Choosing an industrial placement year
A work placement is a chance to try out an industry you think you might be interested in for the future, or to concentrate on something you’re really passionate about for an extended amount of time.
- All our degree courses offer you the opportunity to undertake a placement year as part of your degree.
- Industrial placements are taken between your second and third year. If you choose to undertake a placement year, this will extend your studies by 12 months.
- You can choose between a research-based placement or working with the industry in a non-lab based role.
- There is an option to complete a combined year of both workplace and study abroad.
Preparing for your future career
An industrial placement will help prepare you for graduate-level employment. The average salary of a paid-placement is around £16-18,000 per annum, although unpaid placements are also an option.
Where can you work?
Our students have taken work opportunities across a wide range of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food industries, biology testing laboratories, research institutes, environment, agriculture, leisure and health. Most students undertake placements in the UK, with some students going to big UK placement providers including:
- Johnson & Johnson
We’ve also had some exclusive relationships with places such as:
- Worcester Warriors
- Rotherham United FC
- Lotherton Hall (Wildlife World) and Tropical World in Leeds
- Oxford University Innovation
Luke Boothman, BSc Medical Sciences | Research Scientist, University of Birmingham
“The experience I have gained here will be extremely beneficial for my future career; if I stay in science it will give me good references, possibly being able to be a second author on a paper and experience presenting at an international conference, as well as the valuable lab skills.”
Emma Burman, BSc Biological Sciences | Research Scientist, Puridify
“I had worked in 3 different lab environments: academic, as part of a startup and as part of a global industrial company. I learnt a lot of transferable skills and developed myself as a scientist.”
International work placements
We also offer you the opportunity to complete your work placement in a different country, which allows you the chance to travel and work. This year we have students in Australia, Belgium, Belize, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Panama, Singapore, Spain, and USA. Some students have chosen to do two six-month placements over the year.
We have ongoing exclusive or semi-exclusive relationships with:
- Mayo Clinic, Florida, USA
- Novartis, California, USA
- Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
- Janssen, Beerse, Belgium
- P53 Lab, Singapore
Ella Hamblin, BSc Zoology | Cheetah Sanctuary, South Africa and Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mauritius
“A typical day at Cheetah Outreach was to do the morning husbandry that involved the feeding of the dogs. The waters for the animals needed to be cleaned and the handlers would feed the cheetahs.”
Amy Roe, BSc Microbiology | Research intern, Mayo Clinic, USA
“For me, the real highlight was being able to work with animal models, specifically mice. This is the sort of experience I simply couldn't get as part of my degree, so I appreciate it immensely. Of course, I've also really enjoyed getting to know my co-workers, who were wonderfully friendly from day one."
You will not need to decide on an industrial placement before applying, our Faculty of Biological Sciences employability team are here to provide information and help you make the decision in your second year. We have a comprehensive support programme for students pursuing a 12-month placement, including:
- A dedicated in-house system that advertises hundreds of roles
- Handbooks and guides
Although you’ll need to apply for placement positions independently, we’ll help you with your CV and application letters. During your placement, you’ll have ongoing contact with us. We also work with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year.