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Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) – Modern Languages


Start date
36 weeks
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Ladislav Martin, Alumnus

The Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Modern Languages) leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and offers 120 credits towards our MA Teaching Studies. Our specialist programme, which offers high quality training and support, will prepare you to teach in the 11-18 age range and is run in close partnership with schools

The Modern Languages teacher training course is held in very high esteem by all those who work with us: partnership schools, languages teachers, and our students who year after year say that they find the challenge exciting and our support outstanding. We aim to help you to develop into a well informed, critical and adaptable Modern Languages teacher so that your own teaching personality can blossom. We welcome applications from excellent and committed linguists who wish to train to teach French, German or Spanish and make a positive difference to language learning and children’s lives. 

The School of Education benefits from our unique collaboration with the University of Birmingham School as well as a wide range of partner schools, including mixed comprehensive, single sex, religious and selective schools and sixth form colleges. The diverse communities we serve will enrich your experience on the programme.

PGDipEd (QTS) Secondary Modern Languages is also offered as a School Direct programme with St Paul’s Caritas Christi and Windsor Academy Trust.

You may be eligible for a bursary of up to £25,000 for 2023 entry (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified Modern Language teachers and a scholarship of £27,000 in lieu of a bursary.

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been graded as 'outstanding' three times by Ofsted inspectors which affirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. If you are serious about a career in Modern Languages teaching then the University of Birmingham is the place to train.


Equal Opportunities

The School of Education and University of Birmingham is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:

If you are interested in our other secondary subject courses please view the general Secondary PGDipEd course page



Fees for 2023-2024 are:

£9,250 (UK), £21,150 (International).

When you apply for this course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and should ensure that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Our PGDipEd programmes include a significant amount of time spent on placements in a variety of schools at different locations, and so when budgeting to study you should also allow for travel to and from placements, as well as textbooks, printing, photocopying and stationery that you may need.

Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan

With or without a bursary, you can also access a  Tuition Fee Loan to cover your tuition fees and a Maintenance Loan for your living costs. The available loans for 2022-2023 are:

  • a Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 to cover your fees
  • a Maintenance Loan of up to £12,667 to support your living costs

Additional financial support

If you have children or a disability, extra funding is available. For instance, you could get:

Find out more information on the  extra financial support available

Learn more about fees and funding

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

How To Apply

Apply online through DfE Apply. The course is often full by spring so we recommend you apply as early as possible.

Course codes

French (alone or with Spanish or German): R1X1
German (alone or with French or Spanish): R2X1
Spanish with French: RX41

The Interview process 

Selection is rigorous and designed to identify candidates with the strongest aptitude. Candidates selected for interview will be invited to:

  • meet course tutors
  • find out more about the course
  • have a one to one interview
  • show GCSE and Degree certificates (where these are available).

We work closely with partner schools to select candidates and applicants will often have the opportunity to meet senior colleagues from partner schools when they join us for interview day.  

Our Standard Requirements

  • All applicants to the Modern Languages Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Education must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution or an equivalent qualification. This will normally be a minimum 2:2 classification or equivalent qualification and this will be a condition of any offer where the degree has not already been awarded. You must hold a degree with at least 50% French, German or Spanish OR be a native speaker of French, German, or Spanish with another degree subject.
  • You also must be able to offer a second foreign language (at a lower level than their main language is acceptable) as being able to offer two mainstream languages greatly increases employability.
  • Please be aware that your degree classification may have an impact on your eligibility for a bursary. 
  • You must also have a GCSE in Mathematics and English (Grade 4/C or above) or an equivalent qualification which must be attained before making your application. Equivalency tests will be accepted but only from equivalency testing
  • If you are a Nanterre student, GCSE Mathematics and English is not required at point of application but may be a condition of offer.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact us on

You must also:

  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before taking up a place.
  • complete relevant checks to ensure you have the health and physical capacity to teach.
  • agree to abide by the University of Birmingham Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise.

*Equivalent GCSE grades

International Requirements

International Students

English Language requirements

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
TOEFL - 88 IBT overall with no less than 20 in Listening, 21 in Reading, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
Cambridge English Advanced: 176 overall with 169 in each component


The PGDipEd programme runs from early September to late June. 

PGDipEd programme information (this is for guidance only and is subject to change).
Number of weeks Programme of activities

Before the course

Pre-course learning

4 weeks (from mid-September)

University Work including some work in schools (SD students will have school induction prior to this)

12 weeks

School Placement 1 (Including School Half Term and 3 University Days)

2 weeks

Christmas Vacation

1 week

Review week

2 weeks

University Work

7 weeks

School Placement 2 (Including School Half Term and 1 University Day)

2 weeks

Easter Vacation

9 weeks

School Placement 2 (Including School Half Term and 1 University Day)

1 week

University Week

The programme will include the study of subject-based teaching methods as well as the study of broader whole school issues. A variety of teaching styles and approaches to learning will be used in the presentation of the themes. These include University-based lectures, small group seminars and workshops, school-based work with pupils and teachers, and work undertaken individually or with other groups of students.

You will benefit from a specialist programme, working with a subject tutor and peers, developing a professional network which will sustain you into your career. Our Professional Enquiry course provides breadth and depth of insight across key themes such as learning theories, assessment, equalities, inclusion and teacher health and wellbeing. An additional PSHE award is also available to all students.

You will complete six modules, five of which will require a written assignment. For the final module, University tutors and school-based mentors will share the assessment against the Teachers’ Standards for the award of QTS. You will have a personal academic tutor to guide and support you, as well as a dedicated subject mentor in both placement schools. 

Two-year Master FLE

The Université Paris Nanterre offers a two-year Master FLE route where the second year is spent undertaking a PGCE or PGDipEd in Britain. The credits acquired as part of the PGDipEd are taken into consideration when awarding the Master FLE (rather than count toward the MA in Teaching Studies). The Master FLE is a popular route and every year we welcome a number of Nanterre students on the PGDipEd course. 

Living and Studying in Birmingham

Vibrant and diverse, Birmingham is a European centre for retail, commerce and culture. Appropriately, its civic motto is ‘Forward’, and it is its driving ambition and attitude which makes Birmingham a great place to study, work and live.

The Elaine Hurman Prize

Established by John Hurman in memory of his wife, a former student and teacher of Modern Languages, a prize of £200 is awarded annually to a student teacher in Modern Languages for demonstrating particular expertise in eliciting oral responses in the target language in class. Eligible students are nominated by mentors and the successful candidate will be recommended for the prize as a result of their classroom proficiency in the above areas.

Our PGDipEd in Modern Languages is highly regarded locally and nationally. We have an excellent record of student teachers gaining jobs at the end of the course and many of them chose to stay in the region.

Our employment rate is very high, and a number of our student teachers go on to become heads of department, lead practitioners or mentors working in partnership with us.

Once you have completed the PGDipEd and your induction years, 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

Alumni profiles

Farhat Mustaq, Modern Languages Alumna 2009

Edwina, Modern Languages Alumna 2015  

What students say about the course

‘The PGDipEd in MFL was a challenging and rewarding course which laid the foundations for excellent teaching practice. I was given continual support both at university and at my school placements. The Masters level assignments allowed us to gain an academic understanding of teaching and I am keen to return to gain a Masters in Education in a few years.’ Stephanie Seal

"I chose to study at the University of Birmingham for my PGDipEd, because of the quality of the course. I felt it would offer me the training and support I would need to grow into a good teacher. It did meet my expectations, and beyond them." Kevin Perrault

‘Being French, I thought it could have been very challenging to pass this course but it is absolutely possible for a non-English speaking person. The MFL sessions were very useful and helped me in my teaching development.This was a tough year, but I am very glad I did it at the University of Birmingham.’ Marine Masson

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