Take a placement

A placement is your chance to gain relevant work experience in preparation for your future career. Depending on the course, it can be mandatory or optional.

Gain vital experience in the workplace

You can benefit greatly from an industry placement during your degree. Find out where our students go, what they get up to, and why they recommend that you should take a placement too.

Your placement questions answered

What is a placement?

A placement is an opportunity for you to gain industry experience with an employer while you are at university, normally as part of your course. Many of our courses offer you the choice to take a placement year (or 'sandwich year') as part of your degree.

Typically, you start a year-long placement between your second and third year. A number of courses include compulsory placements, such as postgraduate teaching and some health courses. There are also shorter placements you can take, which last for a few weeks or months, or take place one day per week during term time.

How do placements differ from internships?

Internships are a great way to gain short periods of work experience, especially during the summer break. They don't form part of your course, but some sectors will expect to see an internship on your CV before you'll be considered for a role. If you impress during an internship, there's a chance you could be offered a position when you leave university.

Placements are normally a requirement of your course (or can be taken for credit). They are more likely to relate to your area of study and may be more structured in terms of training. Our teams will help you search for a placement or will arrange them for you – depending on your course.

What will I get out of a placement?

You'll get to apply what you have learned at university in the real world, gain hands-on experience, and make valuable contacts which could lead to a job after you graduate. You'll gain an insight into the industry you're thinking of working in and may even discover a career path that you haven't thought of before.

What you learn during a placement will give you a head start over other candidates when applying for jobs and you'll be able to talk about it in your interview.

Will I get paid for a placement?

Short, credit-bearing work placements may not be paid, depending on your course. However, sandwich placements are usually paid at the going rate for entry level roles in the relevant industry. We only promote paid placements, though you are welcome to pursue whatever avenue you feel is right.

Remember that you'll pay a reduced fee during a sandwich year. This gives you student status and you'll retain full support and access to tutors as usual.

When should I apply for a placement?

Placement year opportunities will start to be advertised towards the end of your first year and over the summer, with larger organisations typically opening earlier and recruiting earlier.

Different businesses recruit at different times, so keep looking all the way through the year as new opportunities will come up.

We hold a Placement and Internships Fair in November at the Greenwich Campus, so come along and find out more about your options.

Do you offer brokered placements?

Our Graduate Work Experience Scheme (GWES) provides recent Greenwich graduates with three-month internships in offices and departments across the university. Gaining graduate-level experience will help you to secure permanent graduate roles.

We can also arrange bespoke internships with local firms. We have an evolving programme of brokered internships with local small and medium sized companies.

Do we stay in touch during placements?

Yes – absolutely. You'll still have access to tutors during a placement year. Some students find that their contact with tutors goes up during a placement year because you benefit from their advice and experience in a practice setting.

At the end of a placement year, Business School students are invited to a reunion, where they can share experiences and get back into the swing of student life ahead of the final year.

Returning students in other faculties are very welcome to arrange informal reunions to reflect on the placement year.

How do I apply for a placement?

This depends on whether the placement is optional or a mandatory part of your course.

If it is optional, it's up to you to look for the placement, with our help of our teams. Hundreds of placement opportunities are advertised on Rate My Placement, and our careers team are on hand to help.

If the placement is a mandatory part of your course, our placement teams may arrange this for you. (In education, for example, you'll be placed at a partnership school that we trust to support our students.)

Your programme leader will be able to advise you how this works for your course. For further advice, get in touch or come and meet us on campus.

I would definitely recommend doing a placement. I've managed to network not just with the people in my firm [PwC] but also with the clients I work with as well.

- Harriet Tolhurst, BSc Finance and Investment Banking

Having the opportunity to take a graphic design internship at Charlton Athletic FC not only gave me invaluable experience but I got my dream job out of it too!

- Kashane Smith, BSc Digital Media Technologies

My tutor encouraged me to go and take a placement with the local council. That’s where I developed my interests further.

- Raphael Bobie, BSc Hons Public Health