Placement Year‌

Two students talking

A placement year is a structured work experience opportunity that can be integrated into your studies, giving you a substantial amount of work experience that is recognised within your degree title. Many organisations offer placement opportunities and they are a great way of developing your employability skills whilst getting a flavour of a particular working environment. Placement years generally last between 9-12 months and are often aimed at penultimate year undergraduates.

Benefits of a placement year

  • Increase your confidence
  • Opportunity to fast track to a graduate job
  • Try out the day to day of your future career
  • Put your skills into practice
  • Strengthen your academic performance
  • Build up your professional network
  • Strengthen your commercial awareness

See our Placement launch presentation (PDF  , 1,018kb) from RatemyPlacement and read the advice of Nicole Ell, Graduate and Placement Recruitment Co-ordinator at Nissan on why you should consider doing a placement.

“Over 90% of students who take a placement year with us secure a ​spot ​on one of our graduate schemes. They enter their final year of university with a graduate job, and many of them skip the first year of the graduate programme when they return ​to PwC” - PwC, number one Times Top 100 Graduate Employer 

At York, UK and international placement years are available through either a Department Year In Industry programme or the Placement Year programme within Careers and Placements.

Placement Year

The Placement Year is managed by Careers and Placements and is open to undergraduate and integrated masters students. It offers you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience at a challenging level that will help prepare you for graduate jobs.

You would take the Placement Year between your 2nd and 3rd year, extending your time at York by one year. Whilst you are on your placement you will retain your student status; benefitting from all the existing support services available to you and receiving recognition of your placement year within your degree title. 

Key features to be aware of: 

  • It is your responsibility to find and secure your own work placement by 31 May of your second year; we will support you through the selection and the approval process
  • Before applying for roles, please read the Placement Criteria in the Handbook. We will need to approve your placement before your department will approve your transfer onto the Placement Year programme

  • During the year you can choose to do one placement of 9-12 months or two shorter placements that total 9-12 months of experience. You will need to undertake a minimum of 9 months work experience over the course of the academic year in order to fulfil the programme requirements, e.g. if your first placement lasts 6 months, you would need to find a second placement of 3 – 6 months duration during the academic year

  •  If you decide to do two shorter placements, the minimum duration of an individual placement is 3 months

  • Your placement should start during the summer vacation of your second year
  • You will be assigned a Supervisor from the Careers and Placements team for the duration of your placement
  • The Placement Year is an assessed, pass/fail, 120 credit module that would be added to your existing programme of study

  • If your placement ends unexpectedly, you will either need to find another placement within the year to achieve a minimum of 9 months experience or alternatively you will be advised to apply for a Leave of Absence for the remainder of the academic year and return to your final year of study as planned. If you don't fulfil the 9 month minimum duration, you would fail the Placement Year but not your degree and you would return to your original programme of study

There are existing Year In Industry options within some departments so it's worth discussing with your department or the Careers and Placements team to decide what is the best route for you.


  • This programme is open to undergraduate and integrated masters students who are not already registered on a Year in Industry course
  • If your department already offers a Year In Industry option we recommend you explore this option first. If you are in the Environment Department or The York Management School you already have a similar placement option available to you through your department’s Year in Industry course
  • Students from the Departments of Health Sciences, Social Work and Hull York Medical School are not eligible for this programme 
  • If you are studying under a Tier 4 visa, please note that there are significant issues relating to your visa which you will need to investigate before you can start any placement. Please consult the University’s Immigration Advice Team before expressing an interest in this Placement Year option - please contact them via this online form.

Deadlines & approval

Placement Year deadlines

  • Start applying for placements in Autumn term of your second year
  • Opt into the Placement Year programme between 1 Sept - 21 January of your second year
  • Secure a placement by 31 May of your second year 

  • Start your placement in the summer vacation of your second year 

See 'The Process' section below

Placement approval

Before you are approved onto the programme, we will need to confirm:

1)      That you have secured a placement in line with the Placement Criteria

2)      That you have completed the required Placement Year documentation 

3)      That your placement provider has completed the required documentation 

4)      That you have attended the Pre-Placement Briefing 

You will gain official approval of transfer onto the Placement Year programme once we have confirmed these actions. This approval will be confirmed to you in writing. Careers and Placements reserves the right not to approve a placement and not to recognise a placement as part of the Placement Year option.



Placement search

Search online for advertised roles:

The hidden market:

Talk to the Careers and Placements team:

  • Placement appointments are available daily 12:00-13:00, please call 01904 322685 or drop in to Careers and Placements to arrange an appointment
  • Placement Year Drop In - every Wednesday in Careers and Placements between 2pm - 5pm. No appointment required. 
  • Email the Placement Team at
  • Book CV reviews and mock interviews online via Careers Gateway

Meet employers:

Top tips:

  • Understand the application process - There are a variety of recruitment methods, e.g. applications, online tests, assessment centres. Have a look at our online guide  or book an appointment via Careers Gateway
  • Apply early - applications for many placement schemes often open in September and deadlines tend to be between December – February 
  • Understand the language - Placement opportunities may be advertised under a variety of titles; look out for ‘Sandwich Years’,  ‘Industrial Placements’, 'Year In Industry'
  • Update your mail preferences - Update your profile on Careers Gateway to include ‘Placement Year’ and receive useful placement news
  • Skill up - Placements are competitive so make the most of on-campus opportunities to prepare for writing applications and CVs, interviews and assessment centres
  • Speak up - It can get overwhelming when applying for placements, so don’t forget to talk through any concerns you may have with one of our team - email to make an appointment. 


The assessment for the Placement Year will be in the form of a reflective report with a supporting learning log. Guidance will be available through Yorkshare and you can see further details in the Placement Year Handbook. Your Placement Supervisor will also offer you guidance on the assessment prior to starting your placement and for the duration of your placement year.

Additional programme learning outcome

On completion of the Placement Year programme, our graduates will be able to:

Apply employability skills, and enhanced self-awareness and understanding through reflection on a minimum of 9 months experience in a work-based context. 

Module learning outcomes:

On completion of the Placement Year module, our students will be able to:

  • Articulate their competencies in a concise manner through consistent reflection of their skillset development over the duration of their placement  
  • Articulate a sense of career direction based on an exploration of their own values, skills and motivations arising from their placement experience
  • Evaluate the fit of their own personal values to the culture and working environment of their placement employer’s organisation 
  • Identify their impact on the placement organisation through a critical analysis of their individual role and the tangible outcomes of their work
  • Confidently reflect on specific experiences obtained over the course of their placement
  • Articulate the value and utility of any transferable skills they feel their degree studies have provided in a work context.

Outcomes associated with work based learning

The type of competencies that will be developed through undertaking a challenging work placement will be related to transferable, work-related skills; not necessarily those of the student’s normal course of study. 

The competencies a student may develop are likely to be:

  • An understanding of a working environment(s), its language, culture and how things are achieved
  • Communication skills, report writing and oral communication appropriate to the working environment and also the ability to articulate their experiences in terms of their personal development
  • Time management and the ability to prioritise effectively
  • Self-motivation, independence and autonomy
  • Team working, interpersonal and networking skills
  • Commercial awareness, the ability to relate wider contextual information to the work of an organisation and individual roles
  • Creativity and innovation, the ability to identify opportunities for improving activities and putting them into practice.

The module will be assessed by the Careers and Placements team and all submissions will be administered through Yorkshare.

Finance FAQs

See financial information on placements to see how going on a placement affects your tuition fees, Maintenance Loan, bursaries, and more.

What salary can I expect to get for a year placement?

Salaries do vary, however locally, placement year salaries are often between £14K - £18K. More specialist, technical roles often offer a higher salary. Salaries for roles in and around London also vary, however they tend to start at £19K. Please note National Minimum Wage will be £7.38 per hour from April 2018. 

Can I undertake for unpaid placements?

If you are considering an unpaid placement, please contact to discuss the role in more detail. 

Who will pay me when I’m on placement?

Payment arrangements will be agreed between you and your placement provider directly.

If I work in London will my salary cover living costs?

It’s worth noting that if you apply for a placement in London, living and travel costs can be high and minimum wage may not always cover these costs, therefore we recommend you think carefully about your finances if looking to work in London.

Will there be funding available for international placements? 

There could be funding available for international placements years, therefore we advise you talk to the Centre For Global Programmes to see what options are available: email

General FAQs

Can I book accommodation on campus during my Placement Year?

You're able to book a room on campus to live in during your placement year. You can cancel the booking if you are successful in obtaining a placement away from York. The booking system opens in Autumn Term, and we recommend you book earlier to take advantage of a wider range of room choice.

When would I need to cancel my booking by?

If you're successful in getting a placement outside a reasonable commuting distance of York, and can provide evidence of your placement, you have up to the second week of July to cancel your booking. If you don't tell us that you want to cancel your booking, you will still be committed for the full let period of your room.

Can I book accommodation on campus when I return from my Placement Year?

You will be able to book a room on campus for the year you return, when you are on your Placement Year - we will open our booking system during Autumn Term, and you can see more information online.

Who will pay for travel costs to and from my placement?

Employers are not expected to pay for your travel, so you will generally be expected to fund this yourself. You will be need to discuss reimbursements for travel with your placement provider. 

Will I get reimbursed for traveling to interviews?

This varies depending on the employer so it’s best to ask them in advance of the interview. The University will not be able to contribute to any travel costs.

What welfare support do I get from the university during my placement?

During the Placement Year you will be assigned a Placement Supervisor from Careers and Placements who will be your main point of contact for any issues during the year. Your department will also keep in touch and are on hand to support with ongoing academic queries. 

You will retain your student status and therefore can benefit from the existing welfare provision such as Open Door, etc. Full details of support can be found online here.

Should I disclose my disability?

If you would like to discuss how and when to disclose your disability, book a Careers Advice appointment through Careers Gateway. There is a helpful section on disclosure on the Targetjobs website and we run a termly workshop on disclosing your disability. More info can be found in the Applying for jobs tab on our page for students with disabilities.

What if I want to withdraw from the placement during the Placement Year?

If you are unhappy in your role, or your placement ends unexpectedly, you will either need to find another placement within the year to achieve a minimum of 9 months experience or alternatively you will be advised to apply for a Leave of Absence for the remainder of the academic year and return to your final year of study as planned. If you don't fulfil the 9 month minimum duration, you would fail the Placement Year but not your degree and you would return to your original programme of study.

The process

1. Explore placements

  • Placements newsletter - if you are interested in knowing more about the kinds of placement opportunities available, you can sign up to receive the Placements Newsletter. You can do this by selecting 'Placement Year' in your email preferences on Careers Gateway. The newsletter is available for 1st and 2nd year students
  • Discuss your options - phone us on 01904 322685 or drop in to arrange an appointment.  Or you can come to our weekly Placement Q&A drop-in to get your questions answered, every Monday in term time, 10:00-11:00 in Spring Lane Building, SLB/006; book your place via Careers Gateway.

  • Start your search - roles tend to be advertised a year before the placement start date - you must apply for placement roles that are in line with the Placement Criteria. Email if you are unsure.

2. Opt in between 1 Sept - 21 Jan

  • Register - Please note registration for the Placement Year programme has now closed. If you have found a placement and did not register, please email 

  • Please note - registering your intent does not guarantee you a placement. If you miss the sign up deadline and have secured a placement role, please email with the job description attached and we will advise on your options. If you register and aren't successful at securing a placement, you will continue as normal into your final year of study
  • Attend a briefing – once you have registered you will be contacted to book a Placement Briefing. You must book onto a Placement Briefing by 21 January to be considered for the programme.

3. Placement approval

  • Pre-Placement Briefing - before you can start your placement you will be required to attend a pre-placement briefing. You will be invited to book onto a briefing session following approval of your placement. 

  • Programme transfer - when your placement has been approved we will confirm to you in writing your place on the Placement Year and we will allocate you a Placement Supervisor from Careers and Placements. Your department will also keep in touch with you.

Contact details

Careers and Placements

Tel: 01904 322685