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 Aberdeen City and Scottish Borders councils, 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: Aberdeen City; UHI Argyll (Oban); UHI Inverness; UHI North, West and Hebrides (Fort William, Stornoway, and Thurso); UHI Moray; UHI Orkney; UHI Perth; UHI Shetland; or the Scottish Borders.

  • 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 North, West and Hebrides). This decision is made annually and is dependent on the number of applicants in those areas.

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

Special features

  • Opportunity to undertake secondary education programme in the Highlands and Islands, Aberdeen City 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.


PGDE Taught Modules:

Building professional knowledge and understanding (20 credits)
This module introduces the PGDE weekly themes, through key readings, tutor input and collaborative tasks. The core themes have been aligned to GTCS (2021) Standard for Provisional registration. You will make connections between what you read or hear and other readings, observations, discussions and school-based practice experience. It has a cross-sector, wider teaching profession and Scottish educational landscape perspective. 

Developing Teacher Identity and Professionalism (20 credits)
This module builds upon and develops the PGDE weekly themes, through individual tasks and a group seminar. The module supports you to dig deeper into the weekly themes (and therefore aspects of the GTCS (2021) Standard for Provisional Registration) and to take ownership of these themes, in terms of the professional learning you will need to undertake to become ready for classroom practice. The content has been designed with the programme journey and planned blocks of time in Placement in mind.

Reflection and Enquiry as Professional Learning (20 credits)
This module is delivered by tutor-led workshops linked to work in dialogic triads in each Academic Partner, focussing on the development of reflection as a key skill to underpin classroom practice and enquiry, and on gathering evidence as the means to illustrate practice aligned to the SPR (GTCS, 2021). The workshops and activities relate to the e-portfolio, academic writing and assignments.

Professional Practice (Secondary) (60 credits)
For this module, you will develop your 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 you experience of:

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

You will gradually increase the duration and scope of your responsibility for learning, teaching and assessment in your 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; Lochgilphead (if sufficient numbers)
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides - Benbecula (if sufficient numbers); Fort William; Thurso; and Stornoway
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • Applicants based in Aberdeen and the Scottish Borders should register via UHI Inverness

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.
  2023-24 2024-25
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:

  2023-24 2024-25
PGDE £9,250 £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. Students on this course will get an automatic fee scholarship of £3,000.

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

  2023-24 With scholarship 2024-25 With scholarship
PGDE £13,980 £10,980 £14,988 £11,988

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:

  2023-24 2024-25
PGDE £13,980 £14,988


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

STEM bursaries may be available to some students for entry into the 2023/24 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.

Can I progress into further study?

The PGDE Secondary course links directly to the MEd Critical Enquiry

Is there more information available online?

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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 2024 entry.
Applications for August 2025 will open in September 2024.
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.