University of Warwick Featured Masters Courses
Staffordshire University Featured Masters Courses
University of San Francisco Featured Masters Courses
University of Cambridge Featured Masters Courses
University of Kent Featured Masters Courses

Course content

Register your interest now

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.

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, totalling 60 credits. These can be carried forward onto full Master’s programmes at the IOE (check individual programme requirements).

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.

Compulsory modules

  • Science Education in the Broader Context (30 level 7 credits)
  • Wider Educational Studies - Biology (30 level 7 credits)
  • Professional Practice- Level 6

Optional modules

  • There are no optional modules for this programme

Teaching and learning

The Secondary PGCE is delivered via keynote lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the 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).


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

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 is subject to change.


Bursaries are available for some subject programmes to students who meet the eligibility criteria. To find out what funding may be available to you, please visit the Department for Education funding page.

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 aims to provide a springboard into a rewarding career, as a skilled teacher and future 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 gaining some experience of teaching 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 PGCE offers unique opportunities,such as 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


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.

Application deadlines

9 August 2019

Early application is advised as programmes may close as soon as places are filled.

For more information see our Applications page.

Visit the School Direct (Tuition Fee): Biology PGCE page on the University College London website for more details!