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Optional Placement Year

Optional Placement Year

Studying abroad, work placement or voluntary work

We’re committed to providing each individual with chances to develop in whatever way is most meaningful to you.

Our flexible degree courses enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work, however we strongly recommend that you only do one experience for 9-12 months which will enable you to get the most out of your placement experience. The Optional Placement Year Team will be able to advise you throughout the process.

You take the year out after your second year (or third year if you are on an MSci or MEng course).

You apply to take the Placement Year after you have joined us. When applying for your place at university via UCAS, you need to apply for the standard version of your degree. You’ll then make your Placement Year application in the autumn term of your second year.

The scheme is not competitive. Your ability to undertake the Placement Year depends on whether you can secure a placement (either on your own, through us, or a combination of the two), and all placements must be approved by Royal Holloway.

Depending on your course of study, there may also be particular requirements, including your academic performance and other factors. Your department will be able to let you know what you need to do when you apply for the scheme.

We have exchange agreements with partner universities in Europe, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the USA. Visit our Studying abroad pages for more information.

You may need a visa to go abroad depending on where you go. We can give you general advice, but you will need to make the application yourself.

You will need to make arrangements for accommodation abroad yourself.

We won’t find the placement for you, but our Careers Service will support you in locating one and will pass on any opportunities they are aware of.

There isn’t a fixed list of opportunities, but we have recently placed students with the following companies; Amazon, American Express, Apple, Bupa, Capita, CGI-Logica, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and Symantec.

Whether you are paid for your placement depends on the terms of the placement that you secure.

If you want to work abroad, you will need to check local visa requirements to establish whether this will be possible.

During the spring and summer term of your second year, you’ll follow a special preparatory programme, which you can fit around your studies. It will cover things like how to handle living and studying abroad, being work-ready, cultural workshops, visa advice, training and advice on working in the voluntary sector.

You’ll also have continued access to services and support while you are away. If you are working in the UK, we will try to visit you during your placement. If we are unable to visit you in person, support will be given through Skype meetings.

You’ll be charged 20% of your usual tuition fee for the year. This covers the preparatory programme, continued access to support and services at Royal Holloway, an assessment visit if you are in the UK (if you’re overseas, we’ll do this via Skype), and guidance on the project you’ll need to complete.

It’s important to know that you’ll be responsible for all other costs such as accommodation and travel during your year out.

You can get up to four years of tuition fees and maintenance loans if you are eligible. We advise you to check if you are joining a degree course which is already four years long.

As it’s such an important part of your skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall degree.

If your year out does not go to plan and you have extenuating circumstances that are deemed to have significantly impacted your Placement Year, we will not include the mark in your final degree average.

You’ll need to get specific advice depending on your visa and where/how you want to spend your year out. If you are sponsored, you will need to speak to your funder.

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