Placements and work-based learning

What is a placement year?

Simply put, it’s a year spent working after you’ve finished your second year of study. Once completed, you’ll return for the final year of your course. A placement year is a great opportunity to gain real-world experience in your chosen area. And while you’re putting your learning into practice, you’ll also pick up a whole range of employability skills to kick-start your career.

What is work-based learning?

Work-based learning is a mini placement where you gain work experience over one module during your normal studies. Different courses have work-based learning modules in various years, so ask your lecturer or personal tutor if this is an option that is available to you.

Who can do a placement/work-based learning?

Many courses at Plymouth University provide the option of a placement or work-based learning. Before looking for opportunities check your programme specification or speak to your personal tutor to find out whether a placement year or work-based learning option is available to you as part of your studies.

If your course doesn't offer a placement or work based learning, the Careers & Employability Service can explore other work experience options with you.

Placements as an accredited part of your course

Where work placements are a compulsory requirement of practice and study, and are integrated into the course structure such as education, medicine, dentistry, healthcare or social work, placements are administered and managed by the relevant schools and different arrangements, processes, time frames and practice will apply from the information provided here. See the relevant course pages for more details.

  • School of Biological and Marine Sciences
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Contact your Placements team

Our team are here to support you throughout your placement. 

You can contact us on or +44 1752 586007

If you are on campus, you can come along to our term-time only drop in sessions. Please visit our HUB page for details.

International students

If you are an international student who is considering the optional placement year, there are a number of extra things to consider. International Student Advice can help you work out if it is a viable option for you. 

Our advice for international students.

Work experience bursaries

If your course doesn't offer a placement or work based learning, the Careers & Employability Service offer a number of work experience bursaries to support students wishing to undertake work experience opportunities to assist with their future career development. The bursaries provide students who have had little or no work experience linked to their area of study with a chance to gain valuable insight into the career area they hope to enter.

Find out more about Santander work experience bursaries