Primary (English Medium) PGDE

Course code X100

What is special about this course?

The PGDE consists of 18 weeks study at the university, plus 18 weeks of professional practice in schools. The placements in schools are arranged nationally and you will be placed in schools within travelling distance of your home or term-time address.

This course is offered at eight of our UHI campuses who work in partnership with their local authority. You will be required to have a home or term-time address in the local authority area of your chosen campus. It is also offered in partnership with the Scottish Borders council for applicants based in the Borders, who become registered through UHI Moray.

You will benefit from studying in small, locally based groups while collaborating remotely with other student teachers and tutors across the university’s network of centres. The programme overlaps significantly with the PGDE Secondary to offer a cross-sector perspective.

A mandatory three-day residential induction is held at the start of the course, with a further residential in March which focuses on STEM and outdoor learning. Each local cohort will also organise a showcase event at the end of the course, as part of developing teacher leadership.

Special features

  • The course will prepare you for life as a reflective professional, supporting high quality learning for the children you teach
  • The course also offers the option of gaining up to 40 masters level credits by submission of assignments at SCQF level 11
  • Our integrated and blended teaching model provides the framework for integrated assessment of all four modules and the consequent achievement of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) (2021) Standard for Provisional Registration

Entry requirements


Important: Please click here to read our FAQ sheet for essential information about applying to this programme.


  • Applicants should hold a degree at undergraduate level. An honours degree at 2:2 or above is preferred, as the teaching on the course sits at honours and masters level
  • Applications will be considered from those not holding honours who are able to evidence sufficient academic capacity to undertake the course, by providing a transcript of their undergraduate degree.

In addition to the above, applicants must hold the following qualifications prior to application to the course:


  • Scottish Higher (C or above), OR
  • A level (D or above), OR
  • GCSE English Language (C/4 or above) and English Literature (C/4 or above) or equivalent, PLUS

Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics: 

  • National 5 (C or above), OR
  • SQA Intermediate 2 (C or above) or Standard grade Credit OR
  • GCSE Mathematics (Grade C/4 or above) or equivalent

We recognise the current difficulties in gaining direct work or voluntary experience with primary-aged children. We expect your personal statement and supporting reference to clearly demonstrate what has informed your sense of readiness to apply now to become a primary teacher.

Selection events are usually held virtually in late February or early March.

Please note:

  • This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage
  • This course does not accept applications for deferred entry; if you wish to take a year out, for example, you must apply next year

Applicants who have lived outside the UK for a period of six or more consecutive months in the past five years will also be required to provide criminal records checks from all relevant countries prior to enrolment on the course.

Applications for the PGDE in Primary Education must be made through the main UCAS scheme in the same way as undergraduate courses. This applies to all institutions in Scotland delivering the PGDE. Applicants must provide details of their degree, English and Mathematics qualifications within the application, as failure to do so will lead to automatic rejection. Application deadlines include submission of references. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that referees are aware of the deadlines and that the application is submitted fully prior to the relevant deadline.


PGDE Taught Modules

Building Professional Knowledge and Understanding (20 credits)
This module introduces the PGDE weekly themes, through key readings, tutor input and collaborative tasks. You will make connections between what you read or hear and other readings, observations, discussions and school-based practice experience. The themes have been aligned to the GTCS (2021) Standard for Provisional Registration. 

Module keywords: collaborative, learning, teaching, policy, practice, curriculum, professionalism 

Developing Teacher Identity and Practice (20 credits)
This module builds upon and develops the PGDE weekly themes, through individual tasks and a group seminar. The module supports you to dig deeper into the weekly themes and to take ownership of them, in terms of the professional learning you will need to undertake to support becoming ready for classroom practice. 

Module keywords: learning, teaching, policy, practice, pedagogy, curriculum, identity, professionalism, agency 

Reflection and Enquiry as Professional Learning (20 credits)
This module is delivered by tutor-led workshops linked to work in dialogic triads with students in each partner campus. This dialogue focuses on the development of reflection as a key skill to underpin classroom practice and enquiry, and on gathering evidence as the means to illustrate practice aligned to the GTCS (2021) Standard for Provisional Registration. The workshops and activities relate directly to academic writing, programme assignments and an e-portfolio of professional learning.
Module Keywords: policy, practice, pedagogy, curriculum, reflection, enquiry, criticality 

Professional Practice (Primary) (60 credits)
The Professional Practice (Primary) module engages you in tutor-led workshops linked to collaborative tasks in each partner campus, as the means to prepare you for 18 weeks of school placement teaching experience in three different schools and age ranges. Sessions are designed to enrich foundational aspects of classroom practice through a range of learning and teaching methods, to mirror the active and social learning processes you will employ in the classroom with your pupils. 

Module Keywords: schools, learning, teaching, policy, practice, pedagogy, curriculum, reflection, enquiry

How will I study my course?

  • Full time - individual and collaborative engagement five days each week
  • For the taught element of the course, you will study through a range of digital learning approaches structured through the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
  • Three 6-week blocks of Placement (teaching practice) in schools

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll - Oban and other centres such as Lochgilphead or Dunoon, if there are sufficient numbers
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides - Fort William; Thurso
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • Applicants based in the Scottish Borders should register via UHI Moray

Start date

  • August


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes:

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
PGDE £1,820 £1,820

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
PGDE £9,250 £9,250

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying. Students who are resident and studying in Scotland can apply for their fees to be paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). SAAS will determine eligibility.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes. Students on this course will get an automatic fee scholarship of £3,000.

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 With scholarship 2024-25 With scholarship
PGDE £13,980 £10,980 £14,988 £11,988

Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
PGDE £13,980 £14,988


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

Additional costs

  • PVG disclosure check
  • Travel to the residential inductions - meals and accommodation are provided
  • Travel to school placements - these are arranged through the GTCS national system to be within 90 minutes travel time from your term-time address

What can I do on completion of my course?

Graduates will hold provisional registration as a primary teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). This qualifies students with Scottish and RUK fee status to apply for GTC Scotland’s induction year, the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS), which can then allow teachers to qualify for the status of full registration (your fee status is assessed based on both nationality and residency criteria, and will be stipulated in your offer letter).

Students from non-EU countries are not eligible to join the TIS but can follow the Flexible Route to complete their probationary service if they are able to remain in Scotland on the completion of their studies.

Can I progress into further study?

The PGDE Primary course links directly to Masters’ level study opportunities within UHI Education, which structure a career-long pathway of professional and leadership learning. This includes the MEd Critical Enquiry, the PgCert Middle Leadership (starting February), and the MEd Specialist Qualification in Headship (with approval from an employing local authority).

Is there more information available online?

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The opportunity to undertake student placements was a personal highlight for me. In teaching you really learn from experience and you really see first-hand the skills, understanding and knowledge that is required day to day as a primary teacher. I had such a positive experience with my first student placement and my student mentor and school were a great support.

PGDE Primary Teaching graduate Jade McIntyre now based at Cauldeen Primary School in Inverness

The balance of theory and practice – with placements in local primary schools alongside taught modules in college and some distance learning - allows students to build up their teaching experience while undertaking the core learning. There is a strong focus on independent study, with an emphasis on encouraging students to develop their own areas of interest and identify their strengths and areas for development from a very early stage.

Emily Mitchell, Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary) graduate, UHI Moray campus.

Apply for Primary (English Medium) PGDE

Applications to this course are now closed for August 2024 entry.
Applications for August 2025 will open in September 2024.
Please revisit this page then to apply.

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.