Postgraduate Study

If you have already completed an undergraduate degree and want to continue studying then a postgraduate qualification may be for you.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)


The PGCE is one of the most common routes into primary and secondary teaching in England and Wales.  The course usually takes one year full-time or up to two years part-time and is designed for graduates who want to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  It is important to have a qualification in the subject you intend to teach – usually to degree level – as PGCE courses are designed to develop your teaching skills, rather than subject knowledge.

Where to apply:

Most universities offer PGCE courses.  The Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) has details of all courses offered and processes applications for PGCE courses.

The Centre for Education and Employment Research (CEER) have published The Good Teacher Training Guide 2009 (pdf 2,513KB) which compares teacher trainer providers to help you choose the best place for you.

Application tips:

The TDA have developed interactive pages to help you to prepare for your PGCE application and interview:

Prospects also have information on applying for a PGCE, as well as interview advice and tips.

The University of Kent have produced a resource to help you write an outstanding personal statement for a PGCE application, including examples.  They also have a page designed to help you prepare for a teacher training interview.

Funding:

Training bursary

Trainee teachers may be eligible for a tax-free bursary of between £4,000 and £9,000, depending on the subject you train to teach.  This comes from the TDA, but you will be given information on how to apply by your Higher Education Institution.

Student loan

Unlike most other postgraduates, students doing a postgraduate Initial Teacher Training course - like a PGCE - can qualify for the two student loans which are only usually available to undergraduates.

  • The first is a Tuition Fee Loan which will cover the full cost of your tuition fees, meaning that you don’t have to pay your fees up-front.
  • The second is a Maintenance Loan which will help with living costs such as food and accommodation. 

As well as loans, PGCE students may be entitled to a grant which does not have to be repaid.

‘Golden Hello’

PGCE students in England who complete a postgraduate Initial Teacher Training course and then go on to take up a permanent teaching job could also receive a one-off payment of between £2,500 and £5,000 from the TDA.

Master of Education (MEd)


The MEd is a postgraduate academic masters degree which gives you the opportunity to further your studies in a particular specialist area in education.  There are many different courses depending on your research interest, but most courses aim to develop your understanding of the theory, research and policy of education.

Hobsons Postgraduate pages have a search facility which list all postgraduate courses in the UK.  They also provide you with information on postgraduate life.

PostgraduateSearch.com allows you to search through postgraduate courses by subject, qualification and location.

Funding:

Research Councils

These government-funded agencies offer grants to postgraduate students to support both research and taught programmes.  There are seven different research councils that award funding in the form of studentships.  They are very competitive with only around 11,000 studentships being awarded each year.

To find out more about the research councils, visit the Prospects website on public funding bodies.

Professional and Career Development Loans

This is a bank loan which can be used to help you fund up to two or three years of further study.  You can borrow between £300 and £10,000 to pay for tuition fees and living costs.  While you are studying - and for one month afterwards - the interest on the loan is paid by the Learning and Skills Council.

For more information on Professional and Career Development Loans, and for advice on applying, visit the Directgov website.

Other options:

Watch the Graduate Prospects vidcast on postgraduate funding:

Graduate Prospects vidcast on postgraduate fundingwww.prospects.ac.uk

For more information, visit the Prospects website.