Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Physics with Mathematics

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If you are a graduate Engineer or Physicist who would prefer to teach Physics with Mathematics, our new Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Physics with Mathematics course offers you this opportunity. This course will appeal to with an engineering or physics background who may be currently deterred by the prospect of teaching biology or chemistry. Our PGDipEd will equip you with the skills, knowledge and understanding to become an outstanding teacher of physics and mathematics, two subjects which are currently in demand. 

For those who are eligible, the course also attracts bursaries of £26,000 (2018) and students may also be eligible for a scholarship of £28,000 in lieu of the bursary in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Physics teachers.

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 Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers the equivalent of 120 credits at Masters level (out of 180), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice.

Once you have completed your PGDipEd and successfully passed your induction year, you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete your Masters in Teaching Studies. Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

If you would prefer to teach Science: Physics then you may be interested in our Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Science: Physics

Teacher Training Open Days

Download our brochure for information on all our teacher education programmes. 

The 2013 Ofsted report

“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.”

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' 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 Initial Teacher Education course

During your training year, you will focus on learning to teach Physics to 11-18 year olds but you will also have the opportunity to learn about Mathematics teaching. Key Stage 3 Science is sometimes taught by one teacher so you may also wish to gain some experience of teaching biology and chemistry.

The PGDipEd course lasts 36 weeks, of which 24 are spent in our partnership schools.

Teaching practice will take several forms: school placements and also team teaching while at the University. You will also get involved in small scale research projects for your assignments so that you can evaluate the theory in practice and integrate this learning into your own teaching.

This Physics with Mathematics course will enable you to gain skills in both classroom and laboratory environments using a range of teaching styles and techniques. Classroom management, lesson planning and assessing the success of your lessons are some of the areas which will be covered. You will also find out what children find hard about certain topics, how to vary your approach to minimise these difficulties, and so develop a range of teaching strategies, deploying many different technologies.

Our tutors are very experienced and have all taught in secondary schools and are engaged in research which improves children’s learning experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

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:

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

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees for 2018-2019 are: £9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £16,290 (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 £26,000 are available depending on your degree classification. The Institute of Physics (IOP) also offer a scholarship of up to £28,000 in lieu of a bursary for those who hold a 1st or 2(i) degree, PhD or Masters Degree (2018)

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

Entry requirements

A degree or equivalent qualification is required. Your honours degree should have significant physics content, at least 50%. Degree subjects which allow direct access to the course include Physics, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. If you are unsure about whether your degree contains sufficient Physics content you should contact John Kirkman, Admissions Tutor for the course, who will be able to advise you whether you need to consider a subject knowledge enhancement course before starting at Birmingham. You will also need to demonstrate a breadth of commitment to mathematics, to enable competence across the mathematics curriculum for 11-14 year old children. 

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in English (grade 4 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

Additional information:

New GCSE grades

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal. If there are concerns about the quality of your candidature then an early application gives more time for remediation. 

The UCAS code is: F3GX

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 pass the Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

This course will increase your employability appeal as there is evidence of demand for people with a PGDipED (QTS) in Physics with Mathematics.