Routes into teaching

To become a physics teacher in Scotland you will need to train via an undergraduate or postgraduate training route. You can train through either of these part-time or full-time.


Undergraduate route

It is essential that you have a degree before you start teacher training. If you don’t yet have a degree, you can study for a combined – or concurrent – degree course at the University of Strathclyde. The BSc in Physics with Teaching Qualification degree includes study of physics and of education as well as some school experience in your third and final year of study.

To apply for an undergraduate degree course you will need to submit an online application through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The closing date each year is mid-January, although late applications may be considered subject to vacancies.

Postgraduate route

If you already have a degree in physics, you can study for the one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). This is the most popular way of qualifying as a secondary teacher in Scotland. You may be able to study for the PGDE part-time or by distance-learning.

Studying for this diploma is divided equally between learning in university and in schools. University activities will include lectures and workshops, whilst school activities will include observation and analysis of teaching and learning. Working with teachers and pupils in this way will give you the opportunity to develop the teaching skills learned at university as well as to implement your own theories about teaching within a supportive and evaluative environment.

Entry requirements

A degree from a UK university or an equivalent degree from outside the UK is a prerequisite of the PGDE. The degree should normally contain 80 SCQF credit points relevant to physics, with 40 of those credit points being at second year undergraduate level or above. You will also need Higher English or an equivalent qualification and a National Qualification in Maths at SCQF Level 5.

How to apply

Applications for all PGDE courses are submitted via the UCAS undergraduate application system. Applications submitted by mid-January each year are guaranteed to be considered. You might be able to apply after this deadline but you will need to check with the course provider first to see if they have any places left.

An interview, usually by a member of the university staff and a physics teacher, is a required part of the application procedure. The assessment process typically consists of a panel interview and a presentation on a topic of your choice.