Oxford University
Geography (F8X1)

PGCE with QTS full time

Financial support
Scholarship, bursary or student finance if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) allows you to teach in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s also recognised internationally.

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

Course length
1 year
Date you can apply from
9 October 2018
Date course starts
September 2019

About the course

The University of Oxford provides an exceptional setting in terms of its academic resources and its 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 the Department in Oxford, although we occasionally make use of some of Oxford’s other teaching spaces that are just a short walk from the Department. 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 to plan how you will 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.

Interview process

If you meet our criteria for selection, you will be invited to one of our recruitment days. We have a large number of these across the year, but we do 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.

On the day, it is likely that you will either be asked to attend in the morning or the afternoon. We normally aim to gather a field of at least 12 applicants across several subjects for each recruitment day. This is an opportunity for you to find out about Oxford, the Department, and the PGCE course here, and we will try to give you a clear impression of what it is like to be an intern on the course. We also want to find out about you of course, and you will be asked to complete a subject-specific written task. Afterwards you will participate in a group task alongside other applicants in your PGCE subject. Finally you will have an individual interview normally with a relevant subject tutor from the University Department of Education and a subject mentor from one of our partnership schools.

Skype interviews are used in exceptional circumstances and strictly at the assessing subject tutor’s discretion.

How school placements work

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).

The longer first placement normally runs from September until April and the shorter second placement from April until the end of June. This long first placement allows you to become thoroughly established in this 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 teaching responsibilities.

From January you will be in school full time and we call these school (S) weeks. Just over half of your time in school each week will be spent teaching, with the rest of the time 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, and 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, with a few over the county borders, and the average distance from the department to a school is 15 miles. You are asked to budget £600 for the PGCE year for placement travel costs.

We take account of your prior experiences and logistical requirements, such as where you are living and any childcare or caring responsibilities, when deciding on your first placement school. We add in to these considerations your experience so far on the course and the developmental priorities that have emerged when deciding on your second placement.


The course fees for 2019/2020 are as follows:
Student type Fees to pay
UK students £9,620
EU students £9,620
International students £20,115

The PGCE course is a one-year course, normally running from September to June each year. The course operates on a full time basis only and we do not offer distance learning.

Financial support

You could be eligible for either:

  • a scholarship of £28,000
  • a bursary of £26,000

To qualify for a scholarship you’ll need a degree of 2:1 or above in Geography or a related subject. For a bursary you’ll need a 2:2 or above in any subject.

You can’t claim both a bursary and a scholarship - you can only claim one.

Find out how to apply for a scholarship. You don’t need to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out how you’ll be paid.

Financial support if you’re from outside the UK.

Financial support from the training provider

Government teacher training bursaries are available for UK and EU PGCE students. Bursary amounts vary depending on the subject you are training to teach and the type of qualification you hold.

If you are a UK or EU student from a lower-income household, you will 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 and any Government teacher training bursary.



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. Applicants who wish to teach geography should have a good first degree in geography, or a good first degree in which at least 50% of the topics studied were geography related: for example, geology, environmental studies, international relations; or some combination of first and higher degrees which contain an equivalent amount of geographical content.

Personal qualities

We seek graduates who enjoy their subject and see its relevance to everyday life. It is also important that you have a commitment to working with young people, show an interest in school teaching and know you will enjoy the environment of schools in this country. 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 the Professional Skills Tests

• Completion of a Health Questionnaire

• A satisfactory background check with the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service and any other appropriate international bodies

• Completion of a Financial Declaration form

During your PGCE interview you will have the opportunity to discuss additional conditions to any PGCE offer.

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

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 Department as a whole has an outstanding international reputation and was ranked as the UK’s best Education Department in the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and third best globally. In the same study, the University of Oxford as a whole was ranked as the best university in the world.

We pride ourselves on the intensive, flexible and personalised experience that we are able to offer. Our well-established partnership with local schools, developed over the last 30 years, 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 interns (our word for trainee teachers) opportunities to learn and encourage the use of theory to interrogate practice and vice versa.

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

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. All of these services are available to interns on the PGCE course both when in the University and in school. More information is available from the University’s Disability Advisory Service.

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 with en-suite facilities, considering travel times to placements 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 through the central University services and also from your tutors on the course.

Contact details

01865 274020
Department of Education
15 Norham Gardens


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