Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Physics with Mathematics) PGCE

science tutor and studentsThe Science PGCE is offered in four specialisms. You will need to apply for one of the following:

  • Biology (Years 7-13)
  • Chemistry (Years 7-13)
  • Physics (Years 7-13)
  • Physics with Mathematics (Years 7-13)

The Institute of Physics and Royal Society of Chemistry offer Teacher Training Scholarships worth up to £28,000 to Physics/Physics with Maths and Chemistry trainees. For more information, please visit the government's Get Into Teaching website.

Programme aims

The Science PGCE course aims to:

  • Develop your understanding of the role of science teachers both within their departments and in their wider professional responsibilities
  • Introduce you to current theories and practice in science teaching
  • Help develop your academic and critical thinking skills to support effective science teaching and learning for all your students
  • Help you set high expectations for yourself and your students
  • Help you to understand what contribution science education can make to the wider education of young people

The Science course supports the core PGCE course through:

  • Specialist sessions to develop your curriculum subject knowledge
  • Exploring effective teaching and learning in science classrooms
  • Consideration of the role of practical work and your responsibility for safe classroom practice
  • Developing reflective practice to support your planning, delivery and evaluation of lessons
  • Developing an understanding of recent curriculum change

A field course in October supports team-building for collaborative work, and helps to develop subject knowledge across the sciences and a practical understanding of learning outside the classroom.

In addition to your specialist subject sessions and core science sessions, you will be allocated to a mixed team of specialists from all science disciplines in order to develop pedagogy related to science teaching. Physics with Mathematics PGCE students follow the specialist Physics course and will spend around 10-15% of the university sessions with the Mathematics PGCE group exploring curriculum and pedagogy.

Mixed teams and whole-science sessions will include focus on:

  • The science curriculum
  • Lesson planning
  • Behaviour for learning and classroom management
  • Assessment
  • Literacy and numeracy in science
  • Differentiation and inclusion
  • Earth science
  • ICT in science, including data logging
  • Teaching controversial issues in science
  • The nature of science
  • Science outside the classroom
  • Safety issues and risk assessment
  • Classroom practice related to learning theories
  • Demonstrations and practicals

Assessment

Continuous assessment is used throughout the course and there are no examinations.

Eligibility Criteria

Degree/A-level

Biology

Applications are welcome from students with good Biology qualifications at honours degree level, and from those with joint or combined honours degrees in which Biology or a degree related to the life sciences is a major subject. In line with the majority of employment opportunities, applicants need to be prepared to teach across all the main sciences to GCSE level if they join the PGCE course.

Applicants without Chemistry or Physics at AS/A-level would be expected to undertake essential background reading before the start of the course.

Chemistry

Applications are welcome from students with good Chemistry qualifications at honours degree level, and from those with joint or combined honours degrees in which Chemistry or a degree related to the life sciences is a major subject. In line with the majority of employment opportunities, applicants need to be prepared to teach across all the main sciences to GCSE level if they join the PGCE course.

Applicants without Biology or Physics at AS/A-level would be expected to undertake essential background reading before the start of the course.

Physics

Applications are welcome from students with good Physics qualifications at honours degree level, and from those with joint or combined honours degrees in which Physics or a degree related to the life sciences is a major subject. In line with the majority of employment opportunities, applicants need to be prepared to teach across all the main sciences to GCSE level if they join the PGCE course.

Applicants without Chemistry or Biology at AS/A-level would be expected to undertake essential background reading before the start of the course.

Physics with Mathematics

Applications are welcome from students with good Physics and Mathematics qualifications at honours degree level, and from those with joint or combined honours degrees in which Physics (or a related degree such as Engineering) is a major subject. In line with the majority of employment opportunities, applicants need to be prepared to teach across all the main sciences to GCSE level if they join the PGCE course.

This option is not designed to prepare you for becoming a Mathematics teacher. It does, however, enable you to have some additional expertise to offer your employer.

Applicants without Chemistry or Biology at AS/A-level would be expected to undertake essential background reading before the start of the course.

GCSE

All applicants must have achieved a Grade C or equivalent in Mathematics and English Language at GCSE.

You may apply without these qualifications, but if you are successful at interview you must have passed them by the start of the course. Special tests in lieu of GCSE Mathematics and English are available for Secondary candidates who are offered conditional places but are lacking the requisite qualification.