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Year in industry

Enhance your degree by undertaking a year in industry and apply what you have learned at university in the workplace. A year in industry will help build your confidence and develop your professional skills in an authentic setting. You will develop a network of professional associates and have the opportunity to practise and improve your laboratory skills. All of these skills can improve your chances of success in gaining a graduate role after your degree.

What is a year in industry?

A year in industry is a placement of nine to 12 months undertaken after your 2nd Year, where you'll gain research experience in an industrial or research institute laboratory. We have excellent relationships with a wide variety of organisations offering placement opportunities, some of which are exclusive to the Department of Biology. Our students have had placements at organisations such as GSK, Kew Gardens, AstraZeneca, Francis Crick Institute, Sosei Heptares and Wild Planet Trust.

When to apply?

You'll be contacted by our Biology Placements Coordinator towards the end of your 1st Year, asking if you'd like to express an interest in doing a year in industry. You'll then have regular contact with the Biology Placements Coordinator throughout your 2nd Year, learning more about the year in industry, identifying placement opportunities, making applications and attending interviews.  

How we help you find placements

As well as advertising a large number of placements, including exclusive opportunities, we offer extensive support and guidance on applications and interviews. We cannot guarantee a placement as many of the placements we offer are competed for nationally. However, our Biology Placements Coordinator guides you through the process of finding and applying for a placement and our Careers and Placements team give you help and support with CV writing and preparation for interviews, which maximises your chances of finding a placement. Students who are offered a placement receive support from the Department during their year away.

How much does it cost?

Generally students are paid a salary by the employer during their research placement and others can receive a York Futures scholarship to support unfunded positions. Please see the fees webpage for more information. 

Are there any prerequisites?

A year in industry is available in all of our programmes.

What’s the difference between a Year in Industry and a Placement Year?

They are similar in many ways, both being graduate-level work placements of 9-12 months. There are two main differences: 

  • Year in Industry involves lab or field research and you are assessed through a scientific report.
  • Placement Year involves general work (often based in an office rather than lab/field) and is assessed through a reflective report.

Can you do a Year in Industry/Placement Year abroad?

We have a number of exclusive relationships with companies and organisations overseas, for example Novartis (California), Mayo Clinic (Florida), Garvan Institute (Sydney), P53 Lab (Singapore), EMBL (Grenoble), UCB (Brussels), Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre (Ontario). It is also possible to source your own placement overseas. 

Will everyone get a Year in Industry?

No, it’s a competitive process and inevitably some people will miss out. However, nine times out of ten, students with an open mind who try hard will succeed!

Are work placements paid?

Almost all Year in Industry and Placement Year opportunities are paid. The average salary is about £19000 per annum.

What support is available to students while they are completing their Year in Industry?

Currently we have regular virtual drop-ins with students away from the department and which work really well; you have regular contact from your academic supervisor and our placement coordinator. You also get a whole heap of support from your host and we are in touch with them to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Where do our students go on placement?

Biochemistry students have gone on to a wide range of placement providers, including; GSK, Sosei Heptares, Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, Francis Crick Institute and Charles River.

Biology students have gone on to a wide range of placement providers, including; Pirbright Institute, Kew Gardens, Oxford Gene Technologies, National Botanical Garden of Wales, LifeArc and Bristol Zoo.

Biomedical Sciences students have gone on to a wide range of placement providers, including; Novartis, GSK, UCB, Qiagen and PhoreMost.

Placement year

An alternative to a year in industry, students on all programmes can opt to extend their degree to include a placement year. This is similar to a year in industry as it takes place after your 2nd Year and lasts nine to 12 months in length, but it offers greater flexibility and does not need to contain a biosciences research element.

The schemes enable students to gain work experience and try out a career path slightly different from their degree. Our students have had placements in environmental consultancy (Middlemarch Environmental), science communication (Science and Technology Facilities Council), education (National STEM Centre) and financial services (PWC) roles.

The placement year programme is managed by Careers and Placements.

What our students say

“This year I have been able to apply skills and knowledge from my degree to what I’ve seen to be truly worthwhile work. Each day I am so grateful I persevered with my applications. I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who wants to gain valuable skills and experience to apply for a placement year.” - Morgan, BSc Biology, placement year

“For anyone unsure about doing a year in industry, or anyone nervous about it, I cannot recommend it enough and I promise you will definitely learn so much from it.” - Chloe, BSc Biochemistry, year in industry

Read our student blogs to learn more about placement experiences.

Contact us

If you have any questions about doing a year in industry, please contact:

Phil Lang, Biology Placements Coordinator
Tel: +44 (0)1904 328 540

Year in industry with an integrated Masters?

All of our undergraduate programmes, including integrated Masters, are available with either an optional extra year in industry or year abroad. Read more about the year abroad and integrated Masters

The options for how your degree might look with an integrated masters, year in industry or year abroad are:

Option 1

(3 years)

3 years at York, graduating with a BSc degree

Option 2

(4 years)

3 years at York, plus 1 year in industry or year abroad, graduating with a BSc degree

Option 3

(4 years)

3 years at York, plus 1 year Masters level study, graduating with a Masters degree

Option 4

(5 years)  

3 years at York, plus 1 year in industry or year abroad, plus 1 year Masters level study, graduating with a Masters degree

In all of these options you can spend your second year as a replacement year overseas instead of at York through the worldwide exchange programme.