Is a PGCE a Masters Degree Qualification (Question Answered)

Is a PGCE a Masters Degree Qualification

Starting a teaching career can be quite exciting, but many issues need to be addressed, especially about certifications like the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). The question, ‘Is PGCE a Master’s degree?’ is one that is frequently asked.

Most PGCEs, primarily available in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, grant you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which enables you to teach abroad. While PGCE modules are transferable to a master’s program, they prepare you in a particular capacity for your career.

Bearing this in mind, we will provide you with thorough information and clarify its relationship to a master’s degree.

Let’s explore this topic and clear up any doubts you may have about the PGCE.

Is a PGCE a Master’s Degree Qualification?

No, a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is not a traditional master’s degree qualification. It is a specialized teaching qualification designed to prepare individuals for a career in education and teaching.

While a PGCE is considered a postgraduate-level qualification, it is distinct from a full master’s degree. However, there are some “PGCE with Master’s” programs that combine PGCE training with additional coursework, allowing students to earn a master’s degree alongside their PGCE qualification.

So, while a PGCE is not a master’s degree in itself, it can sometimes be part of a master’s program.

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What is the PGCE?

The PGCE, or Postgraduate Certificate in Education, is a postgraduate-level qualification that is primarily focused on preparing individuals for careers in teaching and education. It is a recognized and widely used qualification in many countries, particularly in the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth nations.

The PGCE is designed to provide individuals with the necessary knowledge, skills, and practical experience to become effective teachers. It covers aspects such as teaching methods, curriculum planning, classroom management, and educational theory.

Many individuals who complete a PGCE go on to work as teachers in schools, colleges, or other educational institutions. It is a common pathway for those entering the teaching profession.

The PGCE is a specialized postgraduate qualification that equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to become effective educators.

While it is not a traditional master’s degree, it is a recognized and respected qualification in the field of education.

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Can I get a master’s degree with a PGCE?

Yes, it is possible to earn a master’s degree with a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education), but it typically requires additional coursework and research. Some universities offer programs known as “PGCE with Master’s” or “PGCE with Integrated Master’s” programs.

These programs are designed to allow individuals to simultaneously work towards their PGCE qualification while also earning a master’s degree.

Here’s how it generally works:

  • PGCE Component: You will complete the standard PGCE coursework, which focuses on teaching methods, classroom practice, and educational theory. This part of the program is usually geared toward preparing you for a career in teaching.
  • Master’s Component: In addition to the PGCE coursework, you will also undertake extra coursework or research that is at a master’s level. This may involve more in-depth study in a specific area of education, conducting research projects, and writing a master’s thesis.
  • Integration: The master’s component is integrated with the PGCE program, allowing you to work on both qualifications simultaneously. This can be advantageous if you are interested in pursuing further academic study while preparing for a teaching career.
  • Duration: The duration of PGCE with Master’s programs varies, but they typically take longer to complete than a standalone PGCE program due to the additional master ‘s-level requirements.

These combined programs provide an opportunity to gain both a teaching qualification and a master’s degree, which can be beneficial if you have a strong interest in education and wish to pursue advanced studies in the field. It’s important to check with the specific university or institution offering the program for details on their PGCE with Master’s options and requirements.

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How long does it take to complete a PGCE program?

The duration of a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) program can vary depending on several factors, including the country where you are studying, the specific program, and whether you choose to study full-time or part-time.

However, in many cases, a PGCE program typically takes around one academic year to complete if pursued on a full-time basis. Some general guidelines for the program include:

  • Full-Time PGCE: A full-time PGCE program is typically completed in one academic year, which is roughly 9 to 12 months. This format allows students to focus exclusively on their teacher training and coursework.
  • Part-Time PGCE: Part-time PGCE programs are designed to accommodate students who may have other commitments, such as work or family responsibilities. The duration of part-time PGCE programs can vary, but they often take longer to complete than full-time programs. Part-time students may take classes in the evenings or on weekends.
  • Variances: It’s essential to note that the duration of PGCE programs can vary by country and institution. Some programs may have slightly different structures or requirements, which can affect the length of the program. Additionally, some PGCE programs may offer flexible scheduling options to cater to the needs of diverse student populations.

To get precise information about the duration of a specific PGCE program, it’s advisable to consult the program’s official website or contact the admissions office of the university or institution offering the program. They can provide detailed information about program length, curriculum, and any available options for part-time study.

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Types of PGCE courses

PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) courses come in various types and specializations to cater to the diverse needs and interests of prospective teachers. The specific types of PGCE courses can vary by country and institution, but here are some common types and specializations:

  • Primary PGCE: These programs are designed for individuals who want to become primary school teachers. They focus on teaching children in the early years of primary education (usually ages 3 to 11).
  • Secondary PGCE: Secondary PGCE programs prepare individuals to become teachers in secondary schools, typically focusing on subjects taught at the secondary level (e.g., mathematics, science, English, and history).
  • Subject-specific PGCE: Some PGCE programs are tailored to specific subjects. These programs are ideal for individuals who wish to specialize in teaching a particular subject area, such as mathematics, physics, or modern languages.
  • Early Years PGCE: Early Years PGCE programs are focused on teaching young children in nursery and early primary settings. They prepare educators to work with children aged 0 to 7.
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) PGCE: These programs are designed to train teachers who want to work with students with special educational needs or disabilities. They cover strategies for inclusive education.
  • TESOL/TEFL PGCE: These programs are for individuals interested in teaching English as a second or foreign language. They often include language acquisition theory and practical teaching experience.
  • Flexible/Part-Time PGCE: Some institutions offer flexible or part-time PGCE programs to accommodate students with work or family commitments. These programs often have extended durations.
  • Leadership and Management PGCE: These programs are suitable for experienced teachers interested in leadership roles, such as headteachers, principals, or department heads.
  • Education Research PGCE: These programs focus on research skills and methodologies in education. They are ideal for individuals interested in educational research and academia.

How much does a PGCE cost?

The cost of a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) can vary significantly based on several factors, including the country where you study, the specific university or institution offering the program, whether you’re an international student, and whether you study full-time or part-time.

Additionally, scholarship opportunities and financial aid can also impact the overall cost. Here’s a general overview of factors to consider:

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for PGCE programs can vary widely. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, where PGCE programs are common, fees can range from a few thousand pounds to several thousand pounds. In other countries, fees may differ significantly.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time

Full-time PGCE programs typically have higher tuition fees than part-time programs. Part-time programs are often designed to be more affordable for individuals who may have other financial responsibilities.


The cost of living in the area where you study can impact your overall expenses. Cities with a higher cost of living may require a larger budget for accommodation, transportation, and daily expenses.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Many universities and institutions offer scholarships, grants, or bursaries to PGCE students. These can significantly reduce the cost of your program. It’s advisable to research and apply for available financial aid opportunities.

International Student Status

If you are an international student studying in a foreign country, you may face different fee structures, including higher fees for non-residents or international students.

Additional Expenses

Remember to consider additional expenses, such as textbooks, teaching materials, travel to school placements, and examination fees, which can add to the overall cost.

Government Funding

In some countries, there may be government funding or incentives to encourage individuals to pursue teaching qualifications. These programs can help offset some of the costs associated with a PGCE.

To get an accurate estimate of the cost of a PGCE program, you should check with the specific university or institution offering the program. They typically provide detailed information about tuition fees, financial aid options, and any additional expenses you might incur during your studies.

Additionally, consider looking for scholarships or grants that may be available to you as a PGCE student.

What are the PGCE entry requirements?

The entry requirements for a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) program can vary depending on the country, university, and specific program. However, there are some common entry requirements that you can expect to encounter when applying for a PGCE program. Here are typical PGCE entry requirements:

  • Academic Qualifications: Most PGCE programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The degree should be relevant to the subject or age group you intend to teach.
  • Subject Knowledge: For PGCE programs that focus on specific subjects, such as mathematics or science, you may need to demonstrate a strong academic background in that subject.
  • GCSE or Equivalent Qualifications: In some countries, including the UK, you may need specific GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications in subjects like English and mathematics, often with minimum grade requirements.
  • Experience or Prerequisites: Some PGCE programs may require applicants to have relevant teaching or work experience, particularly for those specializing in certain fields or subjects.
  • References/letters of recommendation: You may be asked to provide references from academic or professional sources who can vouch for your suitability for a teaching career.
  • Criminal background check: Depending on your location, you may need to undergo a criminal background check as part of your application process, especially if you plan to work with children or vulnerable populations.
  • Interview: Some PGCE programs may require an interview as part of the application process. This interview assesses your motivation, communication skills, and suitability for teaching.
  • English Language Proficiency: If you are a non-native English speaker, you may need to provide proof of your English language proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a PGCE the same as a Masters degree?

No, a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is not the same as a traditional master’s degree. It’s a specific qualification designed to prepare individuals for a career in teaching.

How long does it take to complete a PGCE program?

The duration of a PGCE program can vary, but it typically takes one academic year of full-time study. Some programs offer part-time options that may take longer to complete.

Does having a PGCE make you a qualified teacher?

Yes, having a PGCE is a recognized qualification that allows you to become a qualified teacher in many countries. It provides the necessary training and expertise to work in educational settings.

What is the main purpose of a PGCE?

The main purpose of a PGCE is to provide training and certification for individuals who want to become teachers. It focuses on teaching methods, classroom management, and practical experience in educational settings.

Can I get a master’s degree with a PGCE?

In some cases, yes. Some universities offer “PGCE with Master’s” programs that allow you to earn a master’s degree while completing your PGCE. These programs typically involve additional coursework and research.


A PGCE is not the same as a traditional master’s degree, but it does have some similarities. It’s a specialized teaching qualification that allows you to become a qualified teacher.

While it may not be a full master’s degree, it can sometimes count as part of one, and it’s a crucial step on the path to becoming an educator.



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