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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

PGCE Physics with Mathematics

Good physics teachers are in short supply; you may be a physicist or engineer who is passionate about both physics and mathematics and wishes to enthuse the next generation of young people about these subjects. This course will fulfil your ambitions to become an excellent teacher. The course is designed to combine your learning through practice, with an understanding of some of the theory underpinning effective teaching and 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 both physics and mathematics.

Introducing your course

Are you a scientist with a passion for finding out about the world around you and how it works? Do you want to inspire and enthuse the next generation of scientists and engineers? Then apply for one of our Science PGCE courses: we will prepare you to teach biology, chemistry and physics to pupils aged 11-16, and your specialist science to post-16 students.

On the physics with mathematics course we will additionally prepare you to teach mathematics to pupils aged 11-14. Help to fire the curiosity of all learners about phenomena around them and to learn to question and discuss scientific issues that may affect their own lives. The PGCE will provide you with skills, strategies and understanding to guide your future learners with enthusiasm in your subject.

This is a full-time, one year course that starts in early September and continues through to the end of June, with breaks over Christmas and in the Spring. However it also includes a small number of days in June and July prior to the start of the main programme, in order to access specific training in teaching maths. Dates for these days are available on enquiry or at interview. The course incorporates periods of university-based and school-based work. The balance between school and university enables you to develop your subject knowledge in physics and mathematics whilst developing the skills required to play an effective role in the work of a school or college science and mathematics departments. This is achieved by a range of approaches that include practical 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. We believe that this is best done by working from your own subject knowledge and skills while also having the ability to teach material from the sciences and mathematics which lie beyond your specialism. Students on this course will take physics as their main subject, mathematics as a subsidiary subject, and also work to develop some subject knowledge at KS3 and KS4 across the two other sciences.
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 in school;
  • Strong and individualised support from the University subject tutors;
  • Opportunity to gain the Hampshire ‘Open Country Leadership’ Award;
  • Local fieldwork with pupils;
  • Opportunity to visit the education department of a local theme park.

View the programme specification document for this 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 Science and for Mathematics, 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 tutors: Caro Garrett (physics) and Ros Hyde (mathematics)

Key Facts

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

Southampton provides an excellent route into teaching. The course has consistently been rated highly by former trainees, and has been successful in a series of recent Ofsted inspections.

We have high employment rates from the course and many trainees are actually employed in our partnership schools.

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Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for PGCE Physics with Mathematics
GCSECandidates need to have GCSE’s in mathematics and English language at grade C or above (or the equivalent qualifications). This is a government requirement, and ‘equivalent qualifications’ are as designated by the PGCE admissions team (IELTS qualifications are not considered equivalent)
Undergraduate Degree

This course is designed for those who hold, or expect to hold, a degree in physics or engineering, or a closely related subject. Applicants should also hold an A level, or equivalent, in mathematics.

Skills test

Teacher trainees starting an initial teacher training (ITT) course are required to pass the Numeracy and Literacy skills tests before starting their course. Further information and details of the registration and booking system is available on the Department for Education website, Professional skills test page.

Selection process

Average applicants per place: new in 2012/13
You will be selected for interview based on the following criteria:

  • your application shows that you have appropriate subject knowledge;
  • it shows that experience has been gained in a school/college or working with young people;
  • it is well written and persuasive

Prior to interview candidates are asked to undertake at least two days of observation of secondary physics and mathematics teaching, plus discussion with current teachers. At interview candidates are asked to:

  • give a five minute presentation on an aspect of physics teaching (the brief is provided prior to interview);
  • sit a written test based on GCSE physics and mathematics curriculum

The following selection criteria will be applied at interview:

  • 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 from 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.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.

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

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

Typical course content

Our PGCE Secondary course will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to teach science across the secondary age range, including some opportunities to know more about 16-19 teaching. Candidates should note that the majority of schools in the Southampton partnership serve 11-16 cohorts and access to post16 experience is limited, although those on the physics and mathematics course will be given priority for post-16 opportunities in physics.

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. You will have the opportunity to teach both physics and mathematics, and probably some general science at Key Stage 3, whilst on teaching practice. This will be an arrangement personalised for each trainee, according to the school placements undertaken and the opportunities available.

Our course aims to prepare you to play an effective role in the work of school or college science and mathematics departments. The central focus of the course is on teaching physics and mathematics in a challenging yet accessible way, understanding how children learn, and to produce reflective practitioners through engaging in personal, critical reflection and evaluation. We believe that this is best done by working from your own subject knowledge and skills while also having the ability to teach material from the sciences which lie beyond your specialism. In a combined effort from the university and our partnership schools, you develop your subject knowledge in science and mathematics through a range of approaches: workshops, seminars, lectures, practicals and demonstrations, simulations and micro-teaching activities, independent and group research.

You will work as a member of different groups during the university-based part of the course. In the physics group, you will consider how learning in your specialist area may be encouraged and how key concepts may be integrated into school science courses. As a member of a mixed science group, you will work with students from the other two specialist groups, examining ways of promoting learning across the sciences, and carrying out a range of tasks related to teaching school science.

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.
  • Secondly, as part of the Standards everyone must pass QTS skills tests in literacy and numeracy.
  • Finally everyone must pass three major assignments, Assignment 1 and Assignment 2 linked to their curriculum area and subject teaching, and Assignment 3 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 60 credits towards a Master’s degree. This course also leads to QTS, qualifying you to teach in school.

Study locations

Highfield Campus

Highfield Campus

Some of the Foundation Year subjects will be taught on the Highfield C...Find out more

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