Postgraduate study

Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary) PGDE

Awards: PGDE


Funding opportunities


There are so many good things about studying at the University of Edinburgh: it has an incredible amount of resources, its staff and research are internationally renowned, it is located in the centre of an amazing city, and if you study at Moray House you get a view of Arthur’s Seat every day! However, the PGDE program is the reason I chose to study here, and it has to be the thing I like most – I wanted to become a teacher, and it is helped me achieve that.

Isabel Braadbaart PGDE Primary
Isabel Braadbaart               PGDE Primary

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Primary is for graduates who wish to enter the teaching profession at primary school level. This programme is one route to qualified teacher status in Scotland.

The PGDE programme is academically and professionally focused, drawing upon the expertise of its faculty and institute. The programme is located within the Institute for Education, Teaching and Leadership (ETL); the institute draws on a values-led approach to teaching, research and innovation, through the strength of the relationships with our partners, both locally and globally.

In particular, the Institute has expertise and professional impact in the changing role of teachers and leaders in a contemporary world; in learning for sustainability; in outdoor learning; in widening participation; in digital literacies and in areas of curriculum development like STEM and STEAM education all of which align with the GTCS Professional Standards.

This is an intensive programme of study with half of this time spent in placement schools and the other half spent studying on University of Edinburgh campus. Through graduate level study of education and professional placements, you will engage in being and becoming a teacher in Scotland.

The programme is designed to develop critically informed and confident teachers to meet the needs of our children and young people in the 21st Century. The PGDE programme aims to capture an interdependent view of the world and a deep commitment to sustainability and social justice for all. To achieve this the pedagogies employed aim to provoke a cultural shift away from transmissive teaching to something more agential and socially transformative.

Through our university-led and school-based placement therefore, teaching and learning aims to engage with and challenge taken for granted assumptions, encouraging and supporting our PGDE students to look inwards to their beliefs and assumptions and outwards to wider educational practices and policies, both nationally and globally.

Mental health and wellbeing partnership

Student teachers at the University of Edinburgh also engage with our mental health and wellbeing programme.

This is provided through our unique partnership with children’s mental health charity Place2Be and helps you to support mental wellbeing in your classrooms and in yourself.

Place2Be at Moray House


Graduates are qualified to teach and eligible for provisional registration from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Eligible graduates may join the Teacher Induction Scheme, a guaranteed, paid one-year probationary teaching post, or take up a Flexible Route.

The PGDE Primary programme is structured around two sets of courses. One set of courses, ‘Preparing for Teaching’, introduces students to and creates space for them to intellectually problematise critical concepts in education to help them develop their own identity and understanding of themselves as a beginning teachers as well as develop the professional knowledge, skills and action necessary for the complex realities of teaching.

The core values and commitments of the programme visions are explored through three conceptual themes, each with their own course:

  • Social, Professional, Personal and Political Dimensions of Education and Teaching
  • Pedagogies
  • Making and Conceptualising Curriculum

The other set of courses, ‘Teaching in School’, are designed to provide relevant site-based learning experiences for students to make sense of, further develop and situate their professional knowledge, skills and actions that they have begun to explore through the ‘Preparing for Teaching’ courses. These school experiences create opportunities for students to develop professional relationships and teaching practices, understand school communities and learn with and from experienced school staff and other professionals. Students will then bring their learning and insights from their site-based courses into their reflections and thinking through subsequent ‘Preparing for Teaching’ courses.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.*

Award     Duration     Study mode     Indicative programme structure
PGDE     9 Months     Full-time     PGDE Primary Education 2021

Professional Placements constitute approximately half of the programme, with students being allocated a placement within one of six key local authorities.

The professional experience and practice through the site-based courses allows for a deeper interrogation of complex issues through practice and enables students to develop their own professional actions and identity as a beginning teacher.

It is important to recognise the symbiotic and deeply interrelated nature of the site-based and university-based learning contexts. These operate together with concepts interweaving and evolving throughout. This in effect creates a progressive and ‘spiral’ curriculum. This privileges neither the school nor the university but rather seeks to create authentic and meaningful learning contexts to develop the depth of knowledge, skills and expertise required of a beginning teacher.

It is through the combination of university-based and school-based learning that the PGDE seeks to develop future teachers that are equipped with appropriate social, cultural and linguistic skills to enable them to work with their pupils across cultural and linguistic boundaries towards a just and sustainable future.

Graduates from this programme are qualified to teach, and eligible for provisional registration from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

On successful completion of this 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.

Eligibility for Teacher Induction Scheme

Students from Scotland and other parts of the UK (RUK), who are studying at a Scottish Higher Education Institution are eligible to join the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS), a guaranteed and paid one-year probationary teaching post, organised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Preference Waiver Payment Scheme

If you join the General Teaching Council’s Preference Waiver Payment Scheme - which means you agree to work in any Scottish local authority for your induction post - in return, you will receive a £6,000 payment made if you complete your Teacher Induction Scheme year in the local authority to which you were allocated.

At present, it is difficult for all potential student teachers to access schools to gain experience in support of their application for programmes of Initial Teacher Education.

Where possible, opportunities should be sought to gain experience in contexts which involve working with children and/or young people. Where this is not possible, Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) will take particular care to explore potential student teacher’s suitability to working with children and/or young people as a part of the admission process.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 1 July 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, is preferred, and a high level of experience in a primary school classroom setting.

You should also hold SQA Higher English at minimum grade C or GCSE English Language AND GCSE English Literature, both passed at grade C/4 or above, and National 5 Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics at minimum grade B or equivalent qualifications – please contact the admissions office for advice.

Selection involves a professional interview.

We also expect you to have experience of working with children in formal or informal settings (both employment and volunteering roles will be considered) and an ability to reflect thoughtfully on that experience. You should have some knowledge and understanding of the Scottish curriculum.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee status

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.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

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

Saroj Lal Scholarship

One scholarship will be awarded to an applicant accepted onto a PGDE Primary programme from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

As this programme is for initial teacher education, it is processed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Applications must be made through the UCAS website:

For more information on entry requirements and guidance on writing your personal statement, see our web pages on the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education:

We do not accept applications for deferred entry to this programme.

Further information

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ