Prospective undergraduate


Build your employability skills whilst at university

Studying at the University of Sheffield has lots of benefits – world-class teaching, a Students’ Union often voted best in the UK, and a friendly city with all the shops, clubs, and green spaces.

Our graduates progress on to a vast range of graduate careers in the UK and across the globe, with employers ranging from small businesses and charities to major multinational companies and governmental or other public bodies.

If you choose to come to the University of Sheffield, you will get access to: 

  • A top quality, innovative Careers & Employability Service from day 1 and for as long as you need us; 
  • Personalised support and guidance throughout your career journey; 
  • Appointments with Employability Advisers;
  • Employability workshops on a range of topics, from writing a great CV to navigating your next steps after graduation;
  • Careers Fairs and employer events;
  • Job opportunities such as placements, internships, part-time and graduate jobs.

The services we provide are independent, confidential and offer impartial advice throughout your time with us as long as you need us after graduation.

Year-long placement

Most undergraduate courses now offer you the opportunity to add a placement year as part of your degree programme.

Your course may already incorporate an industrial placement year. These are typically in departments within the Faculty of Engineering or Faculty of Science.


A placement year is:

  • A year of work experience with an organisation, which is integrated into your course.
  • Self-sourced by students with support from your department and the Careers & Employability Service. 
  • A recognised part of your programme and will be included in your award title. 
  • Typically undertaken in your penultimate year of study and usually lasting at least approximately 38 weeks.

While doing a placement, you will:

  • Remain a registered student whilst employed by the placement provider; 
  • Continue to have access to student support;
  • Pay a substantially reduced tuition fee.


International students are eligible for a year-long placement.


Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of doing a placement year?

A placement year will help you to:

  • gain an insight into possible careers
  • develop a range of transferable skills
  • build a professional network
  • get a feel for what you do and don’t like doing
  • add valuable work experience to your CV
  • experience the process of applying for jobs and having interviews
  • apply elements of academic learning in the workplace
How do I decide if a placement is right for me?

You don’t need to make a decision before starting your course. However, here are some factors to consider when searching for opportunities, and some tools to assist with them:

Opportunities are available globally. You should consider where you want to be located. You can filter searches on vacancy portals and websites by location to narrow down your results.

Living expenses will differ between locations and whether you are completing the opportunity virtually or on-premises. The Students' Union's guide on money management and the University's money planner tool can help you to budget.

If you opt for a placement year outside of Sheffield, it's likely that you'll need to find and secure accommodation closer to the location where your placement will take place


Fees and Funding
During your placement year, you will remain a registered student at the University. You will pay a reduced tuition fee for your placement year.

If you are considering a placement outside the UK, the Turing funding scheme enables eligible students to receive a grant towards the additional costs incurred by a period spent abroad during their degree.

Work visa/permits (International students)
If you are an international student with a visa and want to complete a placement year in the UK or abroad. You will need to check the requirements with the International Student Support team after you begin your studies. 


National Insurance
If you are working in the UK and your placement is paid, National Insurance will be automatically deducted from your wages. Before you start your job, you must apply for a National Insurance Number which ensures your tax contributions are recorded against your name.

I’d like to do a placement year. What would be the next steps?

There is nothing you need to do before you begin your course. Once you’re registered as a University of Sheffield student and decide you want to do a placement year, these are the next steps:

1. Check with your academic department if you can do a placement year;
2. Find and secure a placement opportunity;
3. Inform your department and obtain their approval;
4. Commence your placement year, typically before your final year of study


The Careers & Employability Service will also be on hand to support you.



You can undertake internships outside your programme in your own time, during vacations, or part-time alongside your studies. They are regularly available throughout the year.

Vacation or summer internships are very popular and are an excellent way to gain experience and insight into career pathways or a particular organisation or sector. Most summer internships are aimed at second and penultimate-year students, but more organisations are now offering opportunities for students in their first year and those about to graduate.


Part-time work

Every year we advertise thousands of part-time opportunities. These range from jobs with local and national employers to roles within the University and our award winning Students Union.

You can also find us in the Employability & Placements Hub based in the Students’ Union, where we regularly put up job adverts for part-time opportunities. Here you’ll find a dedicated team of recruitment specialists with knowledge of the local area who can help you get started on finding part-time work in Sheffield both on and off campus.


Virtual work experience programmes

We are partnered with multiple providers so you can complete hundreds of virtual work experience programmes for free, in a way that suits you. All of these are free of charge for you to complete as a University of Sheffield student, and you will receive a certificate of completion after completing each programme. There are no time restrictions for most of the programmes, so you can complete as many as you want in your own time.

The programmes cover a wide range of industries and roles, so there is something for everyone. You can not only see what it’s like to work in a different industry or as part of the host organisation, but you can often opt in to be contacted by the organisations offering the programme to explore the possibility of working with them in the future.


Free online courses

If you are wanting to get ahead of the game, we offer two free three week courses providing you with the tools you need to succeed at applications and another to succeed at interviews. Join over 500,000 individuals across the globe who have taken part in these courses.



During your time at the University of Sheffield you will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills and attributes through your course, your work experience and extracurricular activities. 

Once you become a registered student, you will get access to mySkills, our University's very own skills development platform. The mySkills portfolio is an innovative way for you to assess, record, build, and reflect on your skills. Your skills profile and your record of personal development will be unique to you and will be invaluable in creating your CV, writing job applications, and preparing for interviews.

mySkills - your record of skills & personal development


What can I do after my degree?

Prior to starting University, you may wish to understand what career your course may lead you towards. We have created this handy section, “What can I do after my degree” tailored to the courses you can study here at the University of Sheffield.


Equal Opportunities in Careers

The Careers & Employability Service established the Equal Opportunities in Careers offer to improve access to opportunities for students from backgrounds and groups that are typically under-represented in higher education.

As a home undergraduate student, you are eligible for the Equal Opportunities in Careers offer if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Are receiving a University of Sheffield bursary or Disabled Students’ Allowance;
  • Identify as being from a black, Asian, or minority ethnic background;
  • Are a mature student, meaning you are aged 21 or over at the start of your course;
  • Have been in care as a looked-after child for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 ;
  • Are the first person in your immediate family to go to university (other than siblings);
  • Come from one of the more deprived areas of the country as defined by the government's Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) database. If your postcode IMD value is 16,250 or less, you meet this criteria. You can check your postcode ranking using the IMD website. Please note this criteria only applies to students who live in England;
  • Come from an area where it is unusual for people to go to university. This is defined by the government's classification called POLAR. To meet this criteria your address must fall into quintile 1 or 2 of POLAR3 or POLAR4. Please note this information only covers the UK. You can check your eligibility for this criteria using the government's POLAR database.

If you identify with an underrepresented group, you can opt-in to receive support under the Equal Opportunities in Careers program after you begin your studies with us.

Here are some of the opportunities currently available under the Equal Opportunities in Careers offer:

Equal Opportunities Fund

All Equal Opportunities students can apply for up to £300 per academic year to reimburse expenses incurred when taking part in an opportunity that develops their employability. Applications open in November 2023.

SME Summer Internship Programme

The SME Summer Internship Programme allows eligible students to undertake a paid summer internship with SMEs and charities in the Sheffield City Region. The scheme is an opportunity for students to use their knowledge and skills to benefit a local organisation while gaining valuable career experience.

Equal Opportunities Blog

A tailored collection of student stories, guidance and support, events, courses, and other resources curated specifically for Equal Opportunities students.

If you’re a current student, find out more on the Equal Opportunities in Careers webpage (MUSE login required).

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