Initial Teacher Education

The Initial Teacher Education program is a post graduate level initial teacher training course offered through a collaborative partnership with Durham University UK ( and the International School of Geneva

This full-time, face-to-face course runs for one academic year and is held in Geneva, with daily presence required, Monday - Friday, 09.00 - 16.00.

After a selection process by Durham University, with input from the International School of Geneva, places will be offered to up to sixteen trainees who wish to train to teach Primary or Secondary students in an international context. 

Who is it for?

This programme is ideal for Graduates who would like to become a teacher in an international school context. The course provides an internationally recognised teaching qualification, the PGCE International, amongst others, and in-depth training and classroom practice tailored to working in international education. 

Trainees will need to live in or near to Geneva from the end of August until the following June. A school placement may be possible in another international school from February - May but this is not guaranteed and will be decided if you are accepted onto the course. You will still have to live in Geneva before and after this 10 week placement from the end of August until January and from May until the end of June.

Course Structure

The course is composed of three modules: a professional module and two academic modules at Masters level.

The Professional Module:

This part of the course is delivered by the International School of Geneva and is primarily school-based. The teaching classroom is at the Campus des Nations, but students have observation and teaching placements on all three campuses of the Foundation and in other local partner schools in and around Geneva and Lausanne.

This module is composed of seminars, in-person and online workshops, and practical in-class training linked to a variety of subjects including planning, classroom climate and effective feedback.  Workshops and lectures covering such topics as educational theory, reflective practice, inclusion, pluriculturalism, and international education also form part of the professional module. 

In order to complete the professional module successfully, students need to complete a written assignment and demonstrate, through their teaching practice, attainment of a set of internationally-recognized professional standards. Professional tutors, mentors, experienced teachers and leaders, and lecturers support the professional module.

There are two main periods of 'school experience' placements: one in the first term of six weeks and one, in the second and third terms, of 10 weeks.  During these times students, working at all times under the supervision of the regular class teacher, teach up to a maximum of 50% of timetable in the first placement and 75% in the second.

The Academic Modules

Durham University delivers the academic modules of the course. Each student is assigned an academic tutor in the School of Education at the university, who is responsible for subject specific tasks and guidance for the two Masters level modules.

Students are expected to keep in regular contact with the academic tutor. Students have access to Durham’s online teaching facility and the Durham University Education Library.  

The two Masters modules are primarily delivered through the annual online Reflective Practitioner Conference. These two modules form part of a Masters degree, and credits may be recognized for further diploma or masters level studies.

Please click here for further information about Durham University's Initial Teacher Education programmes. 

Assessment of the Course

In order to be awarded the PGCE (International), the student is required to be successful in assessed school teaching practice, and to have passed the two Masters level modules and the Professional Module. Successful candidates will also be awarded the International School of Geneva Certificate in Applied Pedagogy.

Please note that this PGCE (International) cannot be awarded with QTS, English Qualified Teacher Status, as school experience will not have taken place in England. However, the students will have gathered a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that they have met a set of agreed professional competences. 

International Baccalaureate Educator Certificate in Teaching and Learning

Durham University and the International School of Geneva have been officially certified to offer the International Baccalaureate Certificate in Teaching and Learning (IBctl) Level 1 alongside the PGCE (International) course. This is therefore a second qualification which students work towards during the year. 

Please note the IBctl is only offered as part of the PGCE (International) programme and cannot be followed as a stand-alone course.

Students choose one of the three IB programmes (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme or Diploma Programme) and gather evidence in an electronic portfolio to meet IB standards. Understanding of the chosen IB programme is evaluated during a viva-voce interview – along with the balance of the PGCE portfolio - at the end of the course.

For further information, please visit the IB website

ICT and Library Facilities

As well as the Durham University Education Library, students also have access to the catalogue of the Institute of Learning and Teaching library at the Campus des Nations and will also be able to use the University of Geneva Education library.

Entry Requirements

Application to the PGCEI requires the following:

  • Applicants for the course must normally be university graduates, with the equivalent of a UK 2:1 honours degree or above (successful completion of a masters level PGCE will classify as 'above'), or have other specially approved qualifications which satisfy the Admissions Sub-Committee that they are suitably qualified to undertake the course.
  • GCSE English and Maths Grade 4 (or C) or higher or equivalent is required
  • Primary only - GCSE Science Grade 4 (or C) or higher or equivalent is required for those applying for Primary teaching
  • Be able to demonstrate a proven interest in teaching and international education
  • Students who have not previously studied an academic qualification in English: IELTS level 6.5

General and Financial Conditions

The fee for this course is divided into 4 parts:

The Enrolment Fee, Registration fee, the Professional fee and the Academic fee.  

Enrolment Fee: CHF 250
This fee covers the administrative costs of processing the enrolment for a place on the course. It is a non-refundable payment payable to the International School of Geneva before the interview.

Registration Fee: CHF 1,000
This fee secures a place on the course. It is a non-refundable deposit payable to the International School of Geneva. 

Professional fee: CHF 19,500
This fee is payable to the International School of Geneva. This is payable in three instalments and the Registration Fee of CHF 1,000 is deductible from the first instalment.

Durham University Academic Fee
Details concerning the academic fee payable to Durham University can be found here on the Durham University website.

This fee is payable directly to Durham University, also in three instalments and is a flat fee for all students regardless of country of origin.

For detailed information about the course fees, please download a copy of our 2024-25 Financial Conditions brochure

Admissions Process

  1. Candidates who are interested in applying are encouraged to join an information session or contact the Institute directly to speak to a member of the team about the course.

  2. Complete the below application form. You will require an up-to-date CV, letter of motivation that describes your professional experience and your reasons for applying, plus a copy of your undergraduate degree certificate.

  3. The admissions committee will review your application and contact you directly regarding next steps. 

  4. Interviews for the course are held in March/ April by an interview panel from Durham University and the Ecolint Institute with decisions communicated shortly afterwards.

Online Information Sessions

We encourage anyone interested in finding out more about this course or considering applying to attend an online information session first.

Upcoming dates:

  • Wednesday 31st January at 12:30 - 13.30

Please register here

Applications for 2024-25

Applications are now open.

Learn about the entry requirements and how to apply in the relevant sections.

Further information

Information about applying to the programme should be addressed to

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