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Thinking of Teaching

Information you need for Postgraduate Certificate in Education - PGCE

Download thinking of teaching in 2021 leaflet

To study to become a teacher at UCT, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree (3 or 4 years’ study) followed by a one-year full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE is a teaching qualification).

PGCE entry requirements

There are four PGCEs: Foundation Phase; Intermediate Phase; Senior Phase-FET; FET.

NB: We regret that the PGCE Foundation and Intermediate Phases will not be offered in 2021.

Teaching in a primary school

  • Foundation Phase (Grade 1 – 3):
    • A bachelor’s degree comprising a selection of subjects that will provide the knowledge to teach Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills. Applicants also require a Grade 12 pass in Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy. Strongly recommended for degree study (BA, B. Soc Sc): Psychology, SA languages (including English) , linguistics, Quantitative Literacy for Humanities (or Social Science), social sciences.
  • Intermediate Phase (Grade 4 – 7):
  • A bachelor’s degree with five whole-year courses in two or more school subjects (2 semester courses = 1 whole year course) and a minimum of 150 credits:  Language(s); linguistics; mathematics and statistics; natural sciences; geography and environmental sciences; historical studies and archaeology; psychology; music; fine art; drama; dance; information systems/computer science; human movement studies. Applicants also require a Grade 12 pass in Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy.
  • Strongly recommended for degree study (BA, B. Soc Sc, B.Sc):
  • SA languages (including English), linguistics, Quantitative Literacy for Humanities (or Social Science), Historical Studies, Environmental and Geographical Sciences. 

Teaching in a high school:

  • Senior Phase-FET (Grades 8 – 12)  and/or  FET (Grades 10 – 12):
    • Your bachelor’s degree must include at least two subjects (from the list below), studied to at least second year level:  languages, mathematics, environmental and geographical sciences, historical studies, life sciences (botany, zoology), chemistry, physics, accounting, economics, music, fine art, dance, drama, computer science.  However, a major in psychology is required for Life Skills teaching, and 1 year of mathematics is accepted for Mathematics Senior Phase & Maths Literacy FET.
    • FET only students take one method subject, i.e. English, History, Geography, Mathematics or Dramatics Arts.
    • Conversational Xhosa is required for the award of PGCE.; so, an introductory Xhosa course is strongly recommended as part of your undergraduate degree.

Steps to becoming a teacher at UCT

  1. Decide which phase you would like to teach.
  2. Choose an appropriate degree (study the UCT website and Handbooks.) Examples: (a) For FP and IP, a B.A or B.Soc Sc or B.Sc degree is suitable (b) a B.A if you want to teach SP-FET English and History (c) a B.Sc if you want to teach SP Natural Science and FET Life Science, (d) a B.Com if you want to teach SP-FET accounting and economics, (e) a B.A in Music Education if you want to teach music. Before choosing your degree courses, it is strongly recommended that you consult the PGCE student advisor, Nicole Lesch (
  3. Contact the relevant faculty office (e.g., Humanities for B.A or B.SocSc ; Science for B.Sc, Commerce for B.Com) if you need general advice about the degree programmes.
  4. Apply to UCT to study the degree that you have chosen.
  5. Apply online for PGCE as from April in your final year.
  6. Closing date for applications is 31 July for Foundation Phase, and 31 October for all other PGCE programmes.
  7. Applications are considered in order of receipt and admission to any PGCE will be closed when the available places have been filled. Early application is advised.


The Department of Basic Education has Funza Lushaka bursaries, see Applications usually opens in October each year.

You could also apply for NSFAS - Applications for the 2021 intake will open on 3 August to 30 November 2020 or Undergraduate Financial Aid at UCT.

The HCI Foundation offers bursaries to PGCE students. Applications for the 2021 intake will open on 1 August 2020 to 31 October 2020. Queries can be directed to or 021 424 6010.

The Jakes Gerwel Fellowship offers scholarships to PGCE students. Applications for the 2021 intake will open on 8 April 2020 to 20 August 2020, and can be made during the final/third year of undergrad. For more information, view this poster

PGCE Admissions adviser:

Nicole Lesch
School of Education, 5.03.4 Neville Alexander Building
University Avenue South, 
UCT Upper Campus 
Rondebosch 7701