School of Physics & Astronomy

School of Physics & Astronomy

Vacation Placements and Internships

Many students will find it useful to gain some useful summer vacation employment or internships. On the careers notice board in the main concourse we have a list of some organisations that you may wish to try for such placements. There is also information on the Careers Centre website aimed at physicists and astronomers. Our astronomers also have an Astronomy Group Summer Research page which gives a list of current opportunities for summer work in astronomy and astrophysics in our school.

We are also able to host some research-based projects within the School; we are happy to see some of our students become members of the local research teams for part of the summer. Should you be interested in this sort of possibility, please talk with academic staff who may be able to provide a placement in a topic area of interest to you. It should be useful to look at their research web pages in advance. You will need to convince them that you could be a useful temporary addition to their research team. It is possible that it will be available places in the School that will be the limiting factor, not sources of funding. If the staff member is willing to take you on, then they can sometimes help find funding to provide some support for your internship. In some cases a research proposal will be needed, and this will normally be worked up with major input from the potential supervisor.

Undergraduate Research placements in the School may be funded in various ways.

The School's Student-Staff Council has an annual budget from the School that can be used to provide some support for our students working in the School or elsewhere. Dr Donatella Cassettari is curently the staff member on the Vacation Awards committee, working with the student representatives.


Two Major Awards - Closing date 15 March 2018 (Details for 2018)
High Field Lab (Grenoble) £500
Astronomy Observatory £500
MS Word - Major Awards application form for 2018
Smaller Awards also available - Closing date 15 March 2018
pdf - Smaller Awards application form for 2018


The Physics Trust is an organisation based within the School that uses proceeds from a conference from many years ago to provide some financial support to students working in the School over the summer. The potential supervisor applies to the treasurer, via the School Office, for funding. The School plans to put additional funds into internships that will be considered in a similar way to Physics Trust funding.

Research Grants held by individual researchers in the School may be able to support a summer studentship in some cases. Your potential supervisor will know her or his own grants.

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Internship Programme in Research and Leadership provides 50 places across the University for undergraduates to work on a piece of research with an academic in their chosen school.
Laidlaw Internships

Wellcome Trust funded bursaries - you may wish to remind your potential supervisor that the University has a number of these to award, competitively across the University. The application deadline to the Dean may be April.

The Cormack Bequest adminstered by the Royal Society of Edinburgh provides funding each year for astronomy-based vacation placements across Scotland. Closing date has typically beenin March.

Cormack Bequest Scholarships from RSE

The Carnegie Trust awards a number of prestigious vacation scholarships to selected students with a Scottish background.

Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarships

Royal Astronomical Society

The Royal Astronomical society in partnership with the Nuffield Foundation have a number of bursaries available for internships in universities. Closing date has been for the February meeting. Please consult astronomy staff before applying.
RAS Undergraduate Research Bursaries


There are various opportunities for work and research placements elsewhere. Amongst others, people may wish to be aware of


Updated Feb 2018