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PGCE applications for international candidates

At St Mary's, we want to ensure all applicants make a fully informed decision about joining the teaching profession.

As part of that decision making process, spending some time in school(s) observing what teachers do and how they manage learning can be insightful and informative. Whilst this is not a requirement to apply for our PGCE programmes, we strongly advise you to undertake a school observation.

Your training is most likely to take place in mixed, state comprehensive school environments. We recommend you undertake your school observation in a similar school setting, to help you make an informed decision about teaching.

Apply online

Once you have chosen on of our PGCE courses, you can apply. All applications for PGCE programmes are made via the Department for Education's (DfE) application system.

Apply via DfE Apply

Along with your academic qualifications and personal information, your application will need to include a personal statement and references.

Your next steps

Submitted your application? Find out about what happens next.

If you meet the entry requirements for the course you have applied for, you will be called for an interview.

In the interview, we want to see you demonstrating your reasoning for wanting to teach in a primary or secondary education setting. If you are applying for the Primary PE Specialism you should also demonstrate how PE links to the child's development as a unique individual.

Interview day

On the day you will:

  • take part in a brief tour of the campus and an informative lecture about the course and our expectations.
  • undertake some short, written tasks to show your capability in written English, spelling, and grammar. You won't need to prepare for this in advance.
  • work in a group to prepare a short presentation about a current educational topic.
  • undertake a personal interview overseen by one or more members of the PGCE team. 

Your performance will be assessed by several people, including senior staff from our partner schools. Any decisions about acceptance are only made when all assessments are collated and discussed by the course team panel.

Interview preparation

We encourage you to spend time in a school so that you're informed about the whole school environment. This is to confirm your own wish to teach and provide a basis for your own views.

You will need to think about a SMART target for your future professional and personal development.

On successful completion of an interview, you will be made an offer to study at St Mary's.

Most applicants will receive a conditional offer with a range of conditions they will have to meet before their place can be confirmed.

If you have already completed all the additional requirements before the offer is made, we will make you an unconditional offer.

Accepting your offer

To accept your offer, you will need to log in to DfE's application system and accept St Mary's.

If English is not your first language, you will need to evidence your English language ability.

You should include any English language test results with your application. If we make you an offer we will let you know if it is acceptable, or if you will need to complete one of our accepted English language qualifications.

If you need to improve your English skills before starting your degree we offer pre-sessional English courses that are specially designed to help you meet the English language requirements for your chosen degree.

We understand that not everyone who wants to become a teacher has the qualifications required. This is particularly true when it comes to GCSEs.

If you do not have passing grades in GCSE English, Maths, and Science, you may need to undertake an equivalency test.  International qualifications equivalent to GCSEs will be assessed by St Mary’s using the National Academic Recognition Centre (NARIC).

GCSE equivalencies are required regardless of any higher qualification in a related subject. For example, an individual with an A Level or undergraduate degree in Mathematics, English or Science also requires the appropriate GCSEs.

We offer GCSE equivalency tests in Eng­lish, Mathematics and Science. A pass in one of these equivalency tests is considered to be of the same standard as a GCSE C grade.

Our equivalency tests do not count as a qualification in their own right, and are only appropriate for those who have accepted a conditional offer to train with St Mary’s University or a partner school.

Please note: we do not accept equivalency test results from any other provider and don't currently offer tuition or short courses.

Booking an equivalency test

If you need to undertake one or more equivalency tests please contact for information about exam dates.

'Fitness to Teach' is an online medical form that we will send you when we make you an offer to study.

We may send your completed form onto our Occupational Health advisor to review depending on any conditions that you disclose.

Before you arrive at St Mary’s University you must ensure that you have all the relevant documentation and visa information required for you to enter the UK.

Before you arrive at St Mary’s University you must ensure that you have all the relevant documentation and visa information required for you to enter the UK.

It is likely you will need a student visa to study a full degree programme at St Mary's. Check if you need a visa.

Apply for a Student Visa

Our website includes all the information you will need to help you though the visa application process.

A National Insurance (NI) number is an identification number given to UK residents to keep track of their tax and National Insurance contributions.

You have to apply for an NI number before you apply for jobs, but you can start working before you receive it. You can’t apply for an NI number until you’ve arrived in the UK.

To begin your NI number application, please call 0800 141 2075. The application is free, but you may have to hold for a long time before speaking to someone. The operator will ask you a number of questions and you should have your passport, UK address, UK telephone number and St Mary’s course details on hand when you call. You will probably also be asked to attend a follow-up appointment at a local Job Centre.

For full details of the NI number application process, please visit the government website.


Many students choose to work part-time during their course. Although your studies should be your first priority, working can add another dimension to your UK experience and let you earn some welcome spending money. Our Careers Service advertises positions to current students and has a range of tools to help you maximise your employability skills.

Please note that if you’re on a student visa, you will have firm restrictions on the number of hours you can work per week, including unpaid or voluntary work. Students on short-term study visas are not allowed to work. Details of your work permissions will be printed in your visa and/or stamped in your passport. Please see our visa guidance for details of your rights and responsibilities.

It is required that everyone working with children and vulnerable adults in England and Wales obtains a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

We require all teacher trainees to complete an enhanced DBS check.

Once you have accepted your place to study at St Mary’s we will send you an activation email to begin your DBS application via GBG Online Disclosures.