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 from the 2019/20 academic year.
It's worth checking through the BU Placements Policy to make sure you understand the process fully, but the main things to be aware of are:
- A placement year is defined as a period of 'no less than 30 weeks' although your faculty will advise of you of any specific requirements for your course
- You are responsible for finding your placement (although faculty Placement Coordinators and the careers team are there to help!) and it should relate to your course
- You may be able to split your placement across different employers or with the same employer but in different roles
- Optional placements must be secured - and approved by your faculty - 31 August, otherwise you will normally progress with your studies.
Working out your options
The best starting point 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, as well as 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 things like interviews, travel and DBS checks.
Your faculty and the Careers & Employability team are continually developing 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 can look for a placement anywhere, and we encourage you to do so! University is the perfect time to embark on an international experience and our Global team can help you plan, organise and apply for available funding. Drop in to see the team in the Global Mobility Hub in Poole House (next to the Student Shop) every Monday and Wednesday, 13:00-17:00. You can also contact the team by phone 01202 966733. Find out more about working abroad and other international opportunities online.
Planning your placement
Give yourself time to research and prepare for your placement. It's usually a good idea to start planning your placement 12 to 18 months before your placement is due to start, but that isn't essential if you've only decided now that a placement experience is for you! 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 August.
It’s important to discuss your ideas with academic staff on your course and your faculty Placement Coordinator, as you plan. 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, by the 31 August.
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 mid/late August, when you are asked to re-register for the next year of your course. If you do not secure a placement by 31 August, you will enrol on the final year of your studies, and be required to pay the full tuition fee for the new academic year, as usual.
On your placement
We'll continue to support you in lots of ways once you're on placement. You'll be assigned a Placement Development Advisor who will stay in contact, and usually visit you, during your placement. You'll receive termly update emails about what's happening at BU and with advice on making the most of your placement, and of course all of the support services you're used to accessing are still available to you, with options for appointments to take place by phone or video call in most cases. Find out more about the support during your placement online.