Secondary (English Medium) PGDE

Course code X133

What is special about this course?

The course is offered in partnership with Argyll and Bute, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, and Shetland Islands Councils, each working with the university through their local campus. The course is also offered in partnership with Scottish Borders council, with applicants based in the Borders registered through UHI Inverness.

The PGDE (Secondary) consists of 18 weeks study at the university plus 18 weeks in professional practice in schools.

The subjects listed below can be studied at the following campuses: UHI Argyll (Oban); UHI Inverness; UHI Outer Hebrides (Stornoway); UHI Moray; UHI North Highland; UHI Orkney; Perth College UHI; UHI Shetland; the Scottish Borders; or UHI West Highland.

  • Art and Design* (code: X3AR)
  • Biology and Science (code: X3BG)
  • Business Education (code: X3BS
  • Chemistry and Science (code: X3CS)
  • Computing Science (code: X3CO)
  • English (code: X3EN)
  • Gaelic**
  • History* (code: X3HS)
  • Home Economics (code: X3HO)
  • Mathematics (code: X3MA)
  • Music* (code: X3MS)
  • Physics and Science (code: X3PS)
  • Religious Education* (code: X3RG)
  • Technological Education (code: X3TC)

The course is sometimes available at Lochgilphead (through UHI Argyll) and at Benbecula (through UHI Outer Hebrides). This decision is made annually and is dependent on the number of applicants in those areas.

*Not available in Perth College or Scottish Borders
**Gaelic is offered on the Gaelic-medium Secondary pathway (code: X130)

Special features

  • Opportunity to undertake secondary education programme in the Highlands and Islands and Scottish Borders
  • We actively encourage applications for dual registration for two secondary subjects from the above list


Entry requirements


Important: Please click here to read our FAQ sheet for essential information about applying to this programme.


Applicants should hold a relevant degree at undergraduate level or above; preference will be given to those possessing a degree at honours level, though consideration will also be given to those holding ordinary degrees.

In addition to the above, applicants must hold:


  • Scottish Higher (C or above), OR
  • A level (D or above), OR
  • GCSE English Language (C/4 or above) and English Literature (C/4 or above) or equivalent, PLUS

Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics: 

  • National 5 (C or above), OR
  • SQA Intermediate 2 (C or above) or Standard grade Credit OR
  • GCSE Mathematics (C/4 or above) or equivalent

There are subject specific entry guidelines for secondary teaching stipulated by GTC Scotland in the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland, 2019. Details of these are available in our Frequently Asked Questions document - see link above.

Please note:

  • This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage
  • This course does not accept applications for deferred entry; if you wish to take a year out, for example, you must apply next year

Applicants who have lived outside the UK for a period of six or more consecutive months in the past five years will also be required to provide criminal record checks from all relevant countries prior to enrolment on the course.

Applications for the PGDE in Secondary (English Medium) Education must be made through the main UCAS scheme in the same way as undergraduate programmes, and not through UCAS Teacher Training. This applies to all institutions in Scotland delivering the PGDE. Applicants must provide details of their degree, English and Mathematics qualifications within the application, as failure to do so will lead to automatic rejection. Application deadlines include submission of references. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that referees are aware of the deadlines and that the application is submitted fully prior to the relevant deadline.


PDGE Taught Modules:

Collaborative Practice (20 credits)

This module will develop teachers who are critically reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals, able to fully engage with the complexities of education and become key people in shaping educational change. It will enable an understanding of the nature of curriculum and its development, the relevance to the modern world and a changing society. The module will examine how Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve a transformation in education by providing a more enriched, coherent and flexible curriculum. Students will be equipped with the skills to plan, teach and assess within the Broad General Education and Senior Phase curriculum frameworks.

Enquiry and Practice (20 credits)

This module is aimed at establishing children and young people’s learning, and their classroom experiences as learners, as the central focus for students’ enquiry into their own practice, as the key driver for all planning, teaching and assessment decisions made. The module is closely linked to each block of Placement experience in schools.

Reflective Practice (20 credits)

The module will equip students with the necessary tools to develop an enquiring and critical approach to their teaching, as part of their own personal and professional resources to ensure continuing growth and development. It aims to ensure that the aspirant teacher will become a reflective professional, embodying the necessary skills to think seriously about the quality of children and young people’s learning and the ways in which their own practice impacts on learning.

Professional Practice (Secondary) (60 credits)

For this module, students will develop their teaching practice and professional identity as a teacher across 18 weeks of school placements. These are allocated nationally via the Student Placement System to afford experience of:

  • Broad General Education in S1 to S3
  • Senior Phase Education in S4 to S6

Students will gradually increase the duration and scope of their responsibility for learning, teaching and assessment in their school placement class, culminating in classroom leadership for 0.8FTE during the final 6-week placement.

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time - individual and collaborative engagement five days each week
  • For the taught element of the course, you will study through a range of digital learning approaches structured through the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
  • Three 6-week blocks of Placement (teaching practice) in Secondary schools

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll - Oban and Lochgilphead, if sufficient numbers
  • Inverness
  • Outer Hebrides - Stornoway and Benbecula, if sufficient numbers
  • Moray
  • North Highland
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • West Highland
  • Applicants based in the Scottish Borders should register via UHI Inverness

Applications to this course are now closed for August 2022 entry.
Applications for August 2023 will open in September 2022 - please revisit this page then to apply.

Start date

  • August


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2021-22 2022-23
PGDE £1,820 £1,820

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2021-22 2022-23
PGDE £9,000 £9,250

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying. Students who are resident and studying in Scotland can apply for their fees to be paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). SAAS will determine eligibility.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes. For 2022-23, students will get an automatic fee scholarship of £3,000.

For 2021-22, students will get an automatic scholarship of £3,000.

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2021-22 With scholarship 2022-23 With scholarship
PGDE £12,360 £9,360 £13,020 £10,020

Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2021-22 2022-23
PGDE £12,360 £13,020


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

STEM bursaries may be available to some students for entry into the 2022/23 academic year - please check the website for details.

Additional costs

  • PVG disclosure check
  • Travel to the residential inductions - meals and accommodation are provided
  • Travel to school placements - these are arranged through the GTCS national system to be within 90 minutes travel time from your term-time address

What can I do on completion of my course?

Graduates will hold provisional registration as a secondary teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). This qualifies students with Scottish and RUK fee status to apply for GTC Scotland’s induction year, the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS), which can then allow teachers to qualify for the status of full registration (your fee status is assessed based on both nationality and residency criteria, and will be stipulated in your offer letter).

Students from non-EU countries are not eligible to join the TIS but can follow the Flexible Route to complete their probationary service if they are able to remain in Scotland on the completion of their studies – see: Teacher Induction Scheme FAQs.

Can I progress into further study?

The PGDE Secondary course links directly to the MEd Critical Enquiry

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

I really have to pinch myself at times. I’ve wanted to be a teacher for so long but narrowly missed getting into university to study teaching when I was 17. I can’t quite believe I’ve done it.

Susan Grainger graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), specialising in Business Studies.She applied to study teaching through the University of the Highlands and Islands and Scottish Borders Council, and studied at UHI Inverness. She now teaches at Hawick High School.

Apply for Secondary (English Medium) PGDE

Applications to this course are now closed for August 2022 entry.
Applications for August 2023 will open in September 2022 - please revisit this page then to apply.

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.