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Full time September PGCE 36 weeks distance learning

About the course

PGCE Education Distance Learning (DL) at the University of Sunderland is an internationally recognised teaching qualification. The International Initial Teacher Training course blends applied teaching theory and practice in three taught modules and one extended teaching practice module. It has been developed so that it can be delivered to primary, secondary and post-16 teachers and to any subject specialism. It is a 36-week full-time course, completed in one academic year which can be undertaken both in the UK and in international settings.

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Entry Requirements

We require applicants to hold an honours degree or equivalent.

For those without a first degree studied in the medium of English, Academic IELTS is required. (A minimum Academic IELTS band score of 6.5, with 6.5 in writing, and no less than 6 in Reading and Speaking and Listening).

 Course Content

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Student Profile(s)

Wael Mohassed

"I was already teaching French and Drama when I decided I wanted to take my professional development further to qualify as a teacher. Several of my colleagues had studied for a PGCE at the University of Sunderland and the school has always encouraged its teaching staff to apply for this particular course, making my decision to study here very easy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Practice of Teaching module, as it gave me the opportunity to work collaboratively with a mentor and learn from their expertise. It also allowed me to put teaching strategies into practice, giving me the skills and knowledge to apply the most suitable within a classroom environment.

My advice to anyone enrolling on this course would be to make sure you put the hard work in – be diligent with your research, make the most of the fantastic support from your tutors and it will all pay off in the end. Although the work can be challenging at times, studying here is a one-of-a-kind experience and the result is totally worth it.

Renowned for being such a well-established academic institution, I would recommend the University of Sunderland to anyone thinking of studying here. Both the teaching and administrative staff are highly qualified, extremely competent and above all, understanding and supportive towards the students.

Since graduating, I’ve been successful in applying my knowledge gained on the course by improving the growth of the World Languages Department at the school, with more pupils keen to study French than ever before. As for my future career goals, I am hoping to start an MA in International Education at the University of Sunderland to enhance my skills even further.

My time at the University of Sunderland has been by far the most productive self-discovery journey I’ve been on. I’m really grateful for everything I’ve learned and it’s been a major privilege to study here.”

Gemma Cauchi

"I spent time researching the best university and course to invest my time and money into and the University of Sunderland kept on coming up as the top choice. I spoke to previous graduates of the course, local tutors and friends within the teaching profession. Having last been at university ten years ago, it was a choice I didn’t want to get wrong, and I honestly believe I chose the right course and university.

My undergraduate degree was based on my passion for geography and the environment and I worked as a Geo-Environmental Consultant specialising in Contaminated Land following graduation. I then met my now husband and we decided to move to Hong Kong to take on our next adventure together.

The best aspect of studying at Sunderland is the sheer amount of experience the tutors and lecturers have, they are truly unflappable, even during a global pandemic! They were always available at the end of an email or a video call. There is a very strong comradery on the course. The University is very open to feedback and that alone speaks volumes about how seriously they care about their students and the quality of teaching that they are delivering.

I would absolutely recommend the University of Sunderland. I have already recommended it to colleagues and friends and a couple of them have joined after me. The key bit of advice I would give prospective students is to be prepared for some hard work and you will get out as much as you put into it. If you can choose modules, trust your gut and find something that you’ll enjoy researching and writing about.

After graduation I have secured a position teaching at an International School in Hong Kong. I was working as an Education Assistant during my PGCE and was expecting to stay there for another year. However, Sunderland prepared me to move into a teaching position so well that I managed to secure this role, which will hopefully lead me to having my own classroom sooner."

Sharice Nwankwo

"I was teaching English in Hong Kong and wanted to obtain my full teaching qualification. I had 16 years of teaching experience, but couldn’t get registration as a teacher because my degree was not in Education. I wanted my experience to match my qualifications and so needed my PGCE to get to the next level in my career. I chose to study at the University of Sunderland because it has a good reputation, and I was able to do the course online while continuing to work in Hong Kong.

The best part of the course was having a tutor and a mentor to help support me through tough assignments. Also, my fellow students and I formed a WhatsApp group that allowed us to communicate with each other which I found very helpful.

I would recommend the University of Sunderland and this course to other students, and in fact have already done so. I would advise future students to start their assignments ahead of time, take time to proof read and revise assignments before handing them in, and to ask their tutor for support when they need it.

My career has definitely progressed; one day while co-planning my lessons another teacher said to me, “Wow, your lesson planning has really improved!”. I can also feel the difference in my confidence levels as I teach students and it is reassuring to now know the theory behind why I do what I do. I plan to continue teaching and eventually open my own school for low income students in various countries.

My time studying at Sunderland has been the experience of a lifetime! I grew as a teacher and as a person by stretching myself further than I ever thought I could. I am so glad I embarked on this successful journey!”


£1,000 tuition fee reduction for international postgraduate students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 tuition fee reduction


All international students studying on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Application Procedure

Contact: student.helpline@sunderland.ac.uk / 0191 515 3000

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1. Care Leaver status - (on 1 September of your year of entry)
You must be aged under 25, a home student studying full time, undergraduate course or full-time taught Post Graduate programme and at least one of the following: spent 13 weeks or more in the Care of the Local Authority between your 14th and 16th birthday, were privately fostered until the age of 16, were 'looked after' until you were subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

2. You must be a (i) full-time undergraduate student or full-time postgraduate student on a taught programme.
You must be anyone who is aged 25 or over by 1 September 2019 and applying for, or currently studying, full-time at the University of Sunderland. You must be either studying for an undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019, applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.


1. Estranged students - (on 1 September on your year of entry)
Studying a full-time, undergraduate or taught postgraduate course, UK (Home) student, you are irreconcilably estranged from both parents/carers.

This means that either: You have had no contact at all with your parents/carers for at least 12 months and this is unlikely to change OR
You can demonstrate on other grounds that you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents (e.g. in exceptional circumstances, or assessed as independent by Student Finance England or by a local authority because you are estranged from both parents/carers).

2. You must be a full-time undergraduate or full-time postgraduate taught programme student.
You must be aged 25 or under by 1 September 2019. And either:
a) Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019.
b)Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.

*You must be a 'Home' student
If you are classed as an ‘EU’ or ‘International’ student, you are not eligible for this scholarship.

*If you are applying for or studying one of the following courses then you are not eligible for this scholarship:
• Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course.
• English for Academic Purposes (EAP) language course.
• PHD students

Value of Scholarship(s)

£2,000 cash scholarship for each year of study (including placement year) for care experienced or family estranged students.


For full-time home undergraduate and postgraduate students under the age of 25 on 1 September 2019 for care experienced or family estranged students.

Application Procedure

If you indicate that you are a Care Leaver on your UCAS application form you will automatically be sent a letter and an application form, once you have an unconditional offer with us. This is usually at the end of August. Alternatively, if you inform us that you are an Estranged Student via online enrolment you will also automatically be sent a letter and an application form.

For students who apply directly/via clearing, if they inform us during online enrolment that they are care experienced or estranged we will send them an email outlining how to apply.

We will request confirmation from local authorities or Student Finance England of your eligibility for this Scholarship. If you choose not to disclose your care experienced or estranged status at enrolment stage you can inform the Access to Higher Education team directly by emailing care.contact@sunderland.ac.uk.

You may apply for this Scholarship at any point throughout your course; however, payments will not be backdated for previous years’ study. If you are eligible for the We Care Scholarship you may also qualify for an additional support package.

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