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PGCE Geography

Course Description

The Geography PGCE programme will develop the professional skills students need to teach geography, as well as developing their knowledge of contemporary issues in geography education, and an understanding of how to support effective learning for all pupils in the 11–16 age range.

Degree information

Students follow a programme of study that introduces them to the philosophy of education, epistemology, curriculum theory, pedagogical methods including fieldwork, cognitive psychology and child development, assessment, pedagogical content knowledge for the geography curriculum and contemporary education issues.

This theoretical study is combined with teaching practice, which consists of one placement in the autumn and one in the spring/summer. Fieldwork is undertaken in both London and the Lake District.

Students undertake two level 7 (Master’s-level) modules of 30 credits each, totaling 60 credits. These can be carried forward onto full Master’s programmes at the IOE.

The Secondary PGCE consists of three core modules: two Master’s-level (level 7) modules, which are assessed through written assignments, and the Professional Practice module, which is assessed by the observation of practical teaching in placement schools.

Completion of the Professional Practice module and the two level 7 (Master’s level) modules (60 credits) will result in the award of a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). Completion of the Professional Practice module and one or two level 6 (undergraduate/Bachelor’s level) modules, will lead to the Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PgCE). There are no optional modules for this programme.

Core modules
-Secondary Geography: Developing Teaching and Learning (30 Master's-level credits)
-Secondary Geography: Learning in a Wider Context (30 Master's-level credits)
-Professional Practice

Students will spend most of their time (120 days) in schools, working with geography mentors who provide support during two school placements. We are fortunate to have a good choice of schools with whom we work, with many outstanding mentors and strong geography departments.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered via keynote lectures, subject lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the IOE, as well as time spent in placements. Assessment is by practical teaching, assignments and portfolio tasks.

Students will also record their progress in a Career Entry and Development Profile statement. This will form part of an ongoing portfolio charting the student's continuing professional development.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as teachers and heads of department in schools and colleges, while others have jobs as headteachers and assistant heads. Graduates in this area can also be found working as mentors of Geography PGCE students.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Geography Teacher, Unspecified Academy
-Geography Teacher, Unspecified Grammar School
-Teaching Assistant, Unspecified Primary School
-Geography Teacher, Unspecified Girls' School
-Geography Teacher, Unspecified Boys' School

A PGCE from the IOE carries considerable currency in schools which, alongside the quality of training you receive, puts you in a strong position in the employment market. Last year, all those students who sought employment in a school were successful. We expect 100% success rate in gaining a post in a school by the end of the year.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Tutors on the Geography PGCE are skilled classroom practitioners with extensive experience in secondary schools and colleges, in school leadership, inspection, educational research and consultancy. The UCL Institute of Education's partnership with over 200 secondary schools and colleges in Greater London and beyond enables each of our students to become a skilled and confident teacher in their chosen subject specialism.

The Geography PGCE helps students to explore the purpose of teaching geography, developing their own philosophy for why a geographical education is important for young people. We believe in the practical competence of teachers being matched by a spirit of intellectual enquiry, focused on pupil acquisition of worthwhile geographical knowledge and skills. An appropriate balance of these attributes is the prerequisite of proficiency in the classroom.

The programme is designed to foster interest and expertise in geography education beyond the PGCE, and many graduates go on to complete their Geography Education MA in the first year of teaching.

Visit the PGCE Geography page on the University College London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Lower second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in Geography, or a Geography-related degree. Prospective students must complete a minimum of five days of school experience. This may involve observations, work experience (e.g. as a teaching assistant or cover supervisor), or voluntary work. Applicants must ensure that their school experience is relevant in helping them to prepare for the Secondary PGCE, during which Student Teachers are placed in a wide range of schools across London and the South East. You must successfully complete the Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks.

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