Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Religious Education

Start date
36 weeks
UCAS code
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Students discuss the teaching placement

The Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Religious Education) leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and offers 120 credits towards our MA Teaching Studies. 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 Diploma 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 and philosophy education. 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 programme was cited as an example of good practice by the PSHE Association as it embeds whole school issues into its curriculum. 

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 PGDipEd, you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete your Masters in Teaching Studies

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. PGDipEd (QTS) Secondary Religious Education is also offered as a School Direct programme with Lordswood Girls’ SchoolSt Paul’s Caritas Christi and Windsor Academy Trust.

Funding may be available through the Culham St Gabriel's Trust Masters scholarship. 


Why teach religious education?

Find out more about the Beyond the Ordinary national campaign which highlights the benefits of a career in teaching religious education. On the My Future. My Career. My RE. website, you will also find a number of real life stories from individuals each have a different take on the knowledge and skills they gained through religious education.

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 Diploma 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

Read Farida's full profile

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Fees for 2021-2022 are:

£9,250 (UK), £19,440 (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.


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.

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 2020-2021 are:

  • a Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 to cover your fees
  • a Maintenance Loan of up to £12,010 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 the UCAS Teacher Training portal. We recommend you apply early as possible as the course is often full by Spring. 

UCAS 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

All applicants to the Religious Education Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution. 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. Graduate 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.

You must also have a GCSE in Maths and English (grade 4 or above*) or an equivalent qualification which must be attained before you make an application. 

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

Before you start the course

At the University of Birmingham, our PGDipEd 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. The link for the 2020-2021 RE PGDipED pre-course will show some of the tasks you might be asked to complete if you were accepted onto the PGDipED RE pathway. 

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 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

3 weeks (from start of Sept)

Pre-course open access learning (plus school induction for SD students)

7 weeks

School Attachment 1 (4 days in school, 1 day in Uni)

2 weeks

Winter vacation

3 weeks

School Attachment 1 (continues)

1 week

University Enrichment Week (cross-phase experience, learning outside the classroom, fieldwork etc.)

1 week

University Week

8 weeks (includes school half term)

School Attachment 2 (4 days in school, 1 day in Uni)

2 weeks

Spring vacation

9 weeks (includes school half term)

School Attachment 2 (continues) (5 days in school)

1 week

University week

You will complete six modules, five of which 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.

The programme includes the study of subject-based teaching methods as well as the study of broader whole school issues.  The course will not pretend that teaching Religious Education is straightforward, because it is not! Our sessions will rarely be of the form of a lecture, instead we use activities and discussion as the main way of working. We will help you become aware of issues relating to planning lessons, assessment, the difference between telling students information and teaching students, how to provide learning experiences which meet the needs of students with different learning styles, how different approaches to teaching a topic can change the learning experience for students, how choice of teaching methods, resources and technology can change the sort of religious education with which students engage. Along the way we will, of course, also introduce you to the National Framework and local agreed syllabuses for religious education and you will have some opportunities to experience religion at first hand!

You will also get an opportunity to plan, resource and delivering a 6th form conference at the university of Birmingham for over 100 Year 12 and 13 pupils from local schools. This is a unique opportunity and experience and ensures you will leave your training year not only fully equipped to plan, resource and teach A Level but also with the skills of team work, planning for diversity and inclusion and the skills of conference management. 

Learn more about the A Level Conference in this video.


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 benefit from a specialist programme, working with a subject tutor and peers, developing a professional network which will sustain you into your career. You will have a personal academic tutor to guide and support you, as well as a dedicated subject mentor in both your placement schools.

The School of Education collaborates with the University of Birmingham School to offer a number of activities designed to enhance pupil experiences of learning Religious Education and your experience of learning to teach Religious Education.  Examples of these activities include field trips, master classes and small group teaching.

Those students who qualified through the PgDipEd (QTS) Religious Education programme in University of Birmingham can take advantage of a generous grant scheme run by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust called 3ForRE which enables alumni to undertake the masters qualification in an affordable, manageable way. It is a unique scheme based on a three-way partnership between RE Teachers, schools and Culham St Gabriel’s Trust. Culham St Gabriel’s will pay up to £1700 per year of fees (2019) for those University of Birmingham PGDipED Religious Education alumni who undertake a dissertation on an RE theme and are accepted onto the MA Teaching Studies programme following a successful NQT year.

The Hockerill Foundation also have a grant scheme and the first deadline is 31st March each year. You can still apply in April and May, and these applications will be considered in June. However, whilst later applications will be considered, only a few applications will be approved at this later stage. 


Many local schools have a high regard for Birmingham Religious Education PGDipEd (QTS) students and we have an excellent record of students gaining jobs at the end of the course. Many of our ex-students are now Heads of Departments in our partnership schools. View the profiles of some of our alumni:

Ruby AliRuby graduated in 2020 and is a Teacher of Religious Studies at King Edward VI School, Lichfield

I chose to pursue teaching at the University of Birmingham because the course is unique in offering a PGDipEd. This meant that I would gain a QTS with an additional 120 credits of a Masters in Teaching Studies and the option of returning to complete the remaining 60 credits of the Masters.

Read her full profile

Amy ThompsonAmy graduated in 2015 and she is now Subject Leader of Religious Studies at the Thomas Deacon Academy.

This PGDipEd course prepared me so well for teaching. It made me more organised and made me priorities and consider pedagogues I’d never heard of. Whilst it may seem tough at times you will look back on it so fondly! I honestly believe no other course will prepare you as well as this one. 

Read her full profile

Jack SymesJack graduated in 2014 and is a Philosophy teacher, at King Edward VI High School for Girls

While I was at Birmingham and since, support from my mentor has been phenomenal. Sincerely, all of the opportunities that I have been afforded since leaving the university, I owe to my mentor. During the course itself, the staff at the School of Education are incredibly supportive. The administrative team, the course lecturers – the department is full of wonderful people. There is a unique sense of togetherness which is contagious from day one.

Read his full profile

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