University of Exeter Engineers Teach Physics (X613)

Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS)

Financial support
Scholarships or bursaries, as well as student finance, are available if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) will allow you to teach in state schools in England and may allow you to teach in other parts of the UK.

It may also allow you to teach overseas, though you should always check what qualifications are needed in the country you’d like to teach in.

Many PGCE courses include credits that count toward a Master’s degree.

Age range
11 to 16 - secondary
Course length
1 year - full time
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

Our Secondary Engineers Teach Physics PGCE course is an 11-16 QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) course with post-16 enhancement. This means that whilst you must meet the standards for QTS within the 11-16 age range, you will also have additional experience of post-16. The course will help develop the subject knowledge that engineers and materials science graduates are not likely to have studied at undergraduate level.

The programme has three fully integrated components:

  1. Education and Professional Studies - The Education and Professional Studies component introduces you to key educational ideas and principles and provides you with opportunities to consider these in relation to your subject specialism and the wider school context. This component includes one summative assignment worth 30 Masters level credits.

  2. School Experience - Central to the course is the developing your ability to meet the DfE’s Teachers’ Standards which trainees must demonstrate in order to be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). School-based mentors are responsible for your learning & development and receive well-designed training. You initially work with groups of children, before taking on more responsibility for planning and independently teaching whole classes. You will have two main placements offering contrasting environments.

  3. Specialist Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy (Physics): The PGCE Physics course is designed to prepare you for teaching all aspects of science to at least Key Stage 3, and Physics at GCSE and ‘A’ level. The course includes:

  • Science education workshops;
  • ‘National Curriculum Courses’ to develop to GCSE level your subject knowledge of the areas of science outside your specialism and show you ways to teach these topics;
  • ‘Subject specialist courses’ to develop to A-level your specialist subject knowledge and show you ways to teach these topics;
  • ‘Subject Support Groups’ where students teach aspects of their own specialism to each other;
  • Engineers Teach Physics specific support
  • ‘Education and Professional Studies’ lectures;
  • A range of guest speaker sessions delivered by individuals from schools and science education organisations
  • One summative assignment worth 30 Masters level credits.

School placements

You will gain experience in at least two schools during the course. All partner schools have specially trained mentors to support you to develop classroom skills and reflective and evaluative strategies.

Term 1 begins with two weeks of observation in school settings. This leads into the university campus-based course (generally 2-3 days per week on campus with independent/directed study for the rest of the week) focussing on professional development, specialist subject knowledge, pedagogy and teaching skills. In November you will spend two weeks in your first placement school to begin your classroom practice.

Term 2 is spent in your first placement school with three university-led seminar days back on campus.

Term 3 is spent in your second placement school with two university-led seminar days back on campus.

Trainees generally:

  • live in Exeter for the Autumn term, then move or commute to the area their placements will be in for the Spring/Summer terms


  • commute to Exeter from their home for the Autumn term and then have placements nearer to their home location in the Spring/Summer terms

Our accommodation office can offer advice regarding finding accommodation in/near Exeter for the Autumn term. During the spring/summer term placements trainees often live together and some live with school staff. Others commute to their placements daily and lift sharing is encouraged. The maximum travel time we expect a trainee to travel to a placement is one hour but many placements have much shorter travelling times.

Every effort is made to take into consideration your personal circumstances and preferences when allocating your placements.

If your home location is Dorset or you have a preference for placements in Dorset, please apply to that specific location. We have a good supply of placements across Dorset and will provide you with placements in this region, where possible.

If your preference is for placements in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset, please apply to the option listing these locations. You will be asked to specify your area preferences prior to the course starting and we will do our best to place you in schools that match your area preferences.


You can select one of the following locations to indicate a preferred placement when you apply.

List of locations and vacancies
Location Vacancies
University of Exeter (Devon, Somerset or Cornwall placements)
Select if your preference is for Devon, Somerset and Cornwall placements, EX4 4QJ
University of Exeter (Dorset placements)
Select if your preference is for placements in the Dorset area, Dorset, DT1 1QX

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:2 or above, or equivalent.

We want all potentially excellent teachers to have the opportunity to train. If your qualification profile does not fit the norm, please do contact us.

Your degree subject should be in engineering, materials science or a related subject, otherwise you’ll need to prove your subject knowledge in some other way.

If your degree is not engineering or a related subject, please apply to our physics course.

Grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths, or equivalent qualification.

We’ll consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

We’ll consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test in English or maths.

We accept equivalency tests from A Star Equivalency and (please do contact the PGCE Admissions team for further guidance before signing up for an equivalency test).

Please check our website for guidance on additional academic requirements specific to this course such as degree subject and A level requirements.

Personal qualities

Energetic, able and committed engineers will find this an empowering course which develops personal transferable skills, strength of character and offers the potential for playing a part in shaping the future of society.

Other requirements

In addition to the academic requirements listed, selection is based on performance at interview, a satisfactory fitness to teach assessment and DBS enhanced disclosure and satisfactory references.

Although not essential it would be advantageous to be able to reflect on any school-based experience or experience working with young people in another context at interview.

Fees and financial support

The course fees for 2023 to 2024 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £21,500

Note - eligibility for home fee status for applicants from EU countries has changed from 2021-22 onwards so please do check the guidance if this is relevant to you. For more information, please see our Fees and finance webpages.

Financial support from the training provider

For information on Government loans and training bursaries, please visit the Student Finance England and Get into Teaching websites.

The University of Exeter offers a £530 bursary to all UK students studying for a PGCE with us, whose household income is £25,000 or less. There is no separate application procedure for this bursary. Instead, we make an assessment using the household income information you provide to Student Finance England (you must make sure you give consent for details of your SfE application to be shared with the University of Exeter). This consent to share is requested during the application for financial support, but can be given at any time throughout the year by contacting SfE.

For more information, please see our Fees and finance webpages

About the training provider

We are leaders in Initial Teacher Education, consistently graded as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted.

We have strong partnerships with over 250 schools in the south west where you will spend two-thirds of your training year, putting into practice what you have learnt on the taught course. Our PGCE is uniquely characterised by innovative research-led teaching informed by professional practice and academic excellence. All our tutors have real-world experience as teachers, senior managers or OFSTED inspectors. They lead and innovate, developing the latest ideas in teacher education, leading research, writing textbooks, leading subject networks and advising government.

The Exeter Model of Initial Teacher Education is a highly regarded model used to deliver excellent standards of education to our students in the South West.

The Model sequences learning to teach through five developmental phases:

  • Anticipating Practice
  • Beginning Practice
  • Consolidating Practice
  • Developing Independence
  • Extension and Enrichment

Trainees begin with significant scaffolding through focused teaching practice based on modelling by experts. Moving through the phases, they become increasingly independent, teaching across sequences of lessons and taking full responsibility for their classes by the Developing Independence phase. Driven by an outstanding research base, this approach enables training to be personalised for every trainee with the tools enabling bespoke support and target-setting.

Our unique approach gives you opportunities to become part of a community of trainees and teachers who are passionate about education and will support you during your course and beyond.

Interview process

The interview process will take place at the St Luke’s campus (online interviews may be available on request, depending on applicant circumstances). It is designed so that you can showcase, and we can assess, your skills, attributes and subject knowledge. We notify all interviewees ahead of time what will be expected of them at interview, so you have time to prepare.

Primary and secondary interviewees attend on the same day and activities in the morning are conducted in mixed groups. The day consists of:

  • A welcome talk where you can find out more about the programme
  • A visual ID and documents (e.g. certificates) check
  • A short presentation in which you present a teaching idea using a resource of your choice
  • A short written task in which you can demonstrate your understanding of teaching and learning and your ability to express your ideas concisely, clearly and using accurate written English
  • A short group discussion, based on the written task which encourages you to explore your own, and others’ ideas about good teaching
  • A one-to-one interview with an Admissions Tutor. This is where Subject Tutors will discuss your application, your suitability for teaching and your subject knowledge. This is also an opportunity to learn about the particular course you are applying for.

The day is designed to give you a flavour of the PGCE programme. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions on the day. You should allow a full day for the interview.

International candidates

You’ll need the right to study in the UK. You already have this if, for example, you:

  • are an Irish citizen
  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (you may still be able to apply)
  • have indefinite leave to remain in the UK

If you do not already have the right to study in the UK for the duration of this course, you may need to apply for a Student visa.

To do this, you’ll need to be sponsored by your training provider.

Before you apply for this course, contact us to check Student visa sponsorship is available. If it is, and you get a place on this course, we’ll help you apply for your visa.

Alternatively, check if you’re eligible for a different type of visa, such as a Graduate or Family visa, that allows you to train to be a teacher without being sponsored.

Find out more about training to teach in England.

International qualifications

If your qualifications come from a non-UK institution, we may want to see a ‘statement of comparability’ from UK ENIC. This will show us how they compare to UK qualifications.

You can call Get Into Teaching on 0800 389 2500 for:

  • guidance on the UK equivalents of your qualifications
  • a free statement of comparability once you’ve submitted your application (if we ask you for this)

Training with disabilities and other needs

The University of Exeter provides comprehensive student services that include AccessAbility and Wellbeing teams, Study Zone, Students’ Guild Advice, Student Health Centre (GP services), and the Multifaith Chaplaincy team.

For further details on the wealth of support available to you please go to Student Support Services

PGCE trainees can access the support of a Wellbeing Services Welfare Consultant to discuss concerns, talk through options for support or understand more about how the University Wellbeing Services may be able to help.

Alongside the support described above, every PGCE trainee is assessed by an Occupational Health provider as part of the admissions process to ensure they are fit to teach in a school setting. If the Occupational Health provider recommends any adjustments, the University’s Partnership Office will ensure you are placed in schools where these adjustments can be made, providing they are logistically possible and reasonable.

Contact this training provider

0300 555 6060
Admissions, University of Exeter
Innovation Centre
Rennes Drive
Exeter, Devon

Support and advice

You can speak to a teacher training adviser for free, dedicated advice. They are all experienced teachers who can give you one-to-one support with your application. They can also help you get school experience, and find events where you can speak to training providers and teachers.

Call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or chat online Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (except public holidays).

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