Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

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

The MA (Hons) Physical Education programme aims to provide an education that develops professional learners with a well-developed understanding of scientific knowledge and both historical and contemporary perspectives in physical education.

The programme focuses on Scottish education, the physical education curriculum and contrasting perspectives on physical education. You will also be involved in professional placements in both primary and secondary schools. Graduates of the programme will be able to make a valuable contribution to the schools they work in and be capable of curricular and pedagogical innovation.

Teachers of physical education are required to have a detailed knowledge of children, the curriculum, educational settings, and teaching and learning approaches. You will learn from your own experiences in schools and research to develop an understanding of the changing relationships among teachers, parents/carers, other agencies and the wider community.

Working as a specialist teacher in secondary education is a demanding and rewarding career. You can support the development of young people and work in a subject area where your expertise helps to shape learners experiences.

In Scotland 'Curriculum for Excellence' locates physical education within the 'health and wellbeing' area of learning. As a prospective teacher of physical education you will engage in the debates about the aims, nature and purpose of physical education and consider issues related to children's learning experiences.

On completion of a teacher education programme, students can register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

General Teaching Council for Scotland


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

Year 1

You will study physical education, educational studies and applied sport and exercise science. You will focus on the primary school curriculum, as the foundation for lifelong engagement in physical education, and undertake a placement in a primary school.

Year 2

You will combine ongoing study of physical education and educational studies with two other courses to broaden your knowledge and inform teaching and learning skills. Your placement will be in a secondary school.

Year 3

The year begins with an extended placement in a secondary school and you will engage in an educational studies course and a physical education course which will make productive links about the nature of educational practice and issues related to national qualifications.

You will draw on the courses taken in Years 1 and 2 to select a disciplinary perspective to inform your professional practice.

Year 4

The Physical Education Curriculum course will enable you to focus on the future direction for physical education and your capacity to engage in its development.

The Physical Education Perspectives course enables you to specialise in a disciplinary perspective and the major independent study on an area of professional interest forms your dissertation.

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 (2019/20)

Our facilities

You will be based in the University’s Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences on our Holyrood Campus, which offers excellent academic and sports facilities.

These include sport science laboratories, gymnasia, several sports halls and a dance studio. The Institute is part of Moray House School of Education which has a library and full student facilities, situated just 10 minutes’ 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.

The University’s Peffermill playing fields occupies a 27 acre site two and a half miles from the city centre and boasts some of the finest sports pitches in Scotland. At Peffermill, there are 10 grass pitches, a 3G football/rugby pitch, two water-based artificial pitches for hockey and a 100 metre synthetic training track.


You will engage with colleagues in partner schools throughout your programme. There are professional experience and practice days in Years 1 and 2 which build towards block placements in schools.

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

How will I learn?

Teaching on this programme involves a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops.

We know that students learn best when engaged in tasks and where they are encouraged and supported in a process of reflection. A key feature of the programme is its focus on practical experiential learning which enables you to engage in tasks designed to link elements of current practice with new areas of development and knowledge.

You will work in groups of varying sizes across different courses, which helps develop the professional skills required in schools and other places of work. University-based teaching, includes opportunities for peer teaching and micro teaching because we value the opportunities they provide for you to learn about professional practice and to learn from your peers.

There are work-based placements where you will plan, teach and self-assess your progress and have opportunities to receive feedback and mentoring from qualified teachers.

How will I be assessed?

Courses are assessed in variety of ways to suit the learning outcomes and develop the professional skills required for the workplace.

There is also a major project in Year 4 which enables you to engage in detailed professional enquiry. All courses have formative assessment activities designed to enable you to develop knowledge and awareness of your strengths, and receive feedback on areas where you may need to take action in order to meet the required learning outcomes.

Summative assessment tasks for courses comprise coursework, assignments, presentations and examinations. You will also be required to maintain a professional portfolio during all four years of the programme and engage in professional learning to address areas of development.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2019/20)

Our programme is approved by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which allows UK and EU students to register with the GTCS as provisionally qualified teachers. Graduates are eligible for the Teacher Induction Scheme organised by the GTCS which 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. Former 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: ABB.
  • IB: 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 B. For alternative acceptable Mathematics qualifications please contact the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Admissions Office.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English Language and English Literature, both at C or 4, and Mathematics at B or 6.
  • IB: HL: English at 5. SL: Mathematics at 5. SL Mathematical Studies is not accepted for this degree.

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 practice

There is fitness to practice 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 practice guidelines for this degree.


Language requirement

Please note that for degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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

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.


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
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four componens.

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

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

English language requirements

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. You must cover the cost of joining the PVG Scheme, which is currently between £18 and £59.

You will also be required to purchase a number of items of branded University clothing if your application is successful. This clothing is worn for all practical sessions as well as on teaching placement visits during the four year programme. The approximate cost of the clothing is £366. Successful applicants will be required to order and pay for clothing during Induction week.

In each semester there is a programme of professional learning activities. Some of these lead to additional qualifications for which the awarding body normally levies a fee.


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