Find out about work placements for undergraduate students at Sussex.
Get extra help and support and see placement opportunities.
- what a work placement is
- the benefits of a work placement
- how to apply
- how we can support you
- international placements
- support if applying for a placement late
- placements for Masters students.
What is a work placement?
Placements are when you spend time working at an organisation or company, as part of your degree.
A work placement is sometimes:
- a compulsory element of your course
- known as a ‘sandwich’ year, but at Sussex is called a ‘professional placement’ or ‘industrial placement.’
Our placements are an academic year in duration (minimum 40 weeks and full-time 35 - 40 hours per week). You pay a reduced fee for the academic year of 20% of your standard fees during your placement year, and the majority of placements are paid. Find out about tuition fees while you are on a placement.
Benefits of a work placement
There are many benefits to doing a work placement such as gaining relevant experience, which could help you move into the career of your choice.
Other benefits include:
- first-hand experience of the world of work
- consolidation and application of academic learning
- knowledge of how an organisation works
- new or enhanced professional and intellectual skills
- the chance to be involved in a project from start to finish
- increased personal effectiveness and confidence
- greater career awareness
- potential to be offered a post-graduate job with your placement employer
- grow and develop your business contacts and networks.
By filling in our placement interest form (via CareerHub, login required), we can communicate relevant placements information to you throughout the year and support you through the application process. By completing this form, you are not committing to a placement year.
How to apply for a work placement
Most undergraduate students can opt to do a professional placement. If you are interested in doing a placement year as part of your course, you will need to apply directly to an employer.
You can look for placements using CareerHub or try:
- RateMyPlacement and Gradcracker (for STEM jobs)
- Cogent Placements (Life Sciences placements).
How we can support you
We can support you through our Placements Preparation Programme, which is a series of events and resources to help you plan for a placement year. The programme usually starts in the autumn term, but you can search for, book on to events, and see exact timings in CareerHub.
The programme includes:
- an introductory talk about what a placement is, where to go and how to arrange one
- access to an online resource where you can plan your placement year and receive guidance on how to find the best placement, how to apply, and tips for interview
- access to employer events and workshops
- weekly emails from the Sussex Placements Team offering support
- placements vacancies advertised on CareerHub
- access to our Careers Fair
- meetings with our placement officers and placement connectors who can guide you when you apply
- small group intensive workshops.
You also have access to:
- our employer engagement team who have links with local, national and international employers (currently nearly 10,000 on our database)
- an allocated placement tutor from your department, who will support you throughout the duration of your placement
- a placements tracker to view your step-by-step progress.
A placement at a company or organisation abroad means you gain all of the benefits of a professional placement as well as valuable insights into working in a different country. You can immerse yourself in a different culture and learn a language, plus an ‘international mindset’is a skill highly valued by employers in the UK and worldwide.
If you are interested in working outside of the UK, we can give you advice on where to look for placements through our Placement Preparation Programme.
You can also use GoinGlobal (login via CareerHub), which has information on working in different countries (including job sites), or try:
- All About Careers
- Target Jobs (Working Abroad)
- HigherEd (Sussex has a subscription via the Business School, but you need to register).
How to apply for an international placement
You should tell the placements team – and your academic adviser – that you want to do an international placement. Whether you are looking to work in an NGO or an investment bank, we can help you make sense of your international options and advise you on how to apply. Alternatively, you might decide not to do a placement and instead spending your year studying abroad.
If you would like international experience but don’t want to spend a whole year away, there are lots of opportunities for shorter vacation internships overseas.
If you are an international student, try Student Circus. You can browse job listings that sponsor the Skilled Worker Visa, internships, and placements. If you are doing a work placement, you and your employer can also see advice about student visa holding students and placements. You can also see our advice if you have added a placement year and need a visa extension.
What to do if you express interest in doing a placement late
If you have engaged with our Placement Preparation Programme throughout your first and second years, you will be in an excellent position to secure a placement. However, if not, don’t panic. We can still help you even if you are part-way through your second year.
Placements are advertised (and secured) right up until the end of the second academic year. If you are in your second year and want to do a placement, you should now make sure you complete the placement interest form and contact the placements team at email@example.com for more information.
Placements for Masters students
Some Masters students have the opportunity to undertake an optional placement year as part of their course, which is a minimum of 40 weeks. These placements may be linked to a dissertation, depending on your course structure. Talk to your course leader to find out the specific timings and requirements for your course.
You will not be placed at an organisation. Instead, you will need to do a lot of preparation and research to give yourself the best possible chance of securing a placement, which suits your aspirations. Most postgraduate placements are not advertised, it is therefore recommended that you contact organisations speculatively. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re a Masters student and need help applying for a placement.
Your employment rights
It is against the law for an employer to discriminate against you when applying for jobs or in the workplace. Find out about your employment rights.