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BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) Education (Secondary)

Only available as a Combined Degree

Gain a Secondary Education degree from the University of Stirling. We’re 2nd in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for Education Studies (The Guardian University Guide 2020).

Education (Secondary)

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Key facts

  • Award BSc (Hons), BA (Hons)
  • Start date September
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Accreditations General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)

Choose our BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) Education (Secondary) degree and learn from world-leading academics and outstanding teachers seconded from local schools. This gives you access to cutting-edge practice and research throughout your secondary teaching degree.

Our pioneering approach to professional education gives you time to develop as a secondary school teacher. With our four year teaching degree, you’ll be able to grow in confidence and critically reflect on your skills. The course gives you a more personalised learning experience than the traditional one-year postgraduate route.

You’ll gain a research-informed degree, making you well equipped to enter the world of secondary education from the day you graduate. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), our Educational research had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish university, with 100% rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Professional accreditation

    We’re accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which means that you can apply for provisional registration as a secondary teacher as soon as you graduate.

Entry requirements for your country/region

  • Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

    Except Physical Education:
    SQA Highers
    ABBB - by the end of S5
    AABB - by the end of S6

    GCE A-levels

    IB Diploma
    32 points

    BTEC (Level 3)

    Physical Education:
    SQA Highers
    AAAB - by the end of S5
    AAAA - by the end of S6

    GCE A-levels

    IB Diploma
    32 points

    BTEC (Level 3)

    The following English and Mathematics entry requirements apply:

    • Higher English (B) or GCSE English Language and English Literature (B/6) or Communications 4 and Literature 1
    • Mathematics National 5 (B), Intermediate 2 (C), Standard Grade (2), GCSE (B/6) or equivalent.

    Essential subjects
    There is a preference for a Higher or A Level in the subjects(s) you wish to teach. There are additional requirements for some subjects:


    Additional Essential Subjects

    Biology To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.
    Chemistry* To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Chemistry.
    Physics* To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Physics.
    Engineering Technologies* To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Mathematics and Physics or Engineering Technologies.
    Geography To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.
    French and Spanish (combined) To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in one of French or Spanish.
    Mathematics To include SQA Higher (B), A-level (B) or equivalent in Mathematics.

    *If you opt to study Professional Education (Secondary) with Chemistry, Physics or Engineering Technologies, your degree will be taught between the University of Stirling and Heriot-Watt University campuses, with access to expert teaching staff from both institutions. Find out more about our joint STEM Education courses.

    Widening access students
    Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

    Care-experienced applicants will be guaranteed an offer of a place if they meet the minimum entry requirements.

  • Other Scottish qualifications

    Scottish HNC/HND
    Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

    Access courses
    University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

    SWAP access course - for mature students only. Please check the SWAP progression routes document for details.

    Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

    Foundation Apprenticeships
    Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

    Essential subjects
    As listed in Year 1 entry requirements

  • Other qualifications

    English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
    Merits and Distinctions

    English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
    Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

    Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

    Essential subjects
    As listed in Year 1 entry requirements

  • Advanced entry

    Advanced entry is not available for this course.

  • Additional information

    General entrance requirements apply

    If you’ve taken exams over two sittings, repeated an exam, or been upgraded, the entrance requirements may be higher.

    Entry to our secondary education courses is provisional until the end of Year 1. It’s also subject to an interview and a criminal record PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check.

    Application procedure

    Entry to this degree is highly competitive. Applications received after 15 January won’t normally be considered.

    It is important that applicants for education programmes are able to show their suitability for the programme and for the teaching profession. The main focus of this programme is on teaching children and through your personal statement you should be able to demonstrate an aptitude for this. You should demonstrate knowledge of the Curriculum for Excellence, relevant work experience, and explaining your understanding of the teacher's role.

    Physical Education

    There will be an interview process for the Physical Education programme. We interview 72 candidates each year and if selected for interview you will be taking part in a number of activities during the interview day. These interviews are on fixed dates that applicants would be expected to make themselves available for.

    The interview consists of the following:

    • Practical performance assessments - these will assess both your general ability across a wide range of familiar activities such as Dance, Games, Gymnastics and Swimming (candidates are required to pass all components of the interview day) and give you an opportunity to undertake some teaching with the other members in your group.
    • Team building exercises
    • Group interview
    • Personal interview - you will be required to prepare a three minute talk to give at the start of your personal interview under the title of "You should choose me because…"


    There are specific professional residence requirements and guidance that apply to Education programmes in order for students to fulfil GTC requirements, as well as those set by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Stirling. All Education students should consult with staff in Education at Stirling for full details of these. Secondary Education students who do not undertake an assistantship must discuss the professional implications with staff in Education as well as consulting French/Spanish Course Director/s in order to ensure that they fulfil our minimum language residence requirement.

  • 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 in each skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English 54 overall with a minimum of 51 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL 80 with no subtest less than 17
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

    Pre-sessional English language courses

    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.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

You’ll follow a course of eight semesters (four years), to gain an Honours degree in Professional Education (Secondary). Alternatively, seven semesters (three and a half years) leads to either a General degree or to a Bachelors degree in Professional Education. General degree students may only be able to qualify in one teaching subject.

Semesters 1 – 2

You’ll take the following core modules:

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

To give you confidence before going out on teaching placements, you’ll take part in microteaching on campus. This involves teaching small groups of children. Your practical experience starts in Semester 2 with a two-week placement.

Semesters 3 – 6

You’ll take a range of core and advanced modules in Education, including a range of teaching skills in your chosen subjects. You’ll also go on two school placements, each lasting three-to-five weeks, between Semesters 3-4 and 5-6. Physical Education students will take part in an additional four-week placement. During Semester 6, you’ll spend five half-days in schools.

Semesters 7 – 8

Semester 7 includes a ten-week placement, as well as supplementary taught classes.

In Semester 8 you’ll complete an Enquiry into Practice that’s closely related to your placement, as well as doing further study in your teaching subject.

If you’re a student studying Chemistry, Physics or Engineering Technologies at Heriot-Watt, we offer you the opportunity of combining this with a teaching qualification at the University of Stirling. You’ll study your subject at Heriot-Watt, and take your education modules alongside Secondary Education students at Stirling. You’ll follow the same core and advanced Education modules as other Education students, as well as going on the same four, five and 10-week school placements.

Find out more about our STEM Education courses.


The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course details

  • Teaching

    Our Secondary Education degree is taught through seminars, lectures and workshops. You’ll also have the opportunity to go on school placements to get practical teaching experience.

  • Fieldwork

    Fieldwork and learning for sustainability is embedded within the Geography course at Stirling. Students will develop skills and confidence through participation in fieldtrips and work on campus with Grounds for Learning and local school groups. Students gain first-hand experience of the cognitive benefits of fieldwork as well as the equally important social, emotional and health benefits.

  • Assessment

    Assessment is by continuous assessment. School experience placements are supported by school-based teachers and University of Stirling tutors. There are no examinations in Education.

  • Work placement opportunities

    School work placements are an integral part of this course, culminating in a 10-week secondary school experience where you can teach your chosen subjects.

  • Study abroad

    If you intend to teach Modern Languages in a school after you graduate, you must fulfil residence requirements in a country where that language is spoken. For eligible students, this means applying for an English Language Assistantship via the externally-administered British Council scheme. Students should note that this is a competitive scheme and that the British Council is responsible for its eligibility criteria. It is the student’s responsibility to check these criteria (via the British Council website) and to discuss any potential problems both with staff in Education and with the French/Spanish Programme Director. Students should note that taking two languages from Beginners' level where those languages are core to the programme is pedagogically inadvisable. Any student wishing to go down that route will need the written permission of both the French and Spanish Programme Directors or their appointed representative before being allowed to do so.

    If your specialism covers other subjects, you’ll also have the option of studying abroad for a semester.

  • Contact
  • Fees and costs

    Fees for 2020/21 entry for Professional Education and:

    • Business Studies
    • Business Studies with Computing Science
    • Computing Science with Mathematics
    • English Studies
    • English Studies with History
    • English Studies and Religious Studies
    • French
    • French with Spanish
    • History
    • History and Politics
    • History and Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy and Religious Studies
    • Religious Studies
    • Religious Studies with History

     Fee status

     Fee amount

    Fees for Scottish/EU students £1,820*
    Fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland £9,250**
    Fees for Overseas non-EU) students £13,100

    Fees for 2020/21 entry for Professional Education and:

    • Biology
    • Computing Science
    • Environmental Geography

     Fee status

     Fee amount

    Fees for Scottish/EU students £1,820*
    Fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland £9,250**
    Fees for Overseas non-EU) students £15,600

    Notes for Scottish/EU students

    *The tuition fee is set by the Scottish Government, and may be subject to change.

    Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, students domiciled in Scotland or the EU will be able to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government on their behalf. If you’re unsure of your fee status, you can check your eligibility online.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    Notes for EU students

    The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2019 and 2020 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. The future fee status of EU students enrolling in UK universities will depend on the timing and terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The University will make decisions on fee levels for EU students enrolling in 2021 when further guidance is available from the Scottish and UK governments, and will publicise information about fee levels and financial support available on our University and Europe information pages.

    While students should be aware this may mean a change from the current position where EU students are treated with equivalence to Scottish students, it is also important to note that any changes would also require changes to existing UK and Scottish legislation. Current indications are that the UK would leave the EU at the earliest in 2020, so any changes would not take effect before the academic year 2020/21.

    Notes for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland

    **The tuition fee may be subject to change depending on guidance provided by the UK Government.

    If you’re domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you’ll be able to apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you successfully complete Years 1-3 of your course, you will also be eligible to receive an Honours Year Scholarship valued at £9,250 to cover the tuition fee costs of your fourth and final year of study. Learn more about the Honours Year Scholarship.

    There is additional funding available for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland – please see Funding opportunities below.

    Notes for Overseas (non-EU) students

    You will be liable to pay fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Funding opportunities

    See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

    Students domiciled in Scotland and the EU

    The University of Stirling offers undergraduate funding opportunities for students domiciled in Scotland or the EU. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (RUK)

    The Undergraduate Choice Scholarship provides a £1,000 cash award to all students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland who meet the conditions of their offer and select the University of Stirling as their Firm or Insurance choice on UCAS.

    The University also offers the Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to selected students and provides a £1,000 cash award per year for years 1-3 of study. To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, students require a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent.

    In addition, students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who enter in year 1 and progress successfully through years 2 and 3 will receive our Honours Year Scholarship, which covers the cost of undergraduate tuition fees in the Honours year of study.

    You don’t need to apply for the awards listed above - we'll automatically identify your eligibility as part of the admissions process.

    To explore other scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled overseas

    The University of Stirling offers generous undergraduate funding opportunities for overseas students. To find out if you're eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

What can you do with a degree in Secondary Education?

The majority of our Secondary Education graduates enter the Scottish Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS), which guarantees you employment for one year as a newly qualified teacher in a Scottish Local Authority school.*

Your teaching degree will also qualify you to enter into a wide variety of other professions, such as corporate training and development, museum and leisure education, educational psychology, translation or media.

  • 100% of our students were employed in a professional or managerial job, six months after leaving this course (UNISTATS 2016).
  • The professional skills, communication and confidence you’ll develop over a teaching degree, are transferable into other careers such as the media, PR and training roles.

Alternatively, you may choose to continue your education with a postgraduate degree, or carry out doctoral research, leading to the award of a PhD.

*Participation in the TIS is not compulsory, and some students may choose to follow the alternative Flexible Route – which is less structured and may better suit their personal circumstances.

Students from Scotland, the rest of the UK and Member States of the European Union are eligible to join the TIS. Students from non-EU overseas countries are ineligible for the TIS scheme, but can follow the Flexible Route to complete probationary service if they plan to teach in Scotland following their studies.

Read the Scottish Government’s detailed guidance regarding students and the Teacher Induction Scheme.

  • Employability skills

    Over the course of your four year degree you’ll develop essential teaching skills in secondary education. In addition, the ability to take a specialist subject alongside your teacher training will give you the edge in a competitive job market. You’ll also develop a number of transferable skills, including communication, presentation skills and confidence - ideal if you choose to take another career after graduation.

  • Companies we work with

    We work in close partnership with Local Authorities, schools, Education Scotland and GTCS. This helps to ensure we support you throughout your studies, so you can become an effective educator. A number of teachers are seconded to us from local schools to provide practical and up-to-date experience and knowledge.

    Over the past several years we have noticed that the students and probationer teachers coming from the University of Stirling are better and better prepared for their role as teachers. You clearly have an excellent course with excellent lecturers in place.

    Deputy Head Teacher Pupil Support, Alloa Academy

I am currently teaching history at a secondary school in the Scottish Borders, absolutely loving dream career.
Jenni Cook
BA Secondary Education with History and Politics
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The incredibly enjoyable time I had as a University of Stirling student has made me the confident person I am today.
Blair Haldane
Education (Secondary)
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Having the opportunity to undertake placements in each of my four years of study has been invaluable, allowing me to put learned theory into practice whilst receiving continued support from University staff.
Amy Lambert
BSc (Hons) Environmental Geography with Professional Education
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