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PGCE Biology

Course Description

The Biology PGCE prepares students to develop the professional knowledge and skills they need to teach all aspects of science to pupils up to age 16, as well as teaching Biology to pupils aged up to 18. We are committed to creative and interactive approaches to teaching science to promote student learning.

Degree information

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 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
-Science Education in the Broader Context (30 Master's-level credits)
-Wider Educational Issues (30 Master's-level credits)
-Professional Practice

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.

Students 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

Teaching and learning
The Biology PGCE is delivered via keynote lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days at the IOE, as well as time spent in placement schools or colleges. Assessment is by the observation of practical teaching, assignments and a portfolio (which links with continuing professional development in the induction year).


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.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Secondary Science Teacher, Unspecified School
-Self-employed private tutor
-Biology Teacher, Unspecified 6th Form College
-Teaching Assistant, Unspecified Secondary School
-Laboratory Technician / Secondary School Science Teacher, Cyprus School

A Biology PGCE from the UCL IOE carries considerable currency and is highly valued by schools, which alongside the quality of training received, puts students 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?

Students on the Biology PGCE work with a team of expert subject tutors who have all previously been classroom teachers and are actively involved with science education research, curriculum development and consultancy. During teaching practice, student teachers benefit from the support of subject specialist mentors within our network of over 200 schools throughout Greater London and beyond, ensuring each has the opportunity to become a skilled and confident teacher.

The Biology PGCE offers unique opportunities including teaching sessions at museums and Kew Gardens, and residential trips, developing students’ understanding of learning science outside the classroom.

Visit the PGCE Biology 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 Biology or a Biology-related subject. 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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