Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Physical Education

UCAS code: XC61

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Education and Sport, The Moray House School of

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


Introducing MA Physical Education

Our degree offers an excellent route into physical education careers both in the UK and abroad. After you graduate, you can register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Wherever you go on to work, our programme will leave you well-positioned to articulate, advocate and take action toward what it means to teach for a better world.

Three reasons to study Physical Education at the University of Edinburgh

1. Our vibrant community

  • We have over 400 passionate students currently studying Physical Education with us, the highest number of undergraduate PE student teachers in the UK.
  • Our dedicated staff and student teams work to promote a strong sense of community and belonging in our Physical Education cohort.

2. We are committed to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion(EDI)

  • We embrace the University’s vision, fostering an environment where every student thrives.
  • We actively encourage applicants from all backgrounds, cultivating a rich and varied teacher workforce.

3. High-quality staff and teaching

  • You will join a dynamic, interdisciplinary team that leads cutting-edge research at our school.
  • Staff are engaged in world-leading physical education research projects, exploring diverse topics that are shaping the future of teaching and learning.
  • Our teaching is connected with the real-world demands of contemporary physical education through partnerships with schools and external agencies in research hubs at Moray House.

How we teach

The four principles of our degree are:

  • applied learning
  • opportunity
  • connection
  • community

You will build your knowledge, skills and vision of education in various ways, including:

  • placements in our partner schools (and others) that offer opportunities to apply theory to practice
  • learning underpinned by values of social justice, inclusion, sustainability and professional inquiry
  • opportunities to take courses from across the University to broaden and develop your learning and interests
  • connections with students in other years and on other programmes
  • our sense of community, including good links with schools, guest lectures, awards and a peer support network

We support you to become a confident, creative, reflective practitioner.

We aim to produce graduates with a critical awareness of their own teacher identity, ready to work in 21st-century education systems.

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 yourself.

Place2Be at Moray House


The MA (Hons) Physical Education programme is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

General Teaching Council for Scotland

Year 1

In Year 1 your focus will be the primary school curriculum as the foundation for lifelong engagement in physical education.

You will study:

  • physical education - curriculum and pedagogy
  • health and wellbeing
  • educational studies
  • applied sport and exercise science

You will also complete placements in a primary school.

Year 2

In Year 2 your focus will be the early secondary school curriculum, as the foundation for lifelong engagement in physical education.

You will undertake an ongoing study of:

  • physical education - curriculum and pedagogy
  • health and wellbeing
  • educational studies
  • philosophical and sociological perspectives of physical education

You will complete placements in a secondary school.

Year 3

This year begins with an extended placement in a secondary school.

You will also engage in courses covering curriculum and pedagogy in educational studies and physical education. These make productive links between the nature of educational practice and issues related to national qualifications.

Drawing on the core courses you took in Years 1 and 2, you will select an option course to further inform your professional practice. Our courses cover areas including:

  • health and wellbeing
  • sociology
  • sport science
  • physical activity
  • community education

Year 4

In Year 4 you will take a physical education course on curriculum and pedagogy. This will enable you to focus on the future direction of physical education and your ability to engage in its development.

You will also take an educational studies course that involves a major independent study on an area of professional interest.

You will also take another option course from an area such as:

  • health and wellbeing
  • sociology
  • sport science
  • physical activity
  • community education

Lastly, you will complete a final extended block placement in a secondary school.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

You will be based at Moray House School of Education and Sport within the Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences.

We offer excellent academic and sports facilities, including:

  • sport science labs
  • gyms
  • sports halls
  • dance studio

Moray House School of Education and Sport

Moray House School of Education and Sport has a library and full student facilities. It is situated on our Holyrood campus just a short walk from the University's Central Area campus.

Holyrood Park is a short walk away and some of our practical sessions take place with Arthur's Seat providing a wonderful backdrop.

Facilities for sport-related teaching and research

Sports pitches

The University's Peffermill complex occupies a 27-acre site, two and a half miles from the city centre. It boasts a 100-metre synthetic training track and provides high-quality pitches for a variety of sports, including:

  • 10 grass pitches
  • a 3G football/rugby pitch
  • two water-based artificial pitches for hockey
  • nine artificial grass, small-sided sports pitches

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at Moray House School of Education and Sport and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of Moray House School of Education and Sport


You will have a series of professional experience and practice days throughout Years 1 and 2. These build towards block placements in schools at the end of each of those years.

Your placement days and block placements will be in a:

  • primary teaching setting in Year 1
  • secondary school setting in Year 2

In Years 3 and 4 there are extended placement courses where you will work towards the Standard for Provisional Registration. You will draw on your university-based courses to inform your practice.

How will I learn?

You will be taught through:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • practical workshops

All of our courses link policy, practice and theory and make use of LEARN, the University's online learning platform.


During your school-based placements, you will:

  • plan and teach lessons
  • self-assess your progress
  • get feedback and mentoring from qualified teachers, and support from your placement tutor


We are introducing an assessed portfolio in the physical education curriculum and pedagogy courses in Years 1, 2 and 3. This will provide further opportunities for you to reflect on and develop your learning.

How will I be assessed?

Our assessment practice is founded on research-informed principles and includes the Assessment for Learning theory.

We provide ongoing feedback through formative assessment. We also use summative assessment methods, including:

  • assignments
  • portfolios
  • exams
  • oral and poster presentations (group, individual and digital)
  • debates

Our learning and assessment practices aim to promote authentic, sustainable learning and support you to develop professional competence informed by critical, academic thinking.

The MA (Hons) Physical Education programme is approved by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which allows UK students to register with the GTCS as provisionally qualified teachers.

UK graduates are eligible for the Teacher Induction Scheme organised by the GTCS. This offers a guaranteed one-year training post after successful completion of the programme as graduates work towards the Standard for Full Registration (SFR) with the GTCS.

Once teachers attain the SFR they can seek employment in Scottish schools or apply for posts in other parts of the world.

Graduates are employed as teachers of physical education across the globe and many in promoted posts.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: English at B. National 5s: Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics at C. For alternative acceptable Mathematics qualifications please contact the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office via the Enquiries link below.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English Language and English Literature, both at C or 4, and Mathematics at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: English at 5. SL: Mathematics at 4.

Additional requirements

It is important that applicants for teacher education degrees show commitment, motivation and suitability for their degree and the profession.

This can be demonstrated in your personal statement by reflecting on relevant work experience, and explaining your understanding of the teacher's role.

For more guidance please see the school website.

Moray House School of Education


Admission to this degree includes an interview process. Further details on the process will be sent to candidates shortlisted for interview.

Fitness to practise

There is fitness to practise guidance for people who wish to become teachers, we strongly advise you to make yourself aware of this before you apply. Please consult the Higher Educational Occupational Physicians/Practitioners (HEOPS) website for fitness to practise guidelines for this degree.


Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Physical Education

Additional costs

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme with the University of Edinburgh as the Registered Body.

This currently costs:

  • between £18 and £59

You will also need to buy several pieces of branded University clothing if your application is successful. You will wear these for all practical sessions as well as on teaching placement visits during the four-year programme.

The approximate cost is:

  • £366

Successful applicants will be required to order and pay for clothing during induction week.

In each semester, we offer a programme of professional learning activities. Some of these lead to additional qualifications for which the awarding body normally requires a fee.

A small number of courses have learning tasks that require students to design and present an academic poster. There are internal facilities to support the specialised printing of these posters. The approximate cost is:

  • £30


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding