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PGCE university-led teacher training in England

PGCE initial teacher training programmes run by universities and colleges, leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Relevant to

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) training programmes at a university or college are available for prospective primary and secondary school teachers. You'll get classroom experience by spending time teaching and being trained in at least two schools, as well as time at the university or college you've chosen, working with a group of other students, and being taught by university staff.

  • Typically one year, PGCE programmes are a popular graduate route into teaching in England, combining academic study on campus with a minimum of 24 weeks on school placements, while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation.
  • PGCE programmes can contain up to 60 credits at master’s degree level. The number of credits at this level can vary, so check with your chosen provider if gaining master’s credits is important to you. Some training providers may also give you the chance to study for the credits you’d need for a full master’s degree, after you’ve completed your training.
  • You don’t need a PGCE qualification to teach in England, although you may find it useful later on if, for example, you want to teach in another country, or go on to complete a master's degree.
  • If your degree subject doesn't link closely to your chosen teaching subject, you may still be able to apply for a PGCE programme by undertaking a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. Your chosen provider may ask you to take an SKE course as a condition of your offer, before you start your initial teacher training programme.

All university and college-led Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programmes will qualify you to be a teacher, but there are differing levels of qualifications that can be achieved. Find out if the training programmes you’re interested in are offered at professional graduate level, postgraduate level, or both. Other university-led programmes include the following:

  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in England is similar to the PGCE, but contains up to 120 credits at master’s degree level. Some training programmes give you the chance to earn the credits required for a full master's degree once you've completed your training.
  • The Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (ProfGCE) does not carry credits at master’s degree level. A popular programme for a teaching career in the lifelong learning (post-16) sector, after completing teacher training, you can apply for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. This is equivalent to QTS, and would allow you to work as a qualified teacher in state schools in England. ProfGCE programmes incorporate the requirements of the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) qualification, but offer additional units at a higher level.

Entry requirements

You must have achieved the following minimum requirements to be eligible to apply for PGCE programmes:

  1. You'll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification.
  2. You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4, or above, in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics.
  3. If you intend to train to teach pupils aged three to 11 (early years and primary), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C/4, or above, in a GCSE science subject examination.
  4. You'll also need to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. Some training providers may require you to complete them before your interview, or ask you to complete them by a certain date as a condition of your offer. Find out more in our professional skills tests blog.

Some training providers may also have specific entry criteria. Click the name of the training programme in the UCAS Teacher Training search tool to establish if it matches your qualifications and experience. As teaching involves working with children on a daily basis, there are also some non-academic requirements you'll need to meet.


Fees and funding

The amount training providers charge varies – for UK and EU students, it can be up to £9,250 per year for a full-time programme starting in 2018. It’s a big investment, but there’s often funding available to help you. UCAS does not arrange student finance, but we can give you information and advice about funding and support to help point you in the right direction.

  • Scholarships – for certain in-demand subjects, you can apply for a tax-free scholarship to support your training. To be eligible, you will typically need a 2:1 degree or above in the subject you want to teach (or a closely related subject). Visit Get Into Teaching to find out more.
  • Bursaries – tax-free bursaries are available for training to teach a range of subjects. The level of funding and eligibility will vary depending on the subject you choose to teach, and your degree classification. For more information, visit Get Into Teaching.
  • Tuition fee and maintenance loans – if you’re not eligible to receive a bursary or scholarship, you can still apply for a student loan to cover your training programme fees and living costs. Find out more from Student Finance England.
  • Extra student funding – if you have dependents, you could access further funding to support your teacher training, such as Parents' Learning Allowances, Childcare Grants, or Child Tax Credits. The student finance calculator from Student Finance England allows you to estimate the level of funding that may be available.
  • Disabled students and care leavers – universities and colleges have different ways of supporting you in higher education. Check if you are entitled to additional support and funding.

How to apply

UCAS Teacher Training is the scheme you need to use to search and apply for university-led PGCE programmes in England.

Ready to start your application? Sign up for updates – an online step-by-step guide to applying for postgraduate training programmes through UCAS Teacher Training.

Explore your options

You can apply to up to three training programmes on your UCAS Teacher Training application. It’s worth considering a combination of different routes when you apply (university, school direct, and SCITT). Last year, candidates who were more flexible about their choice of route were more likely to secure a place. Find out more about university and school-led postgraduate initial teacher training programmes in England.


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