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FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Please follow this link to see the Student Handbook.

What is an Industrial Placement? An Industrial Placement is a year spent employed full-time by an industrial company between the second and third years of your degree course.
I am a first year student - what do I need to do? Generally speaking, you do not need to do anything until your second year. However, if you are keen to spend a year in industry, or are registered for a "with Industrial Experience" degree, there is nothing to stop you approaching companies to find out whether they would be prepared to offer you a placement in due course.
I am a second year student, registered for a "with Industrial Experience" degree. What do I need to do? You will not need to change your course registration, but you will need to find a placement. The onus is on YOU to find a placement. The department will offer any assistance it can by advertising on the notice board any opportunities notified to it. Copies of previous years' placement adverts are kept in files in the departmental library, so you can look through those to see which companies have offered placements in the past.
I would like to change my registration to a "with Industrial Experience" degree. How do I go about this? If you are funded in any way by an external body, such as an LEA, then you will need to obtain their permission. Changing your registration in this way means that you are changing from a 3-year degree to a 4-year one, so this has funding implications for whoever is paying the bills. The University will require that part fees be paid during your placement year. Normally, LEAs will only agree to a change in course registration during the first 15 months of your current course -- that is, up until December in your second year. Sometimes, it is possible to change after this deadline, but usually LEAs will refuse such requests on financial grounds.
I am not registered for a "with Industrial Experience" degree, but I would like to spend a year in industry. You have the option to intercalate -- that is, to interrupt your studies for a year. You should still obtain the Department's permission, and that of the University and your funding authority.
I am not registered for a "with Industrial Experience" degree, but I would like to get experience by taking a three month summer placement. This is a good idea, although you are very much "on your own" as the Department cannot take responsibility for any placement you may accept. Advertising for short placements can be found at the same points of reference as the full one year placements. Most companies that run one year schemes also run short three month schemes, so refer to the placement notice board and the careers service web pages to find information.
I am an overseas student, can I do a placement? Where the placement is an essential part of your degree programme, which applies to our CSwIE and MEng programmes only, then you do not require permission to take a placement. If, however, you wish to intercalate then there are strict controls and you will have to make an application for permission to undertake paid employment to the Department of Education and Employment.
How long should I work for? A placement is nominally for one year, from summer to summer. The precise dates are a matter for negotiation with the company concerned, but the Department would normally regard a year as between 9 months and 12 months of full-time employment. You could normally expect to take holidays during this period in line with the company's policy.
When do I need to find a job? Most placements are only notified to the Department between January and summer. Companies often leave decisions on placements quite late because of funding restrictions, budget fixing for their financial year etc. This means that it can be quite late before you get a placement fixed. Although this may be stressful for you, it is normal and there is not much we can do about it. By far the best way to counter this problem is for you to be proactive in job hunting: you should make an effort to track down jobs and impress companies with your enthusiasm! Don't just wait passively for something to land in your lap. Remember that lots of other students will also be looking for jobs. In your favour is that you come from one of the best Computer Science departments in the country.
What happens if I cannot find a job? You can always continue with the final year of your degree programme without doing a placement. In the case of those registered for "with Industrial Experience" degrees, this will require the permission of their funding authority. In theory, this is subject to the same 15-month rule mentioned above, but in practice LEAs are not likely to refuse as reverting to a 3-year programme will actually save them money.
How much will I earn? This is again a matter for negotiation with the company. In effect, during a placement you are a trainee, so you cannot expect a high salary. As a rough guide many companies pay in the region of £10,000 to £13,000 per year, but if you are lucky you may get more.
Am I entitled to get an NUS card whilst on placement? You are registered with the University during your placement so your swipe card is still valid. If your NUS card is renewed each year, you should contact the Students Union.
What do I do about tuition fees whilst on placement? Please see link
Am I liable to pay council tax whilst on placement? No, you do not pay council tax as you are still a registered student. The Student's Enquiry Office will send you a form if you phone 0161 275 5000 or you can apply online:
I am an Overseas Student, how much will it cost in fees to do a placement? Please see link

What should I do about my final year project? The Project Book will be published on the departmental web pages and you will be notified as soon as this is available. If you do not have access to the Web you may then request a printed copy to be sent to you.

There will be information in these web pages that tell you what steps you need to take to select projects.

If you are thinking of submitting your own project:-

  1. Develop an A4 outline of your project idea this should consist of -
    • A description of the project
    • What you expect to learn from carrying out this project
    • What software you intend to use for the project
    • What hardware you intend to use for the project
  2. Open negotiation with a lecturer here in the department, either someone you feel would be interested in the project you are suggesting (possibly your second year tutor) or ask the advice of Dr. Chris Kirkham as to who you should contact. Note that you cannot do a project of your own devising without a member of staff in the department supervising it!

Developing your own project idea is fine and may be a good exercise in examining what area and subject is of interest to you. The best way forward, if this it what you want to do, could be to outline your ideas, then when the project book is published see if there are any projects that have similarity to your idea. You could then open up a discussion with the lecturer concerned and develop your ideas from there.

I want accommodation in halls when I return after my year in industry.

Do the following:

  • Contact the Accommodation office and ask for a "Present Student Form".
  • This form should be returned with your choices for accommodation by the end of February.
  • This request is then sent to the Hall and they make their selections by the end of March.
  • A second round of placements into halls is made when offers have been made and responses from students received. Accommodation try to complete this second round of placements by Mid April each year.
There is no guarantee that you will get the hall of your choice.