Moray House School of Education

PGDE (Secondary)

Producing reflective and competent teachers, sensitive to the demands of the pupils and the job.


Programme aims

This Professional Graduate Diploma in Education is for graduates who want to become teachers in the secondary sector. The one-year programme is the Scottish route to qualified teacher status. The programme aims to educate graduates so that they develop the capacity to become transformative teachers who make a positive impact on the outcomes of learners and have the capacity to become future leaders in the profession. To this end, the programme focuses on teaching student teachers to use their powerful subject knowledge to create interesting, relevant and progressive teaching.

The programme seeks to ensure that student teachers have both a theoretical and practical knowledge of how to teach, in order to meet the needs and interests of young people. Furthermore, the programme seeks to develop the ability of student teachers to think and act reflectively and reflexively to a high level. A key focus of the programme is on social justice and what this means for practitioners in terms of how they think about their teacher identity and what and how they teach within and across their subject disciplines.

A one year programme which commences in mid August

The 36-week secondary programme is divided equally between University-taught courses and school placement courses. The programme is therefore designed to prepare students for the range of roles that teachers are expected to play: a reflective classroom practitioner; a collaborator who contributes to the wider formal and informal curriculum of the school through interdisciplinary learning and through extra curricular activities; a subject specialist and a curriculum developer; a teacher in society, whether building strong relationships with parents or contributing to national policy debates; and a teacher who has the capacity for leadership.

Please note: This programme of study commences in mid August


The PGDE (Secondary) course aims to develop in our students:

  • the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies necessary for a beginning teacher
  • knowledge of the distinctive traditions, practices, and forms of organisation of education in Scotland
  • the ability to relate theory to practice in all aspects of education
  • the attitudes and values necessary to support reflective practice
  • skills in professional research and enquiry, including skills in action research
  • a critical understanding of the teaching and learning process, including those relating to special needs, new technology, and equal opportunities
  • an ability to work successfully in collaboration with others
  • skills in planning, reviewing and monitoring their own and academic development
  • enhanced ability to work in a critical, innovative and creative manner
  • enhanced communicative skills

Design principles

This programme is designed to prepare our students adequately for the range of roles that teachers are expected to play. It is coherent and progressive and features assessment that will support student learning to provide reliable feedback and reporting. These requirements lead to the following principles for the design of the programme.

  • Student learning will address an appropriate set of unifying themes and core topics.
  • The programme curriculum will be informed by an explicit developmental model which describes how students' learning will progress.
  • University-based studies will be organised around a sequence of tightly integrated lectures and workshops.
  • Placement experience will be built on an effective partnership between the University and schools.
  • Assessment tasks will be well matched to the developmental model and will be guided by explicit performance-related criteria.

Teaching roles

Teaching in the early twenty first century is a highly complex profession. A teacher is required to be proficient in not one major role, but several.

  • The teacher in the classroom, has to be a competent reflective practitioner, responding effectively to the learning needs of a wide range of pupils.
  • The teacher in the school, has to be a good collaborator and positive contributor to the school ethos through the formal and informal curriculum.
  • The teacher in the curriculum development process, has to be a subject specialist, curriculum developer, and contributor to educational innovation.
  • The teacher in the profession, has to be an active member of a community of educationalists with shared obligations, values and responsibilities.
  • The teacher in society, has to conduct and sustain relationships at many levels: for example, at local level with parents, other professional agencies, and education authorities; at national level, with assessment authorities, policy making, advisory and research bodies; at international level with exchange programmes.

Each role brings a distinctive set of challenges and requires deep knowledge and skill.

Entry requirements

The qualifications for admission to the PGDE (Secondary) are:

  • A degree from a UK Higher Education Institution or degree of an equivalent standard from an institution outwith the UK.
  • The degree should be in the subject to be taught and containing at least two graduating courses (80 credits) in the relevant subject. Some subjects will consider a broader range of degree content, so please check the subject-specific information sheet for your chosen subject.
  • SQA Higher Grade pass at levels A, B, C (or equivalent) in English or GCSE English (Language) and English Literature both at C or better.
  • SQA Standard Grade (Credit Level 1 or 2) pass in Mathematics, GCSE Mathematics B pass or better, or equivalent.

More detailed entry requirements (and alternatives) are listed in the subject specific information sheets further down this page.

Experience and Interview

The PGDE Secondary Programme is a professional graduate diploma and seeks, beyond academic qualifications, candidates who are suitable to join the profession in terms of their disposition towards and their experience of working with children and young people.

What kinds of experiences make a suitable candidate for interview?

In general we expect candidates to have had experience of working with children and young people in a formal or informal setting such as:

  • working or observing in a secondary school
  • working with after-school clubs, youth groups or in summer camp contexts
  • working in a training or coaching capacity with children or young people

It is important that candidates can demonstrate that they have gained insights into learning and teaching from this work.

Knowledge of the Scottish Curriculum

Candidates will be expected to discuss their understanding of the Scottish Curriculum during interview.

They should ensure that they have researched this either via their work experience, shadowing, etc, or on websites such as Education Scotland (Foghlam Alba).

Selection and the subjects planned to be offered

Selection involves a professional interview.

Here is a list of the Secondary subjects currently planned to be offered for entry. Each is linked to a PDF of further information.


Art and Design (W1X1) (289.97 KB PDF)


Biology (C1X1) (289.57 KB PDF)


Chemistry (F1X1) (365.8 KB PDF)



Drama (W4X1) (289.61 KB PDF)


English (Q3X1) (370.72 KB PDF)


Geography (F8X1) (439.88 KB PDF)


History (V1X1) (379.24 KB PDF)


Mathematics (G1X1) (363.89 KB PDF)



Music (W3X1) (368.74 KB PDF)


Physical Education (X9C6) (297.81 KB PDF)


Physics (F3X1) (287.52 KB PDF)


Dual Qualification Status

Dual qualification means that a teacher is qualified to teach two different subject areas within schools, such as History and English, for instance, or Mathematics and Physics.

We welcome applications for dual subject qualification and can accommodate many dualities within the Programme. The only exception to dual qualification is for students undertaking the PGDE Secondary in Design & Technology as this is already considered a double subject in Scotland.

If you want to pursue a dual qualification you must have an additional 80 credits in the second subject area and meet the GTCS requirements for teaching this subject. Your application will be made for the first subject area but you will state on the form that you have an interest in dual qualification.

Please contact the Programme Director by email for further information about dual qualification.

Registration with GTCS/Teacher induction scheme

On successful completion of the programme, students are recommended to contact the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) for provisional registration. Full registration is awarded on the completion of one satisfactory year of teaching the subject(s) for which qualification has been gained through this programme. Further information about the GTCS can be found at their website (link to website at foot of this page).

The Scottish Government and General Teaching Council for Scotland offer a guaranteed probationer year for students graduating from a Scottish Higher Education Institution who are classed as UK or EU domiciled candidates at the time of entering the programme. It is important to note that students who hold a non-EU status are not eligible for the guaranteed probationer year.

Tuition fees

For tuition fee purposes, the PGDE is treated in the same way as an undergraduate programme.

Tuition fees for eligible students from Scotland or a non-UK European Union country are paid by Student Awards Agency For Scotland (SAAS). Check your fee status to see whether you are eligible.

How to apply

Please submit your application via UCAS (Undergraduate) following the link below. Please note that we do not accept applications for deferred entry to this course. Application forms and details on the application procedure are available from UCAS at:



New Barn Lane

Post Code
GL52 3LZ

For further information, please contact:

Undergraduate Admissions Office

  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • The University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh,
55-60 George Square,

Post Code