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Religious Education

St Mary's University College, supported by the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, seeks to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of Catholic teachers competent to assist parents who choose to raise their children according to the principles of Catholic education.

The College offers a Certificate in Religious Education. This course, for student teachers, may be taken in addition to the BEd and PGCE.

The Certificate comprises three main elements:
• lectures which focus on key issues in biblical studies, theology and catechetics,
• tutorials which familiarise students with the RE programmes in use in schools and assist them with preparing teaching materials for the teaching of RE in schools,
• supervision and direction of students by members of the RE department during periods of school‑based work.

The Certificate in Religious Education is validated by Church Authority. All those seeking appointment to a permanent teaching position in a maintained Catholic primary school in Northern Ireland will require this certificate or its equivalent.

Entry requirements

Entrance Requirements for Undergraduate Courses
An indication of specific entry requirements appears in the College Entry Guidelines. Students may also receive a copy of the Entry Guidelines by contacting the Academic Registry at the College.

It should be noted that the Entry Guidelines may change depending on the number and standard of applications received.

Students with a Disability
St Mary's welcomes applications from students with a disability, and these applications are viewed on the same academic grounds as other applications. St Mary's has a Disability Policy which outlines the College's commitment to making every reasonable effort to accommodate students with a disability or a specific learning difficulty. Most areas of the campus have been adapted to cater for people with disabilities, including sensory impairments. Any student who has a disability or a specific learning difficulty is advised to contact the Student Support Officer as early as possible to discuss any needs which he or she may have.

Funded Support for Disabled Students
Applicants may be eligible for the Disabled Students' Allowance (or the Fund for Students with Disabilities, if the applicant is from the Republic of Ireland). Support entitlements include assistive technologies, special equipment and non‑medical helpers, as well as study skills and exam support.

Applicants for courses of Initial Teacher Education (BEd and PGCE) are also subject to the requirements of Circular 2000/8 from the Department of Education regarding Medical Fitness to Teach.

Further details of these requirements and confidential advice on specific applications may be obtained by contacting the Academic Registry.

Potential candidates are encouraged to visit the College on Open Days or, by arrangement, to meet staff before applying.

Access for Mature Applicants
St Mary's welcomes applications from mature students. Each application is considered individually, and account is taken of the applicant's experience and achievements. However, the College requires evidence of recent study at A-Level standard (or equivalent) or an Access Course in a relevant subject area to indicate the applicant's ability to complete successfully an honours degree course. Access Courses are offered at colleges of Further and Higher Education within Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well as at Institutes of Technology in the Republic of Ireland. It is important that the content of the subjects and modules studied contain A-Level equivalence in relation to the course subject.

Mature applicants are advised that they must demonstrate an acceptable level of competence in English Language and Mathematics subjects. In addition, all new entrants to primary-level courses must demonstrate an acceptable level of competence in at least one Science subject. An acceptable level of competence is defined as a GCSE level pass at grade C or higher, or an equivalent qualification.

Applicants with a Criminal Record
It is College policy to consider applications from anyone with a criminal record on their individual merits and in the light of all available information. The College will seek permission to carry out a police criminal record check on all applicants. There are specific requirements for a criminal record check for all applicants for courses of Initial Teacher Education (BEd and PGCE).

St Mary's recognises the key role of education in the rehabilitative process, and a criminal record will not necessarily exclude an applicant. Further advice on specific applications may be obtained, in confidence, by contacting the Academic Registry.

Prerequisites
In addition to the requirements on the pages that follow, all applicants must have minimum GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in English Language and in Mathematics.

Applicants Presenting A-Level Qualifications
• All applicants must pass three A levels,
• Applied A levels are accepted as part of the A-level requirement. However, there may be special considerations in relation to the subject applied for and applicants should check the Entry Guidelines for the year of entry,
• Two Advanced Subsidiary GCE or VCE qualifications will not be acceptable in place of one A-Level,
• The applicant's GCSE profile will be taken into account when considering applications,
• Applicants for BEd Honours Primary degree courses other than Science must have minimum GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in a Science subject.

Applicants Presenting Irish Leaving Certificate Qualifications
• Applicants must pass six subjects at higher level for admission to BEd courses. The exception to this requirement is BEd Honours Post-primary with Technology and Design, where applicants must pass five subjects at higher level,
• Applicants must pass five subjects at higher level for admission to the BA Liberal Arts course,
• Applicants must have achieved at least a grade D/H5 (ordinary level) in English and in Mathematics,
• Where a grade B (higher level) is listed as a guideline in a particular subject, a minimum grade of B2 will normally be expected,
• Applicants for Primary courses of Initial Teacher Education must have achieved Junior Certificate Science, grade C (higher level).

EQUIVALENT QUALIFICATIONS FOR UNDERGRADUATE COURSE
BTEC/OCR Qualifications
The College will consider BTEC/OCR qualifications as equivalent to GCE A level. However, admission decisions will be based on the outcome of individual unit results. The College will not assign the equivalent UCAS tariff for the overall grade presented. The qualifications concerned are as follows:

• BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/OCR National Certificate/Cambridge Technical & Introductory Diploma (6 Units) – equivalent to 1 GCE A level Grade A - 6 Distinctions, Grade B - 3 Distinctions and 3 Merits, Grade C - 6 Merits,

• BTEC National Diploma/OCR Diploma/Cambridge Technical Diplomas (12 Units) – equivalent to 2 GCE A levels Grade AA - 12 Distinctions, Grade AB - 9 Distinctions and 3 Merits, Grade BB - 6 Distinctions and 6 Merits, Grade BC - 3 Distinctions and 9 Merits,

• BTEC/OCR/Cambridge Technical Extended Diplomas (18 Units) – equivalent to 3 GCE A levels Grade AAA - 16 Distinctions and 2 Merits, Grade AAB - 14 Distinctions and 4 Merits, ABB - 12 Distinctions and 6 Merits, Grade BBB - 10 Distinctions and 8 Merits.

CACHE Diploma
The CACHE Diploma is accepted for entry to the BEd Degree as long as the subject requirement is met.

For further information, please contact:
The Academic Registry
St Mary's University College
191 Falls Road
Belfast
BT12 6FE
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9026 8320
E-mail: admissions@smucb.ac.uk

Interview for the BEd Honours
Applicants for courses of Initial Teacher Education will be interviewed. They will also be asked complete a short written task.

Interviews will normally be held in the College in February or March of the year of entry.

Whilst examination performance is the most significant factor in determining admission, the interview outcome is also significant.

Further enquiries

St Mary's University College
191 Falls Road
Belfast
N. Ireland
BT12 6FE
Telephone +44 (0) 28 9032 7678
Fax +44 (0) 28 9033 3719

Application date

Application Procedures
All applications must be made directly to the College as St Mary's is not a member of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

To apply, go online to www.smucb.ac.uk/admissions or contact:

The Academic Registry
St Mary's University College
191 Falls Road
Belfast
BT12 6FE
Tel: (+44) 028 9026 8320
E-mail: admissions@smucb.ac.uk

The College website is regularly updated with relevant admissions information.

When to Apply
For full-time undergraduate courses, applications for 2018 entry may be submitted from 1st October 2017 until 10th January 2018 . Any form received after the closing date will be deemed late. Late applications may be considered if vacancies remain available.

Course fee

Tuition Fees
All full-time and part-time students will be charged tuition fees. This includes PGCE students. For students who are Northern Ireland domiciled, these are currently £4,030 per year and are normally subject to an annual inflationary uplift. A student will be liable for the full tuition fee at the point of enrolment and registration. This includes a non-refundable element of 25% of the calculated tuition fee.

Tuition Fee Loan
Students may defer their fees by applying for a Tuition Fee Loan, currently up to a maximum of £4,030, by paying the full fee directly to the College or by a combination of taking out a fee loan for part of the fees and paying the rest directly to the College.

A single application form PN1 is used in applying for a fee loan, for loans for living costs and maintenance grants and for the St Mary's College Bursary.

Students can apply online or download an application form via the Student Finance Northern Ireland website www.studentfinanceni.co.uk.

Once applications have been assessed, the local branch of Student Finance NI will send the student a Student Notification which will include details of the amount of the fee loan the student has requested.

Payment Options
Students who do not avail of the fee loan can pay their fees in one of two ways:
• Direct Debit – Students can complete a direct debit authorisation which spreads the fee over six months from December to May.

• Cash or Cheques – Students who do not complete a direct debit authorisation will receive one invoice in November for the full amount, which will be payable within thirty days.

EU Students
Non-UK EU Students, including students from the Republic of Ireland, can defer their fees by applying for a fee loan, currently up to a maximum of £4,030.

The application is essentially the same as the system for applying for fee loans and other support. EU students may also be eligible for a College Bursary. This will be dependent on the level of their household income. EU students should contact the Student Loan Company EU team by telephoning 0141 243 3570 in Darlington for advice. For maintenance support EU students should contact their local county council.

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