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School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

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Work placements

Apply your learning, enhance your CV and gain valuable life skills.

Most of our courses* offer you the opportunity to apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context courtesy of a placement year in your third year of study.

Graduate employers actively seek to recruit candidates who are equipped to make the transition from learning to working, and who can demonstrate practical, applied thinking and professionalism.

A placement year will give you the opportunity to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks, through practical work experience. 

Benefits

Placements are designed to help you learn more about how your learning will translate in a live, workplace context.

As well as providing practical work experience, a placement offers you the chance to explore and define your career path, and to understand the kind of roles and responsibilities that play to your strengths.

A placement year may give you the opportunity to:

  • enhance your CV and gain a competitive edge in the jobs market;
  • build your industry contacts and networks;
  • gain independence and confidence;
  • gain a practical understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing organisations and businesses, and the way in which they operate;
  • make informed career choices based on your insight and experience;
  • discover how your learning can be applied in a real-world context and develop additional transferable, soft skills to add to your portfolio;
  • gain international experience – some students will have the opportunity to undertake an overseas placement.

How it works

A degree with a placement lasts for four years; you'll go on placement in your third year.

You should apply for your course via the usual UCAS application process. You'll be briefed on the opportunity to undertake a placement year during your first year, and you'll be invited to register your interest during your second year.

To progress onto a four-year course with a placement year, you'll need to meet the following application criteria during your first year of study:

  • an overall average of 55% or higher;
  • a satisfactory attendance record;
  • a suitable academic reference (usually your Academic Advisor or Programme Director). 

You can register and start to source placements at any point, but you must bear in mind that placements need to be confirmed by the publicised application deadline (usually mid-June of your second year of study).

Full placement application and approval guidance will be provided when you register your interest in the programme.

You'll receive comprehensive support before, during and after your placement year including a dedicated resource hub, access to our online community and practical help in sourcing placements and preparing for interview. See our FAQs below for further details. 

You'll enter your placement year in your third year of study, and what was your third year will become your fourth year.

Frequently asked questions

Will I earn a salary?

Placements advertised through the School will normally be paid, or at the very least offer some form of payment in kind, such as reasonable travel and lunch expenses.

The School's Employability Consultant can also provide guidance regarding possible external sources of funding.

What support will I receive?

Successful applicants will receive the following support:

Pre-placement

  • Access to our online Placement Resource Hub at the start of your second year - featuring materials to support your personal development during your placement, and guidance on identifying and articulating key skills gained throughout the year.
  • Careers Service workshops and one-to-one sessions where you can find out more about sourcing, applying for and interviewing for placements.
  • Support from an Employability Consultant and the Residence Abroad and Placements Office in sourcing a suitable placement.
  • Access to our online network of placement year students.

During your placement year

  • Support from the Residence Abroad and Placements Office as your main point of contact throughout the year.
  • Contact from your regular Academic Advisor.
  • Continued access to the Placement Resource Hub and online network of placement year students.

When you return

  • Continued access to our online network of placement year students.
  • A debriefing session designed to help you settle back into university life. The session will also help you to identify the skills during your placement that and how to articulate them to future employers.

Can I work overseas?

Yes. An international placement can provide you with a valuable intercultural learning experience, as well as offering the opportunity to explore your overseas employment options after graduation.

Your placement will still need to meet the requirements of the scheme, and you'll need to ensure that you hold the correct visa and work permits (if required).

Will my normal tuition fees apply?

As a Home/EU student, you'll pay a reduced fee equivalent to 20% of the standard University tuition fee.

As an international student, you'll pay a reduced fee equivalent to 50% of the standard University tuition fee. 

How will I be assessed?

Your placement year will be assessed as a pass or fail, based on the receipt of a satisfactory reference from your employer and submission of a reflective log.

You'll complete your reflective log as you progress through your placement year. This non-assessed activity is designed to help you to understand and articulate the skills that you have developed in preparation for your future career.

Your placement year will not be included in your final degree classification weighting. However, it will feature in the HEAR statement on your degree transcript, and is included in your degree title (eg BA American Studies with Professional Experience).

* Due to visa and work permit issues, degrees in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian do not normally feature a work placement year option, unless the subject is studied alongside a European language as a Joint Honours degree. You may, however, go on a study placement as part of these subjects.