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Course length

1 year full-time


Geneva, Switzerland

Program code


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Course details

The PGCE Secondary (International) offers an exciting opportunity to study and live overseas through our partnership with the International School of Geneva. This one-year full-time course is an ideal choice if you are looking to train for a career in secondary teaching in an innovative learning environment outside of the UK. It provides an internationally recognised teaching qualification, in-depth training and classroom practice tailored to the 11–16 age range.

The course comprises three modules at master’s level, one professional and two academic modules. The professional module consists of a set of international teaching standards centred around your school-based placements and an assignment. This module is based at the Campus des Nations in Geneva, with observation and teaching placements taking place across the School’s three campuses and in local partner schools in and around Geneva and Lausanne.

The two academic modules are delivered by the teaching team at Durham. Teaching is primarily through the annual Reflective Practitioner Conference. During your time in Geneva, you will be assigned a Durham-based academic tutor who is responsible for subject-specific tasks and providing academic guidance.

Because the school placement takes place outside of the UK, the PGCE Secondary (International) is not eligible for QTS - Qualified Teacher Status in England. Instead, you will be eligible for the International Baccalaureate Educator Certificate in Teaching and Learning (Level 1) providing IBO requirements have been completed at an appropriate level. This is a valuable qualification for those who want to work in international schools.

The academic rigour of the course coupled with real-world experience prepares you to step straight into a role in teaching while equipping you with the skills to inspire future generations in a varied and changing sector.

Please note: the teaching of this course takes place in Switzerland. You will be based in Geneva from the end of August until the following June.

Course structure

Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum – Generic Issues in School-based Education provides a critical understanding of models of teaching and learning and the theories that underpin these models. You will explore: research evidence for effective teaching and learning in the classroom; the teacher as reflective practitioner; teaching for understanding; creative dimensions of teaching and learning, and the teacher as an active researcher.

Self-directed Study – Subject Specific Issues in School-based Education uses research strategies learned on the course to examine a topic or issue of professional interest, deepening your knowledge and understanding of the area. This module draws together elements from across the course and makes connections between university-based and professional school-based experiences.

The predominantly classroom-based Professional Issues in School-based Education fosters a critical understanding of issues related to the development of 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 assignment for this module focuses on curriculum design and development.


The PGCE Secondary (International) has a highly practical focus which means you will spend a significant amount of your time on placement across the three campuses of the International School of Geneva.

The course comprises three master’s level modules (one professional and two academic). The Professional Issues module is made up of seminars, in-person and online workshops, and practical in-class training in areas including planning, classroom climate and effective feedback. Workshops and lectures covering such topics as educational theory, reflective practice, inclusion, pluriculturalism, and international education also form part of the professional module.

Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum explores models of teaching and learning and their theoretical underpinnings. This module is Durham-led.

Self-Directed Study is a subject specialist independent piece of work that overarches the whole year. It draws on research-based practice, ethics and your own experiences in your placement school.

Throughout the course you will have access to online teaching facilities and the Durham University, as well as the learning facilities at the Institute of Learning and Teaching library at the Campus des Nations.


The two academic modules are assessed by 5,000-word assignments, one of which is based on your subject specialism and draws upon research-based practice, ethics and your own small-scale study conducted during your placement.

The professional module, Professional Issues in School-based Education, consists of a set of standards linked to tasks completed on your school-based placements. To pass the module you must complete a written assignment and a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate you have reached the required standard.

Entry requirements

Applicants for the course must normally be graduates of this or another University or of the C.N.A.A., with an upper 2nd class honours or above (successful completion of a masters level PGCE will classify as 'above'), or have other specially approved qualifications which satisfy the Admissions Sub-Committee that they are suitably qualified to undertake the course.

GCSE English and Maths Grade 4 (or C) or higher or equivalent is required.

Teaching experience may be considered appropriate in some cases (see pathway specific specifications). However, all students must normally demonstrate a personal or professional interest in the academic study of education.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £7,450 per year
EU students £7,450 per year
Island students £7,450 per year
International students £7,450 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

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