Industrial placements


An industrial placement year offers you the chance to gain scientific expertise in a commercial setting, develop your transferable skills and show employers that you’re ready for the world of work. 

Student experiences

Freya Bottom

The best part of my placement at CERN was the freedom to achieve goals

Freya Bottom Physics MPhys

During her placement year, Freya worked on the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN research institute in Switzerland, where the groundbreaking Higgs boson discovery was made.

Anna Sheard

Developing my skills on placement at IBM

Anna Sheard Physics with a Year in Industry MPhys

After talking to family and friends about placements, and undertaking some initial research into the company, Anna applied to IBM and became a Service Management Analyst.

“To excel in this role, it has been really important for me to develop effective communication, leadership and management skills, and be proactive, adaptable and flexible. There have been lots of opportunities for me to learn about different parts of the organisation and meet lots of different people. These have included shadowing different IBM employees/teams, for example at their Research and Innovation centres, or in computer security.”

Anna Sheard

Spend a year on a work placement

You can choose to spend a year on placement and gain valuable work experience as a recognised part of any of our physics degrees. You can test out a career path that you're considering – whether that's in a research capacity or applying your scientific knowledge and transferable skills in industry – and earn a salary while you're doing it. Placement students often end up securing permanent jobs with their employer after graduation.

Placements aren't guaranteed – it’s your responsibility to secure one – but we’ll do everything we can to help. We have dedicated tutors to provide advice and the university’s Careers Service runs workshops on CV and application writing, and preparing for interviews. In your first and second year at Sheffield you’ll also have opportunities to meet with a range of employers, chat to recent physics graduates about how they're applying their degrees to the workplace, and hear from current placement students about their experiences.

If you don't apply for one of our placement year programmes, but decide that you'd like to spend a year on placement as part of your physics  degree, you can join the programme once you embark on your placement hunt. 

Placement organisations

Our students have completed placements at organisations that include: 


CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research

Department for Work and Pensions

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

Marc Bacells Comas


Science and Technologies Facilities Council

University of Sheffield - AMRC with Boeing


Government Operational Research Service

BAE Systems Surface Ships Ltd. 

HM Revenue & Customs 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Chase Research Cryogenics

EDF Energy

Jaguar Land Rover

AMETEK Land Instruments

BMW Group

Sellafield Ltd.

SolarBotanic Trees Ltd.

Faraday Scientific

Summer placements

If you don't want to spend a full year on placement, summer or other vacation placements are a great way to gain valuable work experience between semesters.

Throughout the academic year, the Careers Service advertises a number of short placements, giving you even more opportunities to apply science or gain experience in an industry that you're keen to explore.

Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scheme

Each year undergraduates can apply to join the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scheme. This gives you a bursary to spend around six weeks working with one of our research groups over the summer break. You'll be able to get first-hand experience of major research projects and it can even lead to your name appearing in an academic journal. 

Examples of 2023 projects:

  • Quantum Imaging for Medical Physics
  • Are galactic collisions responsible for the triggering of active galactic nuclei?
  • Is the Initial Mass Function abnormal in binary star clusters?
  • Processing simulated high energy data from a proposed CERN Water Cherenkov Experiment
  • Studies on the feasibility of using a cosmic muon telescope to characterise silicon sensors
  • Assessing the visibility of underrepresented groups in physics resources

Find out more about SURE

REF 2021 illustration showing University building and subject areas

Research Excellence Framework 2021

We have been rated 1st in the UK in terms of the quality of our research. In the latest REF, 100 per cent of research and impact from our department has been classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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