Education - Post Primary Teaching

Course Outline
UCC PME is a two-year 120 credit level 9 full-time teacher education course, designed to qualify graduates as post-primary secondary school teachers. It is fully recognised and accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland for the purpose of registration as a professional post-primary teacher in Ireland and the EU.

Deferrals are not permitted on this programme due to the competitive nature of the programme.

Application for this programme is online through the PME PAC site at PAC PME

The PME combines two-year-long school placements with university lectures and tutorials, which develop student teachers' requisite professional knowledge, skills, understanding and competence. Students are introduced to best practice in teaching, learning and educational research with special emphasis on meeting the diverse needs of learners, on the curriculum and on current issues in education. Students are encouraged to integrate educational theory and practice through extensive reflection on their own professional classroom practice. They are supported in their development by experienced teachers in schools and tutored by specialist School of Education staff in nurturing their professional identity as teachers. It will be necessary to limit the number of students admitted to the programme; UCC's current quota is circa 120 students per year. Within this quota, a subject quota of 10 applies to Business Studies and Business related degrees.

It is organised in partnership with co-operating second-level schools, normally located within a 50 km (30 mile) radius of Cork city. During PME school placements, students only teach the subject(s) for which they hold recognition by the Teaching Council of Ireland.

At the end of the course, you will have acquired the professional knowledge, understanding and skills that you need to teach your subject or subjects in a second-level school. You will have gained practical experience in two contrasting school settings, and developed your ability to respond flexibly to the diverse and changing educational needs of students aged 12 to 18 years. You will have been challenged, encouraged and invited to question and deepen your beliefs and assumptions about the purpose of education, the nature of teaching and learning and the role of the teacher in the 21st century.

Students should note that the following post-primary teaching subjects are currently supported on the programme: Business Studies (including Accounting and Economics), CSPE*, English, French, Gaeilge, Geography, German, History, Italian, Maths, Music, Religious Education, Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Spanish.

*CSPE: Students presenting with CSPE must have a second teaching subject.

Important Note: A minimum number of students is required for the subject-specific modules to run each year (cross-subject support may be provided if student numbers are low).

For Year 1; Responsibility for securing a placement school from the list of UCC School of Education PME co-operating schools rests entirely with the student. School placement should not be secured until students have been offered a place on the PME programme. After selection by the school, students must sign a placement form and are contracted until the end of the school year to carry out their teaching placement in the school in question. Students must ensure that there is a minimum of twelve students in their placement class group for supervision purposes.

For Year 2; Each student is expected to have a contrasting placement experience in a different school context for Year 2. The placement school for Year 2 will again be selected by the student but, the choice will be mediated by the School of Education Placement Co-ordinator and must be approved by the School of Education.

As part of their University programme, some students are required to undertake placement and training that involves dealing directly with patients, clients or service users. This programme is subject to the University's Fitness to Practise Policy - full details may be found here: Policy Students will be required to start on their school placement anytime from 19th August 2019 onwards.

*Note: To be eligible for appointment to an incremental salaried teaching position in a secondary school, a teacher must be registered. It is the Teaching Council alone which has the authority to determine what constitutes adequate qualifications for registration purposes. See for registration details.

Irish Language Requirement: While the Irish requirement has been removed for the generality of second-level teachers who do not use Irish in their everyday work, teachers of Irish and teachers employed in Gaeltacht schools and in other schools where Irish is the medium of instruction will be required to be fully proficient in Irish. A special course in spoken Irish, run by An Gaeilge Labhartha, UCC, will be available to students during their Professional Master of Education studies.

Why Choose This Course
Teaching as a profession is both challenging and rewarding. The best teachers are those who combine a passion for their subject with the skills necessary to teach it to a variety of learners, and who enjoy interacting daily with a variety of young people. Good teachers can make a real difference in young people's lives. The PME in UCC is a ground-breaking and innovative teacher education programme, which is excellent preparation for teaching at second level. It incorporates the latest research in the field of education studies with a key emphasis on fostering innovative and inclusive classroom pedagogies.

Placement or Study Abroad Information
Two school placements in two contrasting post-primary schools (one in Year 1 and one in year 2) is an integral part of this course. For practical reasons, placement schools must normally be within 50 km (30 miles) of UCC. Students may also elect to complete a placement in an Irish medium immersion post-primary school setting.

Entry requirements

Minimum Requirement of H 2:2 in a Level 8 Primary degree or equivalent (for example Degree + Masters) that fulfils the requirements of the Teaching Council of Ireland to teach at least one subject in a post-primary school.

Students are normally allowed to teach only those subjects, which they have pursued to an advanced level in their degree. At least one of these subjects must be approved by the Teaching Council for teacher registration*. (To teach French, German, Irish, Italian, Spanish, students must have studied the language as a major subject in their primary degree extending over at least three years and of the order of 30% at a minimum of that period). Students normally also teach a second subject in which they have some recognised academic attainment and for which they are recognised to teach by the Teaching Council. All students are required to attend pedagogy courses to support the teaching of both their teaching subjects. Students who do not have a second teaching subject will be required to attend a cross-curricular pedagogy course to further support, develop and deepen the teaching of their main subject.

Candidates must also complete and submit Subject Declaration Form from the Teaching Council in respect of their eligibility to meet the requirements to teach their specific subjects.

As per Teaching Council guidelines, the programme includes a requirement for two separate mentored and supervised school placements (one in Year 1 and one in Year 2) in recognised cooperating post-primary schools. School placements are designed to give student teachers opportunities to gain professional experience in classrooms and schools, to learn about teaching and learning in a variety of situations, to participate fully in the life of the school and to gain an in-depth understanding of the role of the teacher and the school more generally. In both Years 1 and 2, students must obtain teaching hours in cooperating post-primary schools normally within the greater Cork City area, which will facilitate their attendance at the required lectures and other commitments on campus on specific days and times during the teaching week. The list of approved cooperating schools for PME school placements is available on the UCC School of Education website at

Candidates should note that there may be travel involved for school placement, which may necessitate the use of a car or public transport.

A candidate for the Professional Master of Education may not simultaneously pursue any other programme except with the special permission of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

Garda Vetting
This programme requires successful candidates to undergo a Garda Vetting process which will be conducted through the Admissions Office U.C.C. prior to commencement on the programme. This requirement is due to the mandatory external placement element of the programme which will bring the applicant into contact with children or vulnerable adults and in which they will assume positions of trust. In the Republic of Ireland responsibility for the vetting of all personnel working in a full-time, part-time or in a voluntary capacity with children or vulnerable adults, lies with the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) which is located in Thurles. U.C.C. has engaged with the GCVU to develop liaison mechanisms which will aid the Garda Vetting process. Commencement of school placement and registration on the programme are subject to full compliance with the University's policy, practice and requirements in respect of Garda Vetting.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

Applicants wishing to pursue the PME are now eligible to apply for the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) from the Department of Social Protection. Website: Department of Social Welfare: Back to Education

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Assessment Info

Assessment for the PME is primarily by continuous assessment with a small number of written exams. Continuous assessment includes project work related to the various modules culminating with the writing up of a larger piece of professional classroom/school research at the end of Year 2. There is a strong emphasis on the integration and application of theory and practice throughout all assignments. School placement is assessed over a series of visits to the placement school by the allocated university tutors. Students must pass both the school placement and course-work modules in both years in order to be awarded the PME.

Full details and regulations governing Examinations for each programme will be contained in the Marks and Standards 2017 Book and for each module in the Book of Modules 2016/2017.

Subjects taught

YEAR 1 Students take 60 credits as follows:
Core Modules (50 credits)
ED6301 Philosophy and History of Education (5 credits)
ED6302 Introduction to Psychology and Sociology of Education (5 credits)
ED6303 Curriculum and Assessment (5 credits)
ED6306 Inclusion – Special Educational Needs and Multicultural Education (5 credits)
ED6330 School Placement 1 (20 credits)
ED6331 School Placement: Research and Professional Experiences Portfolio A (5 credits)
ED6332 School Placement: Research and Professional Experiences Portfolio B (5 credits)

plus 10 credits from the following:

ED6308 The Teaching of Business Studies (5 credits)
ED6309 The Teaching of Civic, Social and Political Education (5 credits)
ED6312 The Teaching of English (5 credits)
ED6313 The Teaching of a Second Language 1A (5 credits)
ED6314 The Teaching of a Second Language 1B (5 credits)
ED6315 The Teaching of Geography (5 credits)
ED6316 The Teaching of History (5 credits)
ED6317 The Teaching of Mathematics (5 credits)
ED6318 The Teaching of Music (5 credits)
ED6319 The Teaching of Religious Education (5 credits)
ED6321 Cross Curricular Pedagogies (5 credits)
ED6325 The Teaching of Physical Sciences (5 credits)
ED6326 The Teaching of Biological Sciences (5 credits)
ED6327 The Teaching of Irish (5 credits)

YEAR 2 Students take 60 credits as follows:
Core Modules (55 credits)
ED6360 PME School Placement 2 (30 credits)
ED6341 Collaborative Seminar: Contemporary Issues in Irish Schools (5 credits)
ED6342 Foundational Themes in Education (5 credits)
ED6359 PME Professional Research Paper (10 credits)
ED6354 Literacy and Numeracy Development in the Post-Primary Classroom (5 credits)

plus 5 credits from the following:

ED6344 The Teaching of Business Studies 2 (5 credits)
ED6345 The Teaching of Mathematics 2 (5 credits)
ED6346 The Teaching of a Second Language 2 (5 credits)
ED6347 The Teaching of English 2 (5 credits)
ED6348 The Teaching of History 2 (5 credits)
ED6349 The Teaching of Geography 2 (5 credits)
ED6350 The Teaching of Science 2 (5 credits)
ED6351 Cross Curricular Pedagogies 2 (5 credits)
ED6355 The Teaching of Music 2 (5 credits)
ED6356 The Teaching of Religious Education 2 (5 credits)
ED6357 The Teaching of Irish 2 (5 credits)

Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.


2 year Full-time.

Additional Teaching Mode Information
Students are required to spend a minimum of 100 hours of personal experience of directly teaching a class or classes in one or more approved subjects (6-8 classes per week) in Year 1 and 150 hours (9-11 classes per week) in Year 2. In both years, placement must be undertaken on specific days and during specific times for the entire school year from late August until the following June. In both Years 1 and 2, students are required to prepare and maintain a School Placement Teaching File with evidence of long and short term planning, daily and weekly reflections, resources and other relevant data for all their class groups for the duration of their placements. During both placements students are also required to engage in non-teaching school activities for an equivalent number of hours. This experience will normally include lesson planning, preparation and reflection, opportunities for some classroom observation of experienced teachers, team teaching, participation in school meetings and other collaborative work with school staff and the extended school community. During these non-teaching activities, students in Year 1 will also be required to complete a variety of directed research tasks pertaining to their placement (e.g. pertaining to classroom management, teacher questioning, ICT, learning theories, school supports and school communication, which form part of a School Placement Research and Professional Experiences Portfolio. Year 2 students will engage in more school activities commensurate with their evolving school experience and increased time in school and will also conduct research related to their classroom or school context, which will form part of their required Professional Research Paper in Education.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: Lectures will begin week of 31st August 2020.

Closing Date: Friday 31st January 2020.

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
Graduates of the PME will be well equipped to begin a teaching career in Ireland or abroad. Despite the current economic situation, there are still opportunities for beginning teaching graduates and for progression within Irish schools. Our graduates are also highly sought after in the UK and elsewhere. Furthermore, the skills gained in teaching are easily transferrable to other careers. Teachers learn to communicate with groups and to present material in an organised manner, which is an enduring skill that is much sought after in many fields. Our PME graduates are working in many other non-school settings.

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    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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