Department of Education


Course Leader: Fi Branagh

What does the Sussex ITE partnership offer?

You can apply directly to the University to study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specialising in Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Alternatively, many schools work in partnership with the University to offer School Direct places which also lead to a Science PGCE award (these are also available for specialist subjects). Either route will prepare you, as a trainee teacher, to teach Science at Key Stages 3 and 4 (11-16 years) with enhancement opportunities in the Post-16 Science curriculum.

This course can also be undertaken part-time over two years by suitable candidates. 

Successful trainees will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Why is Science teacher education distinctive at Sussex?

Teachers of Science have chosen a profession that is exciting, dynamic and rewarding. The PGCE Science course at Sussex recognises that effective Science teaching is about enabling pupils to learn, think and question. The central aim of the course is to develop committed, thoughtful and effective Science teachers who will encourage their pupils to think for themselves and enjoy their learning experience. Every year, we welcome trainee teachers from a wide variety of backgrounds and believe that this is a real strength of the course. Our ethos is based on collaboration and as such we recognise that all our trainees, whatever their background, have something to contribute to the cohort.

Science courses at Sussex are among the most established within Initial Teacher Education in the UK, and have a well-deserved reputation for developing successful specialist teachers. The commitment of many local Science teachers and professional tutors to our courses has ensured their quality over the years and this dedication and support is greatly appreciated by trainees and university-based curriculum tutors.

We work in partnership with local schools, in respect of placements as well as for our taught sessions at the University. We have a genuine commitment to working in original ways - to enhance your training and, through you, the learning of young people.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn to be a Science teacher through a combination of taught sessions at the University and school-led professional development and classroom practice. You will start your course with a 2-3 week induction at the University in September, followed by a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops every Friday. These involve presentations, group work, classroom modelling and peer teaching for which you will explore ideas and approaches and reflect on your own experiences.

Over the course of the academic year, you will undertake two periods of professional practice in two different schools (these may vary slightly in length, but will equate to a minimum of 120 working days in total). You will be supported in your professional placements by a Science specialist who will act as a mentor, offering you tutorial support and developing a programme of practice-based professional studies for you. Your progress will be assessed through observations, feedback and discussion. To this end, you will create and maintain a portfolio of evidence demonstrating how you have met the various Teacher's Standards.

You will engage with the theoretical foundations of classroom practice and demonstrate the depth of your professional knowledge by completing three academic assignments during the course.

Additional entry requirements

To be accepted on this course, you must meet the partnership's established entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education. See 'Our Entry Requirements' at the bottom of our Applying web page. Additionally - given the significant competition for those applying for a place on the Science Initial Teacher Education course specifically - you should have:

  • A good honours degree (2:2 or above) in Science or Technology, with a background in a single discipline (Biology, Chemistry or Physics). Other degrees may be considered if a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course is undertaken prior to the start of the teacher education course (these courses are given as a condition of the offer based on a successful interview). 
  • GCSE Mathematics and English Language at Grade C or above (or equivalent qualification).

Undertaking a short classroom type teaching task and showing an awareness of the curriculum and school life is part of our interview process, so candidates may wish to prepare themselves by spending some time in an appropriate school setting for the subject/phase they intend to teach beforehand.

NB: Membership of many professional science and engineering institutions is recognised as a degree equivalent. Applicants with these backgrounds are eligible to apply.

You will need a degree (minimum lower second class Honours) in which the content is related to one of the four main science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Geology or Physics. At least 50 per cent of your degree must be directly relevant to your chosen subject. It is also preferable that to have a supporting qualification in at least one other Science subject at A/A2 level or above (Access courses that specialise in Science, or other qualifications may be considered - contact ITE Admissions for advice). Much depends on the spread of Science modules covered within your degree and you should seek advice if you are unsure as to whether your qualifications meet the required criteria.

We will also consider applications from graduates who can demonstrate - through their professional experience, qualifications or postgraduate studies - that they possess the requisite knowledge, skills and understanding for teaching Science. This can only be done by considering your whole application.   We strongly advise that you contact the Lead Tutor via email before making an application to ensure that you meet the criteria for each of the courses that we offer.  

All candidates offered a place on a teacher training course will be required to satisfactorily complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as a CRB check), including a check of all cautions and warnings as well as convictions, before their place can be confirmed. The University will pay the costs of this check on your behalf.

How to apply

Applications for all Initial Teacher Education courses are made online via the Government's Department for Education websiteSee also our 'Applying' web page for a step-by-step process for how to apply to train to teach at Sussex.


See our Scholarships, fees and living costs web page for information on fees and eligibility for financial support. Specific information on bursaries, financial incentives and other sources of funding for Initial Teacher Education are available on our PGCE & School Direct Trainee Fees & Bursaries: 2023 and from the Department for Education.


See full details of our Secondary Science PGCE courses in the Prospectus:
Science with Biology
Science with Chemistry
Science with Physics

General enquiries about any ITE course, including application queries, should be directed to the ITE admissions team:

Specific course enquiries can be directed to the Course Leader: