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PGCE Secondary Science (Biology)

(11-16 and including post 16 enhancement)

Gain qualified teacher status (QTS) as a teacher of biology. Designed for graduates with a passion for biology, this course offers you the skills and experience to teach and inspire the next generation of children and young people about the science. Job prospects for qualified biology teachers are good and because it is a priority subject, you may be eligible for a bursary of up to £20,000 to train.

Course description

Learn how to share your enthusiasm for biology and inspire the next generation of children and young people. Biology is one of the priority subjects which means that you could be eligible for a tax free bursary of up to £20,000 depending on your degree class.

This course enables you to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). It equips you to teach National Curriculum Science at Key Stages 3 and 4 and to teach biology at a higher level at Key Stage 4 and at post-16.

During the course you develop the skills, knowledge and understanding to teach pupils of all abilities by
• enhancing your subject knowledge and skills
• learning to use relevant literature, research and educational theories relating to teaching science and the wider curriculum
• building your confidence and enthusiasm to become a successful teacher of pupils at all levels of ability
• developing a wide range of interactive and engaging teaching strategies
• developing your classroom management and behaviour management skills
• using a variety of techniques for monitoring pupils' progress
• learning about the wider role of teachers in school
• learning about the way schools and the education system function
• understanding how to apply your skills and knowledge in a school setting
• developing your evaluation and critical reflection skills
• meeting the QTS standards for teachers

With our PGCE you complete two periods of school-based training in 11–16, 11–18 or post-16 settings. This allows you to experience the full progression through at least two key stages. In total you spend around 120 days on school-based training.

While in school you benefit from excellent support and mentoring from a university-trained mentor. We have placement links with over 600 schools and other institutions, we are also involved with a variety of lead schools on the School Direct programme, and many of our students end up being offered teaching jobs in the schools that they train in.

All of our practical sessions take place in purpose-built labs, which replicate the teaching areas typically found in schools.

During the course, you’ll be able to choose to complete either the PGCE or the professional graduate certificate in education (ProfGCE). Both qualifications earn you QTS status, but the PGCE also gives you 60 credits towards a masters degree.

School Direct
Apply for a place through the School Direct scheme for a dedicated route into a job after graduation. On the School Direct route the school or partnership of schools that you've applied to will be much more involved in your selection, recruitment and professional development as there is the expectation that you will be employed by them once qualified.

For more information visit www.shu.ac.uk/schooldirect

Expert academic staff
Our expert science tutors have over 120 years’ teaching experience between them. They have held positions ranging from head of department to assistant head and head of year in a variety of local, national and international schools, where they were responsible for teacher trainees, the induction of NQTs and staff development. They continue to retain close links with many local schools.

Further information
For more information regarding our routes into teaching, including funding, placements, QTS skills tests and career prospects visit our teach site.

Entry requirements

This course is subject to re-approval

2017 entry requirements

All applicants need GCSE mathematics, science and English language at grade C or above, or equivalent*. We consider applicants who are in the process of obtaining GCSEs.

You must also

• hold an honours degree (normally 2.2 or above) or equivalent which includes substantial elements of biology or biological study

• successfully complete QTS skills tests in numeracy and literacy as designated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership

• complete a declaration of criminal convictions and health check forms

You are encouraged to gain experience of schools through direct observation of teaching and learning and/or by working with young people in science-related or other educational activities

If you are shortlisted, we will invite you to a selection event, and you should bring a passport or photo driving license with you. You can bring other forms of photo ID for the selection event, but if you do, you will still need to present valid identity documents required by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) at your pre-course day. View our selection event guidance to ensure you understand the selection process.

If English is not your first language you must have an IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in all skills or equivalent. For equivalents see our English language entry requirements web page.

We welcome applications from people seeking a career change. We also encourage applications from those groups under-represented in teacher education, to ensure that the teaching profession represents the diverse nature of contemporary UK society. You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

* GCSE mathematics and English equivalents are

• 12 level 2 credits from an Access course

• equivalency test from www.equivalencytesting.co.uk

* GCSE science equivalents are

• 12 level 2 credits from an Access course

• science equivalency test from www.equivalencytesting.co.uk

• OCR National Level 2 Science

• BTEC National Level 2 Science, Applied Science or Medical Science

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Full-time – one year
Starts September

Typical modules may include


• developing and reflecting on subject knowledge and subject pedagogy • developing and reflecting on professional practice • school based training 1 • school based training 2

We support your work in schools with a programme of preparation and support. You experience various school placements, including at least two continuous blocks of time on teaching practice. These are in two different schools and usually require some travelling within the region.

  • academic assignments including practice-based essays
  • individual and group work
  • presentations and reports
  • preparing teaching materials and plans
  • teaching practice


We have an excellent graduate employment record. Over 96% per cent of our PGCE graduates are teaching or in further study within six months of graduating. Many students gain employment in the local area.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Typically £9,000 for the course

For the course fee and further information on scholarships please visit our fees and funding pages.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £9,250 for the course

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £13,250 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

To apply for this course visit UCAS Teacher Train

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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