Psychology Sandwich Courses and Work Placements

Psychology Facilities

Psychology Sandwich Courses and Work Placements

What is the sandwich placement?

The sandwich placement provides you with the opportunity to spend a year working in a professional setting between the second and third year of your degree. This provides you with a fantastic opportunity to develop your employability skills while engaging with the community and building on the knowledge and experience of your degree.

A work placement takes place between the second and third years of your degree. You will need to accrue 1000 hours of placement work, over at least 30 weeks, and complete a reflective log of the experiential learning you have gained on the work placement.

Finding a work placement

During your second year you will be invited to a talk by USW Careers and will be given the chance to register your interest for a Sandwich Placement. USW Careers have an extensive list of sandwich placement providers and current advertisements, and they will support each student in the process of applying for a paid placement. Students can also find their own work placement position(s), paid or unpaid, providing it meets the requirements of the scheme.

Types of placements available

Paid placement opportunities, specifically for Psychology students, have been advertised in His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and within His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Paid placements for undergraduates from any discipline have been offered in Skills and Volunteering Cymru (SVC); Arup; GE Aviation; ATKINS, MBDA, BAE Systems, Tata Steel, GSK, and Dyson, South Wales Police, and the Office for National Statistics.

As a Psychology student you will be prepared for a variety of careers, and the transferable skills you develop, such as literature reviewing, developing interventions, and analysis of data, prepare you nicely for these wider sandwich opportunities.

How to apply

  • Students will register their interest in a work placement during their second year, after a talk by USW Careers.
  • Sandwich placement opportunities will then be advertised to interested students during their second year.
  • Alternatively, if a student wishes to find their own placement, they can inform USW Careers once they have found one that suits.
  • Students apply for sandwich placements, with support from USW Careers in constructing a CV, completing an application and cover letter. USW Careers will also support students to prepare for interviews.
  • Once you have a placement, you enrol on the Supervised Work Experience (Psychology) module.
  • Students will be assigned a Placement Partner within the Psychology Department who will act as a mentor and provide support to the student during the placement and make sure they are supported on their return to the final year of their degree once the placement ends.

How we support you with your application

USW careers will support you in identifying placement opportunities that fit within your career ambitions. They will also help you with writing CV’s, applications, and cover letters, and also provide guidance to prepare you for interviews.

How we support you on placement

You will be assigned a Placement Partner within the Psychology Department who will help induct you into your placement and help you manage your placement experience. They will also support you in completing the reflection log where you record your placement experiences and reflect on how your skills have developed during the experience. Successful completion of this assessment will mean that you have passed the Supervised Work Experience (Psychology) module, and this will be indicated on your final transcript.

The Placement Partner will also make sure that you are supported in deciding on your final year dissertation topic as well as final module options, so that you can have a smooth return to your studies once the placement ends.

The placement employer will also provide you with a nominated supervisor who will ensure that the placement supports your development as well as your completion of the assessment (reflection log) for the Supervised Work Experience (Psychology) module.

Why do a placement?

A placement year will provide you with the opportunity to develop your portfolio of experience, whist being paid! It will also support you in thinking about your future career once you have completed your undergraduate degree. Not all students of psychology go on to become registered practicing Psychologists, with many pursuing alternative careers. This sandwich placement opportunity will help you refine your views of your employability and support you in gaining a graduate role once you have completed your studies. A Psychology degree provides students with a range of transferrable skills that employers value, and our students are encouraged to recognise these developing skills during their second year Professional Practice and Employability module. The sandwich opportunity will give you the additional opportunity to put your skills into action and help you identify your strengths and develop your skills within a working environment. After a placement experience, you will be better able to promote yourself and be a more attractive candidate to future employers.

Supervised Work Experience (Psychology) module

This module is the placement year component of the sandwich year which has been designed to provide students with the opportunity to enhance their employability skills by engaging in a work placement under the direction of an employer (through a nominated supervisor) and a university placement partner.

This work placement is a 30-week (1000 hours) minimum period of work experience, which begins following the completion of the second academic year and will extend into the following academic session, extending the study duration of the course by 1 year. The opportunity will provide students with the chance to apply their skills to a real-world situation, to enhance their teamworking, communication and time management skills, and develop insight into their future career whilst providing them with a competitive edge when it comes to securing future graduate employment.

To complete the Supervised Work Experience module, the student will regularly record a reflection log which will guide them in thinking about the job role, their strengths, and competencies, working with others, and their future professional goals and development. The reflective log is flexible enough to capture the skills and competencies relating to any placement situation and/or student ability.  Students will be supported in this through their USW Placement Partner and employer nominated supervisor.

Successful completion of the placement year will be indicated on the student’s final transcript.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can apply? Any undergraduate student of the Psychology Department can apply in the second year of their degree. You should be on one of the following awards: BSc Childhood Development; BSc Psychology; BSc Psychology with Counselling; BSc Psychology with Criminology and Criminal Justice; BSc Psychology with Developmental Disorders.
  • I am an international student; can I do a work placement? Yes. As it would be an integral and assessed part of your course, if you have a student visa you can take part in a paid or unpaid sandwich year work placement. You just need to be aware that if you move from a non-placement version of your course to a placement version, then you may need to extend your visa. The USW International Office can advise and there may be a cost associated with this. Usual attendance monitoring processes apply.
  • Will I get paid on placement? It depends on what type of placement you get. You can apply for paid placements or unpaid placements, and the decision to complete the placement year is entirely your own. If you do not wish to take an unpaid placement and if you are unable to secure a paid placement, then you can just carry on to complete the final year of your degree.
  • Is there any funding available to support me on placement? Depending on individual circumstances, you may be supported by Student Finance during your placement year. You should contact the Student Money team to discuss your individual circumstances.
  • Do I pay tuition fees while on placement? Yes. During the sandwich year, you will pay a reduced fee to the University to cover the placement support you receive and to enable you to have complete access to email, the library and other support. This fee will be refunded back to you as a fee reduction for the final year of their studies.
  • Will I have to complete assignments during the placement year? Yes. Placement students complete a reflection log to pass the Supervised Work Experience (Psychology) module. More information on this assignment can be found in the module outline.
  • What sort of paid placement opportunities are there? There have previously been paid placement opportunities with His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Skills and Volunteering Cymru (SVC); Arup; GE Aviation; ATKINS, MBDA, BAE Systems, Tata Steel, GSK, and Dyson, South Wales Police, and the Office for National Statistics. USW Careers will work with you to identify opportunities that become available in the year that you apply.
  • How do I find a placement? USW Careers has a wide range of placement opportunities suitable for psychology students. These are advertised to students who register their interest in a placement year. Our careers advisors will work with you to identify opportunities that will be most suitable to your wider career goals.
  • Can I find my own placement? You are welcome to find your own placement employer, but the position must meet the criteria of the placement scheme.
  • Can I do an unpaid placement? You are encouraged and supported in finding a paid placement experience, but you can chose to take an unpaid placement if you wish.
  • How do I apply for a placement? You apply for your placement just like any other job application, with a CV and cover letter. The difference is that all placement positions are already prepared by USW Careers, so they can provide expert advice and support during the application process.
  • Can I apply for more than one placement? Yes. You are welcome to apply for as many positions as you wish and are advised to do this as it gives you the best chance of securing a placement position in your preferred area.
  • What help will I receive in applying for placements? USW Careers is here to provide you with extensive support throughout the whole application process.
  • What if I don’t get a placement? If you are unable to find a suitable placement position, then you enrol in the third year of degree as normal and return to University at the start if term.
  • Who can I contact for more information? If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Psychology Sandwich Year Leader Susan Williamson [email protected] or the Work Placement Partner USW Careers