Students considering or planning to undertake a placement

 

News items

Ongoing: An update on the Erasmus scheme (Brexit related) remains available here.

16 July 2021: Advice issued on 23 April regarding the GHIC has now been withdrawn because the UK Gov application routine has chaged to an on-line one.‌ Students should check their eligibility for a UK issued GHIC or UK issued EHIC. Letters of support from Imperial (still required as part of the application process) remain available from Adrian Hawksworth.

21 June 2021: A new version of the Placements Abroad Handbook (for 2021-22) is now published (see the relevant accordion item below). The new version does not show where changes are made so as to encourage full consultation, however, the previous version will be maintained on this webpage until the end of September. The Handbook has been updated throughout but in particular in Part 2 (immigration formalities for the host country; insurance, including the College's Travel Insurance; health care), while there are covid-19, end of transition and Turing Scheme messages on page 5. Students considering work/work-based placements should note that the Erasmus Traineeship grant is not available in 2021-22, however, the Erasmus Studies Grant is available to undergraduate year abroad students going to Erasmus destinations.

12 March 2021: The Turing Scheme - Please note that students are not able to apply directly to the Turing Scheme for financial support. Students are kindly asked to refrain from doing so. Thank you. Imperial College has submitted an application to the Turing Scheme and further guidance will be issued in due course. Watch this space as they say!

3 February 2021: The Registry-issued undergraduate Year Abroad Hand-out is now available. It is normally made available to relevant students (those planning to undertake a year abroad in 2021-22 as part of their Imperial College degree) by a department's year abroad co-ordinator. A copy can also be obtained from a.hawksworth@imperial.ac.uk

19 January 2021: an updated version of the Placements Abroad Handbook (Version 3) for 2020-21 is available within the Handbook accordion item below. See the contents page for "yellow" items, including Covid-19 and Brexit-related updates.

Information Hub

This covers:

  • a curriculum-based placement (undergraduate* and postgraduate), in the UK or Abroad.

* Important - Medicine undergraduates should note that this section: (1) does not wholly apply to clinical placements which form part of the undergraduate medicine degree which, while they are covered by the College's policy on placement learning, are managed for practical purposes by School of Medicine protocols (refer to the Faculty Education Office in all circumstances); (2) final year undergraduate medicine clinical electives are covered by this section although for practical guidance the student is directed to the Faculty Education Office rather than the Placements Abroad Handbook.

  • PhD study leave where a third party host and supervisor organisation is involved (in the UK or abroad).
  • extra-ECTS credit internships (undergraduate only), in the UK and abroad.

The information and guidance available is aimed at both undergraduate and postgraduate students of Imperial College London. However, the type and number of placement opportunities available to students will depend on their academic department.

This section also connects with guidance on both the College’s Student Exchange arrangements and the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme.

Guidance and information concerning placements for Imperial College students

What is a placement?

Definition of a "placement"

Imperial College defines a "placement" as: Work experience, assessed project work, a period of course-based study or a period of research (for which academic credit is awarded and/or where the student remains subject to College student regulations during the relevant period) and where there is a transfer of direct supervision of the student to a third party (i.e. where a member of staff at the third party acts as the day-to-day supervisor/manager) for a period of 2 weeks or moreThe third party would normally be external to the College Estate, however, the College may itself serve as a “third party” by providing a placement (e.g. placements undertaken by students in an area of College other than their home department and managed via a UROP registration). Placements may themselves incorporate a further “placement” elsewhere; in such cases it would be the responsibility of the original placement provider to act as the primary supervisor/manager of the further placement, unless such supervision is formally ceded back to the College. Source: Imperial College's Placement Learning Policy

 
Examples of placements undertaken by Imperial College students
Undergraduate
  • The year spent abroad as part of a generic "Year Abroad" type degree, including language for science degrees
  • The year spent in industry or another external organisation as part of a generic "Year in Industry" type degree. 
  • A shorter curriculum-based internship in industry, e.g. 6 month Year 3 industrial placement within the MEng Computing
  • A period at an external organisation which assists the student in delivering part or all of a project, e.g. MEng Aeronautics final year project
  • An extra-ECTS vacation internship undertaken internally (UROP) or externally.

To note that clinical placements which form part of the medicine degree are covered by the College's policy on placement learning, however, they are managed by School of Medicine protocols.

Postgraduate Taught
  • A period at an external organisation which assists the student in delivering part or all of a project.
  • A scheduled internship/work-placement.
Postgraduate Research
  • A period of a student's PhD registration spent at an external third party organisation.

What is NOT a placement

The following are not placements:

  • Any vacation internship/research experience undertaken by an undergraduate which is not an extra-ECTS placement.
  • Postgraduate Research students who undertake a period of research in the field* (i.e. without a host/supervising third party organisation) as part of their PhD registration under the direct and sole supervision of their Imperial College supervisor (this would still remain subject to study leave procedures.)
  • The constructionarium.
  • Field trips.*
  • Site Visits.*
  • Joint degrees (where the purpose necessitates attendance at a partner university). However, a placement which takes place as part of a joint degree (and which fits the definition mentioned above) would be covered by this handbook if Imperial College were deemed the ‘placement manager’ as opposed to the partner university.
  • Activities of the Exploration Board.
  • Student-led activities.
  • Anything pursued during an interruption of studies.

*these might form part of a placement, e.g. a field trip provided by a host university during a year abroad study placement. The principle here would be that the host organisation would be responsible for managing that activity.

------------------------

To note again (full note at the top of this page) that clinical placements which form part of the medicine degree are covered by the College's policy on placement learning, however, they are managed by School of Medicine protocols.

Who is responsible for managing a placement?

The student's home academic department is always responsible for managing a placement, and that includes relevant activity both prior to and after the actual placement.

The InPlace system is now being used by the following departments for managing placements

  • School of Medicine : clinical placement provision
  • School of Medicine : Medical Biosciences (Undergraduate: Year 4 BSc project/placements)
  • Computing (Undergraduate: Year 3 MEng Industrial Placements)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Undergraduate: Year 3 MEng Industrial Placements)
  • Dyson School of Design Engineering (Undergraduate: Year 3 MEng Industrial Placements)
  • Mathematics (Postgraduate: MSc suite of programmes)

InPlace operates at Imperial College with due regard to the College's Placement Learning Policy and associated good practice.

Queries concerning logon issues for current users of InPlace should be submitted to the ICT Service Desk

Queries concerning InPlace can be addressed in the first instance to student.placement@imperial.ac.uk

The general principles of good placement management (College policy and good practice)

The College requires all placements to be managed in an appropriate manner by the home academic department, according to the College's Placement Learning Policy.

  • The policy is supported by Good Practice. Departments, in arranging their management processess for the particular placement activities they offer, can access various resources to assist them. Consult the Placement Learning policy, good practice and resources.
  • Placements should only take place in settings where the intended learning outcomes can be achieved, where an appropriate study/work plan and suitable supervision can be provided.
  • The College expects all host organisations to assess a student's suitability, whether the student has been nominated by Imperial College or they have put themselves forward for consideration
  • The College has a responsibility to ensure that your placement is undertaken in a safe environment (and this covers insurance issues). This applies to the placement content (study/work) itself as well as the host organisation itself and the host location.
  • Host organisations should be willing and able to provide appropriate support: most importantly, (1) orientation, (2) training where necessary, (3) to make reasonable adjustments to the study/work environment in case you have a disability (see below), (4) to report accidents to the College, (5) to participate as requested/negotiated in any assessment of study/work undertaken.
  • All placements have a before, during and an after element to them, and the management of a placement encompases all three elements.
  • All placements should have a designated Placement Manager, but may also have a separate Placement Tutor. A Placement Manager may act as a Placement Tutor. The College's good practice (document) for the management of a placement includes the roles and responsibilities of both a Placement Manager and a Placement Tutor (link to page with document).

Consult the flow diagrams of the general placement process (link to page with diagrams). The flow diagrams provided aim to give both students and Placement Managers/Tutors a better understanding of it's features.

However, please refer initially to your Placement Manager (or the administrative staff in your department who are providing support).

Here are a few important points to consider (not an exhaustive list):

You are advised to read the Placement Learning policy (link to page with form) as it lists the rights and responsibilities of the College, of the student and of an host organisation.

Before

  • While your department should take the lead in managing your placement, it is a reasonable expectation of the College that you participate in the pre-departure tasks which are required in order to have your particular placement approved and which will ensure that you are adequately prepared for both the placement itself and its location.
  • Equally, you have a responsibility to disclose to the College any personal information (e.g. health, disability, linguistic or cultural) which it would be reasonable for all parties to be aware of so that they can take it into account when preparing for a placement. The College would normally wish to engage with Placement Providers who are positive about making reasonable adjustments to working environments, and of course in terms of disabilities this is a legal requirement in the EU and some other countries.
  • You should expect to receive information as to how the study/work undertaken on your placement will be supervised, assessed/marked (including all deadlines for work which you need to submit).
  • Overseas students (TIER 4 Visa Students) who change their degree programme after admission to the College to accommodate a placement (ordinarily this would be undergraduates who opt to change to a year in industry) should review the TIER 4 change of programme of study guidance provided by the International Student Support Team.
  • Overseas students (TIER 4 Visa Students) who have plans to undertake a placement in the UK should read the guidance available in the Careers Service (Internship and Placement Unit) for employers who wish to host a TIER 4 student (UK employers have certain legal obligations when employing a student on a TIER 4 visa). It is perfectly OK to undertake a placement in the UK on a TIER 4 student visa as a placement is part of your degree.
  • Your home academic department must have formally approved your participation on a particular placement and the host organisation must have formally agreed a start date with you BEFORE you depart to the placement provider (the host organisation).
  • If your placement is to be undertaken abroad then you should review the Placements Abroad Handbook (see later section) which covers many issues, such as insurance.
  • A template Emergency Contacts and Pre-departure Checklist (for non-UK placements; link to page with form) is available, should your dept not have something similar.

During

  • To work constructively with your Placement Manager/Tutor and your host supervisor (host organisation) throughout.
  • To meet all deadlines set by your home academic department and your host organisation in a prompt and efficient manner.
  • To keep in regular contact with your home academic department (who have a requirement placed on them by College to make contact with you at least once a month), and to seek assistance from them and your host organisation if you are experiencing problems. Indeed, to discuss issues as early as possible so it lowers the risk of those issues becoming problems. If you are a TIER 4 (visa to the UK) student your dept is required to maintain a formal log of contacts with you thoruhgout your placement, whether in the UK, in your home country if not the UK or in another country.
  • To report all accidents you are involved in using the appropriate College procedure (see the Placements Abroad Handbook), and to provide feedback on any health and safety concerns that are not addressed by their Placement Provider
  • To remember at all times that you are an ambassador for Imperial College London whilst you are on your placement, whether it is in the UK or abroad.

After

  • You should be fully prepared to interact with both your home academic department and the host organisation on any outstanding issues, especially assessment issues.
  • Your department should have asked you for at least a single piece of written feedback on your placement. There is a template feedback sheet which can be used.
  • The College encourages you to make yourself available for students in your department who may be planning on going to the same placement provider.

What is a UG internship undertaken for extra ECTS credit?

Imperial College allows undergraduate full-degree students* to gain formal recognition (ECTS credits) for specific types of academic work which is not part of the curriculum.  The academic work can be linked to research-based or curriculum-related work undertaken in vacations (for example UROP or structured external internships) but must be relevant to the student's degree discipline. The extra ECTS credit does not contribute to a student's degree at Imperial, and the scheme is voluntary.

Participating departments

  • Aeronautics
  • Bioengineering
  • Computing
  • Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

For some departments the extra-ECTS scheme:

  • is only pursued in relation to internal UROP research experiences.
  • supports the delivery of accredited development activities of professional institutes.

The Director of Undergraduate Studies is responsible for implementing the process. Enquiries should be directed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Key features of the extra-ECTS scheme

  • the internship must be within the easter or summer vacation, and be for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks.
  • the internship (whether external or internal) becomes a "placement" and should be managed in line with Placement Learning Policy and Good Practice.
  • ECTS is calculated for attendance (1.5 ECTS per week of full-time work-place attendance) and is awarded upon successful completion of an assessment. 
  • Activities must be primarily academic in nature, with clearly defined learning outcomes and criteria for assessment.
  • A dept should approve an internship for extra-ECTS ahead of the internship commencing (the credit cannot be applied retrospectively).
  • A dept communicates successful awards of extra ECTS to the Registry.
  • The ECTS is highlighted on the student's next available transcript, and again in the student's Diploma Supplement at the end of the degree programme. 

Further information on Extra-ECTS for vacation industrial/research internships.

Placements Abroad Handbook

NEWS (21 June 2021): A new edition of the Placements Abroad Handbook (2021-22) has been published. On page 5 there are Covid-19, end of transition and Turing Scheme messages.

Please remember that a new version for the following academic year (2022-23) is normally available by the end of June.

Placements Abroad Handbook 2021-22 (Version 1 - June 2021) (PDF) : intended for current UG/PGT/PGR students only: bookmark this webpage and always refer to the version here as updates do occur.

Please remember that a new version for the following academic year (2022-23) is normally available by the end of June 2022.

Previous version for reference can be found at the foot of this item.

 

Placement Abroad Handbook: Contents

Text in Green and bold identifies some important information and actions.

  • Arranging a Placement (Part 1): covering placement options and scenarios; planning a placement, info for students with a disability, language preparation, information for LGBT students.
  • Arranging a Placement (Part 2): Advice and guidance around logistical aspects such as Visas, Housing, Insurance, Health/Safety and Health Care.
  • Arranging a Placement (Part 3): Advice on financial aspects including Tuition Fees payable to Imperial for the year in which a placement takes place, fees payable to a host university, UK Finance for Home Students & EU students, Banking while abroad, Erasmus Grants for Studies, when you experience financial difficulties.
  • On Your Placement, including keeping in touch with your home dept, considering your well-being; dealing with emergencies.
  • At the End of Your Placement, including the provision of feedback.
  • Specific Information for International (Overseas) Students.
  • Non-exhaustive checklist for a placement abroad (with reference to the template Pre-departure Checklist and Emergency Contacts Form)
 
Aim of the handbook
  • to assist any student for whom a placement abroad is an option to understand the various issues which may come to prominence when planning and undertaking such a placement.

  • to provide students with important information on logistical matters.

  • the content aims to help students consider other sources of information.

 
 
....and in more detail

 

Firstly, to assist any student for whom a placement abroad is an option (as part of their degree at Imperial College or in the case of undergraduates for whom extra-ECTS credit has been approved for a vacation internship) to understand the various issues which may come to prominence when planning and undertaking such a placement.

  • Exception: This handbook is not meant to be read by a undergraduate medicine student planning a final year clinical elective (placement) abroad. Specific guidance and support for such students can be obtained from the Faculty Education Office.
  • Furthermore, this handbook is not intended to cover the following activities abroad: (1) field trips; (2) research in the field; (3) site visits; (4) "gap" years; (5) vacation internships which have not been approved for extra-ECTS credit. These activities are not considered to fit the definition of a placement.
  • Equally, the handbook does not apply to joint degrees (where the purpose necessitates attendance at a partner university). However, a placement which takes place as part of a joint degree (and which fits the definition mentioned above) would be covered by this handbook if Imperial College were deemed the ‘placement manager’ as opposed to the partner university.

Secondly, to provide students with important information on logistical matters: for example, acquiring accommodation, considering insurance cover and the need for a visa or other type of entry permit/clearance, assessing financial issues (your budget) and considering the financial support which is available (e.g. Erasmus grants for European-based study placements)

  • For example, it is the best starting point on insurance matters (e.g. all students are in principle covered by a College-wide Overseas Travel Insurance and Personal Accident Policy), and it provides external weblinks (in context) for issues such as health care abroad (e.g. Global Health Insurance Card for UK residents).

Thirdly, the content aims to help students consider other sources of information, e.g. placement provider, home department, students who have previously undertaken similar placements, students who have undertaken a placement at the same placement provider.

 

The previous year's version (2020-21) is held on this page until October 2021:  (PDFPlacements Abroad Handbook 2020-21 (Version 4 - May 2021)



 

Student Exchanges

Imperial College has an extensive list of university partnerships to support placements (study-based)

Study abroad (Erasmus Study Exchange) participant to France from Imperial College: "My year abroad has made me reflect on what I am studying and re-ignited my love and passion for my subject. I am not the only one that has said this, going abroad makes you see your subject in a different light. You are faced with a challenge and you have to find solutions to problems. I have thoroughly improved my French and met some really amazing people. At the end of the day, it's up to you to make your time abroad what you want it to be."

Consult our list of official (curriculum) student exchanges.

To support the integration of exchange students the Imperial College Union has an Erasmus Club (which is affiliated to the Erasmus Student Network)

European Union's Erasmus+ programme

The Erasmus+ programme includes mobility opportunities, including student exchange, for higher education students.

Consult our Brexit Update for Erasmus+ Key Action 1.

Read further about Imperial College's participation in the Erasmus scheme.

Please view the College's Erasmus Charter for Higher Education.

The Imperial College Union has an Erasmus Club (which is affiliated to the Erasmus Student Network)

Contacts for information and guidance

Your Home Department

All Imperial College students should start their discussion with the appropriate member of staff in the home academic department.

  • Your UG or PG student's office should know who to direct you to. All placements should be managed by a departmetnally appointed Placement Manager (perhaps with a specific Placement Tutor involved as well)
  • Perhaps it is someone based in the UG or PG student's office.
  • However, for some students in some departments (e.g. PGT, PGR) there may not be a continual history of managing placements, so you and your department are welcome to contact the Assistant Registrar for guidance.

The Registry (c/o the Student Hub)

  • Any student, who has first discussed matters with their home academic department, can email the Assistant Registrar (Placements) for guidance on any issue: a.hawksworth@imperial.ac.uk
  • All departments can also email the Assistant Registrar (Placements) for guidance.
  • If your planned placement is abroad make sure you read the Placements Abroad Handbook, as it contains a lot of information and guidance. It is the best starting point on insurance matters (College's Overseas Travlel Insurance Policy), and it provides external weblinks (in context) for issues such as health care abroad (e.g. European Health Insurance Card).
  • The Assistant Registrar can also provide guidance to departments and students about tri-partite training agreements, especially French convention de stage agreements, and signpost on other matters related to agreements with placement providers (i.e. the host organisation).

The Careers Service

Student Financial Support

College's Insurance Manager

  • The Placements Abroad Handbook is the best starting point on insurance matters.
  • However, the Insurance Manager is very helpful and if you are concerned about any aspect feel free to contact her (especially, if you are currently on a placement abroad).

FAQs

This part of the website will develop as more students use it.

Please email a.hawksworth@imperial.ac.uk if you have a particular issue which you think students would like to hear about or you would like the College to answer.

Question: Does the College provide travel insurance for a "placement" undertaken abroad? Answer: Yes, in principle and it is free of charge. However, please review the relevant section of the Placements Abroad Handbook thoroughly for details, including the steps a student should take in order to secure coverage by this policy, and the limitations of the policy which may mean it might not necessarily be the best solution (or the only solution required) for your particular situation (particular placement). Please remember that a travel insurance is not a health insurance, although it does include specific health cover.

Question: What is a convention de stage, and when is the College able to enter into (sign) a convention de stage? Answer: A convention de stage is basically a training agreement between the individual undertaking an internship, their home university and the placement provider (host organisation). It is peculiar to France and other francophone HE systems. In the context of Imperial College students, the College would normally only consider entering into a convention de stage if our student was undertaking a "placement" (see the College's definition of a placement). A student should discuss with their Placement Manager and advice can be obtained from the Assistant Registrar (Placements).

Departmental Exchange Programme Co-ordinators

Faculty

Department

Campus

Student Exchange Co-ordinator

Email

Engineering

Aeronautics

South Kensington

Dr Maria Ribera Vicent (Year Abroad)

m.ribera-vicent@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Errikos Levis (Projects)

errikos.levis03@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Bioengineering

South Kensington

Dr Amanda Foust

Please copy also to the Bioengineering Dept Student Office

a.foust@imperial.ac.uk

bg-studentoffice@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Chemical Engineering

South Kensington

Dr Andreas Kogelbauer

a.kogelbauer@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

South Kensington

Dr Christian Onof

c.onof@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Computing

South Kensington

Dr Sergio Maffeis

sergio.maffeis@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Earth Science and Engineering

South Kensington

Dr Yves Plancherel

y.plancherel@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

South Kensington

Prof Alessandro Astolfi

a.astolfi@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Materials

South Kensington

Prof Jason Riley (however, first contact Ms Harpreet Rajbans in the Student Office)

h.rajbans@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

South Kensington

Dr Nicolas Cinosi

 

n.cinosi@imperial.ac.uk

Natural Sciences

Chemistry

South Kensington

Dr Luke Delmas

l.delmas14@imperial.ac.uk

Natural Sciences

Life Sciences

South Kensington & Silwood Park

Dr David Hartley (Biology/Biological Sciences)

d.hartley@imperial.ac.uk

South Kensington

Dr David Hartley (Biochemistry/Biotechnology)

d.hartley@imperial.ac.uk

Natural Sciences

Mathematics

South Kensington

Prof Demetrios Papageorgiou

Dr Sheehan Olver (MIT Exchange Link)

d.papageorgiou@imperial.ac.uk

s.olver@imperial.ac.uk

Natural Sciences

Physics

South Kensington


Professor Gavin Davies


g.j.davies@imperial.ac.uk

copy to:  ph.exchanges@imperial.ac.uk

Business School

Business

South Kensington

Dr Sarah Wilsey

 

sarah.wilsey@imperial.ac.uk

Medicine 

Medicine

South Kensington

Faculty Education Office

 

c/o

exchangestudents@imperial.ac.uk