Degrees with Employment Experience
Students who undertake a placement year have a great opportunity to gain work experience as part of their degree. Successfully completing the placement year also changes your degree title to recognise your additional work, for example BSc Physics with Employment Experience.
For more information and to register interest, please look at the University Degrees with Employment Experience pages.
There are a number of different opportunities for placement years for Physics and Astronomy students, including a DEE placement year for up to two MPhys Physics & Astrophysics students working at the Isaac Newton Group (ING) of telescopes on La Palma as support astronomers. Isabelle Gessey, MPhys Physics & Astrophysics, is currently working at the STFC's Daresbury Laboratory for her placement year.
"During my third year I had the part time job “Student Ambassador for Learning and Teaching” within the university, which involved myself and other science students completing a project with the aim of improving the number of science students completing work experience.
In doing this, I discovered that all students are eligible to apply for a “Degree with Employment Experience” whereby they complete a year-long placement with a company. Until then I had only been aware of the year in La Palma, which is an opportunity offered by the department for dual physics-astrophysics students for a masters student to work on the telescopes there.
I decided to ask for advice from the departmental careers liaison officer about the benefits of doing completing a year out placement, and where to begin finding one. He explained to me that a year of work experience is highly regarded by employers because it demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to work, and suggested that you will have truly developed useful skills for the workplace. We discussed my interests and what sort of placement may be suitable for me; at the time I did not want to pursue a PhD but was still passionate about learning new physics. He suggested STFC to me, which is a government funded company that research areas including particle physics, laser physics and astronomy. Having really enjoyed the particle physics course so far, I decided I would apply for a particle physics project within the accelerator physics group. I was able to ask for advice with the online application from the careers service and my personal tutor, and offered additional support from members of departmental staff whose research was in particle accelerators. I think this help was fundamental to me being a successful applicant!
During my placement I have learnt a lot about how particle accelerators work and the particle physics that’s involved. I have also been able to use different software packages designed specifically for simulating particles in accelerators. In the coming months I am being put on the roster to actually operate one of the accelerators (which I’m really excited about!) and have the opportunity to go to Copenhagen for an accelerator physics conference."
There is also a video of Isabelle talking about her experience on the University DEE page.