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Secondary PGCE : Science with Biology, Chemistry or Physics

Search and apply for our courses on the .gov website:  University of Cambridge (C05)

The educational experience offered in the science PGCE course has been unparalelled in my life. James and Mark are extremely good pedagogy teachers and offer high levels of support throughout the year. I doubt that many courses offer the quality of education as provided by these three individuals.

Bursary & Scholarship

The RSC and IOP are offering scholarships to the most gifted candidates training to teach Chemistry and Physics.  If you are not eligible for a scholarship, Home trainees in Biology, Chemistry and Physics will be eligible for a DfE bursary.

See the DfE webpages for more details. 

PGCE student group

What will I study?

All trainees study a jointly taught course of which covers areas of concern common to the teaching of all the sciences such as laboratory safety, new developments in science courses and the implementation of science education research in the classroom, to enable them to teach National Curriculum science to Key Stage 4 (11-16). They also follow a chosen specialism of either Biology, Chemistry or Physics to enable them to teach this to Key Stage 5 (16-18).
Trainees will also learn about risk assessment, and will work in many laboratory-based practical sessions, and reflect upon and evaluate the effectiveness of widely used school science courses. As the course continues, trainees will have the opportunity to learn about the use of new technologies in education, such as blogs and wikis, and consider how to approach controversial and ethical issues with school students.


The Biology course puts a strong emphasis on trainees collaborating together. It has a strong practical and fieldwork focus. There are opportunities to learn about organising fieldwork in the outdoors, and using molecular biological techniques within the classroom. There is also a key focus on plant biology, to develop and enhance students' teaching and learning strategies when teaching plant science.

Who comes on the course? The course draws graduates from a wide range of life science degree courses, including psychology. The course seeks to promote biology specialism at 16+ but recognises the need for all science teachers to be able to teach outside their specialism to at least Key Stage 3.


The chemistry course puts an emphasis on participation, planning and practical work, thinking about how we can ensure that all students are engaged in activities in a way that allows them to learn. The course includes seminars on a range of subjects including common misconceptions and how to overcome these, running laboratory-based lessons and techniques of assessment. Sessions will allow you lots of opportunities to take part and practise the skills you are gaining.

Who comes on the course? The Chemistry specialist route is available to graduates whose degree course included chemistry (e.g. chemistry, biochemistry, materials science, metallurgy, earth sciences)


The physics course aims to show current developments in school physics teaching both as it is today and how it might be in the early years of a teacher's career. The teaching is based in the laboratory and built on a combination of practical work, seminars and workshops that explore both what students need to learn as well as the strategies and approaches teachers can take to support this. How students learn physics and develop an understanding of physics in its wider context both within and outside school are high priorities of the course. We have strong links with the Institute of Physics as well as the wider science education community including organisations such as the Ogden Trust and The Association for Science Education.

Who comes on the course? Applicants with backgrounds in physics, engineering, materials science, astronomy, geophysics and other cognate subjects are welcome to apply.

PGCE study group Faculty of Education Cambridge

How will I study it?

The course is run by a team of experienced lecturers, all of whom began their careers (and in some cases still are) teaching the 11-18 age group.

Mark Winterbottom - lecturer in Biology education.

James de Winter – associate lecturer in Physics education.

Jo Haywood - senior teaching associate in Chemistry education.

Charles Petit – teaching associate in science.

In addition, a selection of guest speakers contribute to the course throughout the year.