As an undergraduate student of any discipline, you can choose to take a Professional Placement Year between your second and third years.
What is the PPY?
We want you to develop the personal and professional skills employers are looking for in a competitive job market.
The Professional Placement Year is based around an extended period of work experience (at least nine months), tutorials and timetabled sessions. It's designed to:
- Develop your personal and professional skills
- Give you experience of recruitment and work environments
- Build your network of professional contacts
- Help you transition smoothly into the workplace after university
- Give you a clearer picture of your future career path.
This module is open to undergraduate students from all disciplines. You'll be assessed on your Development plan (1,500 words) and Placement Portfolio (equivalent 3,500 words) – both are pass/fail only.
Our Student PPY Guide gives you all the information you need to start thinking about ahead of your PPY.
How much does it cost?
During your Professional Placement Year, the fee will be 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year. You may also be eligible for funding.
Sometimes, students will be paid by the employer for the work they do on the placement. If this is the case for you, you may need to pay income tax and National Insurance on your earnings.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help with your finances including bursary, benefit, tax and National Insurance queries.
Who can help?
Wondering who can help you find a placement, secure funding, and answer any queries you may have? Find out more about the help available to you before, during and after your Professional Placement Year.
Your PPY Tutor will be assigned to you before your placement begins. They will ordinarily be from your subject area and will be responsible for marking your assessments. If you have any academic or assessment queries, you should contact your PPY Tutor. If you're not sure who your PPY Tutor is, please contact us:
Our Placements team is available to help you in your search for a placement, offering a range of workshops, drop-in sessions and resources to assist you. If you encounter any problems while on your placement, you should contact them. They also look after the administration of the module, so if you’re not sure of the process you need to follow you should contact us:
Our Careers team can advise you on any matter relating to job applications, as well as career planning and decision making. They offer a range of services and appointments to help you, and can be contacted via or by emailing email@example.com.
Accessing a PPY Pathway on MyCareer
There are new PPY Pathways to guide students through the process of ultimately securing a placement. They are designed to give you more information about PPY and where to get support. You can access your Pathway on MyCareer.
"It’s a good idea to keep a reflective journal that you can quote from in your assessment. This will capture your thoughts and feelings about your day-to-day experiences while on placement."
Professional Placement Year case studies 2019/20
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to find my own placement?
Yes, it's your responsibility to find a suitable placement. Attend the lectures and seminars to ensure you're well-equipped to conduct a successful placement search.
You should also consult the Placements team, as they can provide support and they advertise placement opportunities throughout the year. Remember to check MyCareer regularly for placement drop-in times and to see the placement opportunities on offer.
Can I do any work experience, any time, to count towards my PPY placement?
When you complete the Placement Details form, you'll need to explain clearly why the experience will benefit your future career. Only placements that have been pre-approved by the Placements team can count towards the module. You must not start your placement until approval has been given.
Can I do more than one placement?
In some circumstances, you can undertake more than one placement to reach the minimum requirement for the PPY. You should first contact the Placements team and discuss with them.
Does it matter if I miss the timetabled sessions?
Yes. The timetabled sessions are designed to prepare you as fully as possible to make successful applications for your placement. They also communicate key information and processes that you must follow and understand. If you're unable to attend a session, you should contact the Placements team as soon as possible.
What if my placement doesn’t go well?
Sometimes placements don’t go as expected, but this doesn’t mean that they're not good learning opportunities.
If your safety or welfare is in any way threatened, please immediately leave the placement provider’s premises and inform the Placements team. If you have a concern with how the placement is going, please discuss this with the Placements Coordinator by calling +44 (0)1225 875525.
What is a reflective journal and do I need to keep one on my placement?
Yes, it’s a good idea to keep a reflective journal that you can quote from in your assessment. This will capture your thoughts and feelings about your day-to-day experiences while on placement. We want you to reflect on three key areas:
- Personal performance and practice
- Performance and practice of other people (that you can learn from)
- An organisation’s performance and practice (and the implications of these for you and for others).
What do I need to do with my Record of Hours log?
You'll need to complete one of these for each of your placements. Make sure you accurately record the hours you work and get this signed by your placement supervisor. Then email this to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is personal and professional development?
How would you like to change and develop?
Personal and professional development often includes skills development, but it is not restricted to skills alone. It also includes the development of professionalism, personal characteristics (integrity, for example) and values.
I have a query about assessment. Who can I ask?
Academic queries should be directed to your PPY Tutor. This will usually be a member of staff from your subject area who will introduce themselves to you before you go on placement. If you're unsure who your tutor is, please contact the Placements team: email@example.com.