Education (Secondary)

Study Secondary Education and graduate with a university degree

Where can I be challenged in my thinking and gain practical and hands-on experience that will allow me to qualify to teach in secondary schools? How can I best support effective learning? How can I ensure that all learners feel valued, safe and included?

Stirling has long been distinctive amongst Scottish universities in offering concurrent courses to prospective secondary school teachers. These degree courses enable you to gain a research-informed degree in Professional Education with an appropriate teaching subject (or subjects) for secondary in four years, rather than the traditional five.

These qualifications are recognised throughout the UK and the world. Successfully completing the course enables you to provisionally register in the appropriate sector with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and enter the Scottish probationary scheme.


GTCS logo 2015

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

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree - except Physical Education

SQA Higher:
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - 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 (C)
  • GCSE English Language and English Literature (C)
  • 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 2.
  • National Qualifications in Mathematics at Intermediate level 2 – C or above.
  • GCSE Mathematics grade B or equivialent (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Four-year Honours degree - Physical Education only

SQA Higher:
AABB - one sitting.
AAAB - 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 (C)
  • 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 2.
  • National Qualifications in Mathematics at Intermediate level 2 – C or above.
  • GCSE Mathematics grade B or equivialent (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Other qualifications


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

Advanced entry
Not available.

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

Essential subjects:
As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply

Some subjects have additional requirements. Please consult the relevant subject page.

Entry to the professional programme is provisional until the end of Year 1 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.

Modes of study

Full-time study (three modules per semester). Part-time study (one or two modules per semester) in the early stages of the degree.

Teaching placements cannot be undertaken on a part-time basis.

It is very difficult to undertake a professional education degree on a part-time basis.

Course contact

ITE Programme Secretary
University of Stirling
Stirling, FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK
+44 (0)1786 467606

Course Director

John I'Anson

Alternative routes

The University currently has an access programme which permits adult returners to gain entry to various degree studies. The programmes 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 EDUU9E1 and EDUU9E2 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.

Find out more

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.

Physical Education

For Physical Education competence across a variety of physical activities should also be displayed (for example, games, dance, gymnastics, swimming). Selectors are likely to give particular consideration to applicants who have outdoor activity experience and/or who have experience in working with children at some level of responsibility (for example, playschemes, coaching).

Degree course

You will usually follow eight semesters (four years) which leads to an Honours degree in the chosen teaching subject(s) and Professional Education. Alternatively, seven semesters (three and a half years) lead either to a General degree, or to a Bachelor's degree in Professional Education. General degree students may only be able to qualify in one teaching subject.

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 a range of core and advanced modules in Education which cover a range of teaching skills in your academic subjects (see subject listings).

You will undertake two school placements, each lasting two to five weeks in January, February and June between Semesters 3 and 4 and between Semesters 5 and 6. 

Semesters 7 – 8

In Semester 7, you have a school placement which is normally 10 weeks' duration, as well as supplementary taught classes. In the final semester, secondary students will undertake further study in their teaching subject as well as completing their Education Dissertation.

Module titles

Year 1

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

Year 2

  • EDUU9E3 - Pedagogy I: The Nature of Learning and Teaching
  • EDUU9A0 - School Experience (placement)
  • EDUU9E4 - Pedagogy II: Differentiation, Assessment and Progression

Year 3

  • EDUU9E5 - Pedagogy Across the Curriculum
  • EDUU9AP - School Experience (placement)
  • EDUU9E6 - Differences and Identities
  • EDUU9T6 - Partnership: Theory and Practice

Year 4

  • EDUU9P/H7- Final Teaching Practice/Evaluation

Teaching and assessment

The course is taught through seminars, lectures and workshops. Assessment is both formative and summative. School experience placements are supported by school-based teachers and through tutor engagement. There are no examinations in Education.

Reading list

There will be a module reader in electronic format available via ‘Succeed’ (the University’s Virtual Learning Environment) at the start of your first Education module.

Combined degrees

Professional Education (Secondary) can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Biology CX11
Business Studies NX11
Business Studies/Computing Science NX21
Computing Science GX41
Computing Science/Mathematics GX91
English Studies QX31
English Studies/History QXHC
English Studies/Religion QXJ1
Environmental Geography FX81
French RX11
French and Spanish RXD1
History VX11
History/Politics LX21
History/Sociology VXD1
Mathematics GX11
Philosophy/Religion VX53
Religion VX61
Religion/History VXC1
Sports Studies, Physical Education and Professional Education CX61

Combined Degree Courses (Secondary)

Normally students following combined courses will study Education with two subjects. Students following Geography or History degree courses will normally qualify to teach Modern Studies as well. History, as a second teaching subject, is available to students whose main teaching subject is English or Religion. Modern Studies is only available as a second teaching subject for students following programmes in Geography or History. Please note: Physical Education is not available in combination with any other degree programme.

Modern Languages

All students wishing to teach a modern language in schools must fulfil residence requirements in a country where that language is spoken. For most students, this means an additional year abroad between Semesters 4 and 5. French can be studied from Beginners' level for this purpose. Spanish can also be studied from Beginner's level as part of the French/Spanish combined degree.

Related degrees

The School of Education offers a concurrent degree path towards qualification as a teacher. This means that students study both pedagogy (the theory and practice 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 our model of teacher education be adopted by other providers in Scotland. The relatively small size of our programme may be considered another strength, as this enables the opportunity to establish close working and pastoral relationships with the students enrolled on our courses over the four years they are with us.

Study abroad

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


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.


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 programmes 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 have never regretted my decision to study at the University of Stirling. As a mature student, Stirling’s ITE programme appealed to me as I could study my chosen subject and Education together allowing me to qualify a year earlier than if I had to do a separate postgraduate qualification. This course allows students to put their academic knowledge to immediate use in regular placements throughout their degree. The Education tutorials are subject specific which allows you the opportunity to ask qualified teachers questions specific to your chosen subject as well as more general questions about teaching practices. The ITE department were very supportive throughout my years at Stirling and I would recommend studying at Stirling.

Rochelle Ireland, graduated 2013.

The ITE course has been very rewarding. I feel prepared and excited about my probation year. Having spoken to many other teachers, I have been told that the Stirling course is one of the best in terms of producing enthusiastic teachers full of new ideas! The staff members are very friendly and helpful; whenever I had a problem or query, I felt comfortable and confident asking for help! The workload is manageable and the practical side of the course is so useful. I left Stirling feeling experienced as I had already visited so many different schools. I enjoyed all of my three placements but I'm not sure I would have survived without the help from my Uni tutor. Thanks!

Stephanie Robertson, graduated 2011.

I like the way the Stirling Education course works in linking your specified subject with the initial teaching course, practicing both units simultaneously, instead of the postgraduate initial teaching course that other Universities run.

Claire Oliver, BSc Mathematics and Professional Education (Secondary), 2011.

The University of Stirling’s ITE course, I believe, is a great way to enter the world of teaching. Being able to study both your teaching subject and Education simultaneously is an excellent opportunity as it really brings together these two aspects of teaching in a cohesive and relevant way. The on-going support offered by the ITE staff members is also worth recognition, as their patience and advice was paramount in the journey from student to teacher.

Sinead Bradley, BA (Hons) English Studies and Professional Education (Secondary), 2011.

Success stories

Over the past several years we have noticed that the students and probationer teachers coming from Stirling University are better and better prepared for their role as teachers. You clearly have an excellent course with excellent lecturers in place. Please pass on my congratulations to all involved in the programme.

Depute Headteacher Pupil Support, Alloa Academy

96% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, 2015)

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

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

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 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


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.

Education (Secondary)
  • Degree award BA (Hons)
  • Type Full-time, Part-time
  • Duration 7 or 8 semesters
  • Start date September
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