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UCC Undergraduate courses

Science Education

Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBEd (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
CAO Points2023: 520
CAO Points Range2023: 520-625
Start DateSeptember 2023

Course Outline

Our Science Education degree involves the study of both science and education over a four-year period after which you will be a fully qualified science teacher. UCC’s Science Education programme is an example of the concurrent model of teacher training which means that you study both science and education over the duration of the programme. On graduation, you will be fully qualified to teach two specialist science subjects to Leaving Certificate standard.

This four-year science teacher training course is a collaboration between the School of Education at the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences (CACSSS) together with the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science (SEFS). Most of our teaching takes place in UCC's state-of-the-art Eureka Centre for Inquiry-Based Education in Science and Mathematics and in the SEFS laboratories.

This newly reconfigured programme is designed to meet all the Teaching Council curricular subject (post-primary) requirements and to that end we have designed the programme to cover the demand for science subjects in the following areas:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

On graduation, you will be eligible to register with the Teaching Council as a fully qualified science teacher. Throughout the BEd programme you will participate in Teaching Practice Placement where you will gain experience in science teaching in the secondary school classroom and school science laboratories.

Course Structure

At the start of this BEd programme you choose one of the following five Science Education routes and study these specialist science subjects, along with education modules, for the duration of the programme.

Science Education RouteSubjects
Route 1 Biology + Chemistry
Route 2* Physics + Mathematics
Route 3* Computer Science + Mathematics
Route 4* Chemistry + Mathematics
Route 5 Computer Science + Chemistry

*Note Students must have a minimum grade H3 in LC Mathematics to enter this route.

In Year 1 you will study 10 credits of Education modules and 50 credits of your chosen two specialist subjects. Year 1 allows you to study the foundations of your two specialist science subjects and introduces you to science teaching and science education.

In the following years, you will study your two specialist science subjects and science education in further detail and spend some time on School Placement in a local secondary school. Your School Placement is organised around your UCC lectures and laboratory practical sessions. 

In Year 4 all your modules are education-based, with increased time spent on School Placement (minimum of 4 hours per week from August to May) as well as time spent in lectures and laboratory practical sessions at UCC.

Year 1 Modules

Depending on your Science Education route you will take modules in two of the following science subjects together with 10 credits of Education modules.

  • BC1001 Introduction to Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Disease (5 credits)
  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits)
  • MB1003 Microbiology in Society (5 credits)
  • CM1200  Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry Part 1 (10 credits)
  • CM1201 Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry Part 2a (10 credits)
  • CM1203 Teaching Chemistry Concepts (5 credits)
Computer Science
  • CS1022 Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (15 credits)
  • CS1115 Web Development 1 (5 credits)
  • AM1052 Introduction to Mechanics (5 credits) 
  • AM1053 Introduction to Mathematical Modelling (5 credits) 
  • MA1058 Introduction to Linear Algebra (5 credits) 
  • MA1059 Calculus (5 credits) 
  • MS2013 Geometry (5 credits) 
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5 credits)
  • PY1052 Introductory Physics I (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • ED1101 Introduction to Science Education (5 credits)
  • ED1102 Introduction to Teaching Practice Placement Science Education (5 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme you will be able to:

  • Identify the key characteristics of excellent teaching in science as related to subject knowledge and pedagogy and engage in research in these areas.
  • Apply the scientific knowledge and pedagogical skills gained in the programme to prepare your lesson plans and schemes of work to the highest standards.
  • Recognise and apply the basic principles of managing a learning environment.
  • Develop comprehensive portfolios of teaching, learning and assessment that are relevant to the science curricula in schools.
  • Evaluate the various theories of Teaching and Learning and apply these theories to assist in the creation of effective and inspiring science lessons.
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of your teaching of science subjects in the second-level school system.
  • Display a willingness to co-operate with members of the teaching staff in your assigned school.
  • Foster an interest in science and a sense of enthusiasm for science subjects in your pupils.
  • Synthesise the key components of laboratory organisation and management and perform laboratory work in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Communicate effectively with your school community and with society at large in science education. 

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • The programme is delivered via a combination of lectures, lab work, and a teaching placement.
  • In Year 1 the programme comprises a mixture of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, seminars, and microteaching sessions.
  • In Years 2, 3, & 4 we use a mixture of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, and School Placement in local secondary schools. Your workload will consist of studying lecture notes, writing up practical laboratory notes, and preparing lesson plans for the lessons that you teach in school. Your School Placement is fitted in around your normal lectures at UCC.
  • Written exams take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations and many modules use other types of assessment.
    • In Year 1, the assessment methods consist mainly of written examinations and continuous assessment of laboratory practical work.
    • In Years 2 and 3, assessment consists of written examinations, continuous assessment of laboratory practical work, and School Placement. Your School Placement will be supervised by a member of staff of UCC's School of Education.
    • In Year 4, the entire year is assessed mainly by means of continuous assessment involving project work, laboratory practical work, and supervision of School Placement.
  • In addition to the laboratory practical work in the science modules, your laboratory practical work in the Science Education modules will also cover the practical work components of the Leaving Certificate Biology, Chemistry and Physics curricula as well as the Junior Cycle Science curriculum. You will also visit the Education Centre at Fota Wildlife Park to learn how the facilities there will enhance your teaching of science.

Why Choose This Course

I found it to be a great advantage to be a fully qualified science teacher in four years...

David O'Connell, UCC Science Education Graduate

Find Out More

At UCC we have outstanding facilities for training Science teachers in our state-of-the-art Eureka Centre for Inquiry-Based Education, located in the Kane (Science) Building on the main campus. The centre consists of two state-of-the-art science education laboratories, a Science Education Resource Centre, and a conference room that is fully equipped with all the latest video-conferencing technology. In addition, we have gifted teachers in all the science areas as well as outstanding laboratory facilities. You will be assisted in your teaching placement by highly experienced science teachers and mentor teachers in your placement schools.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

Teaching Placement will take place in secondary schools, usually in Cork city or county, that work in partnership with UCC. Teaching placement fits in around your normal timetable of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, tutorials, seminars, and workshops that take place at UCC. As you progress through the programme, the number of hours that you spend on teaching placement gradually increases.

By fourth year you will be teaching over the entire school year for a minimum of four hours per week in addition to participating in various associated activities in your school. By the time you graduate, you will have accumulated considerable teaching experience and this makes our graduates very attractive to schools seeking inspirational science teachers.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

Some of our graduates have moved into research and postgraduate programmes such as MEd and PhD programmes.

Career Opportunities

Our graduates are in high demand from schools in Ireland and abroad. The fact that you have accumulated both subject knowledge and teaching skills over the four years of the programme is of enormous help in your teaching career.

This programme gives graduates the opportunity to take up an exciting career in which they can inspire young people with their teaching of science. Some of our graduates have also moved into research and postgraduate study. Recent graduates have taken up careers including science teachers at secondary school level, members of the science inspectorate of the Department of Education, researchers in science and science education, and lecturers in science education.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4** in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab ScienceNote:
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 or H4* O6/H7 or H4* H4 in either a Lab Science subject, Maths or Applied Maths or Computer Science*

 * If the H4 is in Maths, Applied Maths or Computer Science an 06/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required.

 ** Students choosing a Science Education route involving Mathematics require an H3 Leaving Certificate grade in Mathematics.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest.

Applicants must demonstrate the acquisition of a good knowledge of laboratory science subjects (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Physics) at Leaving Certificate level (or equivalent) or QQI FET and/or a good knowledge of Mathematics or Computer Science at Leaving Certificate level (or equivalent) or QQI FET. Experience of working in a science-related area will be taken into account when processing applications.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Direct Entry Applicants

Applications are welcome from graduates with a science or engineering degree via the Direct Entry route.

Applicants who hold a degree (at least NFQ Level 7) in Physics or Chemistry or Biology or Agricultural Science or Computer Studies or Mathematics which satisfies the requirements of the Teaching Council for recognition to teach the subject to the highest level in secondary school or an equivalent qualification may enter this programme in Year 3 and undertake Education modules in Years 3 & 4 to satisfy the requirements of the Teaching Council. Applications for this route should be made directly to the Admissions Office of UCC.

Fitness to Practise

This programme is subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy

Student Garda Vetting

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme. 

Vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (the Acts) once a student has accepted their place on the programme. This involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence). 

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there. 

Further information can be found on our Student Garda Vetting page. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact