This PGDipEd (QTS) Geography course is recognised as one of the strongest in the country. The course benefits from its supportive partnerships with geography mentors in a variety of schools in the West Midlands. It offers opportunities to learn in a range of settings, including a week of residential fieldwork with children. The course encourages you to combine the theory and practice of geographical education, whilst also developing your professional understanding and competence as a geography teacher. The programme also includes a residential Geography fieldcourse. For those who are eligible, a bursary of £15,000 is currently available.
At the University of Birmingham we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher training possible, and this is why we offer a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits at Master’s level (out of 180), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice.
Following satisfactory completion of this course, plus a successful induction year in school and references, students can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies (data collection and a 15,000 word dissertation).
Come along to one of our open evenings to find out more about teacher training opportunities at Birmingham.
The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teaching training courses. It's teaching has recently been graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. The Ofsted report states that “Such is the confidence of schools that trainees from the University of Birmingham are of high quality, employment rates for both primary and secondary phases exceed national averages by some margin. Trainees display excellent professional qualities: they are clear that good teaching leads to pupils who are interested in their work, enjoy learning and behave well.”
The Initial Teacher Education course
The Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course is 36 weeks long of which 24 weeks are spent on placement in a partnership school. There are five phases: Preparation (university and some school-based activities); School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school); Development (university and one week in your second school); School Placement 2 (12 week block placement and some university days); Completion (two further weeks in second school and two weeks in university).
The PGDipEd(QTS) Geography course is delivered through seminars, lectures, group work, practical school experience, ICT and field studies. It places a clear emphasis on the central role of the learner.
The course provides the necessary skills to organise geography lessons successfully and deal with the daily challenges of teaching in a comprehensive school. Time is spent on the preparation of lessons, teaching strategies, use of equipment and classroom management. The appropriate use of ICT in geography education is stressed.
You will learn about the role of geography education in the secondary school curriculum. Principles of evaluation, assessment, record keeping and reporting in geography education will be investigated. You will be expected to take a reflective and active stance towards your own development. The programme also includes a residential Geography fieldcourse.
Download the flier for the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Geography course (PDF, 61KB)
The School of Education is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:
School Mission Statement (PDF 23KB, opens new window)
Disability and Disability Equality Scheme
Information on our other PGDipEd subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education course page.
Fees for 2016-2017 are: £9,000 (UK/EU full-time), £14,140 (overseas full-time).
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency. Government training bursaries of up to £15,000 may be available depending on your subject and degree classification.
For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.
All applicants to the Secondary PGDipEd(QTS) Geography course must hold a degree (normally a minimum 2:2 classification). We will expect your first degree to consist of at least 50% geography (either Physical or Human, but preferably a balance of both). Degrees in Environmental Science, Geology, Geosciences, etc. can be considered, but the university must be certain that such degrees contain at least 50% geography. Candidates will be expected to show a broad base of geographical knowledge (both human and physical) at the interview.
All candidates also have to:
have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test
. The DfE require us to check the original certificates; you therefore cannot start a PGDipEd(QTS) course unless you already hold these qualifications.
pass Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy; please see the Professional Skills Tests section
of the Department for Education web site for more information on the core skills required by trainee teachers
provide a satisfactory medical form
complete an enhanced DBS/police check
complete a Declaration of Suitability to Teach
adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise
Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. Early application is recommended as the places are normally allocated by the end of January.
UCAS code: F8X1
The schools in the West Midlands have a high regard for the quality of Birmingham PGDipEd (QTS) geography students and we have an impressive record of gaining jobs at the end of the course. Employability for from 2002-2014, stands at an average of 97%, with 100% of trainees being employed by the end of the course for the last 4 years in a row. This compares to a national average of 91% (2011-2012).
Many of our ex-students are now mentors and Heads of Departments in our partnership schools or in schools further afield. The mentors below discuss why they became a mentor, why they chose this course and what they are doing now. Former Alumni Ruth Till also talks about her time at the University of Birmingham studying for her PGDip in Secondary Education followed by her MEd Teaching Studies.
"The PGDipEd at the University of Birmingham allows trainees to be reflective in their individual practice and combine theory with day to day teaching. As a graduate from the PGDipEd (QTS) Geography course at the University of Birmingham, I felt becoming a mentor would not only allow me to help develop new teachers but also improve and freshen my own teaching practice and professional development."
"Completing my PGDipEd and MEd in Teaching Studies at the University of Birmingham equipped me with the skills and knowledge to become a Head of Department, Assistant Headteacher and most recently a Senior Leader in Education, all within 7 years. I choose to be a mentor for the PGDipEd (QTS) Geography to support people in the early stages of their career. The strengths of the course are the school partnerships, mentor support, and that students’ assessments are linked to real issues in education.
The MEd in Teaching Studies provided with action research skills that I have been able to use as an Assistant Headteacher. This is something that I have always been able to discuss in interviews.
Working with trainees keeps me thinking about my own practice, provides opportunities to share ideas, to think about things in different ways and to solve issues and problems together."
Richard Elwell has just completed his Masters in Teaching Studies. He spoke after his graduation:
"I was successful in being appointed Head of History/Geography in an International School in France close to Geneva earlier in the year and the Master's was a big part of that."
"I completed my PGDipEd at Birmingham which prepared me well for my teaching career. I have since gone on to complete my MEd in Teaching Studies at the university and investigated the impact of peer mentoring on underachieving boys. The results were so rewarding for myself and the students. I have now decided to become a mentor for the PGDipEd to further develop my practice and hopefully inspire new teachers."
Ruth is now a Subject Leader of Geography at the University of Birmingham School.
"I completed my Masters of Education following my NQT year while working in Ross-on-Wye. Although I completed this while working full-time I attended weekend lectures at the University of Birmingham and it was great to return to campus and maintain the link."
Read Ruth's full alumni profile