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Professional Diploma In Education

**The Professional Diploma in Education will not be offered after 2013.  From 2014, the PDE will be replaced by the Professional Masters in Education (PME). This is a national change and all PDE providers will stop providing PDE programmes. 

If you are looking to apply for the teaching qualification (PME) to begin in September 2014, applications for the PME will open later this Autumn and information on the PME course is available here: HERE.

Course handbook 2013-14 (Provisional) [PDF]

Information for incoming students 2013-2014

Applicants wishing to persue the PME can now avail of the Back to Education Programme (BTE).


The Professional Diploma in Education (PDE) is a one-year, full-time (60 credits), intensive programme of study for the preparation of post-primary school teachers.  The course is recognised and accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland, the regulatory body of the teaching profession in the Republic of Ireland.  The course is composed of two main elements:  teaching placement and university experience.  Students teach in schools on Monday mornings, Thursdays and Fridays and attend lectures, tutorials and workshops in the university on Monday afternoons, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the academic year. It is the responsibility of the student to secure a teaching placement and schools must be within a 25 km radius of Trinity College.   

Who is the programme for?

Persons wishing to teach at secondary level.  The PDE is a required qualification for persons wishing to work as post-primary teachers in the Republic of Ireland and is a recognised teaching qualification within the EU. 

Course Overview

We seek to develop in our students:

  • knowledge and appreciation of the discipline of education;
  • a sense of the broad context of Irish education as part of society as a whole;
  • an appreciation of the complicated nature of the teacher’s role and of the function[s] of schools in society;
  • knowledge of a range of models of instruction, with the ability to choose between them and to apply them in classrooms, laboratories and elsewhere;
  • the ability and willingness to act as reflective practitioners, adopting critical insights into practice as appropriate.

The course is staffed by a combination of full-time and part-time lecturers and tutors, the former being Trinity lecturers who have wide research interests and experience in teaching in schools and higher education, the latter typically being current or recently retired teachers who bring extensive classroom experience.

Please note that nationally all PDE courses were designated at level 8 and renamed as Professional Diploma in Education starting in the academic year 2011/2012.
For more information on the course in general including regulations, assessment procedures and module outlines and reading lists for all course components, see the Course handbook for the current year.  Note the handbook is updated for each new year group and so the course calendar and timetable in particular are subject to change. 

Admission requirements

Applicants must be university graduates with a primary degree that includes, as a substantial component, at least one subject from the list of those taught at Leaving Certificate level in Ireland. 

Application and Selection Process

All applications are made on-line between September and December of the year prior to the course beginning and selected applicants will be called to interview in Spring as part of the selection process.

The intake of the Professional Diploma in Education at TCD is approximately 135 students with a quota applied for each of the pedagogy subjects offered on the course (see list below). Please be aware that you must apply for a specific teaching subject (as listed below) and your application will be assessed with others for that teaching subject.

Applications can be made through the web portal system:

Please note that applicants may only apply for one option in the P.D.E. from the list shown below

  • Business Studies, Accounting or Economics;
  • English;
  • Geography;
  • History;
  • Irish;
  • Mathematics (including Applied Mathematics);
  • Modern Languages (including French, German, Italian, Spanish and Other Languages);
  • Music;
  • Religious Education;
  • Science (inclucding Biology, Chemistry and Physics).

Course Structure and Content

  1. Induction course:  held over one week in August/September. Its aim is to provide a general overview of the programme and to equip students for their introduction to teaching in the classroom. There is an emphasis on classroom teaching methods and survival skills.
  2. Teaching Practice (TP):  takes place for the full school year from September until June.  It is the responsibility of the student to secure a teaching placement and schools must be within a 25 km radius of Trinity College.  In certain circumstances staff in the School of Education can offer help and advice in organising TP but this is not normally the case.  Students are required to be present in their Teaching Practice School on Monday mornings, and on Thursdays and Fridays.  Students must teach 6-8 hours per week with the majority of hours in their major subject. 
  3. College-based courses

Lecture courses are given in the following areas:

    • Educational Philosophy and Theory;
    • Applied Psychology in Education;
    • History of Education;
    • Special Education;
    • Sociologies of Education;
    • Introduction to Assessment & Examinations.

Courses in pedagogy of teaching subjects are offered in the following school subjects:

  • Business Studies (including Accounting and Economics);
  • English;
  • Geography;
  • History;
  • Irish;
  • Mathematics (including Applied Mathematics);
  • Modern Languages (including French, German, Italian, Spanish and Other Languages);
  • Music;
  • Religious Education;
  • Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics).

The purpose of the courses in pedagogy is to introduce students to the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching as a subject. Teaching in each subject is shared by a team of full-time members of the School and part-time staff, some of whom are also practising teachers, and one of whom will coordinate each subject. Students must choose two pedagogy subjects, a major and a minor. The major subject is the subject for which the student applied. The second (minor) subject should be chosen from a range of possible subjects that do not clash with the student’s major on the course timetable. The minor pedagogy course will not be assessed and you will not be supervised if you teach that subject. Science and Modern Languages count as double pedagogy subjects. Majors in these subjects do not have to choose a minor pedagogy programme. However, students taking either of these subjects as minor must also have a major.

Each pedagogy team aims, in its own way, to develop in students:

  • [a] the ability to reflect on and evaluate their own practice;
  • [b] a working knowledge of relevant research into pupils' learning and an appreciation of the importance of pupils being actively engaged in their own learning;
  • [c] an appreciation of the importance of developing positive relationships with pupils, based on principles of equity and inclusiveness;
  • [d] a rigorous approach to planning, combined with the ability to make considered choices from a range of teaching methods and resources;
  • [e] a knowledge of the content of their subject[s] as required for the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate examination syllabi.

A course in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and elective courses in some or all of the following will also be available:

  • Civic, Social and Political Education;
  • Drama in Education;
  • Classroom Practice and the Hidden Curriculum;
  • Inquiry Learning;
  • Language and Literacy across the Curriculum;
  • Depth psychology for teachers;
  • Gender and Identity;
  • Education Research in Practice.

Module outlines for all of the courses are provided in the course handbook (Provisional)[PDF]. handbook_2012-2013

Contact Details
Ms Elizabeth Fleeton
School of Education
3128 Arts Building
Trinity College
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 896 1488
Email :

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Last updated 9 July 2014