Science with Biology Secondary Education PGCE

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Help young people achieve their potential. Share your love for Science. Become a Biology teacher.

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Science with Biology Secondary Education PGCE will qualify you to teach Biology at Secondary level in any state-maintained school in England and Wales.

This one year course blends theoretical knowledge with carefully supervised teaching experience. You will attend placements in a variety of educational settings to gain a broad understanding of the realities of Secondary level teaching.

Teachers’ student loan reimbursement scheme

All eligible teachers will be able to apply for a reimbursement on their student loan payments made in the first 10 years of their careers. Read more about the eligibility criteria.

Why us?

  • ‘World-leading’ research in Education, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • Funding for trainee teachers is better than it’s ever been with tax-free bursaries of up to £26,000 for Science trainees 
  • You’ll spend at least 120 days on placement in schools or colleges

Course structure

Placements are an important part of this course. During that time, you will benefit from practical learning and be supported by school-based trainers and University-based tutors.

Your progress will be assessed with written assignments, case studies, and assessments of your teaching practice.

This course is a mixture of University-based learning and in-school training. You will spend at least 120 days on placement in a school or other educational institution.

September – January

Professional Studies 1 (30 credits)

  • You will examine a range of pedagogic issues, and develop your subject knowledge.

Teaching Experience 1 (10 credits)

  • During this time you will spend approximately six weeks in a school or college, applying your knowledge and developing your teaching skills.

MA module

  • One 30-credit MA module of your choice.


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

January – June

Professional Studies 2 (30 credits)

  • This module builds on the knowledge and skills you developed in Professional Studies 1.

Teaching Experience 2 (20 credits)

  • You will spend approximately 10 weeks developing your teaching skills in a school or college.

MA module

  • One 30-credit MA module of your choice.

MA modules

Modules may include:

  • Development of Learning: a Case Study (30 credits)

In this module you will identify an educational intervention and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils.

  • Negotiated Individual Study in Education (30 credits)

In this module you will create a plan, undertake and critically evaluate a piece of research on an educational topic of your choice.

  • Advanced Pedagogical Practice (30 credits)

You will critically examine your chosen subject, relating current practice to educational theory and appropriate literature.

  • Leading Organisational Effectiveness in Education and Training (30 credits)

You will study the 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.

  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands of books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful include:

    • Professional Development Collection, which features hundreds of education journals and reports
    • EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals
    Library Services - PGCE
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The David Goldman Informatics Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 2.40 from a Canadian bachelor's degree
  • GPA 2.5 from a USA bachelor's degree

in a subject related area.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with no less than 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in any other element.

All successful applicants will be interviewed.

All successful applicants will be required to:

Successfully complete the DfE Professional Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy before starting the course. It would be helpful, but not essential, to take the tests before your interview
Obtain a DBS Enhanced Disclosure
Complete a Medical pro forma

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU
  • £12,00 if you are from outside the EU

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

You could also be eligible for a £26,000 bursary throughout your PGCE year. See Department of Education’s Get into Teaching website for more information and Terms and Conditions.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


This degree awards Qualified Teacher Status, which means that when you graduate you’ll be qualified to teach in any state-maintained secondary school in England and Wales. Most graduates from this course go on to teach in secondary schools.

Good teachers are always in high demand. The average starting salary for a teacher is £22,000, and experienced teachers can earn up to £56,000 outside London, and £64,000 in London. Head teachers can reach a salary of between £42,379 and £112,000.

School placements

The University of Sunderland has partnerships with over 200 schools, in 12 local authorities. You’ll spend at least 120 days on placement. We’ll work with you to find you the perfect placements - schools that can nurture and support your aspirations and interests, and help you become the best secondary teacher you can be.


Meet the students

  • A hard but worthwhile course that I’ve enjoyed.
    Harry Boddy Square

    Harry Boddy

  • Studying here has allowed me to follow two career paths that I am extremely passionate about.
    Nadia Ammor Square

    Nadia Ammor

Meet the team

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