Courses are currently closed but you can get your application ready

Courses starting in the 2021 to 2022 academic year are closed.

You can start or continue your application to get it ready for courses starting in the 2022 to 2023 academic year.

You’ll be able to find courses from 9am on 5 October 2021 and submit your application from 9am on 12 October 2021.

Oxford University Biology (C1X1)

PGCE with QTS full time

Financial support
Bursaries and 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 18
Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
13 October 2020
Date course starts
September 2021


About the course

The University of Oxford provides an exceptional setting in terms of its academic resources and colleges. The Department of Education is small enough to make it possible for you to get to know your university tutors well, and every effort is made to provide you with strong social, academic and pastoral support. The PGCE course provides academic and professional supervision that aims to ensure you receive substantial and expert support.

You will spend about a third of the course in subject teaching sessions, professional studies lectures, and tutorials in the University. This programme is fully integrated with your school experience over the two placements (totalling 120 days), providing opportunities both to develop your subject teaching and to take on wider professional responsibilities as a teacher. The taught programme addresses subject-specific and general pedagogy as well as broader issues in schools such as safeguarding, diversity and special educational needs. Most teaching sessions are held in Oxford’s Department of Education, although we occasionally make use of some of Oxford’s other teaching spaces. Depending on your subject area, you might also make use of local facilities such as the Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Natural History, or occasionally go further afield such as a weekend residential trip to Somerset.

There are both academic and professional assessments throughout the course. There are two assessed assignments of 5,000 words each that relate to your subject teaching and one professional studies assignment also of 5,000 words. You will have tutorials in advance of the submission dates of these assignments to help you plan and structure your writing. There are also milestone assessments at the end of each term that focus on your teaching and work in school. Detailed assessment criteria for each milestone are set out in the course handbook, and these criteria relate to the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status. These criteria need to be met in order to pass the practical teaching component of the PGCE by the end of the course.

School placements

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic some changes to this description may become necessary. We will always aim to deliver an integrated and personalised course. To discuss any concerns please email or telephone 01865 274020.

There will be two school placements during the course totalling at least 120 days in school, representing approximately two-thirds of the course. All schools in our partnership are secondary comprehensive schools, and your two placements will cover the full secondary school age range (11-18) including A-level teaching.

The longer first placement normally runs from September until April and the shorter second placement from April until the end of June. The first placement allows you to become thoroughly established in school and experience what it means to be a teacher. You will be in school two days a week and in University for three days. We call these joint (J) weeks, and these allow school experiences and university sessions to be fully integrated. From November your time in school increases to three days a week as you begin to take on more responsibilities.

From January you will be in school full time. Just over half of your time in school each week will be spent teaching, with the rest being available to meet your subject mentor, to plan lessons, to observe experienced teachers, and to carry out other investigations to develop your teaching. You will also be in school full-time for the second placement, this will be an opportunity to enhance the teaching approaches you have developed in a new and often quite different context. There is a week in February and another in April/May when you return full time to the University.

Our 36 partnership schools are located throughout Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties. The average distance from the department to a school is 15 miles. You are asked to budget £720 for the PGCE year for placement travel costs.

When arranging school places we consider: your prior experiences, where you are living and any childcare or caring responsibilities.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

You must hold, or be in the final year of, an undergraduate degree, usually in the PGCE subject area or a related subject with 50% in the PGCE subject area. The science course recruits Biologists, Chemists and Physicists, and graduates in related areas such as Engineering, Environmental Science and Geology.

Science teaching in schools is normally organised within a single department to which teachers from the different sciences contribute their respective expertise. This structure is reflected at Oxford which, while actively recruiting for trainee teachers of the separate sciences, works as a co-ordinated team of scientists.

Personal qualities

We seek graduates who enjoy their subject and see its relevance to everyday life. It is also highly valuable that you have a commitment to working with young people, show an interest in school teaching and know you will enjoy the environment of state-funded UK secondary schools. For example, you may have previous experience of working with young people, either on a voluntary or paid basis. You might also have spent time in a UK secondary comprehensive school, observing lessons, and talking with students and teachers.

Other requirements

All offers will be conditional upon:

  • A GCSE pass in Mathematics and English Language (grades 4-9 or A*-C)
  • Evidence of undergraduate degree graduation
  • Completion of a Financial Declaration form

All candidates will also be required to complete an Occupational Health assessment, a Disclosure and Barring Service check and any appropriate international background checks.

During your PGCE interview you will have the opportunity to discuss additional conditions to any PGCE offer, such as a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course.

All conditions must be met before the course starts and your offer will lapse if these are not met.

Fees and financial support

The course fees for 2021 to 2022 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £29,160

Following an announcement by the Universities Minister on 23 June 2020, EU fee status students will no longer be eligible to pay fees at the ‘Home’ rate but will be charged the ‘Overseas’ rate. This change will not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK or Ireland, they are charged at the ‘Home/ROI’ rate.

The University awaits clarification on the status of EU nationals who are granted Settled Status and of EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefiting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement. We await clarification in regards to both the fee rate and support from Student Finance England.

EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in the academic year 2021/22. Home/ROI students can apply for support from Student Finance England.

If you are a UK national who is normally resident in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man you will be assessed as an Islands student. For new entrants, Islands fees are aligned with the Home/ROI rate. These students may also be eligible for Student Finance England support; contact your local provider for tailored advice.

Financial support from the training provider

If you are a Home or Republic of Ireland student from a lower-income household, you may be eligible to receive an annual non-repayable Oxford Bursary to help with living costs. The amount of bursary you get will depend on your household income, including the total value of any tax-free teacher training bursary or scholarship.

The Department of Education and Brasenose College are committed to attracting the very best candidates for Taught Master’s degrees, irrespective of their background or ability to pay. Black teachers are underrepresented in UK schools, particularly at senior levels, and the proportion of highly qualified Black students in Education Studies at Oxford is lower than across the rest of the UK. The Brasenose Graduate Opportunities Scholarship is open to PGCE offer holders with Home fee status who identify as either: Black African, Black Caribbean, Black Other or Mixed/multiple, including Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other. The maximum value of this award is £25,000 which is intended to cover the full course fee plus a stipend. The award will be reduced if the recipient is also in receipt of a PGCE scholarship or bursary or equivalent. For full details please click here.

About the training provider

The PGCE course at the University of Oxford’s Department of Education offers you the opportunity to train to teach the secondary age group in one of the leading educational establishments in the country. The Department has a long history in initial teacher education, dating back to 1892, with the current Internship Scheme operating for over a quarter of a century.

The Oxford Internship Scheme was rated Outstanding in its last Ofsted inspection. Oxford’s Department of Education is committed to providing high quality teacher education as well as being a centre for educational research. The University of Oxford has been named the world’s number one university for the fifth successive year in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

We pride ourselves on the intensive, flexible and personalised experience that we are able to offer. Our well-established partnership with local schools is recognised as a particular strength and there is joint responsibility for the planning, delivery and assessment of the programme. We recognise the different roles of university and schools in offering trainee teachers opportunities to learn and encourage the use of theory to interrogate practice and vice versa.

Trainee teachers awarded the PGCE qualification are recommended for Qualified Teacher Status. In addition, successful completion of the PGCE at Oxford comes with 60 Master’s level credit points.

Interview process

If your UCAS application meets our criteria for selection, you will be invited to interview. We have a large number of these across the year, but we encourage you to apply as early as possible. We anticipate that prior to interview you will have been able to complete at least one day of observation in a non-selective, state funded UK secondary school. However if you cannot complete this observation then you are still encouraged to attend. You must complete an interview as part of your PGCE application.

In response to the coronavirus all of our interviews will be held online.

The interviews are an opportunity for you to find out about Oxford, the Department, and our PGCE. We will try to give you a clear impression of what it is like to be a student on the course. We also want to find out about you, and you will be asked to complete a subject-specific written task (which will be sent and returned via email). Your individual interview will normally be held by a relevant subject tutor from the University and a subject mentor from one of our partnership schools.

Training with disabilities and other needs

The University as a whole supports over 3,000 students who have declared a disability, including specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia), long-term health conditions, mental health difficulties, mobility difficulties, sensory impairments and autism spectrum disorders.

A range of support and reasonable adjustments are available to those with a declared disability or health condition on the PGCE course. This includes: finding appropriate college accommodation, considering travel times to placement schools and ease of movement around the school site, and having more regular tutor support meetings. Support with academic writing is also available if you have a specific learning difficulty.

More information is available from the University’s Disability Advisory Service

Contact this training provider

Department of Education
15 Norham Gardens

Support and advice

For support and advice, you can speak to a Get Into Teaching adviser for free. They’re all experienced teachers who can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events.

You can also call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm (except public holidays).

Find out about the different ways to train if you do not have a degree, or are already an experienced teacher.

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Courses are currently closed but you can still start or continue an application anyway.

You'll be able to:

  • find courses starting in the 2022 to 2023 academic year from 9am on 5 October 2021
  • submit your application from 9am on 12 October 2021