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Durham University

Careers & Enterprise Centre

Placement Year

A Placement Year is an opportunity for you to spend a year gaining valuable work experience during your time at University. It is a fantastic opportunity to apply yourself fully within an organisation, and could potentially result in a job offer. Extensive training is usually provided and the experience often mirrors the first year working in a graduate role.

Placement years typically occur in between the penultimate and final year of your degree and last between 9 to 12 months; this is negotiated with your individual placement employer.

During your placement you will remain a student at Durham University by paying a reduced tuition fee (20% of the standard fee you would normally pay). You will have one main assignment and some progress reports to complete, and you will be supported by a placement tutor.

Many larger organisations advertise placements on their website. It is always worth making a speculative application, particularly to smaller companies and third sector/charity or the voluntary sector. There may also be opportunities to work overseas or remotely on a relevant project.

Closing dates for year-long placements are usually between October and November of the year prior to the placement start date. Do your research, plan and apply early. Some organisations stop accepting applications if they receive a high number.

Other employers will actively advertise placements right up until the end of September, so if you decide to do a placement later on in the year, you still have a good chance of securing one.

There are many different ways to find your ideal placement including;

  • Student Services Portal
  • Sign up to receive a fortnightly Placement Year newsletter
  • Weekly Careers & Enterprise Vacancy Bulletin
  • Company websites
  • Through your own networks
  • Graduate job websites (Prospects,, Gradcracker)
  • Social media

Further information

There are dedicated Faculty Placement Officer roles employed through the Careers & Enterprise Centre but based within the faculties, whose key focus is on increasing the number and variety of placement opportunities available to Durham students. Their role is to help students identify the right placement opportunities for them, ensure the placements are suitable, prepare the student fully for the placement, be a point of contact whilst the student is out on placement and assist the student reintegrate into University life upon their return.

This involves working with academic members of staff, graduate recruiters and students to ensure the requirements for all groups are met.

For further information, please contact your Placement Officer at:

Register for the Placement Year Newsletter

If you would like to hear more about placement opportunities, news, top tips and advice with Placement Years, please register your details on the form below and we will sign you up to receive our fortnightly Placement Years Newsletter

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We are asking for this information so we can tailor communications you receive and identify specific opportunities which may be closely aligned to your faculty or department.

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Placement Years: A complete guide for students

As well as C&E derived resources, ASET, the Work Based and Placement Learning Association, produce useful resources also:

ASET Health & Safety for Student Placements

ASET Good Practice Guide for Supporting Students with Disabilities on Placement


Placement Case Studies