Social Science PGCE

We will prepare you to teach the social sciences in a flexible and exciting way. UCL Institute of Education (IOE) tutors are committed to promoting good interactive teaching and learning in their sessions, and a collaborative ethos is encouraged so that you share materials, resources and ideas with other student teachers.

At the IOE, you will participate in a range of lectures and seminars designed to enhance your development as a teacher. These highly interactive sessions will cover how children learn, assessment, lesson planning, behaviour management and subject-specific matters. The programme involves visits to sites around London as well as a wide range of guest speakers.

We draw on current research at the IOE and elsewhere to inform your social science teaching and encourage you to engage with recent debates and literature in the field. Our underlying aim is to develop you as a reflective and highly skilled teacher.

In our partner schools and colleges, you will teach your main social science subject (sociology or psychology) at AS and possibly A2 level. At GCSE, most student teachers teach sociology and some teach psychology. In some placements there are opportunities to contribute to relevant vocational qualifications and PHSE.

At Key Stage 3, you may be required to teach some history, religious education or citizenship.


This programme has been designed to enable all students to demonstrate that they have met the Teachers' standards across Key Stages 4 and 5 (14–19 age range).


In your placement schools or colleges, your responsibilities will be equivalent to those of a practising teacher, but on a reduced timetable. The working day starts at approximately 8.30am and ends at 5.00pm. Sometimes it is shorter, but you will need to plan your life to reflect the demands of the school day and the school term dates, which may not be the same as the published IOE term dates.

Days spent at the Institute include keynote lectures, subject lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and directed study days. In addition, time in the evenings and at weekends is needed for further study and planning.


You will be assessed in two ways:

  • on your practical teaching and your progress in achieving the Teachers' Standards at a level consistent with what could reasonably be expected of a student teacher.
  • on assignments, portfolio tasks and, for some subjects, practical projects.

We will monitor your progress throughout the PGCE, and you will record this in a Career Entry and Development Profile statement. This will form part of a portfolio that links into the induction year (your first year of teaching) and your continuing professional development.

Subject entry requirements

You should have a degree in sociology or psychology or a combination of these social sciences

Priority is given to candidates with upper second-class honours (2:1) or above

You should have a good grade at A level in your main social science subject, plus one other relevant A level, ideally in another social science or otherwise in a humanities subject

You should be aware of current educational policies and issues

Substantial experience of working with children in secondary schools is an added advantage.

Where do our students go?

Social Science PGCE graduates are currently working as:

  • sociology and psychology teachers
  • teachers in charge of subject and heads of department
  • heads of year
  • senior leaders.

Visa Information

This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting September

For more information about visas please see our guide to visas for study (pdf, 0.32mb). You can also contact (by email) the international support team for advice.