KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Biology) PGCE

Apply now

The PGCE Biology at King’s prepares trainees to become thoughtful, creative and engaging teachers, through understanding both the research which underpins and advances science teaching, and a wide range of practical approaches. The course is taught by an internationally-recognised science education group with over three decades of acclaimed research.

Key benefits

  • PGCE courses at King’s are rated Outstanding by Ofsted. One reason is the strong research base which informs the course. In the last research assessment exercise, the department was rated second in the UK (REF, 2014).

  • A working partnership with a broad range of up to 150 schools in London and beyond, providing unique opportunities to learn how to teach a diverse mix of students.

  • Prepare students to teach outside the classroom: there is a residential field-trip and several other opportunities to make best use of what London has to offer the science teacher, from the South Bank to the Natural History Museum.

  • 94% of 2018 graduates who sought teaching posts were employed within 6 months of qualifying.

  • Preparing students to teach outside the classroom: there is a residential field-trip and several other opportunities to make best use of what London has to offer the science teacher.
  • Two assessed pieces of coursework give you 60 Master’s-level credits – a third of an MA – which puts you well on the way to a Master’s degree in your chosen profession.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration 37 weeks FT, September to end June

Study mode Full-time

Credit value UK 120 / ECTS 60 credits

Programme accreditations Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is the accreditation which enables individuals to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales, recognising the attainment of a formal set of skills and qualities candidates require to be effective teachers

Course leaders Dr Melissa Glackin

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department School of Education, Communication & Society



Explore campuses

Welcome to King's

In the heart of London

Discover the advantages of studying at one of the top 25 universities in the world and take a look at our central London campuses.

Watch more videos

Course detail


The PGCE Biology is a full-time course that consists of four required modules and two blocks of teaching experience based in secondary schools within London and Greater London. You will complete the course within ten months, studying September to June. You must take modules totalling 120 credits to meet the requirements of the qualification.

You’ll engage in education, pedagogy and professional studies sessions and curriculum workshops. These will take place in both university and school settings and will develop your expertise in general educational and professional issues, as well as subject pedagogy.

You’ll gain the skills and understanding to take up positions in schools as a teacher of your subject with the potential to contribute fully to the life of the school.

School Direct Route: The School Direct teacher training route is composed of a partnership between King’s College London and a lead school. Students apply to the lead school for admission to the programme. The academic components of the course are delivered by King’s College London whilst the secondary school teaching experience is organised by the lead school.

Course purpose

The aim of our course is to make you an effective teacher of science and to help you develop high professional standards. Our course is designed to prepare science teachers to work in secondary schools as part of a team that teaches science up to Year 11 and biology to Years 12 and 13 (post-16).

Course format and assessment


You can typically expect:

  • The equivalent of over 50 days of academic sessions at King’s (typically three hours in the morning and/or afternoon spread throughout the academic year)

  • Approximately 120 days of teaching placement.* This includes a short period of placement in primary schools (typically four days)

  • A number of one-to-one tutorials totalling five to seven sessions across the year. 

  • Two visits from a tutor whilst on placement to observe lessons and monitor progress

  • Regular** meetings with a mentor, who will be a member of staff at your placement school, whilst on placement

  • Written feedback on all credit-bearing assignments within four weeks of the deadline.

* This 120 day figure represents the standard number of placement days. In certain cases, following assessment by course tutors and mentors, students may be required to undertake a greater number of placement days to demonstrate their ability to meet the Teacher Standards.

** Typically each trainee will have a meeting with their mentor during each week they are on placement. In certain circumstances the frequency may vary. The types of learning commitment encompassed within the course vary depending on modules. For this course one credit represents the equivalent of 10 hours of learning and engagement

The breakdown below gives you an idea of the likely workload you can expect:

Professional Practice in Education (45-credit module):

This module covers the teaching practice that students carry out in secondary schools. As such, much of the time commitment is dedicated to teaching and planning lessons. The following table will give you an idea of what a typical academic workload might look like as you progress through your studies:

Seminars/Tutorials: 14 contact hours (seminars/tutorials designed to evaluate teaching performance and provide feedback).

Teaching: 200-220 hours of teaching (this includes time teaching by oneself and ‘team teaching’ in groups).

Self study/assignment work: 216 hours to include lesson planning, observing lessons, marking pupils work.


School Data (15-credit module):

Lectures/seminars: 10 contact hours.

Self-study/assignment work: 140 hours.


Studying Policy & Professional Practice (30-credit module):

Lectures/seminars: 25.5 contact hours.

Self-study/assignment work: 274.5 hours.


Focused Pedagogical Studies (30-credit module):

Lectures/seminars: 200 contact hours.

Self-study/assignment work: 100 hours.



  • The 45-credit honours-level module will be assessed by a combination of a written portfolio (equivalent to 8,000 words) and assessment of your teaching practice against the Teaching Standards as set out by the government’s Department for Education. Progress in meeting the teaching standards will be monitored through three progress reports that will be completed by staff at the placement school.

  • The 30-credit master’s-level modules will each be assessed by a 6,000 word written assignment heavily based on in-school research that trainees undertake.

  • The 15-credit honours-level module will be assessed by an assignment focusing on data collection methods in the school environment.


Students undertake placements in secondary schools that work in partnership with King’s College London. Partnership schools are located across central London and the Greater London area. Whilst every effort is made to place PGCE trainees in local schools, due to the changing nature of initial teacher education and limited availability of placements in certain subject areas, trainees should be prepared to travel to their placement schools throughout the Greater London area and beyond.

Students also organise their own short placement at a state primary school. Further information on this short placement is provided in the offer holder pack and during the course. 


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 120 credits.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on this course page for updates. 


Required Modules

You are required to take the following modules:

  • Professional Practice in Education (45 credits)
  • School Data (15 credits)
  • Studying Policy & Professional Practice (30 credits)
  • Focused Pedagogical Studies (30 credits)
Optional Modules
There are no optional modules offered as a part of this course.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Entry requirements
Minimum requirements  

Our PGCE programmes all require a minimum of:

  • Bachelor's degree with at least 2:2 honours usually in the subject you wish to teach.

  • Knowledge and understanding of the subject you intend to teach. GCSE grade C or above (or an equivalent qualification) in English language and mathematics. Applicants without these English or mathematics qualifications at the time they apply may be considered, but they must obtain them, or pass an equivalent test set by King's, before the course starts.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

All applications should be made through the UCAS Teacher training application system, where you will need to register an account.

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal conviction check) and Occupational Health check are required for the teacher training programmes.

If you have any queries on the application process, please see UCAS’ Frequently Asked Questions.

Personal statement and supporting information

When you apply you will be asked to give us details of your educational background and to provide a personal statement. We will be looking for evidence that your science knowledge is both broad and deep as well as being up to date.  Some evidence of working with young people, as a Teaching Assistant, Student Ambassador, youth worker, etc will help your application. We are looking for applicants who are able to work closely and effectively with other teachers and who can inspire young people to bring out the best in themselves. As such, good communication skills and a confident and caring personality are an advantage.

Application closing date

There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please check UCAS Teacher Training for programme availability.

Please note funding applications may be subject to specific deadlines.


Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,250 per year (2019/20)
  • Full time overseas fees: £18,900 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: n/a
  • Part time overseas fees: n/a

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions


Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books, if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions
  • Course packs, which are a vital part of your learning at King's and normally contain extracts from books and other useful documents that will inform your study
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 
  • Travel expenses in getting to and from placement schools
  • Three-day residential field trip to Juniper Hall - £60
  • Kew Gardens visit – travel expenses
  • Natural History Museum visit – travel expenses
  • Graduation costs

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

The National College of Teaching and Leadership provides tax free bursaries for teacher training courses. Bursaries range from £9,000-£26,000 depending on the subject area you are training in and your academic qualifications. For information on rates and eligibility please visit getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/overview or contact the King’s Admissions Office. King’s will automatically assess your eligibility for a bursary when a place on a PGCE course is offered. King’s will apply for the funding on your behalf once the terms of your offer have been met and you have enrolled on the course.


Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

The majority of trainees go into teaching or other areas of education; many become heads of departments or members of senior management teams; some take up careers in educational administration in the advisory or inspection services.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

Download guide

View online

Sound like the course for you?

Apply now

Explore King’s

Accommodation Take a look at our comfortable, safe residences to suit your budget, located close to King's teaching campuses. 
Student life Art, food, music, shopping – you'll never find yourself with nothing to do in the world's most vibrant city.
Extra-curricular Discover the huge variety of extra-curricular opportunities at King’s, from MOOCs to language courses.
London living With four campuses by the River Thames and one in south London, King's is right in the heart of the capital.