Student Placements

UNSW Science Work Placement Program: SCIF2199

Students undertaking the Science Work Placement course gain a genuine experience of working in a science or technology-related workplace. It is the core of a subject credited to their degree. The students are supervised and monitored by the Course Convenor. 
What happens in the internship? 
The internship involves a placement of a minimum of 105 hours (three weeks full-time or spread out part-time across a term) in a single organisation. Interns gain experience of the science and technology-related work conducted in that organisation. Students build on their existing skills, with guidance, and are expected to contribute productively to a project or series of activities set up by the organisation for their placement. Participating in the internship will also enable students to observe the nature of the organisation more generally – its structure, how different components of the organisation interact, how projects and teams are organised to achieve their goals, and the different ways in which those with a science background apply this in the workplace. 
What are the benefits for the host organisation?
The internship 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.
What is expected of the internship host?
Internship hosts will provide a meaningful experience of their workplace for students. They will provide experienced staff to induct, supervise and mentor their intern and provide a brief supervisor's report at the conclusion of the internship, comprising 10% of the students assessment. The host organisation will provide a safe working environment for the intern. 
What sort of work do interns do? 
The nature of the work conducted by the intern will clearly depend on the organisation. As host organisation you 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 subject, details about these assessment requirements can be found here. Student will send these assessments to a university lecture for grading (pass / fail). 
What preparation can you expect of an intern? 
Interns will normally be enrolled in the later years of their course, and so will bring the experience of tertiary study in science and technology subjects. Before embarking on their placement interns will participate in compulsory induction online module that will prepare them for the expectations of your placement. Interns can be selected based on their major, academic standing, co-curricular activities etc. 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 internship to specific cohorts of students.
When can students go on work placement?
Student enrolment 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, however please note that many students will have other study and work commitments that will impact on their availability. Upcoming teaching periods are listed below:
2019 - Term 1 (18 February to 18 May), Term 2 (3 June to 31 August), Term 3 (16 September to 14 December), Summer term (6 January to 12 February).

From February 2019, UNSW is launching UNSW3+, a new academic calendar which will enable students to build experiences into their degree in any term, giving employers access to our students all year round. UNSW3+ allows students more flexibility to increase or decrease their study load depending on the circumstances, and with the right planning an entire term in their degree can be made available to focus on gaining relevant industrial experience whilst maintaining full time student status and gaining credit toward their degree

Commercial considerations:
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.
Subject enquiries
If you would like to participate as an Internship Host in the UNSW Science Internship program, please contact: 
If you are a student and you would like to share this information with a potential internship host, please download the PDF here.