Postgraduate study

Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary) PGDE

This Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is for graduates wishing to enter the teaching profession in Scotland at primary level.

The one-year programme is the Scottish route to qualified teacher status. We aim to produce successful, reflective teachers, sensitive to the demands of pupils, responsive to changes within the education system and committed to their own continuing professional development.

Taught over 36 weeks, the primary programme is an intensive programme of study. Half of this time is spent in placement schools, with the other half spent studying on campus.

Your learning follows the chronological sequence of pupil development - the focus is initially on early years, moving to the middle primary and then upper primary years.

Your placement experiences will cover three school settings: early years, middle primary and upper primary. Each placement is preceded by study on a school-stage-related course at the University.

Each unit of study comprises two courses, one on preparation for teaching, the other a school placement course. In addition, you will undertake extensive reading.

The courses involve learning in the domains of educational theory and practice, ensuring that you are well prepared to take on the professional role of a student teacher on placement. There is an emphasis on the development of collaborative working skills in problem-based learning contexts.

Most in-faculty learning is through lectures and workshop groups. There is an emphasis on collaborative and problem-based learning.

Students are also expected during their PGDE year to build on their academic literacy skills from their undergraduate degree.

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 equivalent and National 5 Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics at minimum grade B or equivalent. (Revised 8 March 2019 to include National 5 "Applications of Mathematics".)

Please contact the Admissions Office for a list of acceptable equivalent qualifications:

Selection involves a professional interview.

Because of the high number of applicants for this programme who have academic qualifications significantly above the minimum, it is likely that not all qualified applicants will be invited to interview.

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

All applicants are required to have SQA Higher English at grade C or above, or qualifications that are considered the equivalent by the University before commencing the programme, such as:

  • National Units - Communication (formerly Communication 4) AND

  • National Unit - Literature 1

Both are required at passes. These units are available at many colleges throughout Scotland.


  • GCSE English Language AND GCSE English Literature, both passed at grade C/4 or above. NB. If you do not already hold these GCSE qualifications and intend to complete them before commencing the programme, please contact the Admissions Office.*


  • Irish Leaving Certificate Higher English at grade C2/H4 or above

For further information on accepted alternative qualifications to meet the English requirement for the PGDE (including international equivalencies), please contact the Admissions Office directly.

*(Revised 8 October 2018 to update terminology for GCSE English requirements.)

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.

Tuition fees

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

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

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

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 (Primary):

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