Education - Post Primary Teaching

University College Cork

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 school placements with university lectures and tutorials, which develop student teachers' requisite professional knowledge, skills, understanding and competence. You are introduced to best practices 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. You will be encouraged to integrate educational theory and practice through extensive reflection on your own professional classroom practice.

Students 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.

The current PAC PME subject-based entry system does not have set quotas for each subject but offers in subject areas are made based on Department of Education and Skills priority subjects (e.g. languages, maths, physics, chemistry) and each institution's own local circumstances, demands and ability to cater for subjects on the programme. It is necessary to limit the number of students admitted to the programme and our current quota is circa 120 students per year. (Note: Deferrals are not permitted on this programme due to its competitive nature.)

The PME 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 this 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 develop 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), Computer Science, English, French, Gaeilge, Geography, German, History, Italian, Maths, Music, Politics and Society, Religious Education, Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics), and Spanish.

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).

Year 1
Placement for PME Year 1 students is negotiated and arranged by the UCC School of Education for successful applicants, taking into account the various circumstances of the programme and of the successful students and the available placement opportunities in our partner schools. 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.

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 nominated 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.

Students will be required to start on their school placement anytime from mid to late August aligned to the re-opening of partner schools.

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 of Ireland alone that 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 PME 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 the 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) are 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.

As per Teaching Council guidelines, the programme includes a requirement for two separate mentored and supervised school placements 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 placement teaching hours in cooperating post-primary schools. A list of PME partner schools where UCC PME Placement can be completed will be provided to successful applicants when offered a place on the programme.

Note: While most co-operating schools are in the greater Cork city area, some schools on the list will require a considerable amount of travel and may necessitate use of a car or public transport.

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)
• ED6333 The Teaching of Computer Science (5 Credits)

YEAR 2 Students take 60 credits as follows:
Core Modules (55 credits)

• ED6341 Collaborative Seminar: Contemporary Issues in Irish Schools (5 credits)
• ED6354 Literacy and Numeracy Development in the Post-Primary Classroom (5 credits)
• ED6359 PME Professional Research Paper (10 credits)
• ED6360 PME School Placement 2 (30 credits)
• ED6361 Specialist Subject Pedagogies 2 (5 credits)
• ED6362 Designing Curriculum and Assessment for the Contemporary Classroom (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.

Entry requirements

Candidates must have a primary degree at a minimum level of 2H2 or equivalent (e.g. primary degree and Masters) that is recognised by the Teaching Council of Ireland for the teaching of at least one subject in a post-primary school.

Entry to the PME programme is competitive and selection is according to a subject-based application system with points awarded based on the marks obtained in the undergraduate degree, any subsequent academic qualifications, and certain categories of relevant professional work experience. See the PAC website for details

Subject teaching choice
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 a Subject Declaration Form from the Teaching Council in respect of their eligibility to meet the requirements to teach their specific subjects

Application dates

Applications for academic year 2020/2021 are open.

EU Applicants: UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means offers are made four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information.

The UCC rounds closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. Applicants are advised to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of full applications:
For all completed applications received by January 10th 2020
Offers will be made by January 24th 2020

For all completed applications received by March 2nd 2020
Offers will be made by March 16th 2020

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2020
Offers will be made by May 15th 2020

For all completed applications received by July 1st 2020
Offer will be made by July 15th 2020

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity.

Non-EU Closing Date: 15 June
Non-EU Applicants: Information for Non-EU applicants may be found on the International Office Website

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.


2 year Full-time.

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.

School of Education: News Link:

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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