Careers Service


Placement year

Undergraduate students can undertake a 9-12 month work placement

Placements masthead

Depending on which course you're studying, there may be some differences around what is required for your placement year, and who you need to contact for information. Use this form to find out who will support you: the Careers Service or your academic school. 

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A placement year can help you gain experience, develop commercial awareness, increase your confidence and make contacts within the sector. It can also be a great way to try out a career choice and consider if it’s a good fit for you in the future.

What's involved

Most students can expect to:

  • go out on placement after your penultimate year of study, extending your degree programme by one year
  • continue as a registered student, with access to University services
  • find and apply for the placement yourself, with Careers Service support. Most placements are paid, although there are some exceptions
  • complete a 120 credit module while on placement, such as the Careers Service Module
  • be allocated a University contact to discuss any personal or workplace issues with

You can read detailed information about the University's aims and commitments, as well as your responsibilities as a student, in The Undergraduate Placements Charter [PDF:144KB].

Use the Who manages my placement year form at the top of this page to find out who will support you: the Careers Service, or your academic school. Then select the relevant option below to find out how to get started, and use our finding placements resources to help you look for opportunities.

When and how to apply for placements

Applications take time and effort. It's more effective to make a few high quality, well-tailored, applications than lots of generic ones. 80% of our current Careers Service placement students applied for between 1-20 placements before they were successful.

When and how you apply can depend on the type of role, company and sector you’re interested in.

Advertised placements

Larger organisations tend to start advertising structured placement year opportunities around September or October, with many closing as early as November-December. Some employers don’t wait until the closing date and can close applications as soon as their places are filled. We recommend applying as early as possible, using our Finding placements resources.

If you miss any deadlines, don’t worry. There are still lots of ways to find placements throughout the year, and some employers post their opportunities later on.

The application process for advertised opportunities varies depending on the company, so check what’s involved before you apply. It can start with submitting a CV and covering letter, filling in an application form or a combination of both. Many large employers ask students to complete online recruitment tests, video interviews and assessment centres before inviting them to a final interview.

‘Hidden’ opportunities

A speculative approach is common for finding placements. This is where you approach a company directly to ask if they have any opportunities available. It can be especially effective with smaller organisations or for niche roles.

We recommend using our Finding placements resources to start researching companies that interest you. You can start this research early, but we recommend waiting until the second semester before contacting companies directly.

You’ll need to make sure you have the correct contact details. Sometimes this is clear on the organisation’s website or social media. Sometimes you will need to phone them to ask who handles recruitment and get their direct email address. Send them a targeted CV and covering letter, highlighting relevant skills. Express your enthusiasm for the field and show you have researched the company.

Getting support

The Careers Service can offer support at any stage of your application, see Further support to find out how.

International Students

Student Visa holders

Students with Student Route visas are eligible to undertake a placement year.

If you’re extending your degree programme by one year in order to do a placement, you’ll need to renew your visa. For UK based placements, you can renew your visa from the UK, either before or after your placement.

We would encourage you to apply for the visa before starting the work placement to avoid any potential issues with your employer, or when returning to your studies.
If you plan to do your placement year outside of the UK, see the Visa Support Team guidance on adding a work placement to your programme of study.

You can read more detailed information about Work placements for students with Tier 4 or Student Route visas from the Visa Support Team. If you are unsure about your visa requirements, please contact the Visa Support Team.

EU Settlement Scheme holders

EU Settlement Scheme holders with either pre-settled or settled status are eligible to undertake a placement year.

Be inspired

It’s not always easy to decide whether a placement year is right for you or to know which sector or role to apply for. The resources in this section can help you find inspiration from previous placement students and know where to get further support.

Finding inspiration

NU Work Experience Directory

If you’re curious to see where other students from your school have been on placement, you can browse our NU Work Experience Directory. Select ‘placement’ in the ‘Type of experience’ box and then pick your school from the drop-down menu.

This is a useful resource if you’re looking for inspiration, as it shows the types of placements Newcastle University students have had in the last five years, and the employers they’ve worked for.



LinkedIn's Alumni tool allows you to gain inspiration, by looking at what Newcastle University graduates have done with a similar degree.

You can see where they’re located, which companies they work for, what they do, what they studied and what they’re skilled at.

For more information about how to use LinkedIn this way, watch our quick tutorial on Getting inspiration from others [3:13].


Recruitment fairs are not just for graduate jobs. Several employers at our events also offer placement years, so go along and find out more about their opportunities.

At our recruitment events and  employer and sector insights you can hear about placement schemes, build your network and ask questions. 

Online reviews

Searching for placement year reviews online can be a useful way to get an idea of what to expect from certain roles or employers. These reviews are written by students for a range of reasons with varied opinions around what makes a good placement year. They can be useful for inspiration and sometimes offer insight into the recruitment process.

RateMyPlacement is a good source of placement year reviews written by students.

Advice from our placement students:

When looking for inspiration, consider your motivations, both personal and professional:

'I always wanted to do an industrial placement year as part of my course to really help improve my employability upon graduating and differentiate myself from all the other Chemistry graduates out there. I also thought I might like to have a career in cosmetics so really tried to find a company that would give me a taste of that. It's also nice to earn some money and I loved moving and living in a new place!'

– Hannah Gorman (Chemistry)

Don’t be afraid of rejection:

Don't be afraid - this could be fear of not getting in/not being good enough or thinking you are too late or even thinking there isn't an option out there for you. I didn't intend on doing a placement year at the start of my studies so changed my mind last minute and applied to Chester Zoo within the last week before the deadline for applications and it worked out for me. Be speculative, confident and don't be afraid of rejection – it stings a little at first, but it fades quickly, and you get back on top even quicker.

– Haydon Oates (Zoology)

Be open to the unexpected:

Do not only apply for the large companies you recognise. There are a huge number of companies that offer placement schemes. It can be easy to fall into the trap of applying to the big brands and being disheartened if you are unsuccessful. Put in a few applications to companies you may not be as familiar with as once you interact with them and find out more about the scheme you could surprise yourself

– Louise Donnely (Marketing and Management)

Not sure what you want to do?

If you’re thinking of taking a placement year, but not sure exactly what you want to do, you can book a guidance appointment via MyCareer, or come to King’s Gate during our drop-in hours. Our careers consultants can help you with exploring your options or planning your career.

You can get started by exploring our advice on Career planning, including our guides to Making career choices and Exploring your options.

Placements Uncovered

Finding placements

There are two main approaches when looking for placements: searching for advertised opportunities and finding 'hidden' opportunities. This section offers resources and information to help you look for both.

Getting started

Our 14 minute presentation on 'How to find a year-long placement' covers:

  • where to look for a year-long placement
  • how to look most effectively
  • where to find additional information and support

To view the presentation with subtitles, click the cc button in the player. You can also view a full screen version

You can also use our Preparing to Find a Placement pathway before you begin searching and applying for placement years. You'll be guided through a number of levels and activities that we have identified as key in making sure you are ready for your placement search. 

Advertised placements

Advertised placements

The Careers Service advertises placements on MyCareer. Search for ‘placement’ under ‘vacancy types’ and sign up for personalised email alerts.

You can also use the following external websites to help you find a placement:

  • RateMyPlacement – includes student reviews
  • Prospects – select ‘work experience’ under ‘type of work’
  • targetjobs
  • Bright Network - search for industrial placements
  • Student Ladder – under ‘internships’ select ‘industrial placements’
  • Milkround - includes year-long placement opportunities within the internships section.
  • TheJobCrowd – select ‘placement’ under ‘job type’
  • Jobted
  • LinkedIn – for help with using LinkedIn, see our guide to creating a LinkedIn profile and our YouTube tutorials on making the most out of LinkedIn.
  • Indeed – you can use 'placement year' as part of your keyword search. Sign in to receive recommended jobs based on your interests.
  • STEP – UK wide project based work placements for students and graduates
  • EmployAbility – advice and work experience opportunities specifically for disabled students
  • E4S – placements in the UK and abroad
  • Enternships – internships in entrepreneurial environments, including six month placements

Sector Specific

To find placements in a particular sector, visit Explore Occupations

The Year In Industry website and Gradcracker are good starting points if you are looking for STEM placements.

For placements in finance, insurance and patents, try Inside Careers.

Check with your academic school to see if they advertise or promote opportunities. The Business School sometimes advertises year-long placement opportunities on their Student Experience Blog. You can also see opportunities from the School of Computing Science on the computing @ Newcastle: employment and enterprise blog.

Hidden opportunities

Not all placements are advertised. In fact, many people create work experience opportunities through networking and making contacts, or by developing their own business ideas.

If you have identified a company you would like to work for, you could try approaching them directly about possible opportunities. This is known as making a speculative application.

Send them a tailored CV and covering letter, expressing your enthusiasm for the sector and showing that you have researched the company.

Where possible, identify a contact name to address your covering letter to. Call or email to find out who is responsible for recruitment within the organisation or a key contact in the department you want to work in.

It’s useful to follow up a speculative application with a phone call a few days afterwards to show you are serious and motivated.

15% of our current Careers Service Placement Year students found their placement using a speculative approach.

targetjobs have a useful guide about making a speculative application to find hidden opportunities.


Finding companies

  • Find organisations on MyCareer - click ‘Search' then 'Organisations’ to find companies the Careers Service has worked with. Can filter by keyword, sector and region.
  • Researching employers – contains sources of company profiles and a list of business directories and databases
  • Explore Occupations – find employer directories for specific sectors
  • LinkedIn – for help with using LinkedIn, see our guide to creating a LinkedIn profile and our YouTube tutorials on making the most out of LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn's Find Alumni tool can help you find organisations Newcastle graduates are working in

Browse our NU Work Experience Directory to see which companies other Newcastle University students have had placements with. Select ‘placement’ in the ‘Type of experience’ box and then pick your school from the drop down menu

Overseas placements

For resources to help you find overseas opportunities, visit our Global Work Experience pages.

Finding and arranging an overseas placement year can be complicated. Whether or not you can go abroad to a particular country will depend on a range of factors, including travel restrictions, insurance, visa processes, health requirements and other risk factors.
If you’re considering doing a placement overseas, you will need to begin your research as early as possible.

To help you get started, we recommend that you:

  • read through the university’s Global Opportunities pages. They’ve put together detailed information to support all students thinking of living, working and studying abroad.
  • check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advice for the country you’re interested in as a starting point. 
  • speak to the team managing your placement about where you want to go, and the type of work you want to do. Check if there are any restrictions, as university insurance may not allow travel to countries which appear to be approved by the FCDO. Find out if there are earlier deadlines you need to be aware of. The deadline to confirm overseas placements managed by the Careers Service is 26 May 2023
  • research the visa process for the country you’re interested in. This is not always a straightforward process and can take a long time to arrange. Find the relevant UK based embassy for the country you’re interested in and speak to them directly. If you’re not a UK citizen, look for the relevant embassy based in your home country. Try to get any information or instructions they give you in writing, as it may come in useful during your visa application, or when you arrive in the country. To get started, Global Opportunities have put together Visa information for EU countries
  • consider travel, accommodation, insurance and finance for your time overseas. You can use the information provided by Global Opportunities, including their Turing scheme information, as well as the country guides on GoinGlobal

If you’re an international student and you’re planning to do a placement in your home country, speak to the team managing your placement about your plans. They will still need to check whether your placement can be approved.

Once you’ve confirmed your placement, the University has resources to help you prepare for working and living overseas. The team managing your placement and Global Opportunities will offer you support throughout your time abroad.


In this section, you’ll find information about student fees and finance. Most of our students undertake paid placements but we’ve also put together resources to help you if you’re considering an unpaid placement.

Funding yourself through a placement

Before committing to a placement year, it’s important to research how much funding you’re entitled to and plan your finances for the year.

You should think about your cost of living and expenses for the year. This can differ greatly depending on whether you do your placement at home, elsewhere in the UK, or overseas. The Student Financial Support Team have created a  Placement Year Budget spreadsheet which can be a helpful guide to working out your income and expenditure.

For more help and advice around finance and budgeting, you can book an appointment with a Student Finance Adviser. 

Fees and Student Finance

Placement year tuition fees are the same for UK, EU and International students. The amount you pay depends on your course start date. For full information, visit Tuition Fees and select Undergraduate placement year fees.

UK students enrolled on a placement year module should have access to a non-means tested tuition fee loan. UK students should also be able to apply for a reduced rate maintenance loan.

By doing a placement year module, you continue to be registered as a student and therefore have access to the same student discounts and benefits, including council tax exemption.

For more information, visit  Student Financial Support: Placement Year. You can also contact the Student Financial Support Team via the web enquiry form.

Unpaid placements

Most of our students get paid by their employers during their placement year. We recommend searching for paid placements first, using the resources on our finding placements page.

The Careers Service does not advertise unpaid placements, or actively promote resources where unpaid work is commonly advertised. However, we know that some occupational areas, such as media, journalism, non-profit, environment and psychology can be difficult to break into without first gaining experience on an unpaid basis. 

Unpaid placement years are not illegal if you are completing the work as part of your course, as explained on the Employment rights and pay for interns page. However, unpaid work lasting more than a year, or unpaid work you’re not getting academic credit for, may be illegal and so it is always worth being aware of your rights. 

If you’re on a specific type of unpaid placement, you might be able to apply for an income-assessed maintenance loan. Types of placements include certain roles relating to healthcare, prison or probation, care of young people in a local authority, or research. For more information look under the Work placement in the UK section on the Student Financial Support: Placement Year page.

Funding support from the Careers Service for unpaid placements

If you’re unable to find a suitable paid placement in your sector, you can apply for financial support of up to £5000 for an unpaid placement, especially if you would otherwise find it difficult to support yourself.

This application is open to UK students who have secured an unpaid year-long placement, whether your placement is managed by the Careers Service or your academic school. There are some exceptions, see below for eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria

  • You must have secured a 9-12 month placement (or secured two placements which last at least 4.5 months each)
  • Your placement must take place in the UK. See below for information about funding for overseas placements.
  • Priority will be given to those from Widening Participation backgrounds and/or those who have been identified as part of the University’s Access and Participation Plan.
  • We will consider your answers to the application form questions around why you want to do this unpaid placement and how it might benefit your long-term career goals.
  • We will also consider the cost of living in certain locations and the sector your placement is in.
  • Unpaid placements taking place at Newcastle University, or those directly arranged by Newcastle University with external providers (such as Professional Psychology placements), are not eligible for this funding.

Funding conditions

  • Making an application does not guarantee that you will be granted funding.
  • Funding will be given up to a maximum of £5,000.
  • A panel will meet to decide on the awarding of funding. Their decision is final.
  • No funding will be provided until we have received confirmation that you have passed this stage of your degree. This may mean awaiting the results of resits before any money is released.

How to apply

If you have secured an unpaid placement and would like to apply for funding from the University, please fill out our placement funding form. Applications will close on 26th June 2023.

Further support

You can get help with deciding whether a placement year is right for you and how to search and apply for opportunities. Use MyCareer to book our in-person and online 1:1 appointments, submit a query or book a place at our events.

Getting help

Log into MyCareer, and select one of the following options depending on the type of support you need:

Information Appointment

If you know what type of placement you’re looking for, information advisers can help you to search for opportunities and employers. We can also offer support with preparing for interviews, tests and assessment centres.

Guidance Appointment

If you’re unsure of the type of placement you’re looking for, or even whether a placement is right for you, careers consultants can offer guidance to support you with making choices. We can also offer feedback to help you improve your applications.

Placements Appointment

If you want more information about how the placements process works, placements advisers can help. We can also help you to understand the NCL3000 module.

CV Appointment

Our CV advisers can offer feedback on your CV, covering letter or LinkedIn profile. Before booking this type of appointment, first:

  • complete the CV and Covering letter Pathway on MyCareer,
  • save your document as a PDF, upload it to CareerSet (our automatic online checker) and make any suggested changes

Please bring a printed copy of your CV or covering letter with you for an in-person appointment or have a copy ready on your device for an online appointment.

Submit a query

For written advice, please submit a query on MyCareer and an adviser will get back to you within 5 working days. Go to the Queries/CV icon and then click on Submit new query/CV.

Search our events

Check out our careers and employer events for students, including sessions on finding placements and making applications.

Recruitment fairs are not just for graduate jobs. Several employers at our events also offer placement years, so go along and find out more about their opportunities.

At our employer and sector insights you can hear about their placement schemes, build your network and ask questions. 

Pathways to help guide you

Preparing to Find a Placement

Our Preparing to Find a Placement pathway will help you prepare before you begin searching and applying for placement years. You'll be guided through activities to help get you ready. 

Start using this pathway from the spring / summer before you are applying for placements. This gives you plenty of time to work through the activities before employers typically start their recruitment. As organisations can recruit at different times of the year (and not everyone will find their placement at the same time!), the activities in this pathway can be relevant throughout your placement search.

Searching and Applying for Placements

Our Searching and Applying for Placements pathway can help you start your placements search and to give you the skills and support to start applying. If you’re still unsure if a placement is right for you, or if you’re not sure what sectors or roles you’re interested in, the Reflect and Research sections can help.

Careers Service Placement Year Module

Student who are completing a placement year which is managed by the Careers Service will also undertake the Careers Service Placement Year Module. This is a 120- credit module completed over the course of the placement year (9-12 months) and will count towards your final degree classification.

Find out about how the module is delivered and assessed on our Careers Service Placement Year Module page.