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Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

From lesson plans to the learning environment, the PGCE Secondary – History supports you to become a confident and innovative early career teacher who can inspire pupils to engage with the past and appreciate its relevance to the present.

Offering a mix of academic and practical learning and visits to historic sites, the course introduces you to the range and scope of history as a curriculum subject across the 11-16 age range. The programme aims to develop your subject knowledge and pedagogical skills as you examine the techniques used to bring the study of history to life in a classroom environment.

Successful completion of the PGCE leads to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education awarded by Durham University and the recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status. The QTS element is accredited by Newcastle University and awarded by the Department of Education.

We pride ourselves on offering a well-planned blend of research and experience in the classroom to start you on your successful career as an Early Career Teacher. We emphasise your entitlement to the Core Content Framework throughout our PGCE course to fully prepare you for the Early Career Framework, which will support you during your first two years of teaching as an Early Career Teacher.

The University-based sessions focus on a weekly specific pedagogical theme, integrated with sessions devoted to your subject specialism, delivered by subject specialists in the University and the school partnership. The Professional Studies sessions explore your understanding of critical concepts and classroom practice, allowing you to reflect on your teacher identity and progress as a developing teacher.

Please note that the course does not run to standard University terms. It is delivered full-time, starting in early September and continues over 10 months.

Course structure

Four modules make up the PGCE programme:

New Generation of Learners introduces PGCE students to various fundamental educational theories. It starts the journey of addressing the gap between research and practice.

Pedagogy Practice Inquiry creates a critical link between PGCE students’ understanding of school-based practice, context and theory, and research and policy related to pedagogy (for example, through the lens of lesson planning).

Curriculum Development in Practice offers an opportunity for students to reflect on professional practice in their chosen subject from the perspective of the curriculum.

The predominantly classroom-based Professional Studies and School-Based Practice fosters a critical understanding of issues related to developing professional competence as a teacher. Areas covered include effective teaching strategies, managing the teaching and learning environment, enhancing professional development, and creative dimensions of teaching and learning.


The Durham PGCE Secondary is a full-time programme with a strong practical focus. You will spend a significant part of the year (a minimum of 140 days) based in schools through the Durham University Schools Partnership.

School-based activities support your development to meet the Government's Teachers' Standards and the recommendation for QTS.

The course comprises four modules that enable you to explore ideas in the field of education. Learning methods include a combination of readings and preparation for teaching in school, teaching in schools, teaching time in lectures and workshops, professional studies days, independent study, and assignments.


Assessment of the PGCE takes the form of three 2,500-word assignments and evidence portfolios of 1,500 words.

For all your assignments, you will be supported by the module convenor, your tutor, and the academic services within the University.

Entry requirements

  • The equivalent of a UK 2:2 honours degree of which approximately 50% is comprised of History or a closely related subject. If your degree is from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC
  • GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 (or C) or above (or equivalent) which must be achieved by the time of application. If your equivalent qualifications are from an overseas institution you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC (

Your interpersonal qualities and your potential to achieve professional skills relating to the Teachers' Standards will be considered when making an admissions decision. Candidates who meet the criteria, will be invited to an interview. The interview process will involve an individual interview with a pre-prepared presentation element and a series of tasks designed to illustrate your potential to meet the Teachers' Standards by the end of the course.

Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply for a DBS Disclosure will be provided.

If you have a criminal record of any kind, you may contact the School of Education DBS Manager, Caroline Emery, for further advice and information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.

  • We strongly encourage you to register for the DBS Update Service, which lets you take your certificate from one employer to another without having to apply for a new check. 

Please note, all DBS Enhanced Disclosures for our Students must be applied for through Durham University unless you have applied to the Update Service.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £23,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £23,500 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

School of Education

The consistently high ranking of the Department gives us a worldwide reputation for the quality of not only our teaching but the skills and knowledge of our postgraduate community. The delivery of the subject by the relevant experts on our academic team brings together world class research, innovative teaching and exceptional support.

Your time as a member of the Department’s student community places you in the strong position to pursue a successful career in a range of different sectors. Career opportunities in education are numerous and rewarding and include classroom teaching, educational leadership and management, administration and policy development.

Most of our PGCE graduates go directly into teaching. In keeping with career ambitions, MA graduates progress into a wide range of roles including educational research, publishing, education administration, policy making and management as well as jobs in the commercial or public sector.

For further information on career options please view our department pages

Department information

School of Education

The Department of Education offers a mix of teacher training and education research, set within a vibrant and engaged learning community of around fifty academic staff and 650 postgraduates. We are a leading educational research centre with strong international ties and numerous partner relationships with schools and colleges.

Our postgraduate courses are flexible and allow you to follow a particular interest. They include MAs in Education, Educational Leadership and Change, Intercultural Communication and Education and Research Methods. We also offer a range of PGCE qualifications at primary and secondary levels and in specific school subjects.

We provide the opportunity for learning from academic staff who are leading research and teaching experts in their fields. They underpin our Department’s commitment to conducting research that contributes to shaping educational practice and policy, develops educational research and methodologies, informs school improvements and supports the professional development of teachers around the world.

Our portfolio of research projects attracts interest and financial support from important bodies who have a key role in developing education in the UK. They include the Economic and Social Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation, the Sutton Trust, and the Education Endowment Foundation, as well as a range of other organisations and charities.

For more information see our department pages.


  • Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the School of Education pages

Research Excellence Framework

  • Ranked joint 1st nationally for Research Impact and 1st nationally for outputs (REF 2021)


The Department of Education is characterised by its diversity and vibrancy and the enthusiasm and commitment of its postgraduate community to improving the provision of education in the UK and across the globe.

The Department is located at Lower Mountjoy on the main University campus and is not far from the centre of Durham with its UNESCO World Heritage status and the beautiful cathedral.

Our facilities are modern and comprehensive and include a well-resourced library, study areas and the state-of-the-art Confluence Building which plays host to events such as seminars and lectures by guest speakers.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

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