Whatever you’re studying, you have the option to undertake a placement year in the UK or overseas. Make sure you’re up to date with the latest guidance if you’re starting to plan your placement year as part of your undergraduate studies.
Placements policy update
If you plan to be on placement from the 2017/18 academic year, you need to be aware of two important changes to the BU Placements Policy:
- Your placement year will be defined as a period of no less than 30 weeks, although your faculty will advise of you of the requirements for your course (previously a placement year was a minimum of 40 weeks)
- If you’d like to take an optional placement as part of your degree, you need to confirm your intentions to do so by 31 August. If you can’t find and start a placement by the following February you will have to be suspended from your placement year as there won't be sufficient time to complete the minimum number of weeks.
Working out your options
The first thing when thinking about work experience is to book an appointment with your faculty Placement Coordinator. They can help you work out the options that will work best for your circumstances and current experience – they can also tell you about any funding that might be available to support you. It's also worth checking out the eligibility criteria of our Placement Opportunity Fund as that can help with expenses for interviews, travel and DBS checks.
Planning your placement
Give yourself time to research and prepare for your placement. For sandwich course placements it’s a good idea to start planning a year to 18 months before your placement is due to start. You’ll find some really helpful planning guidance in the Careers section of our website and on MyCareerHub to get you started.
Securing your placement
The final deadline for securing your placement is 31 December, as this will allow you enough time to complete your 30-week placement within the academic year.
Your faculty and the Careers & Employability team continue to develop strong networks with local, national and international businesses to provide you with access to a range of employers to approach for your placement. All placement opportunities are available on MyCareerHub, where you can also find dates for workshops and resources for help with writing applications and your CV, as well as interview techniques and free psychometric tests.
You’re also free to search for a placement independently. Whatever option you choose, it’s important that you discuss your ideas with academic staff on your course and your faculty Placement Coordinator as they will need to make sure that your placement will meet the needs of your course and learning outcomes, and that the employer will be able to provide the support you need.
You will need to pay a discounted tuition fee while you are on placement, which you can borrow from Student Finance England (SFE) if you're eligible for the funding support from them. You will usually do this in August when you are asked to re-register for the next year of your course.
Should you choose to pay the discounted placement year tuition fee in August, but not go on to secure your placement by 31 December, your fee will be refunded (or provided as a credit for your next year of study) – however, any money borrowed from Student Finance England (SFE) will need to be repaid.