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Postgraduate Certificate Secondary Education (QTS) - Religious Education

Start date
36 weeks
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Religious Education) leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Our 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.

On our Postgraduate Certificate Secondary Education (Religious Education) course you will be challenged to develop informed and justified decisions about how you approach your teaching, in order to enable you to continue to develop over your career. On the course you will develop a deep understanding of issues and complexities which surround the teaching and learning of Religious Education, Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics. We wish to develop you as a thinking teacher who can be aware of a variety of effective ways to teach Religious Education and make informed decisions about how you work with students. 

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 Religious Education course.

On successful completion of your PGCE, you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete your Masters in Teaching Studies

You may be eligible for bursaries of up to £10,000, depending on qualifications (for 2024) in line with the government’s priority to attract more well qualified Religious Education teachers. 

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham in the West Midlands, 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. 

Why teach religious education?

On the Culham St Gabriel's website, you can find out more about how a career as a teacher of RE can work for you and watch their webinar with discussion from current RE teachers.

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:

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

Every day will contain both highs and low, young people can be very challenging, but knowing that you are making a difference to their lives, even though they may not appreciate straight away, is something that keeps me going in the teaching profession. There is an overwhelming feeling of purpose in being a teacher.

Farida Chand, Alumna


Fees for 2024-2025 are:

£9,250 (UK), £24,120 (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 PGCE 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.


You may be eligible for a grant from the Hockerill Foundation. You can apply from December for the following year. Applications received by the first deadline of 31st March may stand a better chance of success.

Additional funding may be available through through Culham St Gabriel's and Keswick Hall Trust

Applications to the St Luke's College Foundation can only be made between January and May each year. 

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 2024-2025 are:

  • a Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 to cover your fees
  • a Maintenance Loan of up to £10,227 (out of London) 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

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. We recommend you apply early as possible as the course is often full by Spring. 

Course Code: V6X1

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

We expect candidates for the Secondary PGCE (QTS) to be able to demonstrate the academic quality to teach the subject that they will be training to teach. This will include a strong academic record at A level or equivalent in relevant subjects, along with a strong degree (usually a minimum of 2:2) relevant to the subject taught. In all cases we will be looking at the relevance of your degree, other qualifications and experiences related to your proposed teaching subject in assessing academic suitability. You must also have GCSE Mathematics and English (Grade 4/C or above) or equivalent qualifications which will be a condition of any offer, if not already achieved. Equivalency tests will be accepted but only from equivalency testing.

All applicants to the Religious Education PGCE (QTS) course must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution or an equivalent qualification. Normally this should be a minimum of 2:2 or equivalent qualification and this will be a condition of any offer where the degree has not already been awarded. Your degree should normally have 50% Religious Studies, Philosophy or Theology content. Graduates with Sociology, Ancient or Modern History, Classics or Politics who also have a good pass in A level Religious Education, Religious Studies, Philosophy or Critical Thinking are also invited to apply.

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.

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

Before you start the course

At the University of Birmingham, our PGCE students undertake some pre-course study in the week before they start their academic sessions here on campus. This is so that students can be prepared for Post-Graduate University teaching and learning and start to engage in, and understand, the wider educational background linked to their chosen subject area. 

At the University of Birmingham we pride ourselves on supporting and nurturing the best Religious Education teachers, to make a real impact and difference to young learners lives. We believe that allowing you some time at the start of the course to complete independent study enables your development as engaged, reflective and driven student teachers.

The Initial Teacher Education course

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

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.

Our modules are designed to follow a coherent and cohesive trajectory that will prepare you for your first teaching post. These include modules that focus on working with expert teachers who provide opportunities to practise and receive targeted feedback on core skills, as well as academic assignments that involve making links between practice and recent relevant research.

You will have a personal academic tutor to guide and support you, as well as mentoring in both your placement schools. 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. 


Many local schools have a high regard for Birmingham Religious Education students and we have an excellent record of ex students gaining jobs at the end of the course. Many of them are now Heads of Departments in our partnership schools.

Many of our students have successfully completed the Masters in Teaching Studies and their research has developed their practice as an RE teacher. Some of their work has been published to support the wider RE teaching community. The dissertation by Helena Moore on the teaching of religious attitudes towards homosexuality in the Religious Studies classroom: An exploration of pupil reflections was published in a national/international research bulletin as was A tale of two halves: Why perception will be the rise of Religious Education. Uzzy Akhtar from the University of Birmingham was one of the co-authors of this dissertation.