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Work experience

Work experience is a great opportunity to explore your career options, find roles that suit you, and improve your prospects. Work experience benefits your career by allowing you to develop:

  • develop practical, hands-on skills
  • build an understanding of the industry in which you may work
  • understand your career options
  • expand your network and contacts
  • and apply your academic knowledge

Industry Placements

Undergraduate students complete often industrial placements as part of their degree. These are often referred to as "sandwich years". 

There are also opportunities to carry out placements over the summer break. For example, MSD offer undergraduates experience in the pharmaceutical industry across the country. 

Academic summer placements

Placements can last up to 12 weeks over the summer break. Universities will often advertise these on their websites and social media. Some may be unpaid. Others, such as the Wellcome trust eight-week programme, offer reimbursements for expenses. Some rare placements include accommodation and food, such as the Amgen Scholarship scheme.

Placements are often advertised through membership bodies, like us, or through careers services. If there is a lab you are interested in, you may also approach the lab directly. They may be able to offer you an unpaid placement, or find you funding for a short period of time. 

When applying for summer placements follow the same advice as when applying for jobs .

Science at its heart is an expression of curiosity and creativity; undertaking a lab placement allows you to exercise these assets by using your previous learning to solve common lab problems, outside the set confines of undergraduate practicals.

Sam Groom, Early Career Pharmacologist Advisory Group member