Oxford University Religious Education (V6X1)

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

Financial support
Student finance 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 - secondary
Course length
1 year - full time
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

The University of Oxford PGCE course is provided by a well-established partnership with a wealth of expertise, both among the university teaching team, (all active educational researchers) and across our partnership schools, with whom we have a long history of strong collaboration. This course will provide you with a wide range of teaching and learning experiences to shape your development as a teacher of your particular subject, but also addresses wider educational issues. The course attracts applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and we particularly welcome those who share our commitment to excellent education for all, exemplified by all our placement schools being state-funded and non-selective.

The University of Oxford provides an exceptional setting with its academic resources and the strong social and pastoral support offered by its colleges. The Department of Education is small enough for you to get to know your university tutors well and you will receive significant support from experts with national and international reputations within each subject, and professional guidance from experienced school-based colleagues. Teachers who have completed our PGCE course can be found in teaching and school leadership posts across the UK. Feedback from each cohort consistently confirms the high quality of the course and how well it prepared them to take up their first professional post.

You will spend about a third of the course in university-based workshops and seminars – the majority of them focused on subject teaching – supported by regular tutorials. 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, and broader school issues, e.g. safeguarding, provision for specific educational needs, inclusion – ensuring all young people feel a sense of belonging within school and are represented within the curriculum.

Your developing practice as a teacher is regularly reviewed, with formal milestones, using the Core Content Framework for Qualified Teacher Status. You will also complete two assessed assignments about your subject teaching and one assessed professional studies assignment, and a range of academic support is provided for these assignments. All of these assessments, professional and academic, must be completed to obtain a PGCE with QTS.

Contact the PGCE Office (pgce.admissions@education.ox.ac.uk / 01865 274020), or attend an event: visit the Events page of our Department’s website.

School placements

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. Initially you will be in school two days a week and in the University for three days. We call these joint (J) weeks, and they allow for the full integration of school experiences and university sessions. 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 (April – June), 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 partnership schools are located throughout Oxfordshire, with a small number in neighbouring counties. The average distance from the department to a school is 15 miles. You are asked to budget £960 for the PGCE year for placement travel costs. When arranging school places we consider: your prior experiences; your on-course progress; where you are living; and any childcare or caring responsibilities.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

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

We will also consider applications from candidates who have Third class Honours degrees if they also have extensive UK classroom experience, for example employment as a Teaching Assistant.

Your degree subject should be in religious education or a similar subject. Otherwise you’ll need to prove your subject knowledge in some other way.

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

We will not consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

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

International qualifications viewed as comparable to qualifications taken within the UK are accepted for the PGCE. In order for the University of Oxford to formally recognise any overseas qualification you must present a Statement of Comparability from UK NARIC. Students in this position should first complete a course application and should then contact Get Into Teaching on 0800 389 2500. As an applicant for teacher training you can then obtain the Statement of Comparability for free.

Oxford’s PGCE Office will only need to see the Statement of Comparability should you accept any offer to study on the course, we do not need to see the document in advance of an application or interview.

If the Statement of Comparability concludes that your qualifications are not equivalent, then the PGCE’s Course Director will review your case. If the review is unsuccessful we may ask you to complete an equivalency test. You will be free to select the provider and type of test, as long as the final result is provided by our deadlines and is a GCSE or a direct equivalent. These conversations will occur after you have accepted any offer, we will not review before an application or interview.

Personal qualities

We seek graduates who enjoy their subject and see its relevance to everyday life. It is also highly desirable that you have a commitment to working with young people, show an interest in school teaching and are confident that 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 an undergraduate degree graduation
  • Satisfactory references
  • Completion of a Financial Declaration form

All candidates will also complete an Occupational Health assessment, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and any appropriate international background checks.

During your PGCE interview you will have the opportunity to discuss additional conditions, 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 2023 to 2024 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,250
International students £32,760

Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. Your living costs can vary significantly dependent on your lifestyle. These are estimated to be between £1,290 and £1,840 per month in 2023-24. For a full break-down of the University’s estimates please visit this website

As the PGCE course also requires regular travel to and from partnership schools, it is recommended that all students budget approximately £960 for this purpose.

Financial support from the training provider

If you are a Home 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.

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 retained top spot for an impressive sixth consecutive year in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022. Within the same metric the University of Oxford has also been ranked first for the subject of Education.

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 application meets our selection criteria you will be invited to an interview.

We recommend at least one day of observation in a non-selective, state-funded UK secondary school prior to interview (although this may happen post-application). If you cannot complete this observation, then you should still attend your interview.

The interview allows you to learn about Oxford, the Department, and our PGCE course, including our partnership schools. You will be asked to complete a subject-specific written task and your interview will normally be with a relevant subject tutor from the University and a subject mentor from one of our partnership schools. We aim to process the outcome within a week.

There are no formal application deadlines: if you meet our entry requirements we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Apply on/before 31st March 2023 and you can complete the PGCE College Choice Form. After this date, your college place will be assigned. If you live outside of the UK (or have recently been outside the UK for an extended period), we recommend that you apply by 1st June 2023 to allow time to complete the required safeguarding and background checks, and any necessary visa applications. Individual PGCE subjects will close when all course places are allocated: this can happen at any time, often with little notice.

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 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

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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