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PGCE Chemistry

Become a qualified chemistry teacher at one of the UK's leading centres for curriculum development and research in science education.

Year of entry: 2020


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Postgraduate opportunities

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This course will prepare you to teach National Curriculum science at KS3 and KS4 (11-16) with a post-16 enhancement, specialising in chemistry.

Learn to be an effective science teacher. Gain insight into key skills across the science curriculum: questioning, assessing learning, lesson planning, management of practical work and laboratory safety.

Get to grips with up-to-date thinking and the latest research in teaching and learning. Benefit from our expertise as a leading centre for curriculum development, professional training and research.

Choosing your path

You can choose to study this course as a University of York PGCE trainee or through one of our School Direct routes in partnership with one of the following teaching alliances:

School Direct trainees work with University of York PGCE trainees at the University for Curriculum Area sessions. Whole School Issues sessions are usually delivered in your partner schools.

Each route has a different UCAS and institution code. Please see our information on applying for details. 


On successful completion this course you will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is awarded by the Department for Education (DfE).

When I look back to my time in school, I remember those 'Eureka!' moments of understanding that inspired me to further my education in science. Seeing others have these is just as rewarding an experience. As a teacher, I get to have those 'Eureka!' moments every day.
Dan, PGCE Chemistry

Find out more about Dan's experience.

Leading science educators

Our academics have been instrumental in developing the science curriculum, winning numerous honours and awards.

Rated good by Ofsted

In its most recent evaluation, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) awarded our PGCE programme a Grade 2: Good.

Course content

The York PGCE is designed to ensure that your study at the University and your practical experience in schools work together to help you develop the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you need to be a successful teacher. 

Throughout the course, you’ll develop and consolidate your understanding of what constitutes effective teaching.

You’ll spend two thirds of your learning time in school settings, with the rest of your time spent at the University receiving training. While on placement, you'll receive ongoing support from your tutors when they visit you in school to observe you teach and scrutinise your teaching files. 

There are sessions that are particularly important for chemistry teachers: teaching the concept of acids and pH, elements, mixtures and compounds and exothermic and endothermic reactions.

This course is worth 60 Masters-level credits, which you can put towards a Masters degree through Accreditation of Prior Credited Learning (APCL).


Over the course of your two main placements you’ll have the opportunity to work with different age groups (including gaining some post-16 experience), with different abilities and with students of varying dispositions. You’ll experience a variety of schools and subject departments.

You’ll experience the pastoral side of each school through active involvement with a tutor group. You will be able to engage with the wider life of each school by participating in school trips, parents’ evenings, open evenings, events such as school concerts and lunchtime/after school clubs.

First placement

  • Observation
    Early in the Autumn Term, you'll undertake a number of observations both within you subject specialism and more widely. You may also get the opportunity to teach a small number of lesson segements. 
  • Period 1
    Towards the end of Autumn Term, you’ll teach approximately 8-12 lessons over the course of about five weeks.
  • Period 2
    At the beginning of Spring Term, you’ll teach 10-12 one hour lessons per week. This is about 50% of an average teacher’s timetable.

Second placement

At the beginning of your second placement, you’ll carry on teaching about 50% of an average teacher’s timetable. Towards the end of the placement, you might be given the opportunity to take on additional teaching, up to 75% of a teacher’s timetable.

Additional placements

  • Primary 
    In addition to the two teaching placements in contrasting secondary schools, you will also participate in a primary placement which will develop your understanding of primary and secondary transition issues.
  • Professional enrichment 
    Towards the end of your course, you'll participate in an additional two-week placement which will give you experience of areas you haven't already worked in. This could mean taking part in exciting and relevant curriculum-based projects in schools, or gaining experience of non-mainstream education settings such as Pupil Referral Units or schools for young people with additional needs. 

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Independently and creatively plan, resource and deliver lessons by applying theory, discipline knowledge and appropriate level expectations
  • Create and inclusive, stimulating learning environment by managing classroom dynamics and adapting to need
  • Effectively assess learning and progression through critiquing a range of well-developed formative and summative strategies
  • Critically reflect on, and perceptively develop their own classroom practice by assessing and selecting appropriate evaluative frameworks and engaging actively with a supportive network for feedback
  • Communicate clearly, confidently and professionally with teaching colleagues, pupils, parents, support staff, external agencies and in academic contexts, using media appropriate to the situation
  • Contribute with justifications to debates and developments in secondary education by applying a research-informed approach to the analysis of their own practice and proactively researching broader education issues.
There are so many aspects of this course that I'm really enjoying - meeting new people, experiencing new things, and really jumping into teaching with both feet.
Kirsty, PGCE Chemistry

Find out more about Kirsty's experience.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)
York's tuition fees for 2020/21 entry are £9,250 per year for UK/EU students (including Channel Islands and Isle of Man residents). Further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

You will be expected to arrange your own transport to and from placements. The cost of this will vary depending on the location of your placements and your personal situation. We'll make every effort to place you in a school that you are able to travel to easily.

Successful applicants must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check. The fee for this is £44.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Teaching bursaries

You may be eligible for a bursary from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). 

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

Participation in the PGCE course is an active process. Although there are lectures and presentations, much of your learning will come from workshops, seminars and school and classroom activities.

Trainees come to the course with a range of qualifications, employment backgrounds and interests. Throughout the course you will be encouraged to work collaboratively, sharing your experience, knowledge and technical expertise. Activities emphasise teamwork and require you to share the responsibility for your learning.

Throughout the course, you will be guided by mentors in your placement schools and supported by your university tutors.


Our Science Education Area houses a laboratory, seminar/study space, computing equipment and a collection of teaching resources. The laboratory contains a representative selection of school science teaching apparatus and materials.

The National STEM Learning Centre, based on campus, is working to develop world-leading STEM education for the UK.

Teaching location

The Department of Education is located in Derwent College, on the west part of our campus. Your university sessions will take place in a variety of locations around campus. 

School placements take place across the region. We take many factors into consideration when allocating placements and will work with you to ensure you can get to your placement safely and easily.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll complete three academic assignments:

  • Lesson observation
    You'll critically evaluate the observations you have undertaken during the serial visits to your first placement school. 
  • Evaluation of teaching and learning
    You'll evaluate your early teaching by analysing some of the work pupils have produced in the lessons you have planned and delivered. 
  • In-depth focus study
    This is a small-scale piece of classroom based research. This is an opportunity for you to pursue an individual professional interest by investigating a particular aspect of what it means to teach your subject effectively.

The primary aim of the course is to enable you to meet, and ideally exceed, the Teachers’ Standards and be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  You will also be awarded a PGCE from the University of York at Masters level.

National Science Learning Centre, York. Credit: Carl Spencer / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
National Science Learning Centre, York. Credit: Carl Spencer / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Careers and skills

Most of our graduates become teachers, but the skills you learn will open other career paths too.

Career opportunities

  • Careers adviser
  • Child psychotherapist
  • Counsellor
  • Family support worker
  • Museum education officer
  • Play therapist
  • Youth worker

Transferable skills

  • Ability to articulate complex ideas
  • Learning/teaching methods and strategies
  • Managing time and setting priorities
  • Assimilate, analyse, and evaluate complex information
  • Computer literacy for teaching and learning
  • High standards of personal and professional conduct
  • Presentation and communication skills
I would recommend going and observing some lessons, or getting involved with some outreach in schools to help you decide if teaching is for you. The UK is currently crying out for science teachers so if it's something that has even flickered briefly through your mind, I would give it some serious consideration.
Kirsty, PGCE Chemistry

Find out more about Kirsty's experience

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:2 or equivalent in Chemistry or a related subject such as Biochemistry. We also accept combined honours degrees where Chemistry (or a related subject) makes up at least 50% of the award.

Grade 4 (C) or above in English and Mathematics

The Department for Education requires a pass in professional skills tests, in addition to GCSEs in English and Maths. It is in your best interests to book and pass the skills tests as soon as possible, as they will help us assess your application.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Each route has a different UCAS and institution code. 

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Leanne Mason and Simon Quinnell <br> (Sciences Subject Leads)

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Department of Education

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