Entry requirements

Entry to the PGCE programme is conditional on:

  • Graduate or equivalent status
  • The relevance of an Honours degree content to the chosen specialist subject(s)
    (current University of Exeter students are allowed to take up to 30 credits outside of their degree programme, some of which may strengthen an application for a PGCE)
  • For those applying to Secondary:  passes at GCSE in English and Mathematics at grade C or above or equivalent (or for GCSEs taken from Summer 2017 onwards, grade 4 or above).
  • For those applying to Primary: passes at GCSE in English, Mathematics and Science at grade C or above or equivalent (or for GCSEs taken from Summer 2017 onwards, grade 4 or above) if you are applying for Primary. Please note: although the DfE minimum requirement is a grade C/grade 4 at GCSE, we will generally only consider applicants with a grade B/grade 5 or above for Mathematics and English and a grade C/grade 4 or above for Science for the Primary programme.
  • If you do not have the required pass at grade C/grade 4 in either GCSE English, Mathematics or Science, and are not able to gain this qualification before the start of the course, we will accept a Grade 4 pass in the English, Mathematics and Science equivalency tests offered by www.equivalencytesting.com
  • Selection based on the information provided on the UCAS Teacher Training application
  • Selection based on a successful interview
  • Successful completion of the professional skills tests
  • A medical report which is deemed satisfactory
  • A completed Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check which is deemed satisfactory by the University http://www.exeter.ac.uk/dbs/

Note:  It is the University of Exeter's policy that the level 2 certificate in Adult Literacy or Numeracy is not acceptable as an equivalent to GCSE English/Mathematics.

Please note the above criteria are the national minimum entry requirements to be considered for a PGCE course - please see individual subject pages for further information on additional subject-specific criteria for University of Exeter PGCE Primary and Secondary courses.

Are you an undergraduate at the University of Exeter?  If so, find out if you're eligible for a guaranteed PGCE interview.

The Department for Education (DfE) website confirms that if you are thinking of applying for a teacher training course, you will need to take the professional skills tests as part of the application process, and ensure you have passed them before the start of the course.

The first three attempts at taking each skills test are provided free of charge. Further unlimited resits are allowed if required, but you will be expected to pay for these yourself.

You can book your tests in advance for a date by which you are expecting to have submitted an application. When you take the tests you will need to provide proof that you have applied for a teacher training course.   For further details, please see the DfE website http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/apply-for-teacher-training/skills-tests.aspx

We encourage you to take the professional skills tests as early as possible, preferably before interview. If you submit your application to us by 02 March, and are successful at interview, a deadline of 31 May will be set for passing the professional skills tests.  If by 31 May, one or more of the tests have not been passed, your offer will be reviewed and you may lose your place on the programme.  If you submit your application to us after 02 March, a deadline of four weeks from the date of any offer made will be set for passing the professional skills tests (or the day before the official start date of the course, whichever is earlier). Please note: if you haven't passed both skills tests by the official start date of the course, you will not be able to start the course.  This is a DfE requirement and we cannot be flexible about this.

Note: Skills test passes for applicants to ITT courses remain valid for three years so if you pass the tests and then your plans for starting an ITT course change, your results will remain valid for three years. 

Please note: as the booking and provision of the professional skills tests is not within the control of the University of Exeter we reserve the right to review this policy during the year.

Pre-Initial Teacher Education Subject Knowledge Enhancement Courses (SKE)

It is not unusual to receive applications from individuals who we believe would make excellent teachers, but who have insufficient subject knowledge to go directly onto one of our Secondary PGCE programmes. For such applicants, the Department for Education (DfE) offers a range of pre-initial teacher training subject preparation courses.

It is important to plan ahead as your place on a PGCE programme may be dependent upon completing a SKE course prior to starting the PGCE.

Places on a SKE course will only be offered to those candidates with a conditional ITE place. For more information go to the Department for Education's dedicated page or contact the relevant University of Exeter PGCE subject tutor.

Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry

SKE courses in Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry are specifically designed to help graduates who need to develop a greater depth of subject understanding prior to training for Qualified Teacher Status. SKE courses are suitable for graduates with experience of the subject to at least A level standard. This could be through holding an A level in the subject, having an element of it in your degree course and/or occupational experience of the subject.

SKE courses vary in length from 2 to 36 weeks, depending on the trainee’s need.

Modern Languages

SKE courses in Modern Languages are specifically designed to help graduates who have one language at degree standard, or are native speakers, to develop capability in teaching either French, German or Spanish up to Key Stage 3 (ages 12-14). This is because many schools require teachers to teach two languages. If you have no prior experience of
the language, you will receive extra tuition and support as appropriate.


SKE is now available in English to support the Department for Education’s commitment to recruit to EBacc subjects. These courses equip candidates with the necessary subject knowledge to teach English language and literature in secondary schools at key stage 3 and key stage 4.

The Department for Education has introduced an overseas qualification service, available through the Get into Teaching Line.

The service includes:

  • An initial verbal check to advise candidates on what their qualifications are equivalent to (guidance only).
  • A written NARIC statement of comparability, paid for on behalf of the candidate (if required) and only available once a candidate has applied to ITT

The verbal check is a candidate-based advice service; the aim is to provide guidance on a candidate’s eligibility prior to applying. Final decisions on candidate eligibility still lie with providers prior to commencement of ITT.

We encourage you to use this service prior to submitting an application by calling the Get into Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.

You can also register for advice and support from the Department for Education on their website: getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/get-help-and-support

Terms and conditions

All students will be required as a condition of enrolment to abide by, and to submit to the procedures of, the University's Regulations for Students, as amended from time to time.