in various informal educational roles.
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.
Why study this programme at UCL?
This established programme provides students with the professional knowledge and skills they need to teach all aspects of science to pupils up to age 16, as well as teaching Biology to pupils aged up to 18. We are committed to creative and interactive approaches to teaching science to promote student learning.
During teaching practice, student teachers benefit from the support of specialist subject mentors within our network of over 200 schools throughout Greater London and beyond, ensuring that each has the opportunity to become a skilled and confident teacher.
The Biology PDCE offers unique opportunities, including teaching sessions at Kew Gardens and various museums, and residential trips, developing students’ understanding of science education outside the classroom.
This route leads to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).
Department: Institute of Education
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.
- All applicants
- 10 August 2018
Early application is advised as programmes may close as soon as places are filled.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now