BSc (Ed) Frequently Asked Questions
BSc(Ed) in the Physical Sciences UCC
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I become a qualified science teacher?
There are two main routes to becoming a qualified science teacher:
- A BSc degree followed by a one-year course called the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). In the past, this course was called the Higher Diploma in Education. This route is often referred to as the consecutive model of teacher training.
- A BSc(Ed) degree in which you study both science and education as part of the degree. The BSc Education in the Physical sciences in UCC is an example of this type of degree. This route is often referred to as the concurrent model of teacher training.
How long does it take to become a qualified science teacher?
Route 1 as described above normally takes 5 years (4 years studying for the BSc degree and one year for the PGDE qualification). Route two as described above takes a total of 4 years for the BSc(Ed) in UCC.
How do I decide whether I should take the BSc + PGDE route or the BSc(Ed) route?
It is important to realise that at the present time, it is difficult to obtain a place on the PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma in Education) unless you have a good honours degree. Therefore, you must think carefully when in third year about whether you wish to pursue a teaching qualification via the BSc + PGDE route or the BSc(Ed) route.
I do not see Teaching Practice in schools listed on the timetable. When is this Teaching Practice held?
You will be carrying out Teaching Practice in schools in Cork city. This teaching practice takes place at times when you free to teach, i.e. at times when you do not have other timetabled activities in UCC.
What subjects will I be qualified to teach if I graduate with the BSc(Ed) degree?
In the past, many science teachers took a BSc General (Pass) degree as a route to teaching. This meant that these graduates had three subjects in their final degree, e.g. Physics, Chemistry and Maths. However, nowadays, most science students enrol on BSc Honours degrees in which they specialise in one subject in their final year. It is important to remember that it is only necessary to have ONE science subject to honours degree level in order to be considered for recognition by the Teaching Council of Ireland. For example, your final degree subject in fourth year may be either Physics or Chemistry. Therefore, your recognition by the Teaching Council will be in that subject, i.e. you will be formally recognised to teach either physics or chemistry. However, once you take up a position in a school, you may be asked to teach quite a number of subjects. This depends on the needs of the particular school. For example, even though your BSc degree may be in Physics, you could be asked to teach Mathematics or Chemistry or Applied Mathematics if the principal sees that you have studied these subjects at university. Similarly, for the BSc(Ed) degree in UCC, even though you may have specialised in the Chemistry stream, you may also have studied Mathematics or Physics or Biology at some stage in university and hence you may be asked to teach these subjects also. All teachers who qualify with the BSc(Ed) are automatically recognised to teach Junior Certificate Science.
Is the BSc(Ed) degree recognised by the Teaching Council?
Yes, the degree is fully recognised by the Teaching Council.
Do I have to undertake the PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma in Education) course when the BSc(Ed) is completed?
No. Graduates of the BSc(Ed) are fully qualified science teachers and do not need to undertake the PGDE course.
If I change my mind at the end of second year about wishing to become a science teacher, can I go back into mainstream BSc?
Yes this is not a problem as there is complete flexibility built into the course to allow students to move from BSc(Ed) into mainstream BSc at the end of second year (for those taking the chemistry stream) and at the end of third year (for those taking the physics stream).
At what stage do I have to definitely make up my mind about whether I wish to take a BSc degree or BSc(Ed) degree?
You must make up your mind at the end of second year if you are taking the chemistry stream and at the end of third year if you are taking the physics stream.
Is the BSc(Ed) a route to qualification as a teacher of Biology?
No. To become a qualified teacher of Biology you should take a degree in Biology followed by the PGDE course.
Is the BSc(Ed) a route to qualification as a teacher of Mathematics?
No. To become a qualified teacher of Mathematics you should take a degree in Mathematics followed by the PGDE course.
Why is it important to have flexibility to move from the BSc course to BSc(Ed) and vice versa?
In some other universities, students enter directly via CAO into a BSc(Ed) course. However, it sometimes happens that students change their mind about a career in teaching and prefer a laboratory career in industry. Therefore, it is important to allow the students the flexibility to change their minds and move back to the mainstream BSc course if they wish. This is an important consideration to bear in mind when choosing the concurrent model of training to be a science teacher.