Professional Master of Education

*The application deadline for 2022-23 is extended to June 21st* The Professional Master of Education (PME) is a required qualification for persons wishing to work as post-primary school teachers in the Republic of Ireland and a recognised teaching qualification within the EU. The course aims to prepare new entrants for the teaching profession who are subject experts in their chosen discipline, are knowledgeable, creative and reflective about the aims and processes of education and who are professional in all aspects of their work.

A person walking through Trinity Campus

Course Contacts

Course Director: Dr John Walsh
Course Administrator: Ms Linda Mc Hugh
Email: | Tel: 00 353 1 8963492

Admission Requirements

Applicants must be university graduates, normally with an honors Bachelor degree that includes, as a substantial component, at least one subject from the list of those taught at Leaving Certificate level in Ireland. Applicants are short listed for interview on the basis of our Application Scoring System (PDF) including what qualifies as relevant professional or voluntary experience. Applicants must provide two academic references or one academic reference and one professional reference from relevant professional experience. All academic references must be from a third-level institution. Interviews are held in February / March and offers are made to successful applicants directly following this.

Applicants should be aware of specific entry criteria to the teaching profession which are set and regulated by the DES in association with the Teaching Council of Ireland, and which must be satisfied independently of the School of Education's entry requirements. Therefore, as part of the application process, applicants are required to complete a self-declaration form regarding their eligibility to teach specific curricular subjects.

Course Structure

On entering the PME students are embarking on a process of professional development which continues through to their induction and probation as a new teacher and then to continuing professional development as an experienced teacher. The 2 year full-time PME programme of initial teacher education constitutes the first stage of this process, primarily a course of professional development with a significant academic dimension. There is a clear emphasis on the acquisition of key teaching competences and students are expected to develop the competences both during their time in TCD and whilst on school based placement.

The PME is offered with specialisations in the following ten post-primary curriculum subjects (applicants select one at the time of application as their major subject):

  • Business Studies (including Accounting and Economics)
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • An Ghaeilge
  • Mathematics (including Applied Mathematics
  • Modern Languages (including French,German, Italian, Spanish and other Curricular Languages)
  • Music
  • Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics)

The Professional Master of Education aims to provide a holistic programme for the preparation of individuals for a career in the teaching profession through the development of critical and analytical skills, skills and strategies for teaching, and a reflective professional approach to teaching and learning. We seek to develop in our students:

Course Aims

  • critical 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 and understanding of the complicated nature of the teacher's role and of the function[s] of schools in society
  • critical 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

Description and overview

Each element of the course has been carefully thought out to address specific educational and training objectives and to provide a varied complement of practice in teaching techniques and reflection, and in-depth study of educational issues at masters level. Together they make up an integrated Professional Master of Education (PME) leading to a recognised professional qualification. The course is composed of two major elements: school placement and experience, and university studies.


During their first semester in year 1, students are expected to attend lectures, tutorials and preparatory sessions for school placement in Trinity College. In the second semester, students will participate in a block placement, prioritising Junior Cycle classes, with responsibility for planning, implementing, assessing and evaluating allocated classes (typically 10-12 classes a week). During their block placement, students will attend pedagogical support sessions in College on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons. These sessions are designed to maximise student learning and opportunities for reflection during school placement and to facilitate the integration of theory with practice. Opportunities for collaborative reflective activity will be supported by our e-learning platform.

When students return from school placement, they will participate in placement review and evaluation activities, and complete a research methods programme in order to prepare them to write a detailed research proposal for their thesis in year 2. The research proposal is designed to draw on the material included in students' teaching and learning Professional Development Portfolios (PDP) which includes all reflections, assignments, academic readings, observations, lesson plans and schemes of work, placement feedback reports etc. from the beginning of the PME course.


During their first semester in year 2, students will participate in an advanced school placement module, covering both Junior and Senior Cycle classes, where they have full responsibility to plan, deliver and evaluate all aspects of the classes they teach (typically 15 classes a week), and engage fully in the day-to-day life of a school. Students will attend evening pedagogical support sessions in College every two weeks, and in their second year.

During their second semester, students will attend lectures, workshops and seminars in College, and take advanced pedagogical studies and research in their major subject area. This advanced module is designed to equip students with the relevant knowledge and skills to reflect on their periods of school experience and academic studies in education and to complete a substantial research project in their major pedagogical subject area (10,000 word minor thesis).

Foundation and Professional Studies

Students participate in lectures and tutorials in the foundation disciplines of education, attend modules on ICT (Information and Communication Technology), and choose one specialist option. Depending on their interests, timetabling flexibility and workload management, students may request permission from the PME Registrar to attend an additional specialist option in one or both years of the programme on an attendance only and unassessed basis. ICT consists of two mandatory modules and focuses on technical skills in year 1, and on pedagogical application in year two. In year 1, students attend two pedagogy subjects. The first (major) will be the subject that they intend to teach full-time in schools. Students attend seminars and workshops in both their major and minor subjects in first year and specialise only in their major subject as an advanced study of pedagogy in second year. The purpose of the modules in pedagogy are to introduce students to the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching and learning in their subject area. Literacy and numeracy are included as key components of each pedagogical subject area. Teaching in each subject is shared by a team of full-time members of the School and part-time staff, many of whom are also practising teachers. Each pedagogy subject area aims to develop in students:

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

These modules are assessed by assignment or examination over the course of the two years.

School Placement

School Placement is a major element of the course and students accepted for the course must source two placements in a range of different school types, within 35km of the university. In accordance with the Teaching Council of Ireland guidelines, at least 40% of student time over the two years of the PME must be allocated to school placement, involving between 200-250 hours of direct teaching, which includes approximately 25 hours of team teaching experience during students' first semester.

There are two school placement modules:

An introduction to School Placement (year 1)

Advanced School Placement (year 2)

The introductory school placement module in first year involves incremental tasks such as peer teaching, co-teaching with a mentor or co-operating teacher, learning support and resource teaching, and individual teaching and reflection. Structured non-teaching hours involve targeted classroom observations, peer and individual planning for teaching, learning and assessment, attendance at staff meetings, involvement in extra curricular activities, familiarisation with school policies, documentation, procedures and practices, and guided reading and portfolio tasks. The advanced module in second year requires students to engage in school based research, all aspects of the planning, implementation and evaluation of teaching, and full participation in the day-to-day activities of school life.

Over the course of the 2 year PME students must source their own school placement in different educational settings to reflect the socio-economic and cultural diversity of society, including all girls/boys/mixed gender, designated disadvantaged, multiple languages, Gaelscoileanna, etc.

It is the responsibility of the PME student teacher to source and secure both the Year 1 and Year 2 school placement. The placement must comply with all requirements of the School Placement block.


Professional Master of Education in TCD

Incoming PME students for the academic year 2020/2021must complete and return a Garda Vetting Application form to Academic Registry prior to commencing the course. PME students will not be permitted to commence their School Placement until they have been garda vetted. The application form and supporting documentation (Garda Vetting (PDF)) see below. Incoming PME students are encouraged to submit the application form as a matter of urgency.

Please note that you will not be permitted to begin your placement until your student vetting application is processed and approved in accordance with our Student Vetting policy.

Further details on Garda Vetting.

2019 Garda Vetting declaration (PDF)

2019 NVB 1 Vetting Invitation (PDF)

2019 Information and Guidelines (PGNonEU) (PDF)

2019-2020 PME-Year1-Semester2-Timetable-19-20 (PDF)

2019-2020 PME-Year-2-Timetable19-2020 (PDF)

2019-2020 Year-2-Tutorial-Schedule-2019-2020 (PDF)

2021 - 2022 PME-Handbook-2021-2022 (PDF)

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the timetables published here on the TCD School of Education website are for information purposes.
Only fully registered students may attend classes.



Iseult O’Rourke

PME 2018

I was always drawn to the field of education and enrolling in the P.M.E in Trinity gave me the perfect opportunity to do this. I studied TSM Mathematics and French in Trinity College - and so finishing the PME marked the end of a six-year relationship I had with the university. The PME is a whirlwind of an experience - a challenging two years without a doubt. I was so lucky to have some fantastic lecturers who worked with me closely throughout the programme. My peers on the course introduced me to new ways of thinking about teaching: the way the classroom should and could be. It was exciting to be given the chance to challenge and enhance my ideas of education. My fellow teachers-to-be and I learned from each other's experiences and from the differences and similarities in our educational values and ideals. We shared the highs and lows of teaching for the first time. For me, the solidarity of working alongside like-minded, passionate people was invaluable.