experience student life, culture, study and research in another countrPlacements and internships

Students in a Chemistry teaching labPlacements and internships are an excellent opportunity to:

  • gain real-world experience
  • learn transferrable skills and improve skillsets for the workplace
  • professionally network
  • bolster your CV and career prospects

The Department actively encourages students to take part in these schemes.

Hundreds of placements are advertised by the Careers Service each year through JobsLive, and opportunities will also be promoted by the Department on a bulletin board, the College's virtual learning environment (Blackboard) and via social media.

The Department of Chemistry pays for all undergraduates to become members of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and students therefore have the chance to take advantage of the RSC's careers fairs and workshops too!

Year in industry

Student on his industry placementStudents have the option to complete a Year in Industry in Year 4 of a 5 year MSci degree programme.

A year in industry is highly valuable as it provides students with an opportunity to learn about industrial applications of chemistry and to appreciate their academic studies in a wider context.

It also gives students a competitive edge when applying for jobs on graduation.

Other benefits include:

  • reduced tuition fees whilst being paid a salary!
  • trialling graduate level jobs in sectors of interest to enable better informed onward career choices
  • making contacts with potential future employers
  • enhancing employability through increased maturity, learning technical knowledge beyond a normal degree and gaining transferrable professional skills

Year in industry

Where can I spend a year in industry?

A diverse range of industries are able to offer year-long industrial placements. These include large established companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in:

  • drug discovery
  • plastic electronics
  • oil and gas
  • cheminformatics
  • materials science
  • food, beverage and perfumery
  • catalysis
  • laser technologies

Many placements take place in the UK however students also have the opportunity to travel with some placement providers being based in mainland Europe, Australia and the US.

How to find an industrial placement?

It is important to get prepared early as some application deadlines are in November. 

Ultimately finding a placement will be your responsibility however help is available.  The Careers Service advertise placement vacancies on JobsLive listed as Placement (4 - 12 months) and students are able to set up profiles to receive details of new vacancies. For other tips see the Careers Service page on searching for a job.

Application procedures will vary from company to company. They can include CV and cover letter submissions, online tests, skype interviews, technical interviews and assessment centres.



  • Will I have support during my placement?

Yes.  You will be connected with an academic supervisor from the Department before your placement starts and will be visited at least twice onsite during your year in industry.  

  • Do I need to do any course work whilst on a Year Industry?

Students on a Year in Industry degree programme are required to complete a formal research project report. This is assessed by both your academic and industrial supervisors. If satisfactory you will be awarded your final degree with ‘A Year in Industry’ and an additional ECTS credits (+60 ECTS). 

  • Will I be paid during my placement?

You will be paid by your respective company during your Year in Industry. Although there is no guaranteed salary this is typically around £17,000.

  • Do I have to pay tuition fees ?

You will continue to pay tuition fees during your Year in Industry however these will be charged at a reduced rate. Students who have been receiving financial assistance from Student Finance England will continue to do so. This includes the tuition fee loan and a reduced rate living cost loan.

  • Can I transfer on to a Year in Industry Degree Programme?

Students are able to transfer degree programmes on the condition that they meet the minimum requirements for the programme and have studied the appropriate ancillary subjects.

Overseas opportunities

Each year the Department invites eligible students to take part in year-long study abroad placements and summer international research opportunities within the framework of an official student exchange programme.

These are an exciting chance to broaden your perspective, gain new experiences and develop your skills with Imperial's approved overseas partner institutes.

Overseas opportunities

Study abroad programme

We have many international exchange partners that enable undergraduates to experience student life, culture, study and research in another country. These exchange placements are fantastic for personal and professional development and also demonstrate to future employers that students are adaptable and have a diverse perspective and ways of thinking.

Study abroad placements can only be hosted at higher-education institutes where an approved exchange partnership exists with Imperial's Department of Chemistry.

English-speaking and non-English speaking approved partners include:

International Research Opportunities Programme (IROP)

We offer Year 3 MSci students the exciting chance to participate in the summer international research opportunities programme (IROP).

These research placement schemes present a unique opportunity to gain international research experience and to experience life in another country during the summer break.

Participants in the schemes can expect:

  • to spend a minimum of 8 weeks working in a safe yet challenging research environment in an international setting
  • to work with world-renowned researchers on cutting-edge projects
  • to receive pre-departure support and assistance with visas, accommodation and registration at the partner university

Placements take place during the summer break from the end of June to the end of August. Exact dates and application procedures for each partner scheme will be confirmed each year.

Read more information about student experiences and previous partner universities.