Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Physics) PGDE

Think differently about teaching and stand in the classroom confident, experienced and equipped from day one.


If you want to make a career teaching Physics in secondary schools, this course is for you. Now is your opportunity to inspire young people with your enthusiasm and love of the subject.

This new course is designed to blend knowledge, research and the experiences of successful teachers. This approach will help you grow your motivation, confidence and creativity to help you succeed in the classroom.

We will also explore different teaching approaches and methodologies including interdisciplinary learning classroom research, and using technology for assessment and reflection. As a result, you will work not just with university tutors, but also the wider educational community and experts who will give you holistic advice and support on many issues affecting young people and school communities.

Apply for this course now through UCAS

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Mode of Study:



1 year

Start date:


UCAS code:




Course details

This is a one-year, full-time course, split into three trimesters.

Starting in August, you will spend a total of 18 weeks in University and 18 weeks in secondary school placements over the duration of your course.


  • Learning & Teaching 1
  • Understanding Learning & Teaching
  • Learning & Teaching 2
  • Professional Enquiry

These four modules will help develop your skills as a dynamic and effective teacher. All modules are SCQF Level 11.

Learning & Teaching 1&2

These modules are related to knowledge of the curriculum and school placements. You will explore effective methodologies, curriculum design, and keep up-to-date with current initiatives from the Scottish Government’s “A Curriculum for Excellence” and “The Attainment Challenge” policies.

Understanding Learning & Teaching

This module will allow you to explore the theory and policy underpinning our educational system. We will explore keys themes such as behaviour management, additional support needs and more, both in theory and practice. Visiting experts will offer professional advice on complex issues.

Professional Enquiry

This module will prepare you to undertake an action research project. The project will be combined with an interdisciplinary project in your later placement, which will give invaluable insights into the complexities of making changes to practice and equip you with research methods.

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    How you’ll be taught

    You will be taught by a team of experienced lecturers who have extensive knowledge of both the Higher Education sector and Secondary schools.

    The University-based work consists of four Modules and is based around the school curriculum and the way it is taught (Curricular Pedagogy and Educational Studies).

    During school placements you will undertake a variety of tasks to help you understand and develop the skills needed to be a professional teacher.

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    You will be assessed in a variety of ways across four academic modules, from critical reflection to literature reviews.

    On placement, you will also complete formal classroom observations, which will assess your placement time as a whole.

    You will also complete classroom-based research that will contribute to a formal report, and attend a practitioner conference where your projects will be presented.

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    Work placement

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Contexts of Learning ( TED11100 )

This modules aims to develop:
a thorough knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary Scottish educational contexts;
essential skills for successfully teaching within this context;
the professional values and personal commitment expected of student teachers set out in the GTCS’ Standards for Provisional Registration;

This module uses lectures, workshops, tasks and reflection on school experience to build a critical understanding of how children learn, the complex and sometimes challenging influences on this learning and the practical skills to successfully teach within such contexts.

Using reading, discussion and reflection, you will be encouraged and supported in developing the professional values and qualities expected of student teachers by the GTCS in their Standards for Provisional Registration. You will develop the essential knowledge and skills to teach with these values through engagement with current policy and legislation (e.g. Standard in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act (2000), Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC, 2014)).

Each week is structured around an important theme which will be discussed in the lecture and then further explored in the workshops thereafter. The workshops will comprise a mix of group discussion of pre-reading and activities. This theme will also be a focus for the observation of day-to-day practice of teachers on the six serial school visit days within the duration of this module.

Indicative Content

The following areas have been identified as the main themes for each week of this module:-
Purposes of Education;
Scottish Education and the Attainment Gap;
How Children Learn:;
Inclusion Policy;
Adolescent Development;
Numeracy and Literacy across the curriculum;

Further information

Learning & Teaching 1 ( TED11102 )

Learning and Teaching 1 is designed to explore the professional values, personal commitment, complex pedagogical approaches and subject knowledge required in curricular specialisms. There will be a focus on the Senior Phase of secondary school to allow you to develop your confidence in working with pupils who are working towards external qualifications. You will develop your skills in planning and delivering lessons, or portions of lessons, that are relevant, challenging and engaging.This module will help you better understand the complex environment in which you will be working and develop your professional skills and abilities. The content will dovetail with that in the Contexts of Learning module, to help you understand how theory and policy inform practice. CurriculumYou will develop your knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities in relation to the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment of your curricular area within the secondary curriculum, with a specific focus on the Senior Phase (S4-6). This is the phase where young people undertake National Qualifications. You will develop your understanding of the different curricula available to students within your subject area, and the standards expected by awarding bodies. Literacy, and Numeracy, and Health & Wellbeing across the Curriculum are key features in all of these activities as you not just model the language and numeracy skills but seek opportunities for innovative and supportive practice to develop these aspects of the curriculum that are the responsibility of all teachers. PedagogyYou will understand the methods and underlying theories for effective teaching and learning and learn how to plan lessons appropriately in order to meet the needs of all learners across different contexts. In developing professional skills and abilities there will be many opportunities offered to develop your skills in the delivery of portions of lessons. In the sciences, laboratory skills, including health & safety, will be a key feature. Lesson planning and all of its complexities is a key skill to be developed and will be introduced early in this module. This will also allow you to explore your curricular specific knowledge, develop your pedagogical content knowledge and use inclusive pedagogies. It will also allow you to demonstrate a new understanding of assessment. Concept development as pupils progress through your subject area will also be explored. Practical behaviour management approaches will be explored and you will be given the opportunity to put these approaches into practice in simulated classroom environments. AssessmentThe assessment for this module allows you to demonstrate your learning of how to plan research-informed inclusive lessons for your subject area, demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the content and structure of your subject area, and justify your choices of learning activities within lessons Professional qualities and capabilitiesThe module will enable you to engage in professional dialogue with peers and university staff and to work collaboratively. We will also explore professional values and what they mean to your developing role as a teacher. Throughout the module, you will be expected to model appropriate levels of literacy and numeracy in learning activities and to reflect on the impact of your personal communication on others.

Further information

Learning & Teaching 2 ( TED11103 )

This module builds on Learning & Teaching 1. Through this module you will further develop your understanding of your subject area within the secondary curriculum and strengthen your confidence with a range of pedagogical approaches and assessment strategies. You will also continue to develop your personal understanding of the professional values and personal commitment expected of student teachers set out in the GTCS Standards for Provisional Registration. You will also develop an appreciation of how your role as a subject teacher contributes to whole school/system commitments to broader educational policy areas.

Further information

Professional Enquiry ( TED11101 )

This module is focussed on building your skills in practitioner based enquiry. The module will help you develop this skill through the systematic study of practice. You will learn about teachers’ work and teachers themselves as a basis of research. The skills you will learn will help you develop through reflective practice and, have ownership of your research. Successful enquiry is not just about finding the answer to a question but will deepen understanding by surfacing new questions and ultimately improve learning and teaching.

Practitioner enquiry is one of the key elements in the new GTCS Professional Standards and in Scottish Education policy

2.3.2 Have knowledge and understanding of the importance of research and engagement in professional enquiry, 3.4.1 Read and critically engage with professional literature, educational research and policy.

After completing this module you will have an understanding of how practitioner enquiry can be an integral aspect of the day-to-day practice of teachers. You will gain an appreciation that successful teaching requires regular engagement in practitioner enquiry to support professional growth by challenging or 'disrupting thinking' and 'ingrained habits of mind'. The module will explore practitioner enquiry and its role in helping create a space to stop and look again at existing ways of working. It is argued by McLaughlin et al (2004) that teachers who engage in research have 'better understanding of their practice and ways to improve it'. For some teachers, enquiry may promote levels of critical reflection that are transformative.

This module will help develop the attributes required to successfully build these professional skills by introducing the action – research practitioner research cycle and other methodological approaches so that you can use a range of techniques to inform your own professional practice.

McLaughlin, C. Black-Hawkins, K. and McIntyre, D. (2004) Researching Teachers Researching Schools, Researching Networks: Review of the Literature. University of Cambridge: Routledge Menter, I Elliott, D Hulme, M. Lewin, J Lowden K. (2011) A Guide to Practitioner research in Education. SAGE publishing

Indicative Content
The module content will progressively allow you to explore all the features of professional enquiry and provide a useful toolkit for you to undertake action research.

These will include introduction to professional enquiry and how it can support teachers’ professional development throughout their careers

3.4.2 Engage in reflective practice to develop and advance career-long professional learning and expertise.

We will then introduce models of enquiry to allow you to move from a hunch to developing enquiry questions before studying, and very importantly using, different methods of collecting both quantitative and qualitative evidence. All of these activities will be grounded in the British Education Research Association ethical guidelines relating to educational research. Finally, you will be supported at each stage as you develop your own enquiry based around interdisciplinary learning.

Further information

School Experience ( TED10100 )

This module on School Experience articulates with the development of professional skills and abilities in Teaching and Learning. It represents the 18 weeks when you will be in school and developing your skills to enable you to take responsibility for your timetabled classes. You will have opportunities to demonstrate increasing confidence in your abilities and to inspire the pupils with subject knowledge and use of effective learning and teaching strategies.

During this period you will also be required to gather evidence for future professional recognition by the General Teaching Council Scotland’s Standards for Provisional Registration. This detailed matrix is both aspirational and achievable for you by the end of the 10-month PGDE programme, and as an audit towards the probation (NQT) year ahead.

The assessment at all stages is holistic in nature and will involve both university curricular specialists and school based mentors working with you. This partnership is essential to ensure that professional standards are maintained and that support is offered at every stage of the three school experience placements that you will undertake.

As part of the process you participate in developing three personal development plans that will clearly determine your professional needs and advice on how to realistically achieve these targets. It will also be relevant for engaging in professional discussion with colleagues to gauge how the placement is progressing rather than waiting until the end of each placement for purely summative report.

In preparation for your school experience placements you will also explore professional values and generic aspects of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, as well as facilitating understanding of the schools as inclusive learning communities in which you will teach and your professional responsibilities within them.

You will know and understand the content of the curriculum in relation to literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing, and the methods and underlying theories for effective teaching of these cross curricular priorities. A variety of strategies to build relationships with learners, promote positive behaviour and celebrate success will be explored and the importance of applying the school’s behaviour management policy, including strategies for inclusion, emphasised.

Learning activities will encourage reflection and engagement in self-evaluation using the Standard for Registration and relevant educational theory. You will maintain a record of their own professional learning and development, and use the reflective journal as a method of capturing this.

• Education systems and professional responsibilities: You will develop an understanding of the sector and schools in which they will be working, including: the role of education authorities, the organisation and management of schools and resources, improvement planning, professional review and development, and how these connect to teachers’ professional practice. The module will provide a working knowledge of the teacher’s contractual, pastoral and legal responsibilities and enable students to develop an understanding of the legal and professional aspects of a teacher’s position of trust in relation to learners. The roles and responsibilities of various members of staff within learning communities will be explored, including interprofessional practice and child protection.

• Pedagogy: The module will support student understanding of theories of learning and the importance of these in planning, teaching and learning. You will also consider how to plan and provide an inclusive, safe and secure, well organised learning environment; make appropriate use of available space to accommodate whole class lessons, group and individual work and promote independent learning including the use of digital technologies where appropriate. You will also learn to apply health and safety regulations as appropriate to your role and the diverse learners you teach.

• Professional qualities and capabilities: The module will enable students to engage in professional dialogue with peers and university staff and to work collaboratively, at times taking a leading role, in a culture of trust and respect, to share their professional learning and development with others.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Education (Physics)?

The entry requirements for this course are a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution, or degree of an equivalent standard from an institution outside the UK. The degree should be in the subject to be taught and contain at least two graduating courses (80 credits) in the relevant subject. A minimum of 40 credits should be from Year 2 of study.

Ordinary Degrees are also acceptable.

We also require SQA Higher English at Grade C or equivalent as well as SQA National 5 Mathematics or SQA National 5 Applications of Mathematics at grade C or equivalent.

Please note you will also be expected to attend an interview.



To be qualified for PGDE Physics, candidates must have a degree which contains at least 80 credits in Physics. A range of the following subjects are acceptable: Electricity and Magnetism, Electronics, Optics, Mechanics, Dynamics, Nuclear and Atomic Physics.

The following degrees are usually acceptable: Physics, Astrophysics, Geophysics, Space Physics, Chemical Physics, Physics with Management.

General science degrees are usually NOT acceptable unless there are specific Physics modules in Year 2 and above totaling 80 credits or more.


Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland £1,820 £tba
England Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £tba
Overseas and EU £22,870 £tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


Scientist standing behind shelves of laboratory equipment
Secondary Physics and Science Teacher (Can be in Scotland, UK or most countries of the world.)