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What is a placement year?

The placement year involves spending a minimum of 40 weeks working for an organisation either in the UK or internationally.  Combined Honours in Social Sciences students have the opportunity to either do one placement for the entirety of the year or up to three smaller placements.

During your second year you will have the opportunity to apply for the placement year and will be supported in this by the Faculty Placement Officer.  We move you onto the “with Placement Year” variant of the degree when you have successfully secured a role. 

The placement year takes place between the second and third year, extending your degree to four years.  

What kinds of placements are available?

You’re free to pursue a placement in any sector you’re interested in. Previous placement opportunities have included:

  • working in political affairs in the aviation industry
  • analytical data roles for leading government agencies
  • educational research for GCSE exam boards
  • working in strategic marketing and communications for up-and-coming SMEs.

What does a placement look like?

With the wide variety of career outcomes for Combined Honours students, the vast selection of placement year opportunities is a fantastic way to 'test-drive' your future career.

Thomas, a BA Combined Honours in Social Sciences student, seized the opportunity to explore the many placement year options available. Having "an inkling that I’d like to become a solicitor before my Placement Year started I thought being in the workplace could confirm/nullify this for me".

Thomas undertook two internships in different sectors, as a Strategy Intern and as a Private Equity Intern.

Thomas found his placement year to be a lesson in "self-improvement", which was both a "valuable" and "challenging" addition to his early career.

I think I have matured in knowing more about my strengths and weaknesses, which has partly been assisted by doing self-reflections as assessments for Durham. When I will be applying for jobs, I will have much more self-confidence about what I can bring to the role and clarity over my strengths and weaknesses.

Thomas Farrell
BA Combined Honours in Social Sciences student