Entry requirements

Read details on UCL’s minimum entrance requirements for teacher training programmes. These entry requirements apply to all our Teacher Training PGCE programmes.

First degree

A first or second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution is normally required.

Candidates who are judged not to have sufficient subject knowledge for certain secondary PGCE programmes may be required to undertake a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. The length of SKE varies depending on the need of the individual – from eight-week ‘refresher’ or ‘booster’ programmes, through to more extensive 36-week courses. 

For some programmes, 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.

GCSE requirements

For all programmes, a GCSE, or comparable qualification, at grade C or 4 is required in English Language and Mathematics.

For Primary education, (pupils aged 3–11) and Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) working with children aged 0-5; a GCSE grade C or 4 is also required in a science subject (we do not accept Additional Science or Applied Science). Please note that the PGCE Primary (Specialist Mathematics) programme requires a GCSE grade 5 in Mathematics.

We do not accept English taught as a second language or English Literature to meet our GCSE English Language requirements.

We do not accept BTEC, functional skills or Access qualifications in place of GCSEs.

Applicants who do not offer a GCSE in English Language or Mathematics at grade 4 may demonstrate an equivalent standard by completing either the Mathematics Foundation, Mathematics Higher or English from Equivalency Testing or A Star Equivalency and achieve at least a grade 4.

For GCSE Science we will accept either Combined Science or Biology taken with one of these providers.

Medical fitness (Occupational Health) and Disclosure and Barring Service Clearance

If you are made an offer you will be required to successfully complete Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks. 

From October 2023, the Occupational Health Check is £90 and, depending on your DBS requirements, there may be an additional fee of £15.00 if you submit your DBS Enhanced Disclosure check via a UK Post Office.

Medical fitness

All teacher training candidates who are offered a place at UCL must be certified as meeting national requirements for physical and mental fitness to teach, as set by the Department for Education. We apply the Fitness to Teach requirement to all our PGCE candidates whom must complete a health questionnaire for scrutiny by our occupational health provider.

Disclosure and barring service

If you are offered a place on a teacher training programme, you will be asked to apply for an Enhanced, Child-workforce, fee paid Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS). A satisfactory certificate is a condition of entry to the programme, as we need to assess your suitability for access to children and vulnerable adults. This document will contain details of any cautions, convictions, reprimands, warnings or bindovers recorded against your name (even where they would ordinarily be considered spent) or confirm that you have none.

If the ITE Admissions team is able to confirm that you hold a DBS certificate valid for entry to a UCL PGCE programme, which is also registered with the DBS Update Service, you will not be required to complete a new DBS check linked to UCL. A valid DBS Update Service subscription must be maintained while on programme. If you do not have a valid DBS Update Service subscription then you will need to complete a new DBS linked to UCL.

If you have lived, worked, studied or travelled in any single country outside of the UK for six continuous months or more, in the last five years, you will be required to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from the relevant country/countries.  Please note that absences of less than six weeks, from a country outside of the UK are not considered as a break in residency. Please note that the police check should be applied for within one month of your departure date to ensure the police certificate issued covers the period you were in a country.

Possession of a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from entry to your chosen programme of study. If your disclosure certificate reveals details about an offence or other matter, we will ask you to provide a brief written account of the circumstances of the incident(s) and any mitigating factors that you feel are relevant, in order to make an informed decision on your suitability for admission. Please refer to our policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders.

Further information about the Enhanced Disclosure check and any related fees that you will need to pay will be provided in our offer letter, if your application to UCL is successful.

Childcare Disqualification

Students who are enrolled on an initial teacher training programme at UCL which will involve a placement with a primary school or setting in its later years provision and/or early years provision (nursery and reception classes) need to be aware of the requirements of the following: 

According to the above legislation, it is an offence for a student teacher who is disqualified from working in early years childcare or relevant later years childcare to do so or to be directly involved in the management of such provision. Please see our guidance document for more information on the grounds for disqualification.  

Both the Act and Regulations mean that we will ask offer holders for certain UCL programmes to provide a self-declaration form to UCL.

Early years childcare includes any supervised activity for a young child which takes place on a school’s premises during or outside of the normal school day.  A child is considered a ‘young child’ for the period up to 1 September after their 5th birthday.  Any teaching placements in nursery and reception classes will be classed as early years childcare.

Later years childcare includes provision by a school for children who are not in early years but who are under the age of 8, which takes place on a school’s premises outside of the normal school day. This includes wraparound care before and after the school day, such as breakfast clubs and after school care. It does not include teaching during the school day or extended school hours for co-curricular activities such as sports activities.

We have set out below what this means for your application depending on which teacher training programme you have applied to study on.

Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) Mainstream Route PGCE and  PGCE Primary (EYFS/KS1 full-time) 

If you are offered a place on the above programmes, including through the IOE Lead Partner Direct route, you will be required to submit a self-declaration form before you enrol. This form will ask you to declare whether you have been disqualified from a childcare role. More information on how to complete and submit this form will be sent to all successful applicants.

Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) Employment Based Route PGCE 

Your employer will be responsible for making sure that you are not disqualified from a childcare role.   

PGCE Primary and PGCE Primary (Specialist Mathematics full-time) 

If you are offered a place on the above programmes, including through the IOE Lead Partner Direct route, you will be required to sign a declaration confirming that you have read the information regarding childcare disqualification and return this to UCL. More information on how to complete and submit this form will be sent to all successful applicants.

If you are a successful applicant who is then placed in a nursery or reception class you will be asked to complete the childcare disqualification declaration before you go on placement. This will ask you to declare whether you have been disqualified from working in a childcare role. If, at this stage, it becomes clear that any of the disqualification criteria apply to you then UCL will ensure that you are not placed in an early years childcare placement.

Ofsted and Enrolment at UCL

If any of the disqualification criteria apply to you and you will be undertaking a placement in early years childcare as part of your UCL initial teacher training programme, then you will not be able to enrol on your initial teacher training programme at UCL unless you have a waiver from Ofsted before the commencement of the programme.    

The disqualified individual must apply for the waiver from Ofsted themselves. For more information, please see the guidance issued by Ofsted.  

Skills Tests

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

Work/school experience

School experience is not a mandatory entry requirement for our PGCE programmes. For this reason, you do not need to have completed school experience prior to applying. However, we tend to find that applicants with experience perform better if invited to interview and we would therefore recommend that you endeavour to gain experience as soon as it becomes practical to do so. If you have future experience already arranged, please be sure to mention this in your application. 

English language requirements

The English language level for teacher training programmes is Level 2. 


UCL requires two suitable references.

It is expected that one of your references will be academic and from someone who has taught you at degree level, unless you have been out of higher education for more than five years.

As two references are required, you may provide one professional reference in place of the second academic reference.

You will be asked to enter the details of your referees in your application form. Your referees will be sent an email asking them to write a reference for you and to submit it online. For EYITT PGCE applicants, referees will be contacted as soon as the application is submitted. For all other PGCE programmes, referees will be contacted when you accept your conditional offer.

Please ensure you have spoken to your chosen referees so that they are expecting the invitation and are happy to provide a reference for you online.

When providing the email address for your referee, where possible please use an academic or professional address rather than a personal address, e.g. [john.smith@university.ac.uk] rather than [johnsmith@hotmail.com]. UCL may require further information from references provided via personal email addresses, which may delay the process.

Further information