Careers Service


Getting work experience while you study will help you to gain the skills employers are looking for. Internships and placements are two types of work experience but lots of other options are available. Consider part-time or vacation jobs, it is also possible to find your own by contacting employers speculatively.

Many employers use internships as a fast track onto their graduate programmes. Most large or multinational organisations commence advertising in Autumn for students to work the following summer, so get started early! Smaller employers however, often advertise right up until the summer period so it’s never too late to look for a summer internship.


Internships are short periods of professional experience. Most internship opportunities advertised by large graduate recruiters are aimed at pre-final year students. However, many smaller businesses offer internship opportunities and will not stipulate your year of study

There are some unpaid opportunities but these should be very short in duration and not last more than 4 weeks.

Graduate internships

There are several schemes available where you can get graduate level work for a short period of time (usually 1 year or less).

If you chose to do a Masters course, then it is possible to do an internship in the summer after you have completed your undergraduate degree and before you start the Masters.

Work experience for Postgraduate students

If you are doing a Masters or PhD programme it is unusual to do an internship during your programme. (You do not have vacation periods where you can work full time.) Normally you would do an internship during or after your undergraduate studies, unless you are enrolled on a BBSRC Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) studentship, or similar scheme.

It may be possible to negotiate something by talking to your supervisor or programme director. Alternatively consider volunteering or part-time opportunities.

Feeling concerned that the job market is too competitive?

The job market can be competitive, but that doesn't mean you won't get the internship you're looking for. If concerns about the job market are making you change plans or re-consider what to apply for, check out some practical steps you can take to address your concerns about the competition.