Work placements and internships

Placements and internships are a great opportunity to get experience in the type of career you are interested in.

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The terms placement and internship are often used interchangeably, but they are two different things.

Changes summer 2020 placements due to Covid-19

Placements already planned

Please check with your module convener as to whether your specific placement module is continuing.

Help to find a placement

The placements team will be supporting placement modules that are still going ahead over the Summer.

We will support students to source credited, remote placement opportunities if their module is still continuing; however, we must advise that it may be more difficult to source a placement at this time. As usual, students must also take ownership of sourcing a placement.

Finding your own placement

Goldsmiths’ highest priority is your safety and well-being. Whether or not you can do your placement depends on whether it meets the following criteria:

  1. Your department is still running the placement module
  2. The placement is a remote working opportunity
  3. The placement would still give you the same exposure to new experiences, skills development and sector insights as an in-person placement would

If the placement meets all three criteria, email so we can arrange for the necessary paperwork to be completed.

If your department is not running the placement module, you can go ahead with it. It will not, however, count towards any course credit and the placement team will not certify the placement.

As per Goldsmiths policy, we do not encourage or promote unpaid internships if they are not credit-bearing or form part of your programme.

The placements team does not encourage any on-site/in-person work experience at this time due to health and safety concerns in light of Covid-19.

Work placements

A placement is a block of work experience that is embedded within an accredited academic programme of study. They can last for anywhere between a few days and a year.

They can be full time or part time, and because they are an integrated part of an accredited academic course, the organisations are not required to pay you. Some may choose to, however, and Goldsmiths encourages organisations to do so.


An internship is also a block of work experience, but crucially, it is completely separate from your programme of study. They are typically one to three months in length. At Goldsmiths, we only publicise paid, quality opportunities. Unpaid internships are illegal, exploitative, and replace paid jobs.

If your internship is structured, with set hours, duties and responsibilities, then you are fulfilling the role of a worker. If this is the case, your internship is subject to National Minimum Wage legislation. That is, you should be paid for your work.

Internships also aren't volunteering. Many charities and NGOs offer ‘internships’ but on a voluntary basis. These are exempt from National Minimum Wage legislation, but good organisations should pay travel and lunch expenses as an absolute minimum.

Also be aware that internships aren’t ‘work shadowing’ where you follow and observe a professional in a given field to gain an insight into that sector.

If you have any concerns about your rights as an intern or placement student, please contact the Placements & Internships team at or on 020 7919 7631.