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This Science: Biology one-year PGDipEd (QTS) course prepares you for life as a science teacher, with a specialism in biology. The course develops your skills and abilities in understanding the complexities which surround the teaching and learning of science; the subject knowledge and the pedagogy. We hope to develop you as a reflective teacher who considers carefully the choices in how to teach Science: Biology and makes informed decisions about how you work best with students. For those students who are eligible, bursaries of £26,000 may be available for this subject.

At the University of Birmingham we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher training possible, and this is why we offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits at Master’s level (out of 180), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice.

Following satisfactory completion of this course, plus a successful induction year in school and references, you can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies (data collection and a 15,000 word dissertation). Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

Course details

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. 

The Initial Teacher Education course

The PGDipEd course lasts 36 weeks, of which 24 are spent in our partnership schools.

Teaching practice will take several forms: school placements and also team teaching while at the University. You will also get involved in small scale research projects for your assignments so that you can evaluate the theory in practice and integrate this learning into your own teaching.

The course is essentially one of professional training combined with academic study appropriate to a course at Masters’ level. Much of the work of the first term is a direct attempt to prepare you for teaching situations that you may face on school placements. It should give you opportunities for developing your own thinking which can be trialled when practising those facets of teaching which are most directly related to the classroom and the laboratory situation. Time will be given to, for example: the preparation of: lesson materials; the organisation of laboratory work; and the use of demonstrations. These are only a sample of the techniques to manage and engage classes. Some are general skills that all teachers must develop regardless of their subject; others will be specific to the sciences.

The curriculum work is also concerned with broader and longer term aims. Students will wish to familiarise themselves with current developments arising from and linked to the National Curriculum and various government initiatives. It is impossible to isolate the teaching of science from broader educational issues such as increasing awareness of the need for education to be connected to the remainder of pupils’ lives, to the concerns of society as a whole and to the world of work and leisure beyond school.

So, on this course you will find that we have tried to integrate the theory and the practice and to ensure that you have a sound theoretical understanding on which your practice is based. We aim then to prepare you to become a science teacher by helping you to develop both personally and professionally. We believe that an education through science should generate a sense of curiosity, promote creative thinking and enable pupils to develop into reflective citizens ready to play a full part in a democratic society.

Ask our current students and alumni a question

These are experienced postgraduates who have previously studied, or are currently studying, at the University of Birmingham, and they will offer help and advice from a student perspective.

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You may also be interested in our other two PGDipEd Science courses:

Equal Opportunities

The School of Education is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:

Information on all our PGDipEd (QTS) secondary subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page. 


Visit the Secondary Education: Biology (QTS) - PGDip page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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