mobile icon

  Placements and Internships

The terms Placements and Internships are often used interchangeably, but for the purposes of this site:

Placements = a period of work that is built in to your degree course and requires approval from your school. You may organise it yourself or it may be generated for you.

Internships = a period of work that may or may not be related to your degree course. It takes place in your own time (usually vacation periods) and you are usually responsible for organising it.
Watch videos of our students talk about their placements and internships.


The Placement Office for your school will have information and advice to support you in your search for relevant opportunities.
See also:

Funding for work placements in Europe - Although the Global Mobility team can’t help you source placement opportunities in Europe, they can provide funding to help you with your time away through the Erasmus exchange programme. For more information on eligibility and the funding you may be entitled to, please email the team at

The Eurograduate online magazine has some useful articles about looking for jobs and internships in Europe.

Internships and other work experience opportunities

When to apply? – Many summer internship opportunities are advertised around September/October and many have application deadlines from October-January. To stand the best chance you need to be ready to apply early.
Opportunities available for placements and internships differ depending on your year of study.

First & Second Year Undergraduate Students

Most internships are targeted at students in their penultimate year of study. Some organisations offer opportunities to students of other years. Unfortunately there is no central list of these, but here are some that we know of. You may find others by conducting an internet search.

Accenture Summer Vacation Scheme – 1st, 2nd or 3rd year (with 340 UCAS points)
HSBC – 1st or 2nd year
Ernst & Young - 1st year
JP Morgan – 1st & 2nd year (investment banking and technology)
KPMG 2 week Easter internship – 1st or 2nd year
(See also opportunities for Students of all years below)

Penultimate Year Undergraduate Students

There are many formal internship programmes targeted at students in their penultimate year of study. There are 3 main providers of these internships:
  • Graduate employers – will often run short internships over vacation periods.
    These will be advertised on the companies’ own websites. You can find a list of some graduate employers on:
    Prospects, Targetjobs and myJobs
    Many opportunities will also be advertised on websites such as:
    Inside Careers – Business, City & Finance, Engineering & Technology
    Employment 4 Students
    PlacementUK (for European students only)
    Goinglobal - for internships abroad (only available to current students)
  • Small to Medium Sized Organisations Bright Green Placements run the STEP and Environmental Placement Programme with Scottish businesses. These are 8 week summer internships. You can apply directly to STEP to participate in the programme in other parts of the UK.
    Recruitment for these programmes is ongoing, but it is best to apply by February/March.
  • Internship bodies – the following organisations provide well-respected international internships:
    Saltire Foundation - watch videos of our students talk about their Saltire internships and the recruitment process.
    IAESTE – For Science, Engineering and Technology
(See also opportunities for Students of all years below)

Final Year Students

Most organisations expect that final year students would apply for graduate jobs or internships. You can find these through our Graduate Opportunities page. Here are a couple of additional opportunities directed specifically at final year students.

Ernst & Young
Civil Service Summer Diversity Internship Programme – Penultimate or Final Year students meeting the Civil Service’s diversity eligibility requirements
(See also opportunities for Students of all years below)

Postgraduate students

As with final year students, most organisations would expect that you would apply for graduate jobs or internships. You can find these through our Graduate Opportunities page.
(See also opportunities for Students of all years below)

Students of all years

Conservation & Expeditions
  • Blueventures - Marine conservation expeditions
  • Coral Cay - Marine and forest expeditions
  • Ecoteer - offers volunteer placements at ecolodges, conservation and teaching/community projects worldwide
  • Raleigh International - a youth development charity that offer three month expeditions
You may also find opportunities by looking on the relevant subject page under Options with My Subject.
Students of any year can proactively search for relevant work experience by following the advice on our Networking and Making Speculative Applications page.
There are other opportunities to engage with employers and develop useful skills and knowledge e.g. Employer Mentoring, part-time and voluntary work.

Unpaid Internships – should you work for free?

Internships are a great way to gain experience, develop skills and network with industry professionals, but there are an increasing number of employers are only offering unpaid internships and there has been a lot of debate recently about whether these employers are taking advantage of students and graduates who are keen to get their first step on the career ladder.
Know your rights - the National Minimum Wage is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. Work experience and internships are exempt from the National Minimum Wage however if they form part of your university course and  are shorter in length than one year. Voluntary work and work shadowing are also exempt from the NMW.
If the internship fits the exemption criteria above then ultimately it’s up to you whether you feel it is worth taking.​ | Edinburgh Napier Mobile App