Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

PGCE Geography (1 year)

The Geography Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course aims to prepare you to teach Geography to all ages and abilities in the secondary school (KS3 and KS4) with planned opportunities for enrichment in post-16 contexts.

Introducing your course

Are you a Geographer with a passion for our planet and our interactions with it? Are you excited by the prospect of equipping pupils to engage fully with the world in which they live? The Geography PGCE course will equip you to teach Geography to pupils aged 11-16 and will develop your understanding of key Geographical concepts and processes, as well as developing and enhancing your subject knowledge.

Through high quality collaborative taught sessions, bespoke developmental activities and supportive in-school placements, you will develop skills in planning, delivering and assessing learning activities; equipping you to make a significant contribution to Geography departments during your training year and beyond.

The programme is designed for people who aspire to become excellent geography teachers and who wish to combine their learning through practice in a classroom with an understanding of some of the theory underpinning effective teaching & learning. We aim for reflective and dynamic practitioners who are committed to promoting the learning of all pupils in their classes and to helping every youngster make progress in geography.

The full–time, one year, course starts in early September and continues through to the end of June, with breaks over Christmas and Easter. It aims, through a combined effort from the university and the partnership schools, to develop your subject knowledge in geography and skills for teaching through a range of approaches: workshops, seminars, lectures and demonstrations, fieldwork and micro-teaching activities, independent and group research and through reading and writing activities. Recent trends in teaching and learning approaches are emphasised including the application of information technology, and you will participate in the design of fieldwork, project work and assessment.

Particular features of the course include:

  • The effective modelling of good practice by the tutors
  • The use of small/informal subject seminar and workshop groups
  • An intensely practical approach grounded in a sound understanding of the theory
  • Professional Themes in mixed subject groups
  • A close partnership with a large number of schools
  • The support of trained mentors
  • Strong and individualised support from the University subject tutors
  • Local fieldwork with pupils.

The central focus of the course is on teaching Geography in a challenging yet accessible way, understanding how children learn. At the same time it aims to produce 'reflective practitioners', so personal, critical reflection and evaluation form a key part of the course. 

To Apply

Applications are made centrally online through UCAS Teacher Training (UTT), rather than direct to the University. You can also monitor the progress of your application from this site.

Before applying, you should read the National Curriculum for Geography and the Standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status. You should also ensure that you will meet the criteria set out under Entry Requirements.


On successful completion, you will have gained not only your PGCE, but have attained Qualified Teacher Status. This is the accreditation that enables you to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales


For further information on this programme, email the ITE office or telephone: 023 8059 2413. You can find general information on teaching as a career, including the criteria for QTS, on the Department for Education website.

Programme tutor: Eluned Pickup

Key Facts

The Southampton Education School works in partnership with over 100 local schools and colleges across the region.

The Southampton PGCE provides you with a very firm foundation for your teaching career. We have high employment rates from the course and many trainees are subsequently employed in our partnership schools.

Teacher with pupils

Teacher Training Open Evening

Find out more about our range of teacher training courses and speak directly with expert staff members

Book your place

Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for PGCE Geography
GCSECurrently, you must have GCSE passes at grade C/4 or above in English Language and Mathematics. This is a government requirement, and 'equivalent qualifications' are as designated by the PGCE admissions team (IELTS qualifications are not considered equivalent). If your qualifications are not considered to be appropriate, we can offer GCSE equivalent tests in English and Maths. There will be a charge of £50 for each of these and they are not deemed to be transferable. If you are currently studying for a qualification in a required subject, any place offered would be conditional on a successful outcome, or the successful outcome of a Southampton University Equivalency test. If you have Access or other qualifications, please provide full details of subjects and level.
Degree and wider background:

You should have a strong background in geography. You will probably have gained this from a good first degree award, with at least 50% of the degree normally strongly related to the geography curriculum in schools. At the same time, you should ensure that you come prepared with a wider understanding including any curriculum areas with which you are less familiar. You should also have up-to-date general world knowledge.

There are opportunities for candidates from other subject backgrounds where they can clearly demonstrate significant and relevant knowledge in working with children or in other teaching contexts, for example youth work, learning support assistant or TEFL teaching abroad.

You should ensure that you come prepared with a broad background knowledge including:

  • areas covered in the school curricula with which you are less familiar
  • up-to-date general world knowledge.
Selection process

You will be selected for interview on the following basis:

  1. your application shows good prior knowledge from study and/or
  2. the application shows good experience has been gained in a school or college or from working with young people and/or
  3. the application is well written and persuasive.

The selection criteria applied are

  • good subject knowledge and/or ability to learn further
  • good knowledge of educational issues and a strong sense of the professional demands
  • good interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively (oral and written).

A good academic reference must also be provided from your most recent university or college or in some cases an employer (where you have been away from studying for some time). All places offered will be conditional on enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) and health checks.

Please note, applicants cannot be registered on any other course from September of the year of entry (this includes PhDs and Masters degrees).

You will enhance your interview rating if, prior to interview, you have already observed some teaching and learning in a Geography classroom in a secondary school, and had a discussion with classroom teachers.

At interview candidates are asked to:

  • present a lesson outline on a Key Stage 3 National Curriculum topic (maximum 5 minutes)
  • complete a written task
  • participate in a discussion task.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Geography is an intensive one year course.

Two-thirds of your time will be spent in schools (minimum of 120 days) with the remainder spent at the University with a full programme of lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will spend time in real classrooms during your school experience. You will gradually be introduced into whole class teaching; initially it is likely that you will observe lessons and work with small groups of pupils. The expectation though is that you will quickly develop the skills and confidence to work with whole classes, with the support of your school-based mentor. Below is a summary of some key elements of the course:

  • Preconceptions, personal experiences, why & how school geography is taught
  • Planning lessons and creating medium term plans
  • Geographical enquiry and thinking skills
  • Using ICT resources; maps, textbooks, worksheets
  • 14 – 19 curricula & pathways and work with sixth form students
  • Managing classrooms and pupils' behaviour
  • Planning for fieldwork, local area fieldwork with Southampton schools
  • Evaluating your teaching
  • Getting a job.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Trainees are assessed formatively and summatively across the course. This ensures that progress is reviewed regularly and you are aware of the progress being made against the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are informal activities that need to be completed, and are important in developing a deeper insight into effective teaching.

Besides completion of all subject based tasks there are three elements common to all trainees in order to complete the course successfully.

  • All trainees have to demonstrate that their teaching is suitable to meet the Standards for QTS. This is measured in concert with schools through your own accumulation of evidence based on your time spent in school and university learning. You are reviewed, assessed and ultimately graded on your performance as a teacher.
  • Finally everyone must pass three major assignments, Assignment 1 and Assignment 2 linked to their curriculum area, and Assignment 3. Assignments 1 and 2 are based on aspects of subject teaching, whereas the Assignment 3 is based around a study of a whole school issue.

These assignments are marked at Masters level and if successful in all three, trainees will be awarded the Post-graduate Certificate in Education, as well as 30 ETCS towards a Master’s degree. This course also leads to QTS, qualifying you to teach in school.

Study locations

EEE Building

Highfield Campus, Southampton Education School (B32, B34)

The Southampton Education School is based on the Highfield Campus, in ...Find out more

Share this course Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings