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Professional Training Year

Student trekking in dolomite mountains

All of our courses can be taken with a Professional Training (or 'sandwich’) Year which is spent on placement at a relevant organisation.

It is a great way to gain valuable first-hand research experience which can stand you in good stead for the remainder of your degree and your post-university career.

During your sandwich year, you will undertake all aspects of research - from experimental design and data acquisition, through to data analysis and presentation. You will also write a placement report, which will form part of your final degree assessment.

One of the best things about doing my Professional Training Year at Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo is the experience of living in the middle of the jungle –waking up to the sound of proboscis monkeys is not something you ever really get used to! Doing a sandwich year has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s given me an amazing opportunity to work as part of an organisation that has real conservation goals.

Elizabeth Witcombe BSc Biological Sciences (Zoology) with Professional Training Year

A wide range of placements

Our students find placements in wide range of organisations, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospital laboratories, research institutes, museums, zoos, wildlife trusts and other environmental organisations, as well as UK and international universities. Many placements are in the UK but we have had an increasing number of placements in overseas locations such as Southeast Asia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Australia, Madagascar and the USA.

male scientist in laboratory

Examples of recent placement organisations include GlaxoSmithKline, The Environment Agency, the Francis Crick Institute, Morvus Technology, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Roskamp Institute in Florida.

Placements cannot be guaranteed, however we are usually successful in placing the vast majority of students who wish to undertake a sandwich year. Our staff will provide support and guidance to help you find a suitable position that is relevant to your research interests and career goals.

I spent my Professional Training Year in a lab at Otago University in New Zealand. The year was a great experience as I got to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical environment, learn new techniques and meet some great people, as well as having the opportunity to explore a new country. I would highly recommend a Professional Training Year to anyone.

Henry Finnigan BSc Biomedical Sciences with Professional Training Year

Flexible options

Our Professional Training Year option offers a great deal of flexibility. There is no cap on the number of people choosing to do a sandwich year, nor do we require students to achieve a minimum grade. This means that the benefits of a professional placement are made available to all students in the School.

You can apply for one of our degrees with a Professional Training Year from the outset, or you can decide to switch from the standard BSc or integrated master’s before the end of your second year. Similarly, you also have the option of switching from a degree with a Professional Training Year to one of our standard BSc or integrated master’s degrees. The choice is yours.

Our Professional Training Year offers a fantastic opportunity for students to gain first-hand research experience in a professional environment – and it can be hugely beneficial to a student’s degree performance and subsequent employment prospects.

Dr Sarah Hall Reader