Moray House School of Education

PGDE (Secondary)

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

Watch our video to hear what our students and graduates say

PGDE Secondary Programme Video


Subjects we are still accepting applications for

We are still accepting applications for the following PGDE subjects for 2018/19 entry:

The following PGDE subjects are now closed to applications for 2018/19 entry: Art, Drama, History and PE

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 beginning 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.

Programme aims

The PGDE (Secondary) programme 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 is designed to support student teacher development through experiential learning in schools and face to face campus based learning in the university.
  • University-based studies will be organised around a sequence of 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.
  • The programme is designed on the principle that teaching is social practice and therefore much time is spent with tutors and other students.

Teaching roles

Teaching in the 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 UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, in the subject to be taught is preferred. This qualification should contain at least two graduating courses (80 UK 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 English at grade C or above (or equivalent) or GCSE English (Language) and English Literature both at C or above.
  • SQA National 5 Mathematics at grade B or above, GCSE Mathematics at grade B or above, 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).

Additionally, candidates should expect to be asked their informed views on current challenges within teaching and within their subject area (this can be based on their knowledge, understanding and experience of learning and teaching in other parts of the world).

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.

* Applicants to these subjects may wish to apply for the Tom and Maureen Fairlie Scholarship.

Further details about the Tom and Maureen Fairlie Scholarship

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. One exception to dual qualification is Design and 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).

General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)

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.

PGDE tuition fees

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. 

The UCAS equal consideration deadline is 15 January and applications to high demand PGDE Secondary subjects are likely to close on, or shortly after this date.

However a number of our PGDE Secondary programmes are currently open -  particularly in the STEM subjects.  To check if a programme is still accepting applications, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office or use the UCAS course search website. 

Contact details for the Undergraduate Admissions Office

Application procedures are available from UCAS at:

For further information, please contact:

Undergraduate Admissions Office

  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Contact details



The University of Edinburgh
57 George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9JU