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Industrial placement

There are opportunities to gain work experience on all our degree programmes. This might involve a project with industrial relevance, spending a few weeks on a summer placement or taking part in the Industrial Placement Scheme.

If you are interested in doing a summer research project either in the UK or internationally please visit our Summer research placements page.

The School, in partnership with the University’s Careers Centre, facilitates work placements for students in companies that employ graduate physicists, whether during a vacation, or for one year. Students have, for example, travelled to Silicon Valley, California, for experience with start-up IT companies. Closer to home there have been extensive placements with local structural engineers, financial consultants and in the nuclear power industry.

The Industrial Placement Scheme is open to all students on both the BSc and MPhys programmes, and involves spending your third year in full-time employment, giving you the opportunity to experience salaried work before you graduate.

Our students have worked for a variety of companies, most recently they include; Unilever (Leeds), GE (in Hungary), Q8(Leeds), DSTL(Kent), KPMG(Leeds), Accenture(Leeds), Lazard Investment bank(London) and IBM(Glasgow).

Student experience

Information from graduates and employers indicates that, when recruiting, most employers look favourably upon a year spent in industry and so your year working in industry can make all the difference in the job interviews after you graduate.

  • Provides valuable experience in the corporate environment and an irreplaceable insight into your chosen career path
  • Boosts your employability on graduation
  • Gives you the opportunity to work as part of a team to deliver commercially valuable objectives 
  • Puts your academic learning into context by using it in a real-life situation
  • Provides you with a salary for a year
  • Helps you gain independence

How does it work?

You decide whether or not you want to transfer to this scheme during the second year. You will then transfer onto an 'industrial' version of your degree and spend your third year working full-time, returning to us for the fourth year and being awarded an 'Industrial' degree on successful completion of your course. In order to make the transfer, you must successfully complete the second year.

You are responsible for finding your own placement, but the School of Physics and Astronomy will assist (for example, by maintaining a list of previous placements) and advise on the suitability of any proposals. You are welcome to take the initiative and make use of your own contacts in order to make your own suggestions.

During your year in industry you will have an ‘industrial supervisor’ – someone employed in your chosen company, plus an academic supervisor from the School of Physics and Astronomy who will keep in touch, visit you at work, and take responsibility for your progress.

Watch another student talking about their industrial placement experience.