Taught course

PGCE Secondary - Biology

Durham University · School of Education

Entry requirements

At UCAS you can apply for this course by using the following code: C1X1

  • The equivalent of a UK 2:2 honours degree of which approximately 50% is comprised of Biology or a similar subject. If your degree is from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC
  • GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 (or C) or above (or equivalent) which must be achieved by the time of application. If your equivalent qualifications are from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC (ecctis.co.uk/naric/).

Your interpersonal qualities and your potential to achieve professional skills relating to the Teachers' Standards will be considered when making an admissions decision. Candidates who meet the criteria, will be invited to an interview. The interview process will involve an individual interview with a pre-prepared presentation element and a series of tasks designed to illustrate your potential to meet the Teachers' Standards by the end of the course.

Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply for a DBS Disclosure will be provided.

If you have a criminal record of any kind, you may contact the School of Education DBS Manager, Caroline Emery, for further advice and information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.

We strongly encourage you to register for the DBS Update Service, which lets you take your certificate from one employer to another without having to apply for a new check.

Please note, all DBS Enhanced Disclosures for our students must be processed by Durham University unless you have applied to the Update Service.

Months of entry


Course content

From lesson plans to learning environment, motivation to behaviour management, the PGCE Secondary – Biology equips you to become a confident and proficient biology teacher with the skills to instil an appreciation and understanding of the natural world into the next generation.

The course is accredited by the DfE, and upon successful completion you will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). During our last Ofsted inspection, we were graded as ‘Outstanding’ for all aspects of our provision.

At Durham, we believe that to truly inspire the next generation of scientists, you need to spend time exploring the current ‘big ideas’ in science, as well as learning how to teach. To do this effectively, your University-based time is divided into two key areas:

  • Core science – addressing your own understanding of the key concepts underpinning science.
  • Science education issues – looking at the pedagogical issues relevant to the teaching of science.

The PGCE is aligned with the research focus of the department, offering up-to-date, relevant materials to support you as a developing teacher. It is delivered using a blended approach, starting with an online interactive resource that introduces key Initial Teacher Education (ITE) themes such as assessment, SEND and inclusion, before moving on to biology-specific themes.

The course has been developed in partnership with schools, and offers a strong practical element. You will start in one of our partner schools where you will work with expert staff to build the knowledge and strategies you will draw on during your teaching placement. A substantial part of the year (120 days minimum) is spent in school, bringing together the theory and application elements of the curriculum.

Please note that the course does not run to standard university terms. It is delivered full-time, starting in early September and continues over 10 months.

Course Structure

Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum – Generic Issues in School Based Education provides a critical understanding of models of teaching and learning and the theories that underpin these models. You will explore: research evidence for effective teaching and learning in the classroom; the teacher as reflective practitioner; teaching for understanding; creative dimensions of teaching and learning and; the teacher as an active researcher.

Self Directed Study – Subject Specific Issues in School Based Education uses research strategies learned on the course to examine a topic or issue of professional interest, deepening your knowledge and understanding of the area. This module draws together elements from other areas of the course and makes connections between university-based and professional school-based experiences.

The predominantly classroom-based Professional Issues in School Based Education fosters a critical understanding of issues related to the development of professional competence as a teacher. Areas covered include: effective teaching strategies; managing the teaching and learning environment; enhancing professional development; and creative dimensions of teaching and learning.

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
£9,250.00 per year
International students
£22,750 per year

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGCE
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details