Secondary Geography - PGCE *

Course Code:
Full Time
September 2018

Do you believe that Geography has a key role to play in enabling young people to make sense of, to understand and to make a positive contribution to planet Earth? Are you determined to bring to life the physical and human world that your pupils live in? If so, our PGCE Secondary Geography course will provide you with access to becoming an inspiring teacher.

What's covered in the course?

If you’re passionate about young people and want to introduce them in an engaging and stimulating manner to the world that they inhabit and to Geography in all its forms – including physical, human and environmental - then we’re excited to train you to ensure you excel as a Geography teacher.

You’ll explore the skills and knowledge that Geography offers at secondary education level and train to become a confident, dynamic and creative teacher with the ability to make Geographical thinking and the Geographical mind accessible to all. You’ll discover how pupils learn and explore ways in which you can plan Geographical activities that will ensure they progress and develop their Geographical minds.

Exploring an inclusive and rich approach towards Geography you’ll discover and learn how to make the Geography curriculum in a way that will promote Geographical thinking; learning how to inspire and enthuse your pupils by taking them on exciting and stimulating Geographical journeys. You will be able to achieve this by developing your knowledge and understanding of a range of Geographical pedagogies. These can be used to help pupils to become more self-confident and critically informed about the planet that they inhabit.

This course has links with key subject associations, the Royal Geographical Society and the Geographical Association.

Another key feature of the course is its fieldwork component which includes an in depth consideration of how to devise and plan local urban fieldwork and residential fieldwork with a rural and physical Geography focus.  

Why Choose Us?

  • At least 120 days across a minimum of two placements, in line with the National College for Teaching and Learning (NCTL) requirements, supported by a subject mentor in your school and a personal development tutor at the University.
  • You could be eligible for a Scholarship through the Royal Geographical Society with IBG if you have at least a 2:1 and you can still apply if you have a 2:2, but you’ll need to provide evidence of significant relevant experience. Learn more about scholarships
  • As a trainee geography teacher, you could be eligible for a £26,000 bursary if you have a first, 2:1, 2:2, Master’s or PhD. Learn more about bursaries
  • We’re proud of our high employability rates, with 98 per cent of the School’s postgraduate students in employment or further study six months after completing this course (latest DLHE survey 2014/15).
  • You'll gain Master's level credits gained as part of this course that you can then use towards a full Master's degree, such as our Master’s in Teaching and Learning or Educational Leadership.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 24 March 2018. Come and see how our campus has transformed after our £260 million investment in facilities.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Paul Sanders.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

New £10,280 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,280 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of design and is due to be reviewed and approved to meet our quality standards.

Entry Requirements

UK students

You must have a good degree (minimum 2:2) in a relevant subject from a UK higher education institution or equivalent.

You must have a GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in both English language and mathematics prior to enrolment and if you are offered an interview you will take a written test to assess your standard of English.

If you do not already have GCSEs in English language and mathematics, or their equivalent, and are not registered to take them, you should visit Equivalency Testing.

It should be noted that applicants taking the equivalency tests need to have passed prior to enrolment.

For entry onto a teaching course you will also be required to pass the Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy. Please visit the DfE website for further information. You will not be able to enrol onto your course until you have passed these tests.

Selection Interview

The selection interview will assess your subject knowledge and personal qualities such as the potential to relate well to secondary age students, enthusiasm, sensitivity, communication skills and robustness and resilience for teaching.

You will also take a written test to assess your standard of English.

Applicants must meet The National College for Teaching and Leadership requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

International Students

Entry requirements here

Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy

All trainee teachers MUST pass their skills tests prior to the start of their course. We’ve got tips on how to book them and getting practice in. And if you accept your offer of a place with us, you’ll even get to come to a free skills test bootcamp (subject to availability).

What are skills tests?

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PGCE Sep 2018 FT 1 year £9,250 Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PGCE Sep 2018 FT 1 year £12,000

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Course code: 383L

All applications need to be made via the UCAS Teacher Training website. For more information on how to apply for a teacher training course please visit the UCAS how-it-all-works information page. The UCAS Teacher Training helpline number is +44 (0)871 468 0469.

Visit the UCAS Teacher Training website for details on how to apply.

Skills Tests

We encourage you to take your skills tests as early as possible to ensure you have passed before you start the course.

How to book a skills test

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements


*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Sorry, this course is not available part-time


Applicants must meet The National College for Teaching and Leadership requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit and successfully completing an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Learn more about completing your DBS

Financial Support

Although this is a postgraduate course, current PGCE students are eligible for the finance support package available to full-time undergraduates. You may also receive a Teacher Training Bursary of up to £30,000 per year, subject specific.

Find out more


Your PGCE Secondary Geography Education aims to explore, test and develop the links between Geography in education theory and its practice. The practical workshops in university facilitate a space for learners to conduct this, which is then supported by school placements.

This relationship, between theory and practice, alongside a variety of contrasting school experiences, ensures that you are offered a well-rounded teacher education. We believe that we are training drama teachers to work in any school setting. Your course will feature a range of modules and the opportunity to get plenty of hands-on practice in local schools with support from colleagues in the school partnership and experienced university tutors.

Professional Studies

Professional Studies provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to explore and understand in practical terms the meaning of professionalism in the context of education and being a teacher.  Education is an ever-changing environment and the desire for improvement is strong from all stakeholders.  This module helps you to understand that the best teachers are those who continue to learn themselves and that your continual development can positively impact the learning experience of your students.  You will understand the holistic and positive role of a teacher and the practices and policies of the education framework in which you operate.

Subject pedagogy

Subject Pedagogy provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to explore the nature of Geography in the context of learning and teaching in the secondary school.

This module provides a strong philosophical underpinning to your awareness of the importance of your specialist subject in the secondary school curriculum. By undertaking this module you will be shaping your own rationale for your approach to the teaching of Geography, and to meeting the needs of the learners as they move through the secondary school phase.

Professional Enquiry

Professional Enquiry forms an introduction to active examination of professional practice in the workplace and a reflective approach to personal development. It provides a foundation for future study modules and enables you to develop practice-based enquiry skills.

This module provides opportunities for you as a trainee teacher to conduct a structured enquiry into an area of professional practice that is of direct significance to your current and future professional practice. As well as developing the skills required to undertake this enquiry, in reflecting and disseminating your findings, the intention is that your findings will impact your own and your colleagues’ understanding and practice.

You’ll find that the Secondary Geography PGCE is an intensive and demanding course which challenges people who are highly committed to teaching young people. It is an excellent way to prepare for a career within the profession.

We’ll deliver the course using a combination of workshops, lectures and seminar groups, and by encouraging individual study.

You’ll also complete a profile of evidence towards the achievement of the Teachers’ Standards required by the National College for Teaching and Leadership for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

The main thrust of the curriculum involves the study of education, pedagogy and professional practice, from both generic professional educational and subject-specific perspectives.

At least two-thirds of this course takes place off campus within schools. This means you have the opportunity to gain valuable ‘hands on’ experience in at least two different schools. In most cases you’ll also have the chance to visit other schools, including a primary school.

Trainee teachers are expected to take significant responsibility for their own progress and development. This type of professional development encourages the development of independent, creative practitioners who will be able to take the lead in the future.


120 days across a minimum of two school placements. Placement 1: September to December. Placement 2: January to June.

In September a three week block of daily University based sessions in preparation for school placement 1.

In January a two week block of daily University based sessions in preparation for school placement 2.

Every Monday Subject pedagogy sessions take place from September to January. 

Examples of classroom activities

The course links directly to key Geography priorities including Critical Thinking in Geography, GeoCapabilities, Global Learning, Young People’s Geographies, “I-Use” - statistics in Education, GIS including the Digimaps Ordnance Survey project and the RGS’s data skills in Geography project.

Visiting speakers and their presentations include:  the OS Digimaps project, the Royal Meteorological Society and Geography teachers at KS3 and GCSE. 

Further Study

Our MA Education (MEd) and Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL) courses meet the continuing professional development needs of teachers. Our trained teachers with PGCE credits at Level 7 benefit from advanced standing on these courses due to the M Level credits that can be taken into them from the PGCE.

These courses facilitate practice-based enquiry which generates accurate real-time findings about the quality of learning and teaching in schools. Our highly flexible MEd and MTL courses help to develop your expertise to meet performance management targets and further the strategic priorities of your school or workplace.

Trips and Visits

Two contrasting fieldwork experiences take place and these include:

  1. An urban and human Geography focused fieldwork
  2. A residential rural and physical Geography focused fieldwork. 


Ofsted inspections have confirmed that our trainees “leave their courses with a wide range of knowledge and skills that make them highly employable. Their career progression is swift and they make a real difference to the quality of teaching and learning in their schools.” (Ofsted 2014)

This is an 11-16 years course, with post-16 enhancement, which offers a high degree of employability within secondary teaching.

The high demand for our trained Geography teachers and our consistently high employability scores mean that trainees who successfully complete the course to a high standard have very good employment prospects.


Two-thirds of your course takes place in school and we ensure that you are offered a number of placements in a wide range of educational establishments.

You will do work placements in at least two different schools and also visit others – including a primary. This all helps you to see how teachers are working in practice and gives you a wealth of experience.

You will have the opportunity to do serial and block placements and you will also have trained mentors, who will guide and support your studies and provide you with feedback.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

A fly through of the £41 million expansion of our City South Campus. It will provide specialist laboratories and teaching spaces for the new life sciences courses and a new home for the School of Education.

Science education facilities

Our laboratory and Science Education Learning Room have been newly built for the start of the 2015/16 academic year. The Science Education Lab will enable trainees to encounter and explore the latest Science Education pedagogies, and together with the Science Learning Room will facilitate trainees’ transition from “subject expert” to “expert subject teacher”. Trainees will work in a fully hands-on way with the core science education materials to develop excellent subject and pedagogic knowledge - the twin attributes of the outstanding teacher.


City North is a big, bustling campus, three miles north of Birmingham city centre. It's easy to get to and offers on-site parking. Located 5 minutes from Perry Barr train station, City North Campus is also ideally positioned along major bus routes.

The School of Education will be moving to City South Campus in Edgbaston during the 2017/18 academic year.

City south 1

New developments

Our new development at City South Campus will ensure students have access to the modern facilities, including our specially developed replica classrooms with interactive whiteboards, enabling you to experience the classroom environment.


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

IT Support

Each student has a personal computer user name and server space Specific software for use by teachers and for use in classrooms.

Other items available include:

  • Training and training notes
  • Students can borrow cameras, LCD projector
  • Specialist technician support
  • Dedicated research base for postgraduate research students

Art and Design Department

There are fully equipped art studios suitable for 3D construction, printmaking, drawing and mixed-media. For textile and ceramics specialists, there are sewing machines and facilities for batik work and a large kiln for firing ceramics. The department has an ICT Suite for digital media that includes both Mac and PC computers. There is also access to a bank of Apple iPads for on and off-site digital working including the use of social media.

Design and Technology Department

The department has access to specialist facilities, including a dedicated teaching suite for food and textiles. The textiles area has 10 sewing machines, an overlocker, CAD/CAM embroidery machines, dye sublimation equipment, a felting machine and an electronic microscope that links to the interactive whiteboard. It is also well resourced with surface decoration and construction equipment.

The food area has five electric cookers, combination microwave/ovens, an extensive range of industrial and domestic equipment, eg industrial ice cream makers and electric pasta makers, bench top printer and a CAD/CAM icing printer. The specialist tutor is a Speed Step and basic food hygiene trainer.

There is a specialist room for design and technology teaching and independent work, as well as a well-stocked reference library that contains a wide range of resources that are relevant for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Other features include a recycling materials area, specialist work benches and a bank of computers linked directly to CAD/CAM equipment.

History Department

There are plenty of replica artefacts in the department and other superb facilities, including a huge library of dedicated subject books and an interactive whiteboard. We also inspire our trainee teachers to bring history to life by offering them opportunities to travel to historic sites.

English Department

The School of Education has two dedicated English teaching rooms that contain a substantial children's collection of works including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and multicultural text. There is also a selection of phonics teaching materials, puppets and story bags that are used in teaching sessions.

You can explore the links between ICT and literacy through the department's Digital Blue cameras and electronic photo albums.

Mathematics Department

There are two dedicated teaching rooms for mathematics. The rooms make use of Promethean and Smart interactive white boards. Both rooms contain a library of recent and relevant publications as well as a wide range of resources for use while on teaching practice.

Trainees are supplied with the use of a laptop for the duration of the course. The laptops come with Autograph and Geometers Sketchpad software. There are a class set of iPads available for the teaching sessions.

Religious Education Department

This teaching room attempts to bring sacredness in its vicinities and a visitor will find precious collections of artefacts and devotional utilities, audio-visual resources, books, sacred texts and children's books from a range of religious traditions to support learning and teaching.

Early Years Department

As well as enjoying very strong links with local schools and specialist nurseries, we have a specialist teaching room that has a range of story sacks and puppets, an extensive selection of planning resources, copies of key texts, and toys and equipment that are relevant for foundation stage.

Music Department

The music department has two dedicated classrooms and seven practice rooms, five of which contain dedicated computer-based recording/sequencing equipment. There is also a fully equipped sound recording studio and Apple Mac computers for sound manipulation.

Drama Department

There is a fully equipped drama studio with stage lighting.

Paul Sanders

Senior Lecturer - Geography

Paul is the PGCE Secondary Geography Subject Leader and Geography Tutor at Birmingham City University.

Paul has taught Geography in secondary schools since completing a B.Ed(Hons) in Geography education and has been responsible for developing a range of whole school policies including Teaching and Learning policy as an Assistant Headteacher.

He has been involved in Initial Teacher Education at Birmingham City University since 2009 most notably and successfully in his role as Geography Tutor on the Teach First programme. 

Paul has an extensive and expert knowledge and understanding in Geography subject pedagogy, the Geography curriculum and a broad knowledge and understanding in wider professional studies.

Paul is at present studying for his Doctorate which focuses on the impact of Geography in secondary schools in terms of developing pupils’ Geographical thinking and Geographical Minds.

Whilst at Birmingham City University Paul has contributed to teaching and learning on the following courses: PGCE and PGDE Secondary Teach First, PGCE Secondary School Direct, PGCE Primary and BA Primary with QTS.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295