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School Direct (Tuition Fee): Social Science PGCE

Course Description

School Direct (Tuition Fee) is a route into teaching at both primary and secondary levels. Trainees join other student teachers on the established Social Science PGCE programme at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), whilst undertaking their teaching experience at their host school or alliance.

Degree information

We draw on current research at the IOE and elsewhere to inform a student's social science teaching, encouraging them to engage with recent debates, literature and policy in the field. Our underlying aim is to develop students as reflective and highly skilled teachers. As a 14-19 programme, there is an explicit focus on teaching examination classes in an interactive way.

Students undertake two Master’s-level (level 7) 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 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
-Subject Studies (30 Master's-level credits)
-Wider Educational Studies (30 Master's-level credits)
-Professional Practice

You will spend most of your time (120 days) in schools, working with mentors who support you through your two school placements. Social Science Student Teachers will teach their main social science subject (usually sociology and/or psychology) at AS and possibly A level. At GCSE, most student teachers teach sociology and some teach psychology. In some placements there are opportunities to contribute to relevant vocational qualifications and Key Stage 3 humanities.

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 placement at the host school or alliance. Assessment is by the observation of practical teaching, assignments and a portfolio (which links into continuing professional development in the induction year).


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as sociology and psychology teachers, while others have jobs as heads of department and heads of year. Graduates in this area can also be found working as senior leaders and teachers in charge of subject.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Sociology Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
-Religious Studies and Psychology Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
-Psychology Teacher, Unspecified Secondary 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?

The Social Science PGCE prepares students to teach the social sciences across the 14–19 age range in a flexible and exciting way. Tutors are committed to promoting interactive teaching and learning in their sessions; a collaborative ethos is encouraged so that PGCE students share materials, resources and ideas.

Tutors on the Social Science PGCE are skilled classroom practitioners with extensive experience in secondary schools and colleges, as well as in school leadership, inspection, educational research and consultancy.

Students participate in a range of lectures and seminars designed to enhance their development as a teacher. These highly interactive sessions will cover how children learn, assessment, lesson planning, behaviour management and subject-specific matters.

During their teaching practice placements, students benefit from our partnership with over 200 secondary schools and colleges in Greater London and beyond, which enables each of our students to become a skilled and confident teacher in their chosen subject specialism.

Visit the School Direct (Tuition Fee): Social Science PGCE 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 with at least 50% Sociology or Psychology content. Prospective students must complete a minimum of five days of school experience before they can be enrolled on the Secondary PGCE. 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 will be required to successfully complete Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks.

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