Taught course

PGCE Geography

University of Southampton · Social Sciences

Entry requirements

GCSEs: GCSE in Mathematics and in English Language at grade C or above (or the equivalent qualifications) This is a government requirement, and ‘equivalent qualifications’ are as designated by the PGCE admissions team (IELTS qualifications are not considered equivalent). Degree and wider background: You should have a strong background in geography. You will probably have gained this from a good first degree award, with at least 50% of the degree normally strongly related to the geography curriculum in schools. At the same time, you should ensure that you come prepared with a wider understanding including any curriculum areas with which you are less familiar. You should also have up-to-date general world knowledge. There are opportunities for candidates from other subject backgrounds where they can clearly demonstrate significant and relevant knowledge in working with children or in other teaching contexts, for example youth work, learning support assistant or TEFL teaching abroad. You should ensure that you come prepared with a broad background knowledge including: • areas covered in the school curricula with which you are less familiar • up-to-date general world knowledge Skills test Trainees starting an initial teacher training (ITT) course from September 2013 will be required to pass the skills tests before starting their course. Anyone applying for an initial teacher training (ITT) course which starts after 1 July 2013 will be required to have passed the skills tests before starting the course. The registration and booking system will be available from 17 September 2012. For further information visit the Department for Education site. Selection process: You will be selected for interview on the following basis: 1. Your application shows good prior knowledge from study and/or 2. The application shows good experience has been gained in a school or college or from working with young people and/or 3. The application is well written and persuasive The selection criteria applied are • Good subject knowledge and/or ability to learn further • Good knowledge of educational issues and a strong sense of the professional demands • Good interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively (oral and written). • A good academic reference must also be provided from your most recent university or college or in some cases an employer (where you have been away from studying for some time). All places offered will be conditional on enhanced CRB and health checks Please note, applicants cannot be registered on any other course from September of the year of entry (this includes PhDs and Masters degrees).

Months of entry


Course content

The Geography Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course aims to prepare you to teach Geography to all ages and abilities in the secondary school (KS3 and KS4) with planned opportunities for enrichment in post-16 contexts.

The programme is designed for people who aspire to become excellent geography teachers and who wish to combine their learning through practice in a classroom with an understanding of some of the theory underpinning effective teaching & learning. We aim for reflective and dynamic practitioners who are committed to promoting the learning of all pupils in their classes and to helping every youngster make progress in geography.

The full–time, one year, course starts in early September and continues through to the end of June, with breaks over Christmas and Easter. It aims, through a combined effort from the university and the partnership schools, to develop your subject knowledge in geography and skills for teaching through a range of approaches: workshops, seminars, lectures and demonstrations, fieldwork and micro-teaching activities, independent and group research and through reading and writing activities. Recent trends in teaching and learning approaches are emphasised including the application of information technology, and you will participate in the design of fieldwork, project work and assessment.

Particular features of the course includes

  • The effective modelling of good practice by the tutors
  • The use of small/informal subject seminar and workshop groups
  • An intensely practical approach grounded in a sound understanding of the theory
  • Professional Themes in mixed subject groups
  • A close partnership with a large number of schools
  • The support of trained mentors
  • Strong and individualised support from the University subject tutors
  • Opportunity to gain the ‘Open Country’ Award
  • Local fieldwork with pupils

The central focus of the course is on teaching Geography in a challenging yet accessible way, understanding how children learn. At the same time it aims to produce 'reflective practitioners', so personal, critical reflection and evaluation form a key part of the course.


Typical course content

The full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Geography is an intensive one year course.

Two-thirds of your time will be spent in schools (minimum of 120 days) with the remainder spent at the University with a full programme of lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will spend time in real classrooms during your school experience. You will gradually be introduced into whole class teaching; initially it is likely that you will observe lessons and work with small groups of pupils. The expectation though is that you will quickly develop the skills and confidence to work with whole classes, with the support of your school-based mentor. Below is a summary of some key elements of the course:

  • Preconceptions, personal experiences, why & how school geography is taught
  • Planning lessons and creating medium term plans
  • Geographical enquiry and thinking skills
  • Using ICT resources; maps, textbooks, worksheets
  • 14 – 19 curricula & pathways and work with sixth form students
  • Managing classrooms and pupils' behaviour
  • Planning for fieldwork, local area fieldwork with Southampton schools
  • Evaluating your teaching
  • Getting a job

Teaching methods
Trainees are assessed formatively and summatively across the course. This ensures that progress is reviewed regularly and you are aware of the progress being made against the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are informal activities that need to be completed, and are important in developing a deeper insight into effective teaching.

Besides completion of all subject based tasks there are three elements common to all trainees in order to complete the course successfully.

· All trainees have to demonstrate that their teaching is suitable to meet the Standards for QTS. This is measured in concert with schools through your own accumulation of evidence based on your time spent in school and university learning. You are reviewed, assessed and ultimately graded on your performance as a teacher.

· Finally everyone must pass three major assignments, Assignment 1 and Assignment 2 linked to their curriculum area, and Assignment 3. Assignments 1 and 2 are based on aspects of subject teaching, whereas the Assignment 3 is based around a study of a whole school issue.

These three assignments are marked at Masters level and if successful trainees will leave with 60 credits towards a Masters degree and a Post-graduate Certificate in Education. It is possible to complete these two assignments at H level, which will lead to the award of a Professional Certificate in Education. Both awards lead to QTS and therefore enable you to teach in school.

For further information, please visit our website.

Information for international students


Fees and funding



Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Social Sciences
+44(0)2380 594 732