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What is a placement year?

Watch this video from the University of Surrey to gain an understanding of what a placement year is, and the opportunities it can offer.

Many courses at university give you the opportunity to undertake a placement year, usually between Years 2 and 3 of your study, when you spend between 10 and 12 months in paid work.

Often called a year in industry or, as at the University of Surrey, a Professional Training Year, doing a placement gives you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential. Students who do placements are more adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace.

A placement gives you opportunities to gain confidence, maturity and knowledge, find a focus for your final year of study, test out a career path, discover new professional possibilities, become an industry-ready individual, network, and increase your employability potential.

Last but not least, placement experience is widely valued by employers. Statistics show better outcomes for placement students, both in terms of the mark of the final degree and in terms of the jobs they go on to do (Taylor and Hooley, 2014).


Taylor. A. R. and Hooley, T. (2014) ‘Evaluating the impact of career management skills module and internship programme within a university business school’, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 42(5), pp. 487–499.

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