Optional Placement Year
Undertaking a placement after your penultimate year of study is a great way to explore an area of career interest, build professional skills and ease the transition into working life.
Successful completion of your placement will result in ‘with a Placement Year' being added to the end of your degree title.
Over 30 students are undertaking an optional Placement Year during 2021/22 from a range of degrees including (but not limited to): Biology, English, Psychology, Criminology, Economics, Natural Science, Liberal Arts and Geography.
During my year at GSK I was given responsibility from the start in central projects and expanded my network working with different global teams at GSK and beyond.
It’s a fantastic way to learn about the corporate world and its cultures, meet new people, and gain practical and technical skills for your career.
Dianthi Edirisooriya, third year BSc Economics
Why do a Placement Year?
A Placement Year offers you the opportunity to:
Get under the skin of an industry, organisation and role in order to make better-informed decisions about your future career.
Take personal responsibility for tasks, duties and projects with real-world applications.
Develop your work ethic and powers of critical reflection. Research has found that doing a Placement Year can improve final year performance by 2.6-3.8% (Jones, Green and Higson, 2015).
Build high-level transferable skills and the ability to develop and demonstrate professional competencies in the workplace.
The Placement Year is an assessed component of your degree programme that will be recognised on your degree transcript. As you will remain a registered student for the duration of your Placement Year, you will retain access to all University support services.
You will be allocated a Placement Tutor who will maintain monthly remote contact with you and conduct at least one in-person or remote visit to your workplace.
It is possible that your placement will lead to a permanent role on graduation.
How does it work?
Am I eligible?
This scheme supports students who do not already have the option to complete a placement year as part of their degree. You are therefore eligible if you are an undergraduate or integrated masters student and your course does not include an integrated placement year, industrial year or year abroad.
Examples of eligible degree programmes include, but are not limited to:
Faculty of Arts: BA Archaeology, BA Classics, BA English, BA Film & Television Studies, BA Music, BA Philosophy
Faculty of Engineering: Degree programmes in this Faculty already offer integrated ‘Industrial Year’ options. Contact the Engineering Industrial Placement Team for information.
Faculty of Medicine & Health Science: BSc/MSci Biology, BSc/MSci Zoology, BSc/MSci Biochemistry and Genetics, BSc Neuroscience
Faculty of Science: BSc/MSci Psychology, BSc/MSci Natural Sciences
Faculty of Social Science: BA Criminology, BA/BSc Economics, BA Philosophy Politics and Economics, BA Geography, BA Sociology
You must have your school’s permission to complete an optional Placement Year.
- If your degree already includes a placement year, industrial year or year abroad, your school may not grant permission.
- If your degree programme includes shorter placements that are preconditions of qualification (for example medicine and veterinary science), taking an optional Placement Year would not be appropriate.
What placements get approval and what are the deadlines?
The placement must be full-time and for no less than nine months. It can commence any time from the July following your penultimate year of study.
The placement must be considered to be of ‘graduate level’ - that means requiring skills and/or levels of expertise provided by a degree programme.
To guarantee enrolment on the optional Placement Year, you must confirm the details of your placement offer with the us by 31 March 2022. If you receive a placement offer after 31 March it may still be possible to undertake the optional Placement Year. Please inform both your school and our team at the earliest opportunity.
Most placements will start between July-September 2022. You will return to the University to start your final year of study at the start of Autumn Term 2023.
The course transfer process:
If your placement is approved, you will be transferred to the ‘with a Placement Year’ version of your degree programme. For example, a student from BSc Economics (three year course) will switch to BSc Economics with a Placement Year (four year course). You will need to submit a Course Transfer Request form to Student Services in order to initiate this process.
What do I need to do?
It is your responsibility to find and secure a placement. You are encouraged to take advantage of the support offered by our team before and during your placement search.
As soon as you accept a placement offer, you should inform your school and us.
Once your placement begins, you must complete the following in addition to fulfilling your responsibilities to your placement provider:
return an induction checklist to us during the first week of your placement
liaise with your Placement Tutor to arrange a placement visit
maintain remote monthly contact with your Placement Tutor
inform your Placement Tutor if there are any changes to your placement or personal circumstances
keep a reflective journal
submit a 3,000 word placement report
deliver a post placement presentation to students considering undertaking a placement the following year
What about fees and funding?
- We encourage you to secure a paid placement. Average salaries for UK based placements are between £15,000 and £20,000 per annum. Employers across all industries advertise paid placements with us on My Career.
- Placement Year students are subject to reduced tuition fees. This fee covers the support that you will receive before, during and after your placement, as well as your continued access to University support services. If you are currently eligible for student finance, you will be able to apply for loans through the usual online process. Full details regarding fees, funding and access to loans can be found in here.
- Queries regarding fees and funding that are specific to your circumstances should be raised with the University’s Funding and Financial Support Team on 0115 82 32071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also contact your student loan provider to check how much finance you are eligible for.
What will the assessment involve?
Your Placement Tutor will be your key point of contact regarding placement assessment. This will be someone from your home school or our team. The Placement Year is assessed on a pass/fail basis. It is not credit-bearing and will not count towards your degree classification.
The assessment process requires you to:
- maintain a reflective journal throughout your placement
- submit a 3,000 word report at the end of your placement
- deliver a presentation (to students who are starting their search for placements) during the Autumn Term of your final year.
The report is assessed against defined marking criteria which are outlined in the Student Handbook. The reflective portfolio and presentation elements are not assessed, but you are required to complete these elements.
In the event that a student does not pass the assessment element of the optional Placement Year, they will be transferred back to the original three (or four) year non-placement version of their degree programme.
If you would like to talk to us, email our placement team on: