The Sheffield Graduate Award

Counts towards your HEAR

The Sheffield Graduate Award recognises valuable skills and experience gained at university outside your degree course.


All induction session are now finished for the academic year 2013/2014. New induction dates for the next academic year will be available in September 2014

This prestigious Award brings an extra dimension to your qualifications when you graduate, enriching your personal development and substantially boosting your employment prospects.

Taking part in valuable and sometimes challenging activities in areas including enterprise, work experience, community volunteering and international relations confirms that not only are you academically able, but someone whose competencies, skills and and positive outlook will be a real asset to any organisation.

Enrolling onto The Sheffield Graduate Award could turn out to be an important step towards a successful and fulfilling future. It may even inspire the career direction you eventually choose.

The Sheffield Graduate Award counts towards the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) which is a new kind of degree transcript that will be issued to all undergraduate students as a matter of course.

Both the Sheffield Graduate Award and the HEAR enable you to gain recognition for extra-curricular activities, and have specific guidance regarding which activities are eligible. However, the Sheffield Graduate Award acknowledges activities undertaken within and outside the University, whereas the HEAR only acknowledges those undertaken within the University.

The Sheffield Graduate

One of the University’s most important objectives is to encourage in our students a commitment to personal growth, self-improvement, enterprise and life skills development – contributing to the distinctive qualities of the typical Sheffield graduate. The Sheffield Graduate Award is a great way to prove that you are a distinctive Sheffield graduate.

  • Benefits
  • How does it work
  • Getting started
  • The Assessment process

Benefits of undertaking The Sheffield Graduate Award

Employers are looking for people who can show that they stand out from the crowd. They expect graduates to possess and to actively demonstrate, a range of competencies, self-awareness and confidence, which enable you to contribute effectively and quickly to their organisation.

If you have achieved The Sheffield Graduate Award, you are able to provide useful evidence to support your claims on CVs and application forms together with improving upon your performance in assessment centres and interviews. Your experience and the variety of activities undertaken during the Award will help you to make more informed career choices, be better prepared to meet employer expectations and have a more realistic view of working life.

  • ‘I’ve gained so much from the work I’ve done outside my degree. Taking part in extra-curricular activities is an enriching and invaluable experience. The activities I’ve been involved in have helped me develop skills that I can use and continue to develop in the future and most of all have given me experiences with people that I will never forget’ Materials Science and Engineering student

The Santander Universities fund offers up to six prizes annually for undergraduate students. These are presented to the most outstanding portfolios in several categories.

Organisations endorsing the award




DLA Piper

EF Education First

Enterprise rent a car




Proctor and Gamble


Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry



Teach First

How it works

There are six key areas within the Award which are designed to represent a broad spectrum of activities. Students must undertake at least one activity from four out of the six available sections (this criteria varies for PGT students to accommodate their shorter period of study – further information is available during the induction session).
The six sections are:

  • Enterprise
  • Student Jobs and Work Experience*
  • Volunteering*
  • Cultural and Social
  • Internationalisation
  • The University and its Community

*Work Experience OR Volunteering are compulsory sections.

Key areas and associated activities

For examples of the many different activities you can choose from, please download the file ‘key areas and associated activities’. Please note that your activities can include others which are not listed here.

Skills for Work Certificate

Consider completing the Skills for Work Certificate as it counts towards the Sheffield Graduate Award.

Experience Sheffield

A further source of information on the range of activities and how to get involved can be found at Experience Sheffield.

In addition to undertaking your activities, the Award is assessed by a portfolio where you can demonstrate relevant skills and reflect upon your experiences. Portfolios should also include appropriate SUPPORTING EVIDENCE or VALIDATION of activities undertaken. You will collect your Award certificate upon graduation and notification of the Award is made on your student record.

Completed portfolios are submitted in your final year.

IMPORTANT: Students must be formally enrolled onto the Award programme at least 4 WEEKS BEFORE the portfolio submission deadline.

The Sheffield Graduate Award is open to all undergraduate students and you can register your interest for the Award at any time during your undergraduate studies. However, we highly recommend that you register your interest in the programme during your first and second years. This is so that you don´t run out of time and are able to plan and choose activities from four of the six areas to fit in with your studies.

The Award is also open to postgraduate taught students.  Given that PGT students only attend the university for a limited time, it is advisable to register your interest as soon as you can so you have time to complete your Award. Because of this, the criteria are slightly different for PGT students than for undergraduates.

Please be aware that the Award is not open to PhD students.

'The impact of my work experience and extra-curricular activities, has, to me, almost been greater than that of my degree. I did a lot of different work experience roles, including establishing and editing one of the UK’s leading style blogging communities for three years. I truly believe it was the time I put into my varied work experience opportunities that really helped me to get a job’ English student

Getting started

You need to register your interest and attend a compulsory induction session where you will find out more about the Award and what it involves. When registering, you will be asked to select your preferred induction session date. Sessions are held throughout the academic year (see below).

All induction session are now finished for the academic year 2013/2014. New induction dates for the next academic year will be available in September 2014

Once formally enrolled onto the Award, you will be required to submit a plan outlining your current and proposed activities. Submission of your plan helps the Award team provide you with appropriate feedback on the contents and eligibility of your activities and allocate them to the correct sections.

Final year students are strongly recommended to attend the ‘How to write your Portfolio’ sessions, usually held after Christmas in your final year. Dates and times will be notified.

What do I have to do?

In summary, to gain the Award, you are required to:

  • Attend a compulsory introduction session
  • Enrol onto the Award programme
  • Submit a plan outlining your preferred activities
  • Undertake a least ONE activity out of FOUR sections of the SIX sections available
  • Understand that work experience OR volunteering are compulsory sections within the award
  • Submit appropriate SUPPORTING EVIDENCE or VALIDATION of activities undertaken as part of your portfolio
  • Submit your completed portfolio in your FINAL year.

The portfolio submission date for 2013/14 for final year undergraduates is:
Wednesday, 2nd April, 2014

For postgraduates: Wednesday, 27th August, 2014

IMPORTANT: Students must ensure that they are formally enrolled onto the programme at least four weeks before these portfolio submission deadlines.

The Award is assessed on a 'pass' or 'fail' basis. 

For further information on The Sheffield Graduate Award, please email: