Postgraduate study

Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary) PGDE

Awards: PGDE



Change to PGDE programme start date for 2020 entry due to COVID-19

We are committed to offering a high-quality experience to all of our students, and the health and safety of our students and staff remain a key priority.

This means that we will make changes to how we deliver teaching and learning experiences to ensure that we maintain the quality of experience that you would expect us to provide, while implementing any physical distancing measures required to keep our community safe.

With this in mind, we have made the decision to change the start date of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Primary from the typical mid-August start to 14 September 2020. The end date of the programme remains unchanged: 4 June 2021.


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 the Scottish route to qualified teacher status.

This is an intensive programme of study with half of this time spent in placement schools and the other half spent studying on campus.

Through graduate level study of education and professional placements, you will begin your development as a primary school teacher. 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.

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.

*(Revised 1 June 2020 to change 2020 start date from August to September due to COVID-19.)


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.

This programme is comprised of 3 blocks. Each block contains an equal balance between University-based 'Preparing for teaching' courses and school-based 'Professional Placement' courses.

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

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. In addition, you will undertake extensive reading. Most University learning is through lectures and workshop groups.

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

Combining campus-based courses taught at Moray House and experiential Professional Placements undertaken in schools, this programme follows a chronological sequence of pupil learning and development at specific school stages.

Professional Placement courses comprise Practicum Strands that address classroom knowledge and skills; and experience of planning, managing, organising, assessing and evaluating pupil learning and taking on the role of a class teacher for increasing periods of time.

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

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, other parts of the UK (RUK) and other Member States of the European Union, 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 an £6,000 payment made if you complete your Teacher Induction Scheme year in the local authority to which you were allocated.

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.

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.

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

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 (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