Information for Students


There’s simply no better way to gain new skills and unrivalled insight into the world of work than through the SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme. With bursaries available, it’s an invaluable way for physics undergraduates to gain work experience over the summer holiday period, in either a commercial company or research institution.

A wide range of organisations are already involved offering placements in a variety of physics disciplines. Students have enjoyed placements with QinetiQ, the National Physical Laboratory, Symetrica, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, the Met Office and many other employers.

Combining industry and insight

As well as working in industry, you can undertake research work in a SEPnet university (at which you are not a student), the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and other research institutions. In the winter term SEPnet holds a Students’ Expo in London. Sharing a poster session and giving a short presentation about your placement provides a valuable opportunity to hone your presentation and communication skills.

Read about some students’ placement experiences here:

Eligibility and applications

The scheme is only for physics undergraduates on Year 2 BSc/MSci/MPhys programmes and Year 3 MPhys/MSci programmes at SEPnet partner universities (Hertfordshire, Kent, Open, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex). Year 2 Environmental Physics students at University of Reading are also eligible to apply.  Year 1 SEPnet students are eligible to apply with permission from their Heads of Department.

SEPnet PhDs in their final year and students who have confirmed PhD or MRes places at a SEPnet university beginning in 2017 are eligible to apply for some placements.

See below for details of how to apply.

Summer Scheme FAQs

How do I apply?

If you are an eligible student, you will receive an email from your SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer with details of the available projects and how to apply. Placement projects are advertised from March. If you are an eligible student and don’t receive a list of placements, please email

You will need to register your details when you apply for a placement so we can keep in touch with you and ensure you understand the terms and conditions.  You will not be able to take up a placement until you have registered. If you are an eligible student, contact your SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer or email if you have any queries.

What next?

The individual organisations review the applications and will get in touch with you direct if they wish to offer you an interview. Unfortunately, we can’t cover travel expenses for interviews but organisations will usually cover this.  All placement opportunities are filled by May.

Is there any help with accommodation?

We advise students to consider placements near to their university or home if possible. If you are successful in securing a place and need to rent accommodation, you can ask your placement organisation for advice on where to find accommodation or try the following websites: or

StuRents advertises properties in several regions throughout the UK ( and lists a wide range of summer lets. It offers a live support service during the day to help students find short-term accommodation over the summer period.

How do I find out more?

Your SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer (EEO) will be able to support you through the placement process.  Your SEPnet EEO will hold an event at your university in January or February to tell you about the scheme, the sorts of projects that will be offered and how to get further support from your careers service with your CV and applications. A copy of the handbook which outlines the placement process for students and gives guidance about producing posters and preparing for the Expo can be accessed here: SEPnet Summer Placement Handbook 2017