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School Direct (Tuition Fee): Physics 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 Physics PGCE programme at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), whilst undertaking their teaching experience at their host school or alliance.

Degree information

Students will acquire a critical understanding of current debates and issues relating to physics and 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 progress, towards meeting the teaching standards across the 11–18 age range.

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.

Successful completion of the Professional Practice module and successful completion of the two modules (60 credits) at level 7 will result in the award of a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). Where less than 60 credits are achieved at level 7 but are successfully passed at level 6 a Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PgCE) will be awarded. 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.

You may teach:
-Key Stage 3: Science (including elements of physics, chemistry and biology)
-Key Stage 4: Science (all areas) and/or physics (depending on school placement)
-Key Stage 5: AS/A2 level physics

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


Graduates of this programme are currently working across schools in London and around the UK as teachers, heads of departments and heads of year. Some graduates decide to pursue an academic science education route by pursuing Master's or doctoral level study.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Science Teacher, Unspecified Secondary School
-Mathematics and Physics Tutor
-Physics 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 Physics PGCE helps students to develop the professional skills and knowledge they need to teach Science pupils across the 11–16 age range, as well as teaching Physics to pupils aged up to 18. We are committed to creative and interactive approaches to teaching science to promote student engagement and learning.

Students on the Physics 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 Physics PGCE course 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 School Direct (Tuition Fee): Physics 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 in Physics or a Physics-related subject. 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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