Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Optional Placement Year

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The optional Placement Year allows you to build a placement year into your degree if you don't have one integrated into your course.

Successful completion of your placement will result in ‘with a Placement Year' being added to the end of your degree title. 

Over 40 students are undertaking an optional Placement Year during 2023/24 from a range of degrees including (but not limited to): financial mathematics, biochemistry, psychology, sociology, economics, law, liberal arts and geography.

Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university's control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.


Sarah Wooldridge

As a result of my placement, I now feel secure and confident in my career plans.

Completing a placement year has given me critical experiences and helped me to understand what steps I can take to be successful after university.

 Sarah Wooldridge, Psychology with Placement Year


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. 

  • Improve your chances of securing a graduate role

  • 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.

"Our data indicates that completing a year in industry whilst studying has a positive effect on a range of outcomes for University of Nottingham graduates compared to those who don’t complete a year in industry."

Read our blog post




Considering a placement year? 

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 a full-time undergraduate or integrated masters student in your penultimate year 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/BSc 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.  

*Please note, students within School of Biosciences or the Business School will need to refer to their School's placement scheme.


What placements get approval and what are the timelines?

Placement approval: 

  • The placement must be full-time and for no less than nine months. It can commence any time from the June following your penultimate year of study (after year two on a three year course or after year three on a four year course).  

  • The placement must be considered to be of ‘graduate level’ - that means requiring skills and/or levels of expertise provided by a degree programme.  

Important dates: 

  • Please confirm details of your placement offer as soon as possible to guarantee enrolment on the optional Placement Year.

  • Most placements will start between June-September 2023. You will return to the University to start your final year of study at the start of Autumn Term 2024.


What are my next steps?

It is your responsibility to find and secure a placement. 

It is your responsibility to find and secure a placement but you can access a range of support from the Careers and Employability Service including:

A common mistake people make is not doing enough preparation over the summer. I have found that doing the preparation in the summer makes the application process a lot easier.



What about fees and funding?

  • We encourage you to secure a paid placement. Average salaries for UK based placements are between £15,000 and £25,000 per annum. Employers across all industries advertise paid placements with us on MyCareer.
  • 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. Find out more about fees, funding and access to loans.
  • 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 You should also contact your student loan provider to check how much finance you are eligible for.

What are my responsibilities when on placement?

Your Placement Tutor will be your key point of contact offering support before and during your placement. 

Once you begin your placement, your responsibilities will include: 

  • maintaining regular contact with your Placement Tutor
  • liaising with your Placement Tutor to arrange a placement visit
  • informing your Placement Tutor if there are any changes to your placement or personal circumstances

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
  • submit a pre-recorded presentation at the end of your placement

The report is assessed against defined marking criteria which is provided once a student joins the optional Placement Year.

The presentation element is not assessed, but you are required to complete this.

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.


Contact us

If you would like to talk to us, email our placement team on:

Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679