NEWS (June 2019): A Brexit update on the Erasmus scheme remains available here.

NEWS (AUGUST 2019): A slightly amended edition (Version 2) of the Placements Abroad Handbook (for 2019-20) is available (see the Placements Abroad Handbook item below).

NEWS (June 2019): Student EHIC Guidance (June 2019) (Word Doc):  There are no substantive changes, except for reference to the as yet unresolved Brexit issue which may impact those going to an EU country after 31 October 2019. All students who are going on a placement to the European Economic Area or Switzerland are advised to read the guidance well ahead of their planned departure. This guidance is aimed at helping students understand with whom they should submit an application (the UK or another country) for a Student-EHIC, and when applying to the UK's National Health Service how that process works. This document will be updated later in 2019 when the outcome of Brexit is known so if you are reading it for guidance now please do take into account that in the even of a no-deal (brexit) the arrangements may change.

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This section provides an information hub for Imperial College students considering or planning to undertake:

  • 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 (j.grote@imperial.ac.uk) 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?

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 more.

The 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

The following are 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.

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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:

  • Mathematics (PG MSc)
  • Computing (UG Year 3 Industrial Placements)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering (UG Year 3 Industrial Placements)
  • School of Medicine (clinical placements)
  • Dyson School of Design Engineering (UG Year 3 Industrial Placements)

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

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. All Placement Learning policy, good practice and resources are available here.
  • 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 for the management of a placement includes the roles and responsibilities of both a Placement Manager and a Placement Tutor.

You can view the general placement process here. 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 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 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) 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.

* The following departments participate:

  • 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.

The key features are:

  • 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. 

Enquiries should be directed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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

Placements Abroad Handbook

Click here for Placements Abroad Handbook 2019-20 (Version 2 - August 2019)‌ (PDF): intended for current UG/PGT/PGR students only: bookmark this page and always refer to the version here as updates do occur. The original version was published in June 2019 (dispense with that version if you have it downloaded).

Please remember that a new version for the following academic year is normally available from June.

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 and Traineeships, 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)

 

The aim of the handbook is threefold:

  1. 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.
  2. to provide students with important information on logistical matters.
  3. 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, assessing financial issues and considering the financial support which is available (e.g. Erasmus grants for European -based study and work 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. European Health Insurance Card).

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.

Student Exchanges

Please visit our Student Exchange webpages here.

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

Study Abroad (Erasmus Study Exchange) Participant to France from Imperial College: "Going abroad is always a good idea both for personal reasons and academic ones. This year has made me reflect on what I am studying and has made me find my love/passion for my subject again. 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 always find solutions. On a more personal note 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."

European Union's Erasmus+ programme

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

For further information and a Brexit Update please visit our Erasmus+ Key Action 1 webpages here.

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

  • The Internship & Placement Unit in the Careers Service is available to advise you and your home department on potential host employers for industrial placements (and undergraduate vacation internships which may end up being approved for extra-ECTS credit), and in helping students to prepare for the world of work (if it is your first experience or significant experience).

 

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 Siti Ros Shamsuddin (Year Abroad)

s.shamsuddin07@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Errikos Levis (Projects)

errikos.levis03@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Bioengineering

South Kensington

Dr Firat Guder 

(however, first contact the Bioengineering Dept Student Office)

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 Sam Krevor

s.krevor@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

South Kensington

Prof Alessandro Astolfi

a.astolfi@imperial.ac.uk

Engineering

Materials

South Kensington

Dr Mark Wenman (however, first contact 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 Silvia Diez-Gonzalez

s.diez-gonzalez@imperial.ac.uk

Natural Sciences

Life Sciences

South Kensington & Silwood Park

Dr David Hartley (Biology)

d.hartley@imperial.ac.uk

South Kensington

Dr David Hartley (Biochemistry)

d.hartley@imperial.ac.uk

Natural Sciences

Mathematics

South Kensington

Dr Robert Nurnberg

Dr Sheehan Olver (MIT Exchange Link)

robert.nurnberg@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