Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

What is a PGCE?

A Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a professional qualification that allows a 3 year Bachelors Degree graduate the opportunity to become a qualified teacher. These qualifications essentially “cap” an academic qualification and allow graduates to register with the South African Council of Educators (SACE). There are 4 teaching phases that one may choose to specialize in, they are as follows; 

  • Foundation Phase (Grade R – 3)
  • Intermediate Phase (Grade 4 – 7)
  • Senior Phase (Grade 7 – 9)
  • Further Education and Training (Grade 10 – 12)

What is SACE?

SACE is a statutory body for professional educators that aims to inspire a credible teaching profession in South Africa. SACE is responsible for safeguarding public confidence in the teaching profession by registering and monitoring educators that are fit to teach. They also aim to enhance the profession through the management of professional development and inculcation of a Code of Ethics for all educators.

Studying a PGCE?

A PGCE can take between 1 and 2 years to complete and can be done full- or part-time. There are also some universities that offer these programmes via distance learning, however there will always be a practical aspect (Work-Integrated Learning/Teaching Practice) that will need to be completed in a school environment under supervision. Upon the successful completion of the PGCE training, graduates may apply to register with SACE and become qualified teachers.

Admission Requirements.

Prospective PGCE students must have at least obtained an undergraduate *Bachelors Degree. These Bachelors Degrees must include appropriate and sufficient academic knowledge to teach school subjects for a specific Phase, usually 2 subjects.

Some universities require PGCE students to have obtained a minimum of 60% in each of their major subjects during their undergraduate Bachelors Degree. This pertains specifically to majors that align with schooling level teaching subjects.

*Those that studied a professional Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) needn’t complete a PGCE as that professional qualification would already lead to registration.

Where can I study a PGCE?

Cognition & Co have searched for every PGCE programme in South Africa and created the following list of institutions. Our Research Team is constantly searching and updating this list, so make sure to check back regularly for updates.

UniversitySpecialisationDurationFull or Part TimeLocationWebsite
UNISASenior Phase & FET2 yearsPart TimeDistance LearningUNISA
NMUSenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimePort ElizabethNMU
NMUFET1 yearFull TimePort ElizabethNMU
MANCOSAFET1 year 6 monthsFull TimeDistance LearningMANOSA
Varsity CollegeSenior Phase & FET2 yearsPart TimeContactVC
StadioSenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimeDistanceSTADIO
WITSSenior Phase & FET1 year
2 years
Full Time
Part Time
UCTFoundation Phase1 yearFull TimeCape TownUCT
UCTIntermediate Phase1 yearFull TimeCape Town
UCTSenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimeCape Town
UCTFET1 yearFull TimeCape Town
CornerstoneFoundation Phase2 yearsPart TimeDistance LearningCornerstone
CornerstoneIntermediate Phase2 yearsPart TimeDistance LearningCornerstone
UKZNSenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimeDurbanUKZN
UKZNFET1 yearFull TimeDurban
UPSenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimePretoriaUP
UPFET1 yearFull TimePretoria
TUTFET1 yearFull TimeSoshanguveTUT
CUTSenior Phase & FET1 year
2 years
Full Time
Part Time
Stellenbosch UniversityFET1 yearFull TimeStellenboschSUN
Rhodes UniversitySenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimeGrahamstownRU
NWUSenior Phase & FETFull TimeCampuses & Distance LearningNWU
Two Oceans Education FoundationSenior Phase & FET1 year
2 years
Full Time
Part Time
Distance LearningTOGI
2 years
Full Time
Part Time
Mowbray CampusCPUT
UJSenior Phase1 yearFull TimeJohannesburgUJ
UJFET2 yearsPart TimeJohannesburg
UFSSenior Phase & FET1 yearFull TimeFree StateUFS
WSUSenior Phase & FET1 year
2 years
Full Time
Part Time
ULFET1 yearFull TimeLimpopoUL
UFHFoundation Phase1 yearFull TimeEast LondonUFH
UFHFET1 yearFull TimeAliceUFH

Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Do I have to be able to speak an African language?

You do not have to be proficient in an African language to be able to study a PGCE but it is a requirement to take an African language as a subject while studying for a PGCE.

  • Do I have to be computer literate?

If you have not already completed a computer proficiency module in your undergraduate degree, you will have to take a computer and information studies module with your PGCE.

  • What subjects can I teach? 

The subjects that you majored in for your undergraduate degree or diploma will determine which subjects you will be able to teach. We will create a list of these subject equivalencies shortly. For example, if you majored in psychology you could teach Life Orientation.

  • Is it an academic or practical course? 

It is mainly an academic course but there is practical training which occurs at a school that needs to be completed. This is called Work Integrated Learning (WIL).

  • Can a PGCE be done online?

Yes, some of the institutions offer the course online, but you would still need to do the practical components in person.

  • How are the practical components done if offered online?

Even if you are studying your PGCE online you would still have to complete the practical training. 

  • When do I register with SACE?

As a student you can provisionally register with SACE; however, you can only fully register once you have completed your PGCE.

  • If I do a Primary phase PGCE, can I teach Grade 10/11/12?

No, you can only teach the grades that you studied for. For example, FET is grades 10/11/12.

  • Do I have to work in a government school?

No, as a qualified registered teacher you are able to work in any school. 

Information above compiled by Research Assistant, Shannon Lewis.