PGCE Computer Science PGCE - University of Sunderland

Course overview

The PGCE Computer Science equips you to share your interest in computer science with young people and inspire them to realise their potential. A growing number of pupils are choosing to take computer science at GCSE and A Level, which means there is a rising demand for great computer science teachers.

Sunderland has a heritage of teacher training which dates back to 1908. The course prepares you for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is an essential qualification for teaching in state-maintained schools.

This programme is also offered as part of our School Direct route.

Given the current shortage of computer science teachers, the Government is offering extra incentives to attract more graduates into teaching the subject. Financial incentives are available for those who train in 2016/17, go to The Department for Education website for more information.

The course has two strands. The first strand is based at the University and provides a solid grounding in theory and practical issues. The second strand is based in partner schools where you will undertake practical teaching experience.

In addition to Government bursaries, students on this course are also eligible for many of the University of Sunderland scholarships. Full details of the Sunderland scholarships available to you can be found on the Entry requirements tab of this course.

Course content

PGCE Course content 

September – January

  • Full-time teaching practice placement (school or college)
  • Master's Module 1: Development of Learning: A Case Study – you will identify an educational intervention and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils
  • Subject Studies related module

January – June

  • Full-time teaching practice placement (school or college)
  • Master's Module 2: Negotiated Individual Study in Education – you will undertake a piece of action research into an educational issue
  • Subject Studies related module

120 Credits 

After the PGCE, you may go on to study other modules from the MA Suite including:

Advanced Pedagogical Practice (30 Credits)

You will critically examine a subject in which you are a specialist, relating current practice to educational theory and appropriate literature.

Leading Organisational Effectiveness in Education and Training (30 Credits)

You will study topics that include principles of leadership, responsibilities of leadership in an educational establishment, tackling under-performance and auditing performance.

Assessment Theory into Pedagogical Practice (30 Credits)

You will examine educational assessment theory in relation to the current practice in your own educational setting.

Teaching and assessment

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, tutorials, project work and group work as well as placements.

Assessment methods include written work, evidence profiles and assessment of your teaching practice.

Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Course location

This course is based on the banks of the River Wear at The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from over a hundred PCs in the St Peter’s Library, three computer laboratories, and wireless access zones. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

Secondary partnership

The University of Sunderland forms part of a secondary partnership that includes more than 230 schools and colleges. This means that there are wide opportunities for placements during the professional year.

Sunderland’s outstanding IT facilities include the David Goldman Informatics Centre, which has hundreds of computers so it’s easy to find a free workstation with the software you need. In addition, the Remote Global Desktop Service allows access to our software whether you're using the WiFi in our halls of residence or you're at home.

We host high-performance computing platforms, including a Beowulf cluster and a grid distributed system, for concurrent processing of complex computational tasks. We also have the equipment and licenses for our own public mobile cellular network.

  • We are the longest established provider of IT and Computer Science Education both at Undergraduate level and Postgraduate level in the North East
  • Although we offer both PGCE and School Direct courses, we offer the only non-School Direct PGCE within the North East
  • If you need to undertake a Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses we offer one which provides seamless transition onto our Programmes (we are the only North East provider)
  • We have good links to Sunderland Software City which helps to inform our Trainee Teachers about the Employment opportunities available in Computing for the pupils they will teach

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on education and computing topics, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals. Resources include the EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals.


The David Goldman Informatics Centre

St Peter's Campus, St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from holders of an honours degree (at least a 2:2) in Computing. We will also consider other equivalent qualifications, individuals may be required to undertake a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course.

You should have at least grade C in GCSE Mathematics and English Language (or equivalent). We will only accept equivalencies from Equivalency Testing. Completion of the Teaching Agency skills tests prior to the course started is an additional requirement, please see details below.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with 6.5 in writing, no sub section below 6.

After 6 April 2015 you must take your IELTS exams at one of the test centres listed on the UKVI website. If you took your IELTS exam before 6 April 2015 this does not apply, and your qualification is still valid regardless of which test centre you used.

Additional requirements:

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance


The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Government scholarships

The UK Government is keen to encourage high-quality graduates to train as teachers, and so offers bursaries to attract more people into teaching.

For more information and to check the eligibility criteria, please see   

Funding for teacher training maybe available for eligible graduates who are starting their training in the 2016/17 academic year on postgraduate routes including the non-salaried School Direct programme.

Funding amounts will vary depending on the subject you intend to teach and your degree classification or highest relevant academic qualification.

University of Sunderland scholarships

Students on this course are entitled to the Get There Scholarship. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found on the University of Sunderland Scholarships page.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for any of the above scholarships, please contact:

The Scholarships Team
Tel: 0191 515 2865

Employment & careers

Everyone who wants to teach in a state-maintained school in England and Wales needs Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This course leads to QTS and, on successful completion, you will become a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

The starting salary of an NQT is over £22,000, with extra if you work in London. Teachers see their salaries rise by an average of 30 per cent after their first four years in the job.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751

Our teaching events offer you the chance to speak to teachers and find out how to get into teaching:


Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will meet with you at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

''I received a lot of support from the tutors and lectures at the University and they helped me to become an outstanding classroom practitioner.''

CS -  	Shaun Lloyd

Shaun Lloyd

Head of Faculty

‘’My time at Sunderland has really helped me to be the best that I can be. I received a lot of support from the tutors and lectures at the University and they helped me to become an outstanding classroom practitioner.

‘’The help and guidance that is given is second to none and the development of my subject knowledge was incredible. The Initial Teacher Training (ITT) year was very hard work, however Sunderland’s partner schools will help to guide and mould you into the best teacher that you can be.

‘’No one can deny that the professional year working in schools all around the North East is not hard, it is and so it should be. Every pupil in every classroom expects the best and Sunderland delivers the best! The guidance given to you during ITT helps you to develop your skill set and resilience.

‘’I graduated from Sunderland in 2012 after completing my ITT and being graded as ‘outstanding’ in both of my placement schools, a testament to my hard work but also the hard work of my tutors to get me there and the mentors in my placement schools to support me.

‘’Since graduation I have been working in a Church of England School in outer London, first a teacher of Computer Science and then as second in charge of Computer Science. In September 2015 I will be moving on to become a Head of Faculty in one of the largest secondary schools in the United Kingdom, this will bring new challenges but without the help and support of Sunderland I would never have managed to get to this point.’’

Apply for this course

Applications for entry must be submitted through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT).

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 16th February 2017
  • Time: 2:00pm-7:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Gateway, City Campus, University of Sunderland

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Lynne Dagg

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name PGCE Computer Science with QTS
Classification PGCE
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

Honours degree (2:2 or above) with strong computing emphasis

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