Geography PGCE

London, Bloomsbury
Ages 11 - 16 Secondary

There has never been a better or more important time to train as a geography teacher in London, one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world. The course provides a well-balanced experience in schools, university and fieldwork. You will develop the professional knowledge, skills and expertise for a rewarding career, joining a vibrant geography education community, preparing young people for the changing world. The course includes knowledge of pedagogy and curriculum at A Level (Key Stage 5), preparing you to teach at all levels of secondary education.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 academic year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 09 Oct 2023 – 02 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Early application is advised as programmes may close as soon as places are filled. Applicants should check the government website for the latest vacancy information.


This course will give you everything you need to face the classroom, both the pedagogical theory and the practical skills to be an inspiring teacher.


Our gradual immersion approach will introduce you to the classroom progressively, from one pupil to the whole class.


Placement in very diverse, carefully chosen schools will allow you to learn from different contexts and be prepared to teach in any school.

Start teaching

With a PGCE you can start teaching as soon as you complete the course and are recommended for Qualified Teacher Status.

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, has been ranked 1st for Education in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for the past decade (2014–2023).

Entry requirements

First degree

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.

A levels

Geography at grade C required if the first degree subject is not Geography.


English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 4. We do not accept "applied" or "additional" GCSE subjects. Applicants who do not offer a GCSE in English Language or Mathematics may demonstrate an equivalent standard by completing a test via Equivalency Testing or A Star Equivalency and achieving at least a grade 4. For Mathematics, equivalency tests in Mathematics Foundation or Mathematics Higher with grade 4 are accepted. BTEC, Functional Skills or Access course qualifications are not accepted in place of GCSEs.

School experience

We recommend that you aim to gain some experience in a classroom prior to interview.

Skills tests

Trainees will be assured against a set of fundamental Mathematics and English skills by the end of their teacher training.

Relevant experience and background

Applicants whose degree qualifications are lower than 2:2 standard may be admitted if they can demonstrate an appropriate academic background at master's level and above and/or significant postgraduate experience in the relevant field.

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa - study must be full-time, starting September.

DBS and occupational health

If you are made an offer you will be required to successfully complete Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks. The Occupational Health Check is £90, and depending on your DBS requirements, there may be an additional fee of £15.00 if you can submit your DBS Enhanced Disclosure check via a UK Post Office. 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.

About this course

On successful completion of the course, you will gain a PGCE and QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), equipping you to teach geography in secondary schools. During the PGCE, you will be supported to tackle the at once practical and conceptual questions such as: who are the children I teach? why teach geography? what geography should I teach? and how should I teach it? You will practise teaching in two placements selected from our partnership of schools who will welcome and support you. You will be mentored by experienced geography teachers in school and tutored by experienced academics who are researching and teaching in geography education at IOE. The course includes knowledge of pedagogy and curriculum at A Level (Key Stage 5), preparing you to teach at all levels of secondary education.

The Geography course also features four ‘Intensive Teaching & Practice’ (ITAP) sequences designed to establish and develop students’ geography teaching through the year. Closely linking theory and practice, and enabling students to observe, deconstruct, plan, practice and progress in specific areas of teaching, these focus on:

  1. Behavioural expectations and establishing a positive learning environment,
  2. Teaching geographical concepts
  3. Teaching Geographical Information Systems
  4. Fieldwork

Who this course is for

The course will appeal to anyone who is interested in geography, teaching and young people's education. We welcome applicants from a range of academic, professional backgrounds and prior experience. You will need a degree in geography or a related subject, and demonstrate interest in young people's education.

What this course will give you

This course is distinctive in helping you engage in current debates, issues and ideas as well as practical strategies for school geography teaching, so you can develop critical thinking and leadership as a geography teacher who can shape change in a curriculum for the future. The course is an exciting mix of teaching practice in two school placements, and university sessions, based in Bloomsbury, a vibrant and beautiful part of central London.

The majority of your time is spent in school, planning, teaching lessons, observing and meeting with other teachers. University teaching includes debates, lectures, seminars, workshops, your own presentations, tutorials, structured independent tasks and a mix of online and face-to-face teaching, including fieldwork in London and the Lake District and teaching with GIS. The programme connects the theory explored in university with practice on school teaching placements. New ideas are presented and discussed each week at university and then investigated, applied in school and reflected on back at university in a cycle that helps you make sense of your teaching and develop your expertise. The course encourages and supports your creativity and innovation in teaching geography with the close support of your university tutor, school mentor and your peers. In this way Student Teachers on IOE's Secondary Geography programme are engaged and active reflective practitioners, who are often advocates of exciting innovation and change within Geography Education.

"I found my time at the IOE to be a very enriching experience in which I acquired in-depth knowledge of a range of educational philosophies, issues, and perspectives. This has been particularly valuable in developing my own philosophy and aims for education, which has shaped the way I teach. The course has also enabled me to be creative and try out new ideas in the classroom."

Charlotte, Geography PGCE 2020
Read the Q&A with Charlotte

The teacher you want to be

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. Our graduates also have great career prospects in the long term. Many become Head of Department or Head of Year within 2-5 years, often acting, in their schools, as mentors to new PGCE student teachers and later becoming senior leaders and indeed 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.

Overall, the Secondary PGCE Programme aims to provide a springboard into a rewarding career as a skilled subject specialist teacher and future educational leader.

The tools of a great educator

  • Understanding of theory and subject or phase pedagogy
  • Creating a successful climate for learning, including behaviour management
  • Planning and teaching classes that engage pupils
  • Using assessment to inform planning
  • Working with the wider school community, including parents


The majority of PGCE graduates go on to become geography teachers. Graduates also go on to become heads of department in schools and colleges, as well as school leaders, including headteachers. Graduates of the PGCE also regularly mentor student teachers and work in teacher education.


Students who successfully complete this programme will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).


The programme is taught through a mix of face-to-face and online sessions, (including keynote lectures and debates, presentations, discussions, and classroom group tasks), and a practical teaching element based in two schools. Students are required to read widely and to carry out written assignments in their own time. 

Students will also take part in specific activities that provide the opportunity to focus on specific, pivotal areas of our curriculum. These opportunities (totalling 20 days of ITAP) will strengthen the link between theory and practice and provide students with specific feedback to support their progress in these pivotal areas. 

We have identified four placement days for ITAP. The remaining 16 days for ITAP will take place during IOE timetabled time.

Assessment is by practical teaching, assignments and portfolio tasks. Throughout, you have excellent support to succeed from your school mentors and university tutor. There is no written exam but you will undertake two Master's level modules. These assignments draw on your practice giving scope for you to be creative, choose the exact focus, follow your interests in geography, education and tailor the work to the classes you teach on placements. The assignments help your reflection and evaluation of practice become critical and informed. In this way, you learn not just `what works' in teaching in a particular school, but to understand how to apply your knowledge and skills to different schools, and classrooms. This makes you a deeper thinking, more independent and resilient teacher.

The PGCE Geography course is a full-time programme. During university taught sessions, students are expected to be present all day. Students spend a minimum of 124 days on school placement and will be required to attend for full and entire school days, including pre- and post-teaching sessions as expected of a normal, full-time teacher at their placement school.

I found my time at IOE to be a very enriching experience in which I acquired in-depth knowledge of a range of educational philosophies, issues, and perspectives.

PGCE Geography Alumna (2020)

Charlotte Milner

Geography PGCE


You will undertake two modules at level 7 (Masters level) of 30 credits each and one Professional Practice module at level 6. The level 7 credits can be carried forward onto some full Masters programmes at IOE (check individual programme requirements).

When you are not undertaking face-to-face teaching at IOE, you will be undertaking at least 124 days of teaching practice in various Partnership Schools.

Throughout the year, you will also participate in specific activities at IOE and in school that focus on important areas of our curriculum. These activities (totalling 20 days with at least 4 days in school) will help you to better understand links between theory and practice. They will also involve feedback from experts so that your progress is supported in these pivotal areas. These days form part of your 124 days on placement.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Upon successful completion of 60 credits and the Professional Practice module, you will be awarded a PGCE in Geography.


The fieldwork experience will empower you to teach in real-world settings and develop essential fieldwork-leading skills. You will have the opportunity to engage in practical, hands-on learning by visiting Kew Gardens. You will also have a three-day residential stay in the Lake District, where you will learn how to lead geographical fieldwork activities at Key Stage 4 and 5. 

School placements

Students will spend most of their time in two placement schools, working with geography mentors who provide strong support. We are fortunate to have a superb range of excellent schools with whom we work, across the region, with many outstanding mentors and strong geography departments.

The Professional Practice module is assessed through these placements, associated tasks and a portfolio.

During placement periods you should be prepared to travel to and from each school placement. It should be noted that there is variation in how accessible schools are, and whether they have parking facilities. However, if you let us know of any particular accessibility needs you have, we will endeavour to accommodate them.

We ensure your placement will provide fulfilling and valuable experiences through:

  • A dedicated team who will identify the best schools for your placements
  • Support and guidance from your university tutor and your school-based mentor
  • School experience that allows you to progress at an appropriate pace for you
  • Reasonable travel times from your home to your school

Making the most of your placement

Teaching is a demanding profession and student teachers can feel nervous about school placements or anxious about the workload. Your tutor and school-based mentor will help you navigate your school experience, ensuring that you have the input you need. Empathetic feedback and discussion about your developing professional practice will support you to be successful.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Where you'll study

IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, is a world-leading centre for research and teaching in education, culture, psychology, and social science. We are one of the UK’s largest teacher training providers, offering a wide range of programmes across all phases of learning and more subjects than any other university. We also offer an extensive range of master’s programmes. Our research addresses society’s most important challenges and feeds into our teaching, enabling our graduates to go on to influence future generations for the better, from individual lives to societal change.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: PGCE Secondary Teacher Training

Are you interested in a career in teaching? Join our virtual events to find out more about Teacher Training at UCL, including admissions and student funding information.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £25,900

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Fieldwork: £240 (one off)

Students are responsible for funding their travel to and from placements.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Students may be eligible to receive a scholarship or training bursary for living costs. For Secondary, the amount depends on your PGCE subject and your degree classification or highest relevant academic qualification.

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.

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees, return flights and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.