Knowing when you will need to make applications to internships, postgraduate study or graduate jobs helps you to map out when you will need to begin your career research. You can start to add appropriate dates to your Plan: Me and make sure you don’t miss out on important events and application deadlines.
Use this section to help you better understand when the UK postgraduate study and job market accepts applications for roles.
Every organisation sets its own application timeline, some choosing to recruit at one time of the year (like many funded PhD programmes or larger organisations) and other choosing to recruit as they need positions filled (like Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups). The timelines outlined in the tabs below are for the UK market and international application timelines can be very different. Visit Going Global to find out more or talk to relevant academics to learn about international postgraduate study timelines.
The Careers Service runs many recruitment events in the autumn term, mainly in October and November. We run sector specific careers fairs where you can meet prospective employers and ask them questions about their company or job. Sign up to the weekly newsletter via JobsLive to make sure you don’t miss out on event information. We also run a Careers Essential: postgraduate study frequently throughout the year.
Application timelines tabs
Job and internship applications
What time of the year a company advertises its internship and graduate roles to students is generally linked to the size of the organisation and how many students they recruit. To find out more about working for different sized companies, visit our working in industry and work experience webpages.
Large companies – tend to recruit a lot of students and run structured internship or graduate programmes. They usually advertise their roles in the autumn (Sept – Nov) with the expectation that you will start the job the following summer. They recruit almost a year in advance in bulk. Large companies will also advertise specific entry level jobs throughout the year.
Small to medium companies (SME) and start-ups – tend to recruit smaller numbers of students into specific roles and usually advertise their roles closer to when they would expect you to start. If you would like to work for this sized organisation, you would begin to look for job advertisements four to five months before your course ends. However many smaller companies also rely on students approaching them speculatively to fill their jobs and you can begin doing this at any stage of your degree. Visit our pages on making speculative applicaitons to companies or networking to explore further. The Careers Service and the Enterprise lab offer an SME internship scheme annually exclusively for Imperial students and graduates.
Keeping track of deadlines
Big companies decide their own deadlines and these may change annually. There is no list that will tell you when these are. The best way to ensure you don’t miss companies’ application windows is to follow them on whatever form of social media you prefer. Visit the companies recruitment pages for direct links. You can also keep up to date with jobs boards where these companies post, many of which are listed on our job hunting webpage.
While internships are often the most talked about opportunities to undertake during your degree, there are many other options that you may want to consider, depending on what direction you would like your career to take.
Below are the most common opportunities however this list is not exhaustive and any opportunity that builds your skills and knowledge of a career could be useful to undertake during your years of study. For more ideas, visit the work experience webpage.
Spring insights are short experiences (one to two weeks) run by large companies for undergraduates who are 1st year (and sometimes 2nd year on a four year programme). Applications for these generally open in autumn however some companies do open these later, between January and March. Search JobsLive for insights opportunities.
UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme). These are research based opportunities organised by academic staff within Imperial. While UROP application deadlines are often not set, most of the bursary supported opportunities are advertised from Oct-Dec the year before the summer you will undertake them. Imperial also runs an internationally focused research placement programme called IROP with similar application deadlines.
Student Shapers is an Imperial initiate that provides opportunities to work in partnership with Imperial staff on various projects. These paid experiences are full time over breaks or part time during term time and application deadlines are variable.
First year work shadowing – short opportunities to work shadow or network with a range of industries run twice annually, during Easter and over the Summer break. Applications take place in Feb-March and May-June. Sign up to the careers newsletter via JobsLive so you don’t miss out.
Professional Project Fund – Your chance to work with a charity of your choice and bid for funding to support a project that you have helped create. As these projects can take time to set up, applications are open for an extended period from February until April.
Volunteering – There are so many varied volunteering opportunities out there and their application deadlines can be at anytime during the year. If you have a specific area you’d like to volunteer, contact the charity directly and ask how you can get involved. Alternatively there are list of volunteering recruitment websites on our volunteering page.
Just like jobs, postgraduate study applications can vary depending on the institution offering them. For more information on exploring you options and how to fund your study, visit our further study and funding pages.
Master's courses – application deadlines are variable. Some of the more competitive programmes recruit in the autumn terms from Oct-Dec of the year before you start while other programmes remain open for applications right through until July of the year that you will begin them. For international Masters programmes you may also need to complete pre-tests such as GMAT or the GRE however these are becoming less common so double check with the institutions website to see if they have their own timelines for this.
Graduate Entry Medicine – these programmes run through UCAS and deadlines for applications are mid-November. However you will have to complete tests before or during the year of your application so be sure to factor these into your timeline. You can find a recorded session about applying for graduate entry medicine in our careers video library.
PhDs – Funded PhDs and CDT programmes tend to recruit in the autumn term, from Oct-Dec the year before you start them. However there is often funding available throughout the year and you can work with a supervisor to find this funding.
Post Docs – Generally post doc positions do not have a set application window as they rely on gaining funding for them. Speak with supervisors and lecturers to get an idea of when new positions maybe available.