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Industrial placement year

All of our physics and astronomy courses give you the chance to do an industrial placement (‘Year in Industry’) as part of your degree.

This could give you the opportunity to work in a range of industries that employ physics graduates, including structural engineers, financial consultants and the nuclear power industry.

Some previous students have even travelled to Silicon Valley, California, for experience with start-up IT companies.

What is an industrial placement?

A work experience placement gives you the opportunity to get real industry experience during your degree course.

During your year in industry, you’d be employed full-time (and earn a salary) by an organisation in a relevant industry.

Throughout your placement (which would be the third year of your physics and astronomy course), you’d have an industrial supervisor within the company, and an academic supervisor.

Where might I do my placement year?

In recent years, Leeds physics and astronomy undergraduate students have gained work experience within some of the biggest and most well-known organisations in the industry, including:

  • Unilever
  • GE
  • Q8
  • DSTL
  • KPMG
  • Accenture
  • Lazard Investment Bank
  • IBM


Why undertake a work experience placement?

An industrial placement year is a great way to help you decide what kind of physics career you might like to follow after university.

There are lots of graduate jobs in physics and astronomy, and gaining work experience during your degree really helps you to understand what a career in the industry will be like.

Other industrial placement benefits include:

  • Building your team working skills
  • Putting your physics knowledge into action in a real-life situation
  • Gaining more independence and life experience


Does the industrial placement year extend the length of my degree course?

Doing a work experience placement might extend the total length of your degree course:

  • If you’re studying a BSc course, the industrial placement year will increase the length of your degree to four years.
  • If you’re studying an MPhys course, the industrial placement year will increase the length of your degree to five years.


Gaining a place on the industrial placement programme is competitive and depends on the grades you achieve.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to make up your mind whether an industrial placement is right for you until the beginning of your second year at Leeds.