Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 11.7 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 20 k / Year(s)  
1 place StudyQA ranking:3148 Duration:1 year

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The Department of Education at the University of Oxford has a long history of involvement in initial teacher education.

The PGCE partnership works on an internship model (the Oxford Internship Scheme) which recognises the different roles of university and schools in teacher education and the need for a truly collaborative partnership. Such collaboration involves joint responsibility within the partnership for the planning, delivery and assessment of the programme. It aims to enable trainees to use theory to interrogate practice and vice versa.

The Department works in partnership with over 35 schools secondary comprehensive schools in Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties, with most being within 30 miles of Oxford.

Many current partnership schools were closely involved in the development of the internship model, and commitment to the maintenance and critical development of the partnership remains high whilst continuing to be informed by research undertaken by tutors and teachers.

The PGCE course at the University of Oxford Department of Education offers you the opportunity to train to teach in one of the leading educational establishments in the country.

We pride ourselves on the intensive, flexible and personalized experience that we are able to offer you. You will be assigned individual, university based tutors and school-based mentors to monitor your progress on the course and to guide your learning. Course tutors have extensive experience both as school teachers and teacher educators. All tutors are also actively involved in research and this ensures that our course is always up to date with current developments in relevant theory and evidence.

A further strength of our programme is the cohort of interns themselves. They provide a network of peer support as well as the opportunity to compare and contrast experiences between different schools.

In addition to being awarded the PGCE qualification, interns who complete the course successfully are also recommended for Qualified Teacher Status which indicates that they have met the requirements of the government’s Teachers’ Standards.

Many of our alumni go on to work in partnership schools (around 30% each year) and subsequently go on to become involved in the PGCE programme themselves as school-based mentors. Many others go to work in schools across the country and through our alumni programme we aim to keep them involved in the work of the Education Department, as well as encouraging them to act as ambassadors for the University and advocates for the benefits to their own pupils of a university education.

There are two main components of the course:

  • Curriculum (subject related) work.
  • Professional development programme.

An experienced teacher (or mentor) co-ordinates the subject related classroom based activities of the intern. The mentor provides guidance and support and, as the year goes by, judges when and how to increase an intern’s experience and responsibilities. The Professional Tutor at the school responsible for interns, co-ordinates school based activities related to general educational issues, called the professional development programme. The school based mentor liaises with the Curriculum Tutor from the University to plan tasks and activities for the interns. Similarly, the Professional Tutor and General Tutor (a member of the University staff) plan activities and seminars related to broad issues in education which are not subject specific.

Curriculum Work

Curriculum work includes a range of activities related to the teaching of a specific subject in the secondary school. These activities include seminars and workshops in the University, as well as collaborative teaching, solo teaching, observation and discussion in school. They are aimed at giving interns competence in teaching their subject, the opportunity to develop a range of teaching strategies, and an understanding of wider issues affecting the teaching of those subjects within the whole school curriculum. The work in each subject is organised by the curriculum tutor and mentors for that subject. Part of the work in each subject area is planned for all interns, and part develops from the progress of individual interns.

Interns complete three written assignments related to their subject teaching. These all involve school based investigation and the critical analysis of relevant research and professional literature.

Professional Development Programme

The professional development programme (PDP) involves a range of activities related to important educational issues. These activities include lectures in the University, weekly seminars in school and an assignment focused on a specific aspect of schooling of the interns’ own choice. These activities are aimed at giving interns an understanding of whole-school and cross-curricular issues, and an appreciation of the contribution which they can make to developing these issues through teaching their own subjects.
Some aspects of the PDP are planned and organised for all interns by university tutors, who take responsibility for particular issues. The detailed programme for the interns in each school, however, is organised by the Professional Tutor and General Tutor for that school.

Additional Optional Classes

Optional classes are open to all interns. These currently include:

  • Additional learning needs
  • Citizenship
  • Drama
  • Education in developing countries
  • Learners, learning and evidence
  • Mindfulness
  • Voice care


We offer the PGCE in the following subject areas:

  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Languages: French, German and Spanish
  • Religious Education
  • Science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics

All applications to the PGCE at Oxford must be made through UCAS Teacher Training. Applications can be made online through their website. Please check if there are vacancies available.

For entry to the PGCE course you must have a degree awarded by a United Kingdom university or other institution empowered to make such awards, or recognised equivalent qualifications, including overseas qualifications. We do not require a particular class of degree but we look for a strong academic background in the subject you wish to teach.

Candidates wishing to teach a  specific subject in schools would normally be expected to have studied that subject, or a very closely related one, to undergraduate degree level of at least 50% content of that degree. However, applicants graduating in other subjects are not automatically rejected, depending on the nature of the degree and the subject in question. Please see more information about appropriate degrees under each subject area.

All applicants must have obtained a GCSE (Grade C or above) in English Language and Mathematics (or their equivalent) before commencing the course. The University does not offer its own equivalency test, but we will accept other qualifications if we are satisfied that they are equivalent.

If you hold overseas qualifications, you can check with the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) whether the qualifications you hold are considered to be equivalent to those required for entry to the PGCE. UK NARIC is the National Agency for the Department for Education and is the only official information provider on the comparability of international qualifications. 

In selecting candidates for interview, decisions will be informed by academic qualifications, the personal statement, previous relevant experience and the candidate’s references. Candidates selected for interview will be interviewed in person.. Please see also the criteria informing the interview selection process.

Suitability for teaching

It is a Government requirement that all trainees should have the health and physical capacity to teach and will not put children and young people at risk of harm. If you are offered a place on the PGCE course you will be asked to complete a self-disclosure fitness questionnaire. These medical questionnaires are checked by Occupational Health professionals.

Working with Children – declaration of criminal convictions

All trainee teachers in England and Wales have to undergo appropriate background checks before starting the course. This includes an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for all entrants and checks from similar bodies for those who have spent time living overseas.

Guidance on filling out a UCAS application form

Please read the relevant UCAS guidance before you fill out the application form.

  • The first sections of the application ask for general personal details. Please complete these sections carefully to avoid making any mistakes.
  • You are then asked to list up to three course/institution combination choices. Please check that you have listed the course/institution combination codes correctly.
  • When listing your academic qualifications in the application form please ensure that the individual qualification title plus main marks/grades are given for each subject. Where possible please also provide details of the subjects studied as part of your degree.
  • Your personal statement is an important part of your application. It is your chance to tell us why you should be chosen to do the PGCE course and should demonstrate your commitment, enthusiasm and motivation. Your statement should tell us why you wish to teach at secondary school level and why you wish to teach your selected subject.
  • You should inform us of any relevant experience you have of working with children and young people and what insights into teaching you have gained from this. Ideally this should include at least one day observing in a UK secondary comprehensive school.
  • You are asked to provide two references. If you are a student, or have been within the last five years, then please ensure that one of these is a (former) tutor in the relevant subject. You should inform your referees that you are intending to apply for the PGCE so that they are able to prepare a relevant reference for your application.

When you make an application you will need to pay an application fee to UCAS. This can be done online using a credit/debit card. Full instructions can be found on their website.

UCAS will begin taking applications in late October prior to the entry year. Applications are received, by us, from UCAS, throughout the academic year or until each subject is full, which in some cases may be as early as February. It is recommended that you apply as early as possible as competition for places on the PGCE programme is strong.

Students in physics, maths, geography, languages or chemistry with a 2:1 or above can apply for a Scholarship. You can still apply if you have a 2:2, but you’ll need to provide evidence of significant relevant experience. You will need to have a passion for your subject, an outstanding knowledge of your subject at school-level and the potential to become an inspirational teacher.

Find out more on the dedicated scholarship pages:

  • Physics: Institute of Physics scholarships
  • Maths: Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarships
  • Geography:Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Chemistry: Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Languages:British Council in partnership with language associations

A scholarship award will replace the trainee’s standard government teacher training bursary, but trainees who are not awarded a scholarship will continue to be eligible for a standard teacher training bursary.

The following table shows the levels of training bursaries and scholarships specifically available to PGCE students at Oxford in 2017/18:

Degree class





Physics £30,000 £30,000 £25,000 £25,000 £0
Maths £27,500 £25,000 £25,000 £25,000 £0
Geography £27,500 £25,000 £25,000 £25,000 £0
Modern Languages £27,500 £25,000 £25,000 £25,000 £0
Chemistry £27,500 £25,000 £20,000 £20,000 £0
Biology £15,000 £12,000 £10,000 £0
English £9,000 £9,000 £0 £0
History, Religious Education £9,000 £4,000 £0 £0

Oxford support

PGCE students whose full entitlement to government maintenance support (including a maintenance loan, and government teacher training bursary or affiliated scholarships) amounts to less than £9,000 are eligible to be assessed for an Oxford Bursary based on their household income, on the same basis as undergraduates.

Household income


£16,000 or less £3,700
£16,001 – £20,000 £2,700
£20,001 – £22,500 £2,500
£22,501 – £25,000 £2,200
£25,001 – £27,500 £1,700
£27,501 – £30,000 £1,400
£30,001 – £32,500 £1,100
£32,501 – £35,000 £1,000
£35,001 – £37,500 £800
£37,501 – £40,000 £600
£40,001 – £42,875 £200
£42,875 + £0
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