Science Education (Chemistry, Physics, Biology) SKE

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Boost your Science knowledge. Qualify for a Science teacher training degree. Start your career with complete confidence.

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Before starting your PGCE you may be asked to take a SKE course if your training provider feels you have the right qualities to become a teacher, but need to acquire more subject knowledge first. If that’s the case, they'll offer you a conditional place on your PGCE upon completion of a SKE course.

This could be for several reasons, including:

  • Your degree wasn’t in your chosen subject, but is closely related
  • You studied the subject at A level, but not at university
  • You have relevant professional experience, and an SKE course would show you how to apply that to the curriculum and your teaching
  • You would benefit from a short refresher course in your chosen subject

This Science Education SKE course will update your Chemistry, Physics and Biology skills so that you are prepared and fully confident to start training to become a Science teacher.

Why us?

  • No tuition fee for this course
  • You may be eligible for a tax-free SKE training bursary of £200 per week to support you throughout the course 
  • ‘World-leading’ research in Education, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Course structure

You’ll be taught via lectures, independent work, directed tasks, and written assignments.

Your progress will be assessed with written work, exams and presentations. Throughout the course you'll have one-to-one support from staff. 

Course content

You will complete a series of units which will equip you with essential subject knowledge, ahead of a one-year initial teacher training (ITT) course.

This course runs for up to 36 weeks and will complete in time to ensure that you are ready to start your ITT in September.

  • 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 on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, 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.

    Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

    • Embase: A complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation.
    • PsycINF: Includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology.
    • PubMed: Contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care.
    • Science Direct: Offers more than 18,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Which covers a broad range of science areas.
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The David Goldman Informatics Centre, on the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. It’s a modern building with great views of the River Wear, and just a few minutes’ walk from the coast.

Entry requirements

You must have an offer of a place on a Science (Physics, Biology or Chemistry) teacher training course either with the University of Sunderland or another training provider. This offer should be conditional upon successful completion of a Science SKE course.

We will ask you about your knowledge and experience of Science so that we can advise you on how many units you should take on this course. The minimum duration of the course is eight weeks, and the maximum is 28 weeks.

Please note, if you have an offer of a place on a teacher training course elsewhere, you can still join our SKE courses. However, if you are given an offer of a place on a University of Sunderland PGCE Secondary Education course and a condition is to complete a SKE course beforehand, then you should expect to compete the appropriate SKE course here at the University of Sunderland.

Fees and finance

SKE courses are fully funded, so you won’t have to pay any tuition fees. You may also be eligible for a tax-free SKE training bursary of £200 per week to support you throughout the course. You could get a bursary of £5,600 for a 28-week course and £2,400 for a shorter course of 12 weeks.

For more information, please visit Get into Teaching.

This course is not available to international students.

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

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


This course will enhance your knowledge of science and allow you to progress to a Science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) PGCE course.

Good teachers are always in high demand. The average starting salary for a teacher is £22,917, and experienced teachers can earn up to £59,857 outside London, and £67,305 in London. Head teachers can reach a salary of between £44,544 and £109,366.

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