Student Advice

What is a Sandwich Course?

Ben Maples  · Dec 19th 2023  · 6 min

What is a Sandwich course and how do you apply for one? Well, luckily for you, we’ve got a useful guide to tell you everything there isto know about a Sandwich course and how to apply for one.

Students Laughing

Applying to university can get quite confusing, what with all the different types of degrees available to students. Whether it be a Bachelor’s degree, a PGCE degree, a Master’s degree or a normal undergraduate degree, keeping up with what degree can be studied and when can be overwhelming.

One of the most popular degrees for a student to study at university is a Sandwich degree or Sandwich course, as it is sometimes known.

University sandwich course

What is a Sandwich course?

A Sandwich course is a university degree that includes a work placement. A placement is where you spend time out in the world of work and you’ll be expected to work in the industry related to your course.

For instance, if you are studying a Sports Science degree at university, you’ll likely take on a l work placement at a company related to your degree, working as a Personal Trainer or as a Physiotherapist, potentially.

Those looking to work abroad may be able to combine this with study on the Turing Scheme. The Turing Scheme has replaced the long-standing Erasmus Programme, which the UK no longer participates in sinceBrexit.

How long is my placement on a Sandwich course?

This really depends on the course itself and depends on the university that you’re at. You have two types of Sandwich degrees, “thick” or “thin”.

What is a thick Sandwich course?

No, there’s no bread involved! A “thick” Sandwich course is a continuous placement that generally lasts a year.

What is a thin Sandwich course?

Again, sadly, there’s no bread or fillings involved in this particular course. A “thin” Sandwich course is made up of two or more placements and generally take between 2 and 6 months.

Your placements can take as long as is necessary, but you will generally find that most placements last for a year.

Are placements optional as part of a Sandwich course?

As part of a Sandwich course, placements aren’t optional. If you are not interested in taking a placement away from your studies, then there are alternatives to a Sandwich course.

Some universities have made placements and Sandwich degrees mandatory in certain subjects. Universities such as the University of Bath or Lancaster University have started to set a trend among universities in the UK, by introducing a number of mandatory placements for those studying certain subjects.

Is there any advantage to studying a Sandwich course?

Studying a Sandwich course will help you to stand out from other candidates who don’t have work experience in their chosen sector.

For example, if you are looking to become an Accountant, the company you are applying to will want you to have an Accountancy degree and experience. If you are studying a Sandwich course as part of your degree, you will have the all-important experience required!

The course will also give you some valuable insight into the world you’re learning about and will allow you to learn more and more about the industry, not just the theory.

Uni sandwich course

Can a Sandwich course affect my earning potential?

Yes, it can, but 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 the field.

You don’t have to settle either. 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 university, you may be expected 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.

When will my placement take place?

Again, this can vary depending on your chosen university and course and really depends on what you’re studying.

However, most university placements tend to happen in your third year. It really depends on the course that you’re studying and depends on the university itself as well.

Can I work abroad as part of a Sandwich course?

This will depend on your obligations to the Turing Scheme. Even if you haven’t signed up for the Turing Scheme, then you can still work abroad.

Working abroad will, of course, require you to look into working Visas for working abroad and European Health Insurance as well, but there’s no reason why your placement can’t take place abroad if you want to.

Do you pay tuition fees for a Sandwich year?

Yes, you will need to pay tuition fees for a Sandwich year. However, the fees are reduced compared to normal courses. In fact, students can pay as little as 20% of the usual £9,250 that students studying regular courses have to pay (£1,850).

The figures will, of course, vary depending on where you study. Check with your university beforehand; they will be able to give you more information on the types of fees you can expect.

Sandwich course

Why do I have to pay tuition fees?

Well, you are still, technically, using university facilities. You still have access to laboratories, libraries, toilets, accommodation and gyms, so you will have to pay something. Hey, at least the fees are reduced, right?

Do you get paid for a Sandwich year?

Technically, yes, you are. You will be paid just like any other employee would be paid and are also entitled to work benefits, holidays and whatever else a normal employee is entitled to.

The scheme you are under may also affect how much you can earn. The company you work for may also have an impact on the amount you earn.

How much will I be paid?

This will depend on where you work. Those working in London will have a higher salary than those working in say,Bournemouth. Generally, the average sandwich year salary in the UK is £22,776.

Will I be entitled to any grants, bursaries, or scholarships for my placement?

Yes, you will be. You will still be covered for any bursaries, grants or scholarships that you have as part of your university course, even when taking a university placement.

Some students still require their travel to be covered by the university, so the university’s student travel grant can still be used, even when you’re on your placement.

So there you have it! Everything that you need to know about a Sandwich course at university. If you have any specific questions, then we recommend speaking to your university directly and seeing what the university’s stance is about certain issues or topics.

Do all universities offer Sandwich courses?

Unfortunately, no. Only some universities offer this as an option for students, as it may not always be viable from a financial or educational standpoint for the university to offer them.

Equally, just because a university offers them doesn’t mean you can study it. For example, a university may offer a Sandwich course, but not in the area that you are looking to study.

undergraduate Uni's

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