The Science Work Placement program (SCIF3199) allows students to gain a genuine experience of working in a science related workplace. Through an internship related to their major of study, interns will contribute to a project or series of activities for your organisation.

As well as presenting a chance to evaluate a potential employee in your workplace, this program allows you to engage with students across the Faculty of Science. You can recruit students from one particular science discipline, or engage students from different science backgrounds who can bring diverse discipline perspectives and skills to a project. 

Anatomy Ecology Microbiology
Bioinformatics  Food Science Molecular Biology
Biology Genetics Neuroscience
Biotechnology Geography Pathology
Chemistry Immunology Pharmacology
Climate Science Marine Science Physiology
Data Science Materials Science Physics
Earth Science Mathematics Statistics

For more information on the Science Work Placement Program, download this Quick Guide, or read the program FAQs below. 

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A quick guide to the UNSW Science Work Placement Program.

Program FAQs

The program enables later-year undergraduate science students to undertake a minimum 105 hours internship with a host organisation. Interns gain experience in a science-related organisation by contributing to work that is related to their major of study and the placement contribute academic credit towards their degree.

Placements can be paid or unpaid, with flexible timing permitted (full-time or part-time). Due to the UNSW3+ academic calendar, students can build work experiences into their degree in any teaching period, giving employers access to our students all year round. 

During the work placement, students build on their existing skills, with guidance from their workplace supervisor, and are expected to contribute productively to a project or series of activities set up by the organisation. Students also undertake online assessments and professional development activities to support their workplace experience. 

The program offers organisations the opportunity to interact with students close to graduation. Students undertaking this subject have demonstrated the initiative to explore a career pathway that particularly interests them.  

Even if you are unlikely to be recruiting in the immediate future, offering internship placements provides you with an opportunity to excite the next generation in your areas of activity, increasing the likelihood that high quality employees will be available to your organisation into the future.

Hosting interns will also allow your staff to develop leadership skills and mentorship experience. 

Internship hosts will provide a meaningful work experience for students. They will provide an experienced staff member to induct, supervise and mentor their intern. The supervisor will also provide a brief supervisor’s report  at the conclusion of the internship, which will comprise 20% of the student's assessment. The host organisation will provide a safe working environment for the intern.  

The nature of the work conducted by the intern will depend on the organisation. The host organisation will provide an experience that is authentic, so the nature of the science-related work the interns do will vary from placement to placement.  

It is expected that the placement will be commensurate with the level and experience of the student and the host will provide the student with tasks, responsibilities and exposure to the business organisation directly linked to the student’s chosen field.  

Activities that an intern may undertake include a combination of the following: 

  • shadow members of staff in science-related roles 
  • contributing in an assisting capacity to a range of activities 
  • being a team member on a project for the duration of the internship – an ongoing project, or one that is completed during the internship 
  • assigned to an individual project that can be completed within the hours of the placement 
  • office-based tasks including data entry, literature searches, or preparation of figures for presentation/marketing materials 
  • hands-on laboratory or field-based activities. 

Interns will also be required to complete university assessments as part of the program. Students will send these assessments to a university academic coordinator for grading (pass / fail).  

Interns will normally be enrolled in the later years of their degree and will bring the experience of tertiary study in science subjects. As part of the program, interns will undertake online induction modules that cover key professional skills and prepare them for the expectations of your placement.

Academic and professional staff also provide support throughout the internship to ensure a mutually beneficial work placement experience for both hosts and student interns.

Interns can be selected based on their major, academic standing, co-curricular activities. You can directly manage the selection of students or we can assist you with shortlisting candidates.

We will also work with you to advertise the opportunity to specific cohorts of students.

Student enrolment in the program aligns with our teaching periods.

Internship dates do not need to match up perfectly with the teaching periods but student assessments and the supervisor’s report will need to be submitted at the end of the enrolled teaching period, so the student can receive academic credit.

Students may undertake internships that exceed the minimum 105 hours, if students are aware and agree beforehand. Internships can be run over a long period of time or more intensely, but please note that many students will have other study and work commitments that will impact on their availability.

In February 2019, UNSW launched UNSW3+, a new academic calendar which enables students to build work experiences into their degree in any term, giving employers access to our students all year round.

2021 Term Dates

Summer Term 4 January - 5 February
Term 1 15 February - 13 May
Term 2 31 May - 26 August 
Term 3 13 September - 9 December

2022 Term Dates:

Students may undertake virtual or remote work placements if required. If you offer a virtual/remote placement, the following following parameters must be followed; these ensure that UNSW Science students are fully covered by UNSW Insurance. 

  1. Students will complete a workplace safety assessment prior to receiving approval to work at home;
  2. Students will ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ to maintain a real time record of their work hours;
  3. Students will only work between 8am to 6pm on workdays; and
  4. Students will report any incidents of accident or injury within one business day.   

UNSW will provide online resources for students so that they can meet these requirements for the work placement.


A formal agreement is established between the University and the host organisation. The program meets the requirements of a ‘vocational placement’ in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009.

Health and Safety

Host organisations must have a commitment to safe work practices and comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Any disagreements, incidents or near-accidents must be reported promptly to the Course Convenor.

Worker’s compensation and insurance

The student is covered comprehensively against accident or injury under the University’s student insurance policy. The University maintains Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance that covers any liability of the University and the student in relation to the placement, and the host organisation is expected to also maintain appropriate Public Liability insurance. Worker’s Compensation does not apply if the internship is unpaid.

If you have any questions, or would like to participate as an Internship Host, please contact