Plymouth Institute of Education

PGCE Secondary (Science with Chemistry)

Transform your enthusiasm for chemistry into practical teaching skills. Dedicated and skilled chemistry teachers are in demand. With school placements, tutor support and a graduated induction programme, our trainees are well prepared for teaching in secondary education, and have an excellent record of obtaining first teaching posts. We’ll give you the training and support needed to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to begin your professional teaching career.

Key features
  • Build your confidence and gain practical teaching experience, with two main placements in local secondary schools and shorter visits to primary schools.
  • Access a range of bursaries and funding options to help ensure you’re able to focus on your studies and placements. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) offers generous teacher training scholarships to exceptional candidates.
  • Benefit from support throughout your training from both your faculty tutor and school mentors.
  • Learn about the latest curriculum developments, issues and innovations.
  • You'll be supported to teach all three sciences to GCSE with a particular focus on your specialism.
  • Deepen your understanding of teaching, and learn about the opportunities for continued professional development and the relationship between educators and society.
  • Make use of the latest technologies and developments in teaching and gain experience in developing multimedia resources for your subject.
  • Hone your CV, interview and job application skills and attend events that will introduce you to potential employers.
  • Leave with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to begin your career teaching chemistry to children of all abilities from ages 11–18.
  • Our PGCE secondary programme is now part of the School Direct initiative, and we offer a wide range of subjects through this route.
Course details
  • Programme overview

  • You’ll take six core modules, including induction and professional issues, teaching and learning chemistry, developing subject pedagogy, professional studies and practical teaching. We assess modules through either coursework or practical teaching. You’ll learn to draw on your experience of teaching, and to provide evidence of reading and reflection. We’ll support you with a range of graduated practical experiences that will help you develop confidence and achieve the competence to take responsibility in the classroom. This tapered introduction to learning about teaching is a successful feature of our trainee teachers' work. You’ll spend two-thirds of your year in local schools with two secondary school placements, plus visits to primary schools. A school mentor and a faculty tutor will supervise you jointly.

    Core modules

    • Practical Teaching 1 (EPGS413)

      This module gives students a wide experience of working with pupils and a greater familiarity with the work of the subject teacher. It will enable students to try out ideas and approaches for planning, teaching and assessing pupils and to gain confidence in themselves as teachers.

    • Introduction to Professional Teaching and Learning (EPGS615)

      Induction to Professional Teaching and Learning helps trainees reorientate their specialist subject knowledge towards the requirements of their subject curriculum as well as the gain a perspective of the wider role of the teacher, including the legal and statutory requirements, and on the structures of the wider school curriculum.

    • Practical Teaching 2 (EPGS618)

      This module gives trainees the opportunity to further practice and demonstrate their skills as a trainee teacher and to make the transition from 'trainee teacher' to 'beginning teacher' in a second school placement. School Practice will normally be for 17 weeks (five days in a Primary school and 16 weeks in a Secondary school) plus four Faculty days to review and share the experience.

    • Developing Subject Pedagogy (EPGS710)

      This module develops the themes introduced in the Teaching & Learning module with greater attention to (i) structures for medium-term planning, and (ii) assessment within the subject curriculum, including the full range of external examinations, through a critical review of the research and literature in the learner's own subject area.

    • Professional Studies (EPGS719)

      This module will introduce trainees to essential areas of knowledge and critique of professional values and school practice. It will inform and develop their capacity to reflect on key issues in education and classroom practice. It will also inform their thinking about particular issues that they will pursue in a written assignment.

    Optional modules

    • Developing Subject Pedagogy (EPGS610)

      This module develops the themes introduced in the Teaching & Learning module with greater attention to (i) structures for medium-term planning, and (ii) assessment within the subject curriculum, including the full range of external examinations, through a critical review of the research and literature in the learner's own subject area.

    • Professional Studies (EPGS619)

      This module introduces student teachers to essential to areas of knowledge of professional values and school practice. It will develop their capacity to reflect on key issues in education policy and classroom practice. It will also inform thinking about particular issues that they will pursue in a written assignment.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

PGCE Secondary Programme Specification 2021 22 3906

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

Your suitability for the PGCE Secondary programme is judged on a range of factors including academic qualifications, ability to work with other people and a real interest in learning and teaching.

When selecting applicants for interview the admissions tutor will consider all parts of the application including a personal statement and references. The UCAS website has useful information on how to provide these.

Academic requirements

  • GCSE grade 4/grade C (or equivalent) in English and mathematics. We offer our own GCSE Maths equivalency programme.
  • 2:2 or above hons degree or equivalent in a Chemistry subject or subjects or 50% of degree if joint hons. Must be from a recognised university (masters and PhDs also count towards entry requirements.
  • There is also a requirement to pass minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.

For all other UK qualifications please refer to the UCAS website.

If you have overseas qualifications you can check how they compare with the UK equivalent through UK ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements 

If English is not your first language then we’ll need evidence of your proficiency in English as follows:

Non-academic requirements 

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,600 £16,300
Part time (Home) N/A N/A
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.


There's lots of support available to help fund your teacher training, including tax-free bursaries or a salary while you train.

Visit the Get Into Teaching website to find out more.

How to apply

Applications for this programme are made via DfE Apply.

Please ensure when submitting your application form that you are available for interview during the 40 day turnaround time following the submission of your application form. DfE stipulate for all training providers to make a decision on applications within 40 working days. If you are not able to attend your interview during this period we will be unable to make a decision and therefore DfE will reject your application by default. If you are unable to attend interview until after the 40 day period, and your application is rejected by default, you will need to re-apply. If you have any concerns about this process email us at

For any further information and support to help you become a teacher, please visit

Interview guidance

All short-listed applicants are invited to an interview.  You will be asked to prepare a subject-based presentation and then engage in a discussion with other applicants before an individual interview with a PGCE tutor.  There will be a presentation to give you information about the PGCE programme and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. We are looking for people who can talk about educational issues and pupils' learning, drawing on their own personal experiences as learners and observations and experience in secondary schools. There is also an audit of your literacy and subject and curriculum knowledge. At the end of the process we want you to be clear about what the programme offers, what you can expect from us and what our expectations are of you.

Interviews with Plymouth Institute of Education

For many of our courses successful applicants will need to attend an interview and undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service assessment.
Learn more about your interview, with information specific to your programme of study
Two PIE Students at whiteboard
students carrying out a range of lab activities in the university

Practical teaching in schools

Teaching is a career that requires confidence in a range of different situations. That’s why two-thirds of your PGCE year will be spent engaged in practical teaching within our partner schools.
Students will be working on interactive whiteboards with teachers and pupils.
<p>PGCE students in the classroom</p>

Learning and assessment

All modules are assessed by coursework or by practical teaching. Our assessment is designed to ensure that you can achieve the professional standards required by the Department for Education.