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Durham University


X101 Primary Education BA Undergraduate  2019


UCAS code X101
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 Years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

Course Summary


The Primary Education degree offers Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and is ideal for those committed to a teaching career in a primary school. In addition to preparing you to teach the whole curriculum, the course enables you to become a specialist in a particular curriculum area: English, Mathematics, Science or Computing.

It aims to help you develop:

  • An appropriate repertoire of professional knowledge and understanding to provide a foundation for effective teaching in a primary school
  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the core subjects of the National Curriculum
  • Personal skills which would enable you to contribute to a school as a curriculum specialist in one of the core areas
  • Knowledge and understanding of the other subjects in the primary curriculum to a level which will support effective teaching
  • Understanding of schools and the National Curriculum as the framework within which children’s formal learning takes place
  • Classroom effectiveness by drawing upon the expertise of practising teachers
  • A personal educational philosophy and a professional approach to your work
  • An understanding of the responsibilities and roles of the primary teacher.

There are two major components to the course: academic and professional. Successful completion of both components will lead to the award of an Honours degree with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The professional components focus on the standards required for the award of QTS. This includes up to 30 weeks school experience in a variety of schools and a programme addressing whole school issues which affect the learning environment of the child. We have a very strong partnership arrangement for this programme, based on School Training Centres.

Year 1

In the first year of the degree course, students will study the three core subjects of English, maths and science, with a choice of other subjects related to the broader primary curriculum. Students will also develop their professional and academic study skills, and gain an understanding of the development and learning of children in the early years of their lives. Students will also develop their experience and skills in the primary classroom through serial visits to schools (one day per week) with a teaching placement at the end of the year.

Core modules

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Professional and Academic Study Skills
  • Development and Learning in the Very Early Years.

Optional modules (one from):

  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • Computing
  • Modern Foreign Language.

Year 2

In the second year of the degree course, students will continue their study of the three core subjects of English, maths and science, and optional subject continued from the first year. Students will also develop their research methods skills in order to analyse their practice in the classroom, and in preparation for the Dissertation module in the following year. Students will gain a broader understanding of the teaching and learning issues pertinent to the primary classroom. Students will continue to develop their experience and skills in the primary classroom through serial visits to schools (one day per week) with a teaching placement at the beginning of the spring term. There will also be additional focus placements at the end of the year where students will be given the opportunity to develop particular areas of their school practice. There will also be further professional input related to the teaching of foundation subjects in the primary school throughout the year.

Core modules

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Research Methods in Education
  • Teaching and Learning.

Optional modules (one from):

  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • Computing
  • Modern Foreign Language.

Year 3

In the final year of the degree course, students will continue their study of the three core subjects of English, Maths and Science, and specialise further in one of these subjects or Computing. Students will research and write an original Dissertation in their chosen specialist subject. Students will continue to develop their experience and skills in the primary classroom through serial visits to schools (one day per week) with a final teaching placement at the end of the year. There will again be further professional input related to the teaching of foundation subjects in the primary school throughout the year.

Core modules:

  • Dissertation
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Specialist subject (English, maths, science or computing).

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2019 entry from September 2018.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this programme learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, fieldwork (school placements), informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.

All of these are supported by a virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO). The formal teaching supports and underpins extensive periods of placement in schools learning the skills desired by employers.

Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the programme) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation - supported by one-on-one supervision - that makes up a third of final year credits. This progression, coupled with real classroom experience, systematically transforms the student from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements. Please contact our Admissions Selectors for further information
  • Grade 4 (or C) or above in English, Mathematics and a Science subject at GCSE or equivalent is required. If you do not have GCSE’s in these subjects please contact us for advice before submitting an application
  • BTEC: the subject area studied should normally reflect the content of the Primary National Curriculum and/or relate to the study of Childhood and you must demonstrate a Distinction, Distinction, Merit profile
  • Applicants must demonstrate a clear commitment to children's learning and development.
  • All applicants are required to pass QTS Skills in Literacy & Numeracy tests by 1st August 2019. The School of Education would prefer applicants to have passed prior to interview. For more information please see the Teaching Agency website 
  • Applicants are also required to have an Enhanced DBS check and a Fit to Teach Certificate by 1st August 2019.  Full details about how to apply for a DBS check and Fit to Teach will be given once an applicant has accepted an offer on the Primary Education programme.
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Typical IB score 34 to include 655 in higher level subjects.  Standard level requirements apply, see above
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary courses to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency
  • If you are applying from overseas you should be aware that a face-to face interview forms a compulsory part of the selection process for this course.  The School of Education does not interview applicants by Skype so if you are unable to attend an interview on campus at Durham City you may wish to consider applying for one of our Education Studies programmes as an alternative.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £19,250.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Education

The Education Studies degree is an excellent programme if you want to keep your options open. As well as opening up routes into teaching, the programme also qualifies you for careers in educational research, educational publishing, educational administration, policy or management, as well as a range of careers in the commercial or public sector.

Of those students who left in 2017:

  • 97% are in employment or further study six months after graduating

Of those in employment:

  • 92% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £28,000

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2016/17 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

Quote: Since Graduation I have been a project worker at Investing In Children, a children's rights-based social enterprise, to help improve local services and trusts for children and young people. This involves working directly with children and young peo

Students who have graduated from Education Studies in the past 5 years have taken positions as Journalists, Youth Workers, Archivists, Charity Development Officers, Publishers and Music Therapists as well as professional preparation and study as Social Workers, Teachers, Psychotherapists and Midwives.

In addition many students go on to further study within educational research. For example, a taught MA, or MA in Research Methods (Education), some have gone onto funded PhDs.

The programme is also an excellent preparation for a career in teaching at either primary or secondary level. Although the degree does not offer Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you may be able to progress onto a one year Postgraduate Certificate in Education programme (PGCE). However, it is important to stress that you are not expected to teach, and this degree is in no way focused around the competencies of a teacher.

The BA Education Studies - Psychology programme is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and as such provides clear career paths into a number of professions including teaching and educational psychology. The BPS recognition ensures that students who wish to work in a field requiring memberships of the BPS are prepared and qualified to do so.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Education


The School of Education at Durham University is an Ofsted-rated Outstanding Provider of Initial Teacher Education (rated in 2010/11 and again in 2012/13).

The core of our programme is the partnership between the University and schools. The course has been developed so that students are taught by primary education experts, using innovative and researchinformed methods to develop their knowledge and skills. Outstanding teachers require excellent subject and pedagogical knowledge, and our programme offers both academic and practical opportunities to develop both.

Our partnership with schools is firmly embedded within the programme, so students spend time in school throughout the course
of study. Our network of primary schools covers a wide geographical area and a diverse range of schools. We operate a cluster model, where schools work in teams to offer a variety of teaching experiences to our students, putting into practice their professional learning. Our programme weaves together knowledge, skills and understandings from research, theory and practice-based experiences.


  • Rated as ‘Outstanding’ course by Ofsted in the most recent assessment in 2013.
  • 1st in the Complete University Guide 2018.
  • 2nd in The Guardian University Guide 2018.
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

In the National Student Survey 2017 our students said that:

  • Our staff are good at explainingthings (93%)
  • My course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth (94%)
  • My course has provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learnt (94%)
  • I have been able to contact staff when I needed to (89%)

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