Education (Primary)

BA (Hons)


How do you provide an environment within which children feel safe and secure, and can develop their potential? How can I be challenged to develop my understanding of education? What are the best methods of structuring learning and teaching opportunities? How do you manage behaviour effectively and ensure all children in the classroom are included?

Stirling has long been distinctive amongst Scottish universities in offering concurrent courses to prospective primary school teachers. These degree courses enable you to graduate with both a degree and teaching qualification for primary education, whilst studying a subject at university level.

Another distinctive feature is you will become a specialist in one of the three areas' Modern Languages, the Environment or Early Years. Primary school teachers with this specialist knowledge have recently become highly sought-after.

Our concurrent degrees in primary education  will appeal to students who wish to become more than a generic primary school teacher.  The primary education degree will suit those who wish to  study primary education alongside a specific subject or specialism (modern language, environmental science or early years). This means that primary education students will take the appropriate subject modules alongside education modules for the first five semesters of their programme.  In the remaining three semesters of the degree students will study modules within education which draw upon their subject specialism. 

Key information

  • UCAS: XR18; XC11; XX13
  • Degree type: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time, Part-time
  • Course Director: John I'Anson
  • School: School of Education, School of Arts and Humanities
  • Location: Stirling Campus
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ITE Programme Secretary
School of Education
University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 467606

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This course is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

What makes us different?

The School of Education offers a concurrent degree path towards qualification as a teacher. This means that students study both pedagogy (the craft and practices of teaching) and their subject specialism(s) in tandem, one frequently informing and enriching the other. Stirling has offered such a route for over 40 years, and our confidence in this process is reflected in, and validated by, the recommendation of the Donaldson Report into Teacher Education in Scotland that the model used by us should be propagated and adopted by the other providers of teacher education in Scotland. Our size may be considered another strength, as we believe that we get the opportunity to establish close working and pastoral relationships with the students enrolled on our courses over the four years they are with us.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree (except Early Years)

SQA Higher
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:


IB Diploma:
32 points

Four-year Honours degree (Early Years only)

SQA Higher
ABBB - one sitting.
AABB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:


IB Diploma:
32 points

Essential subjects:

The GTC requires all students to have the following English and Mathematics requirements: 


  • Higher English (B)
  • GCSE English Language and English Literature (B)
  • Communications 4 (Higher) and Literature 1


Mathematics requirements (SCQF level 5) one of the following:

  • National 5 Maths (B)
  • National 5 Lifeskills Maths (B)
  • Standard Grade award in Mathematics at grade 1 or 2.
  • National Qualifications in Mathematics at Intermediate level 2 – C or above.
  • GCSE Mathematics grade B and above (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).

There are also additional requirements for each specialism: 

Early Years - to include an SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Biology, Chemistry, French, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sociology or Spanish.

Environment - to include an SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Mathematics or Physics.

Modern Languages - to include an SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in one of French or Spanish.

Other qualifications


Minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.

Advanced entry
Not possible

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Essential subjects:
As listed above.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply

Entry to the professional programme is provisional until the end of year one and subject to interview, a criminal record PVG check and successfully passing all first year modules. If you have a criminal record you should contact the Head of Admissions in confidence to discuss entry to this course.

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Alternative routes

The University currently has an Access Course which permits adult returners to gain entry to various degree studies. The courses offered by the School of Education are open to applicants who wish to gain entry through this route, and a proportion of our intake is set aside for this.  Due to the nature of the degree, and the requirement to have completed modules EDU9E1 and EDU9E2 before progressing onto Year 2 of study, direct access to Year 2 would necessitate a candidate having gained appropriate experience/qualifications elsewhere, generally in a higher education setting.

Application procedure

Entry to this degree is highly competitive. Applications received after 15 January will not normally be considered.

Please note that the main focus of this course is on teaching children and you should be able to demonstrate an aptitude for this.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

You will follow a course of eight semesters (four years). This will lead to an Honours degree in Professional Education (Primary). During five semesters you will study modules in either Environmental Science/Geography or Modern Languages or Psychology, Social Work, Social Sciences and Nursing

Semesters 1 – 2

You will take the following core modules:

  • Education: Purposes, Principles and Practice
  • Education: Learning and Teaching

Semesters 3 – 6

You will take core modules in Education that cover a range of teaching skills, and advanced modules in your academic subjects (see subject listings for Environmental Science/Geography, Modern Languages, Social Work, Social Sciences and Nursing). In addition, you will study specialised primary modules in literacy, numeracy and your chosen specialism (Environmental Science, Modern Languages or Early Years).

You will undertake two school placements in January, February and April between Semesters 3 and 4 (nursery and early years) and between Semesters 5 and 6 (middle stages).

Semesters 7 – 8

In Semester 7, you have a school placement of 10 weeks' duration, as well as supplementary taught classes. In the final semester you will undertake an educational research project linked to your final school placement. Plus another module which will focus on an aspect of teaching either Early Years, Languages or Environmental Science within a primary school setting.

Optional work placement abroad or within a company

Students undertaking BA (Hons) Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in Modern Languages are strongly encouraged to undertake an optional work placement for one year between Semesters 4 and 5. The work placement is not assessed, nor is any credit given for undertaking the placement. Students undertaking the primary course with a specialism in Modern Languages have the opportunity to undertake their work placement as an English Language Assistant in a country where their language(s) of study are spoken.

Delivery and assessment

The courses are taught through seminars, lectures and workshops. Assessment is by continuous assessment. School experience placements are supported by school-based teachers and through tutor engagement.


Year 1

  • EDUU9E1 –  Education: Purposes, Principles, Practice
  • EDUU9E2 – Education: Learning and Teaching

Year 2

  • EDUU9E3 – Pedagogy I: The Nature of Learning and Teaching
  • EDUU9P3 - Literacy and Numeracy in the Early Years - moving to first level
  • EDUU9AO – School Experience (Placement)
  • EDUU9E4 –Pedagogy II: Differentiation, Assessment and Progression

Year 3

  • EDUU9P5 - Literacy and Numeracy in the Early Years - moving to upper level
  • EDUU9AP – School Experience (Placement)
  • EDUU9E6 – Differences and Identities

Students will only take one of the following modules:

  • EDUU9S6 - Primary Pedagogy III - Environmental science in the primary school
  • EDUU9M6 - Primary Pedagogy III - Modern languages in the primary school
  • EDUU9X6 - Primary Pedagogy III - Early years teaching

Year 4

  • EDUU9P/H7- Professional Enquiry Dissertation
  • EDUU9P8 - Primary Pedagogy IV: Planning an Educatonal Enquiry

Modes of study

Full time (three modules per semester). You can study part-time (one or two modules per semester) in the early stages. Teaching placements cannot be part-time.

Find out more

Why Stirling?



In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


In The Guardian University Guide, the School of Education is ranked first in Scotland and eighth in the UK. Criteria include; Satisfaction with Course, Satisfaction with teaching, Satisfaction with Assessment Feedback, Student/ Staff Ratio, Value Added, Career after 6 months.

The Independent Complete University Guide for 2015 has rated the School of Education, as fourth in the UK as a provider of Education programmes and for its research in Education.

The Times Good University Guide recently rated the School of Education as fourth in the UK, in its 2015 update.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.In The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the School of Education had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish University, with 100% of research impact activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

Study abroad opportunities

You have the opportunity to study abroad  through Stirling's well-established connections with several international universities.


The School of Education at the University of Stirling is currently rated number one in Scotland for Education by a number of University Guides and for the quality of its research, and has been highly regarded throughout its 44-year history. The School prides itself on its prominent position within Scottish Education, and works hard to maintain its cutting edge approach to developing new knowledge within the field, as well as feeding this new knowledge into our teaching courses to enrich our core provision.

We work in close partnership with the Local Authorities, schools, Education Scotland and GTCS to ensure that students are supported throughout their studies to become effective professional educators.

Academic strengths

The School of Education has at its head a group of world-leading academics, with strong and established research records, and a wealth of world-class publications ranging from Adult Education to Inclusion. These academics in turn lead successful research groups within the School of Education which are all engaged in knowledge acquisition and exchange. Our teaching is thus informed by the research undertaken by its staff, and this permeates the Initial Teacher Education courses offered by the School.

Our students

I chose Stirling simply because I'm a single parent and travelling to Glasgow or Edinburgh simply wasn't an option for me. Primary teaching has been a goal of mine for a very long time and when Stirling added this to their course choices I jumped at the chance of fulfilling this goal.

Stirling was, and is, an excellent university and in providing the opportunity of studying primary education with a specialism (in my case environmental science) this has, I feel, made me more employable and has helped me to secure a full time, permanent position.

My advice for anyone considering studying at Stirling would be, embrace your specialism, listen to the advice of your lecturers and tutors (they really do know what they're talking about!) and most importantly enjoy your time in this wonderful learning environment. I laughed and cried my way through university, but have to say, this was the best four years of my life and Stirling has provided me with the degree I craved and the expertise I needed to fulfil my lifelong ambition. I now have the best job in the world!

Julie Ann Westmorland, graduated 2013.

I chose Stirling University as I was attracted to the diverse modules offered. It also has the added benefit of being situated within spectacular grounds.

Make the most of every opportunity that Stirling University offers in terms of modules and guest speakers and lectures.

Elizabeth Johnstone, graduated 2013.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The great majority of our graduates enter the Scottish Government’s Probationary Teacher Scheme, which entitles them to guaranteed employment for one year as a newly qualified teacher in a Scottish Local Authority school.  Of course, your degree and teaching qualification will qualify you to enter into a wide variety of other professional roles, such as corporate training and development, museum and leisure education, as well as other career routes less closely allied to teaching.


Fees 2016/7

  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in The Environment
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in Modern Language
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in Early Years  
Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,555.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Fees 2015/6

  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in The Environment  
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in Modern Language
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Professional Education (Primary) with specialism in Early Years
Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,275.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Scholarships & funding

information on possible sources of funding

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