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Placements and industry links

Placements and industry links

The Physics Department takes the employability of its graduates very seriously.

The Department of Physics takes the employability of its graduates very seriously. Research suggests that students who have completed internships during the course of their degree have a distinct advantage over other graduates, and we make every effort to help you in your search for a fulfilling career after you graduate.

Have a look at the Careers Centre, or see what you can do to boost your CV and enhance your experience while you’re studying.

We coordinate a wide range of summer placements explicitly designed to enable students to gain valuable work experience, taste a selection of different career paths and build contacts.

Each year, academics within the department offer a range of summer internships to students from the department who are moving into their third or fourth year. These paid studentships are awarded competitively and give the students a chance to work at the forefront of a research topic studied within the department.

These placements typically last for a period of six weeks, during which time the student will have a chance to contribute to an active and cutting-edge research topic.

For more information about placements within the department please click here.

External placements are sponsored by partners including the National Physical Laboratory, international and UK national laboratories such as CERN, DIAMOND and ISIS and in local schools.

We also offer a wide range of placements at other universities, high technology companies and other employers both directly from the department and through our partners in the South-East Physics Network (SEPnet).

SEPnet (South East Physics network) is a consortium of nine partner universities working together to advance and sustain physics as a strategically important subject for the UK economy and its science base in the South East region of England.

Royal Holloway is one of the partner universities; the other partners are University of Kent; Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL); University of Surrey; University of Southampton; University of Sussex; University of Portsmouth; University of Herts; and The Open University.

During the summer after your second year and third year (for non-finalists students), you will have the opportunity to participate in various summer internships. All internships are awarded on a competitive basis and students are encouraged to maintain an up to date CV to allow applications to be made in advance of the closing date.  

Your SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer will circulate a list of paid internships with Physics employers at the start of the spring term. SEPnet internships for Royal Holloway students have included; NPL, Culham, Echo Group (Science publishing), AMEC, Accelogress (Programming solutions), Online Lubricants, in2science, Thames Water, Ultra, University of Surrey and Ensilica.


Other employer run opportunities with large employers such as IOP, SPiN, NPL, AWE, DSTL, P&G, Nuffield, SURE and DAAD are open to Physics Undergraduates and you are encouraged to apply for these. They are usually advertised from October and your SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer will circulate as many as possible.

If you have any questions about internships you can contact Jana Checkley, SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer 01784 276807 (ex 6807)

It is likely that the Physics Department will support a number of bursaries, awarded on a competitive basis, to support summer research projects in the department, for undergraduates.

The projects are likely to be of interest to those students wishing to continue in physics research after their degree. They are supported at a rate of £170pw, for a possible period of up to 8 weeks, during the summer vacation. This scheme is aimed at students who are not in their final year.
Students are free to approach members of staff with a view to jointly developing projects.

Projects to develop teaching in the department are also eligible.

For reference, please see the list of supported students and projects from last summer.

Placements include a varied selection of work experiences tailored to the students' interests.

Placements are typically 2-4 weeks in length and will take place between June and September.

Most of the placements are located around London, but requests for flexibility in location will be taken into account.

Have a look at where your studies could take you with the Study Abroad Programme.

As part of a strong research collaboration with the Department of Physics at Royal Holloway, the National Physical Laboratory (based in Teddington) offers a small number of prestigious summer studentships to Royal Holloway students.

NPL is the UK’s physical and measurement standards institution, but they also undertake significant amounts of fundamental physics research. Their research is partly related to the maintenance and development of the S.I and other systems of units and partly related to fundamental curiosity driven research in quantum detection and other areas.

Many Royal Holloway physics students have taken up these studentships in recent years and have highly praised the scheme. These students were in turn praised very highly by our colleagues at NPL.

Who can apply?

The NPL studentships are particularly aimed at third year MSci students but 2nd and 4th years are also invited to register their interest. The studentships will especially suit students who envisage a future career in science and would provide good background preparation for PhD level. Some students have indeed gone on to do PhDs on joint Royal Holloway/NPL projects

The studentships

The studentships are likely to be between eight and ten weeks long, depending on the project and will be paid at a rate similar to other schemes.

In the past our students have been involved in:

  • work on nanoelectromechanical devices in the quantum regime (with Drs Ling Hao and John Gallop)
  • work on superconducting quantum information processing (with Professor Alexander Tzalenchuk and Dr Tobias Lindstrom)
  • work on nanomagnetism  (with Dr Olga Kazakova)
  • work on graphene and the development of new quantum electrical standards (with Professor Alexander Tzalenchuk
  • work on Quantum Current Standards (with Dr Masaya Kataoka)
  • other areas involving condensed matter and atomic physics for quantum measurement.

The studentships are located on a competitive basis and are usually limited to three or four students. NPL seek enthusiastic physicists, but you should expect to be asked to do some day-to-day laboratory work as well. There is no doubt the experience will be highly educational and interesting.

The CERN Summer Student Programme

This programme is now open for applications. Deadline to apply/upload all requested documents is Monday 30th Jan at 12 pm (noon) CET.

How do you plan to spend your summer? How does getting involved in some of the world’s biggest experiments sound? This is more than summer work. It’s the chance to join CERN in Geneva – getting involved in the day-to-day work of our multicultural teams. Attend lectures, visit CERN facilities, take part in discussions and workshops with people who are leaders in their fields. In fact, it will be a summer like nowhere else on Earth.

The DESY Summer Student Programme

The online application is open and will remain open until 31st January 2023. All applicants will be notified during the 2nd half of March about the outcome of the selection process.

Each summer DESY offers undergraduate students in physics or related natural science disciplines the possibility to participate in the research activities of the laboratory. In 2023 the program takes place from July 18 to September 7.


The scheme will open for mid-January 2023 to new applicants.

The Institute of Cancer Research. The ICR offers paid undergraduate summer vacation scholarships every year. The programme provides exciting opportunities for undergraduate students to work with ICR research teams for a 6–8 week period over the summer. Funds are available for up to seven undergraduate students to undertake a six to eight week research project (with a stipend of £300 per week).


2023 placements will go live in Spring 2023.

UK Space Agency: Space Placements in Industry scheme provides placement opportunities for those considering employment in the space sector and connects space sector organisations who want to find the most talented and enthusiastic people to ensure the future success of their businesses.


UK Research and Innovation. For the summer 2023 programme the DL and RAL work experience teams will be delivering on-site work experience provision for young people. Applications for 2023 will open at the beginning of 2023.

Institut Laue-Langevin

Recruitment is on-going.

The Institut is looking for students from Physics, computing, engineering and communication: we believe ILL has a key role to play in the training of young professionals.


Recruitment is on-going.

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, is an association of national committees representing academic, industrial and student interests. We serve 3500+ students, 3000 employers and 1000 academic institutions through career-focused professional internships abroad, social and intercultural reception programmes, international networking and other career and employer branding activities in more than 80 countries worldwide.

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