Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - History and History & Citizenship

Initial Teacher Education: History/History and Citizenship

The History and History & Citizenship PGDipEd (QTS) course has been praised by both Ofsted and the external examiner for its innovative approach, our commitment to supporting student teachers as they develop and our close links with our placement schools. We are committed to the idea that teaching is more than simple craft knowledge; it is the synthesis of theories about learning and hands on experience in the classroom. Teachers equipped with this will be able to reflect on their experiences and develop as teachers throughout their careers.

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).

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 36 weeks

Start date: September


The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been recently 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).

Teaching is an inherently complex activity, and teachers choose their teaching strategies for a variety of reasons. Consequently we will equip you to analyse your ideas about teaching and understand the range of ideas that are behind all talk about teaching. You will be equipped to use the most up to date ideas about teaching but also to appreciate that these will in turn become outdated and replaced by new strategies.

You will teach classes in Key Stage 3 and 4 as well as post-16, and learn to select the most effective teaching methods. Our sessions model different teaching methods so you experience the methods you can use. Our close links with history departments in schools means we are not only able to use the 30 years of teaching experience of the tutors but get teachers in to talk about their experience of teaching too.

pdficonsmall Download the flier for the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - History and History & Citizenship course (PDF, 55.7KB)

Equal Opportunities

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:

pdficonsmallSchool Mission Statement(PDF 23KB, opens new window)

Disabilityand Disability Equality Scheme
Race Equality

Details of our other PGDipEd subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page  


All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignments. In addition students need to complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

School Studies 1:

(20 credits Level M)

This module, which consists of university based seminars and school based practical experience, will offer opportunities for you to develop your understanding and practice of teaching. In particular, the planning and evaluation of learning experiences for small groups, supported by exploration of the place of your subject within national frameworks and initiatives which will include at least one area of cross-curricular concern.


School Studies 2: 

(20 credits Level M)

These university based seminars will enable you to develop an understanding of the needs of learners within a subject discipline and in secondary schools. You will also reflect on the teaching placement (School Placement 1) in your school and learn to plan and evaluate teaching experiences which will consider the role of learners.


School Studies 3: 

(20 credits Level M)

The university based seminars will enbable you to develop an understanding of the needs of learners within a subject discipline and in schools. You will reflect upon your teaching placement (School Placement 2) in school, and continue to learn to plan and evaluate teaching experiences which consider the role of learners.

There will also be university and school based seminars on whole school issues – e.g. equal opportunities, management of the teaching environment.


School Studies 4: 

(20 credits Level M)

During these university based seminars, you will develop an understanding of the needs of learners within your main subject discipline or within an alternative subject and schools. 


Teaching Experience 1: 

(30 credits Level 3)

You will observe lessons and teach on average half a normal teacher’s timetable, providing relevant documentation for every lesson taught. You will have discussions with tutors, mentors and teachers focus on pupils’ learning and the experience of teaching.

This module is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable the students to analyse the ideas in practice. Much of the module will depend upon your individual work as a practitioner and reflecting upon practice.

Teaching Experience 2: 

(10 credits Level M)

This module will explore your continuing reflective and analytical development as you review your teaching and learning. It is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable you to analyse the ideas in practice.

The contact time will allow you to develop your theoretical framework and to develop pathways for future personal and professional development.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2015–16 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 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.

Entry requirements

All applicants to the Secondary PGDipEd(QTS) History and History & Citizenship course must hold a degree (normally a minimum 2:2 classification) or equivalent. To apply for our course you need 50% of your degree to be history or a closely related subject (40% for History & Citizenship). We expect an academic reference too - this reference must show us you are capable of studying a new subject, in this case education, at a Masters level.

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 

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. We  recommend you apply as early as possible as the course is often full by spring.

UCAS codes

History: V1X1
History with Citizenship: VX1C


Learning and teaching

Course Structure

The PGDipEd is divided into five phases: 

  1. Preparation (university-based with some activities in school) 
  2. School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school with tutor visit and one day at the university) 
  3. Development (university-based with some activities in school) 
  4. School Placement 2 (twelve week block placement with tutor visits and two university days);
  5. Completion (two further weeks in your second school and two weeks at the university).

The course includes the following areas of study: 

  • Subject-based teaching methods 
  • School-based work 
  • Whole-school issues

Subject-based teaching methods

You follow one main method programme, each of which occupies at least three half-days a week for five weeks in each of the autumn and spring terms and two weeks in the summer term. In some subjects a field course, involving work with children, may replace a number of single days in the year. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.  

School-based work  

School-based work is an important part of the programme, with students normally spending 24 weeks in schools. The combination of block practice and other periods of work in schools enables you to benefit from both carefully supported introductory work in different schools and the experience of spending a significant length of time in one school.

The final assessment of teaching is based on the spring/summer term school placement. Assessment is shared between University tutors, staff responsible for students in schools, and external examiners. All aspects of your contribution to the life of the school are taken into account, in particular the teaching of your main subject.

Prior to the start of the autumn term you are expected to undertake a preliminary period of observation in a primary/middle school near your home or lodgings. During the course supervised experience and practice are arranged in schools of various kinds across the 11–18 age range. We are fortunate in being able to work with a wide range of partnership schools, including mixed comprehensives, single-sex schools and sixth-form colleges. Many of the schools offer opportunities to work with pupils from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  

Whole-school issues

This area of study is concerned with aspects of education that are of importance to all intending teachers, irrespective of their particular teaching subjects. It is designed to provide you with a breadth of awareness, depth of insight and development of skills through a range of themes studied by all students. Themes currently include Managing Inclusion, Monitoring and Assessment, and Pastoral Care and Citizenship.  

Tutoring and support

You will personally be allocated a university tutor who will guide and support you throughout your PGDipEd (QTS), along with a dedicated school mentor when on placement.


Once you have completed your PGDipEd (QTS) and successfully passed your induction year you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete a 60 credit dissertation and obtain an MA in Teaching Studies

Assessment methods

All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignment. In addition all students complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).


Many local schools have a high regard for history PGDipEd (QTS) students from the University of Birmingham. Consequently we have former students in departments throughout the area. Many local schools contact us directly when they are seeking an NQT to employ. For 2013-2014 the employabilty rate was 100% and all graduates obtained employment in a teaching role. Many of our ex-students are now gaining responsibility for citizenship, becoming Heads of History and many of the mentors in our partnership schools are ex students.