Sandwich courses in the UK


Sandwich courses are a popular choice of courses for students who want to gain work experience alongside their courses. Sandwich courses are available at all levels, from foundation degrees to doctoral levels. While most sandwich programs will have an element of work placement this is not always the case, with some being classroom-based only.


What is a Sandwich course?

A sandwich course is usually a 4 or 5-year-long degree course, where the student undertakes 1 year-long placement at a company associated with their subject of study. The structure may vary as per university or level of study.

To understand the structure of a sandwich course, think of its namesake – a sandwich. The first 2 years of the course are a period of study at the university – the first slice of bread, so to speak. Placements take place toward the end of the 2nd year, with the 3rd year of the course spent gaining active work experience at the company where the student has been placed – thus, the sandwich filling. Following the completion of the placement, the student returns to the university for their final years of study, until they graduate – in other words, the last slice of bread, completing the ‘sandwich’ (course)!


Types of Sandwich course

You have two types of sandwich degrees, “thick” or “thin”.

A “thick” sandwich course is a continuous placement that generally lasts a year. A “thin” sandwich course is made up of two or more placements. Your placements can take as long as is necessary, but you will generally find that most placements last for a year.


Eligibility for a sandwich course in the UK

The eligibility criteria for these programs are almost the same as any other undergraduate or postgraduate program in the UK.


Can a sandwich course affect my earning potential?

Yes, it can, in a good way!

This is not always going to happen of course, but a number of companies tend to increase your starting salary as a result of your experience in this field. You might even be able to attract a higher position in the company, rather than having to settle for an entry-level position.


How much assistance will my university give me with finding a placement?

This really depends on the university that you’re at.

When it comes to a sandwich course uni, some universities expect you to find your own placements and to contact the companies and handle all of this yourself. For the most part, you will be expected to find your own placements, but your university will always lend a helping hand, whether that be a character reference or aiding you in your application.

Some universities have also been known to have pre-determined placements for students available, though this is rare. It’s best to ask your university prior to application or at a university open day.


To learn more about which UK university and in what field to do a sandwich program, as well as to get help finding answers to any questions you may have, please register here to submit your application. We’re always here to help with free services, expert guidance, and more!

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