University of Exeter

University of Exeter

PGCE Secondary Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology with Psychology)

The Exeter Secondary Science PGCE programme is very highly regarded, receiving outstanding Ofsted results. Science is a core subject of the National Curriculum and science teaching offers many career opportunities. We aim to develop effective and reflective practitioners with an understanding of research methods in education that can inform practice. The main subject module centres on learning about the nature, content and teaching of all aspects of the science curriculum for 11-16 year olds.

Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Biology with Psychology teaching is chosen as a specialist subject for post-16 teaching. Development of subject and teaching knowledge and understanding is a priority and the team of science tutors includes specialists in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology teaching. Topics covered include: the aims of science teaching; the planning, preparation and evaluation of learning experiences for children of different ages and abilities; school laboratory management and the use of information and communications technologies to support science teaching and learning.

Psychology is becoming an increasingly popular choice at A level and is also being offered as a GCSE option in some schools. The Biology with Psychology option provides a pathway into teaching for good psychology graduates who also have a strong background in Biology at A level or for good Biology graduates who have a good grade in Psychology A level. It is designed to prepare trainees for teaching all aspects of science to Key Stage 3 and 4 and Biology and Psychology at GCSE and A level.

Throughout the course we aim to promote engagement with the wider issues of science and its ethical and social relevance. Practising teachers are involved in delivering the course in the University and play an active mentoring role to foster professional development in schools. Energetic, able and committed science applicants will find this an empowering course which develops personal transferable skills, strength of character and offers the potential for playing a part in shaping the future of society.

The programme lasts for 36 weeks (one academic year). Before the course starts at the beginning of October students are required to spend one week in a primary school and one week in a secondary school and to carry out a variety of pre-course tasks. These include an initial needs analysis focussing on subject knowledge and a variety of reading tasks. The first term is predominately based at the University with one induction week being spent in the first placement school. The first placement then continues in January and lasts around 12 weeks. Induction into the second placement school takes place before the Easter vacation and then continues in the summer term until early July.

Entry requirements

A typical student will have obtained good GCSE grades in ‘double science’ or in each of the three separate science subjects. They will have a good ‘A’ level grade in the science subject they would like to teach and ideally in another science subject. Most will have a good degree with at least 50% of the content related to the science subject they would like to teach. Equivalent or alternative qualifications are always considered. Where necessary applicants may be required to complete some subject enhancement before joining the course.

In addition it is always very helpful to gain an understanding of what being a secondary school chemistry/biology/physics/psychology/science teacher involves through gaining some experience in a secondary school science department.

Course modules

The programme has three fully integrated components:

Secondary Education and Professional Studies Module
The Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles within a range of educational contexts. The module is followed throughout the year with both University and school-based elements and is concerned with classroom issues, whole school issues and the role of education in the wider society.

Secondary Professional Learning Module
Central to school-based work is the development of your ability to meet the standards of professional competence which trainees must demonstrate in order to meet national standards for the award of QTS.

Secondary Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy Module
This module aims to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the background issues and practice of the current teaching of Science and Biology/Chemistry/Physics/Biology with Psychology in the secondary school, and to enable them to meet the Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (DfES 2002).

Assessment methods

Through University and school-based assignments. There are no formal exams.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
PGCE Full-time September 2019 £ 9,250 per Academic year (Home) 1 Years
PGCE Full-time September 2019 £ 9,250 per Academic year (EU) 1 Years
PGCE Full-time September 2019 £ 16,900 per Academic year (International) 1 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
St Luke's Campus Exeter EX1 2LU South West

Get in touch

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Key information

PGCE Admissions
Telephone number: 
0300 555 60 60