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Initial Teacher Education (PGCE)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Queen’s prepares students to teach in secondary-level schools. The PGCE is structured broadly in line with the Northern Ireland Curriculum, training to teach the following school subjects up to Advanced-level GCE:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Information Technology/Computing
  • Modern Languages (applicants, including native speakers of languages other than English or Irish, should normally offer at least one of  French, Irish or Spanish. German and Italian might also be considered as second languages offered.  Native speakers will be assessed during interview in a curricular language other than their native language.  Modern Languages students should state specific language(s) on the supplementary application form.  Note that German alone is not considered).
  • Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics).  Science students should state clearly their specialist science subject or combination on the supplementary application form.
  • Sociology
  • Politics
  • Religious Education

Structure - the PGCE is a 36 week, full-time course commencing in early September. The course combines University based tuition, consisting of taught sessions and directed independent study, with professional placements in schools.  The programme of study is organised around three interdependent strands:

Focusing upon the teaching of the student’s particular specialism - a list of subjects can be found above.

Concerned with common aspects of teaching and the general professional role of the teacher including for example:

  • the Northern Ireland Curriculum
  • the education system
  • assessment and recording
  • classroom processes and cognition
  • educational disadvantage
  • the social context of teaching
  • pastoral care, counselling
  • general management issues
  • teaching as a moral activity
  • relationships with other professionals
  • promotion of equal opportunities
  • use and understanding of information technology
  • literacy and numeracy in the classroom
Focusing on developing practical teaching competence particularly through working closely with experienced teachers during periods of school placement.

Irish Medium Post Primary PGCE
In response to the demand for subject specific teachers in the growing Irish Medium Post Primary sector, St Mary's Univeristy College, Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and the University of Ulster (UU) have formed a partnership to offer a one year PGCE course to students interested in becoming teachers in Irish Medium secondary education.  These students do a number of elements, including a Gaeltacht residential in the August preceding the course, which is delivered by St Mary's University College.  They receive an additional certificate in IME and applications are welcomed from students wishing to this course in one of the subjects listed above.  


Former PGCE Students and their Routes into Teaching

Ryan's route to a permanent Maths post at Haileybury, England.

Sarah shares her experiences of teaching Drama and English post-PGCE.

Samantha succeeds in her ICT department at a Northern Ireland school.