SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme – Information for Students

page_image_internshipsSEPnet Summer Placement Scheme

Each year, SEPnet arranges for undergraduates in their 2nd and 3rd year at SEPnet partner universities to carry out eight-week paid placements. The scheme not only provides a transfer of knowledge across the South East of England, it increases the employability of physics and maths students too.

A two-way street

The scheme is highly rewarding to both students and employers. It introduces students to the scientific workplace and acts as an invaluable resource for employers looking for a fresh perspective on their business challenges.

Students receive £3,203 for an 8-week placement to cover their expenses.

Find out more

“We took SEPnet students for the second year running this year and have been very impressed with the calibre of the students, their capabilities and the general high standard. For your records (as it’s always good to hear success stories) we have just made a permanent job offer to one of the students.”

– Lesley Fewell, Head of Human Resources, Ultra Electronics

“The SEPnet scheme has been incredibly valuable to us. I had a number of excellent applicants for the post and the overall experience was very positive. I will definitely be working with SEPnet in future years to take advantage of this scheme again.”

– Phil Edwards, Director, Weald Technology Ltd and SusMobil Ltd.

page_image_information_students2There’s simply no better way to gain new skills and unrivalled insight into the world of work than through the SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme. It’s an invaluable way for physics undergraduates (and now maths students as well) to gain paid 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-related 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 different SEPnet university, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and other research institutions. In the winter term SEPnet holds a Students’ Expo in London where you are required to exhibit a poster and give a short presentation about your placement. This  provides a valuable opportunity to develop your presentation and communication skills.

Eligibility and applications

The scheme is for physics and maths undergraduates in Year 2 and Year 3 at SEPnet partner universities (Hertfordshire, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton and Sussex). Year 1 SEPnet students are eligible to apply with permission from their Heads of Department. NB: you can only carry out one SEPnet summer placement per year.

SEPnet PhD students and students who have confirmed PhD or MRes places at a SEPnet university beginning in the same year are eligible to apply for some of the  placements.

SEPnet Annual Student Expo

Each year we celebrate students’ achievements at the SEPnet Students’ Expo held in London. The event offers students the opportunity to give presentations and display posters about their summer projects. Over 100 students, academics and employers attend this networking event to hear from inspirational industry speakers and visit employer stands.

See below for details of how to apply.

Summer Scheme FAQs

How do I apply?

You will receive a PDF booklet with placement details at the beginning of March. You will need to apply direct to organisations with your CV and covering letter and will need to register your details online with SEPnet when you apply 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. Contact your Employability Adviser (EA) or email if you have any queries.

For an overview of the timelines involved in the summer placement scheme please see the Quick Guide to the right.

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 websites below:

SpareRoom is the UK’s busiest shared accommodation site with rooms to rent in student flats and houses all over the UK.

AccommodationforStudents has been helping students to find accommodation since the year 2000 and is the UK’s largest student property portal. They provide a valuable free service and feature all types of student accommodation.

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 Employability Adviser (EA)/Placement Tutor will be able to support you through the placement process.  He/she will brief 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 2024