Outline of the Scheme

The industry placement year is taken between Year 2 and Year 3 of your degree course. It is an optional scheme. We can offer no guarantee that you will gain a placement. You must apply, usually be interviewed, and be offered a placement by a company or institution. The placement should normally run from 9-12 months, or for two consecutive 5-6 months. We support a wide variety of types of placement, so long as they are considered relevant to your degree scheme. We support placements in the UK and overseas.

The University of Leeds does not endorse unpaid placements, but some sectors are over-represented in offering unpaid placements (particularly in Sports Science and Ecology and Conservation, but paid placements in these sectors do exist). Before accepting an unpaid placement you must think carefully about how you will support yourself during the placement, and what your living costs are likely to be. This includes working out your Student Finance application, where applicable. We strongly advise against taking on any paid employment alongside your full-time placement. We are unable to provide any substantial financial support but do offer a bursary for unpaid placements.

Your success or otherwise in gaining a placement will obviously depend upon your academic performance, performance at interview, and enthusiasm. We would normally expect students who are applying for placements to have performed at a 2.1 level in Year 1, with a similar sustainable level in Year 2.  There is no academic cap, so anyone can apply, but the 2.1 is advisable/expected as it is more in the student’s interests as they are in a far stronger position to be able to compete nationally or even internationally for placements. At the end of Year 2 you must have gained all necessary credits and modules for progression to Year 3, otherwise you may be precluded from taking a placement, even if one has been offered and accepted.


Towards the end of semester 1 of your first year we will contact you by email to make you aware of the information available on this website.
Towards the end of Year 1, and before end of year examinations, we will email you and ask you to register your interest in a placement year by signing up to the WordPress site. This will allow us to build a register of interested students who we can subsequently forward relevant information to. We will also arrange a meeting to answer any further questions. When you have had time to reflect upon your first year examination results, and if you wish to be considered for the placement scheme, you should register your interest (if not done so already) and update your CV.


Applications for placements typically begins in September of Level 2. There is considerable variation in application times and deadlines. Some larger companies are often very quick off the mark, competing with others for the most able students nationally, whereas smaller companies may leave their recruitment to well after Christmas. However, this is not an absolute and you should consider your search for placements being a year-long search, not just an initial sprint!

We, like other HE institutions, will often receive notification from companies regarding placement applications. All such information received will be provided to students on our “registered interest” list, for you to follow through. Nowadays, many applications are made on-line, some by application form, and some by C.V. and cover letter. Although we will “prompt” you to apply for placements by providing appropriate information, there is no substitute for the enthusiastic student who goes looking for a placement! Do seek out possible placements yourself, investigate any contacts you may have (parents, friends, previous employers, etc.). Be proactive; employers are likely to value serious approaches from well intentioned students.
Also look at the information under WORK EXPERIENCE and “Help in finding Placements“Check out the Career Centre and work experience sites and resource room.


If you accept a placement, you will need to complete a Change of Programme form. You will also need to inform your LEA/Student Loan Company of this; this is simply done when completing your “Continuing Student” form, usually sent out to students end of March for the following academic year.


While on placement you will be registered on module BIOL8001: Training in the Workplace.This is a 120-credit module. The module is assessed on a Pass/Fail basis; it does not count towards your degree classification. In order to pass this module you mustsatisfy a number of assessments that are outlined below.

You must satisfactorily complete your employmentcontract, including any in-house training or assessment exercises.

You must complete a 2000 word literature review submitted in the February of your placement year.
You must have completed your Work Profile by the end of your placement (click here to see a copy of this). This will require input from your industrial supervisor, yourself, and your academic supervisor, and must be submitted by the deadline (details to be shared via Minerva and email in advance).
You must have completed a 6000-word report of your placement year. This must be submitted upon your return to Leeds and is assessed by your academic supervisor (click here to see a copy of the assessment form used). Dependent upon the type of placement you have completed, your report may take a variety of forms (click here for advice on possible formats for your report).

Attend a debriefing session organised by the FBS Placement team.

It is extremely rare for students to fail their placement year. Failure to present any of the assessments listed above may preclude our recognition of your placement year. On passing BIOL8001, your final degree certificate will read “Name of Programme” with Work Placement. Should you fail BIOL8001, you would revert back to a 3-year degree programme and your final degree certificate would have no mention of the placement year.


In your Work Profile (and module manual), there is a contact sheet that must be completed as soon as possible after beginning your placement, and returned to David Forrest via email at  FBSPlacement@leeds.ac.uk. We will keep in regular contact with you, and your industry supervisor, to ensure that your placement is proceeding smoothly. Should you perceive any problems yourself, then you should of course contact us immediately. Where possible, regular contact will be through monthly email. Additionally, where considered appropriate and where possible, your academic supervisor will arrange to visit you and your industry supervisor “on-site”; normally this will occur once during the early-mid part of your placement year. Your academic supervisor will complete a simple form to document this visit (click here to see this form).
We will keep you in touch with any important developments that might have an effect on your final year. Final year project lists, usually available prior to the Easter vacation, will be made available to you while on placement. You will still retain your university email and internet access rights.


Upon return to Leeds, you will need to submit your Work Profile and 6000-word report. All these assessed components should, wherever possible, be completed before you finish and leave your placement. Very often it will be necessary for the company to check any confidentiality issues of your work, which would necessarily delay it’s release. It is also often very difficult to get in contact with your industry supervisor once you have left.

You will also receive a ‘Welcome Back’ meeting in induction week and have the opportunity to attend a series of re-integration tutorials run by the placement tutor. These tutorials focus on academic support such as note taking, revision techniques, essay writing skills and exam preparation; all key skills which may have become rusty whilst on placement!


Year 1 Semester 1 All students notified of the information on this website
Year 1 Semester 2 All students requested to register their interest in the industry and study year abroad schemes (around May).

Year 2 Semester 1, induction week Students registered an interest in the placement year should attend the Placement Awareness Day (available to all level 2 students) to gain further insight, direction on applications, possibilities etc.

Year 2 early semester 1 Students on the register begin to receive details of potential placements. Information on potential placements forwarded to students, normally through to Easter of semester 2
We seek references from personal tutors for students on our register.
Year 2 to end Students successful in acquiring a placement enter into negotiations with company concerning start dates, etc.
Year 2 around April LEA`s (Student Loan Company) will require confirmation of progression and details of placement or study year abroad. For students who have completed a Change of Programme form early in the year, the University will automatically inform LEAs of this.
Year 2 endBIOL8001 module manual and Work Profile documentation made available. Confirm with student office regarding Council Tax exemption letters.
Placement Year contact: regular contact by email with you and your industrial supervisor. An on-site visit may be arranged by your academic supervisor.
Placement Year end Completion of 6000-word report (may require confidentiality clearance from company), Work Profile (requires final input from industry supervisor).
Final Year semester 1 Work Profile and report submitted.
Assessments completed and students notified of Pass/Fail status following early semester 2 examination committee meetings.
De-briefing session organised by Work Placement Centre.