More than 30 years of success
The parliamentary placement scheme at the University of Leeds has been operating for more than 30 years as an integral part of our BA (Hons) degree in Politics and Parliamentary Studies (PPS), which is now available through the Parliamentary Pathway following year one of the BA Politics course.
Hundreds of students have benefited from the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience in the offices of Members of Parliament, and PPS graduates can be found enjoying successful careers in politics, public affairs, and policy making to name just a few.
The vast majority of these students would not have had access to this opportunity, had they not taken part in this degree programme.
Testimony from past students consistently shows that it is the combination of academic study and practical work experience that is invaluable in helping them launch their careers.
PPS is a four-year degree programme – the third year is spent undertaking a parliamentary placement. Compulsory modules, for example in British Politics in Year 1, and Parliamentary Studies in Year 2, help equip students with knowledge and understanding of the UK political system.
The placement enables students to apply this learning and gain insights into the world of politics that are difficult to replicate in the lecture theatre or seminar room.
Students can then use this practical learning when they return to University for their final year of study – for example in developing the topic for their dissertation.
Students undertaking a parliamentary placement receive module credits that count towards their degree and carry on receiving support from University tutors. They are also required to complete coursework based on their placement experience.
The successful completion of this work and the achievement of the module credits linked to the placement is a core component of our degree programme.
Students who do not successfully complete this cannot be awarded an honours degree in Politics and Parliamentary Studies.
The placement is therefore an integrated part of a wider teaching and learning framework, which ensures those students opting for this degree programme receive the knowledge, support and experience to equip them for a successful career.
Financing the placement
Students can apply for financial support (from Student Finance England or equivalent) for their placement year. Students undertaking ‘special case placements’ for unpaid work in an area of public service including in a hospital, or with a Member of Parliament, can apply for the full means-tested student support, as they can while studying for the rest of their degree.
In addition, studentsliving and working in London (presuming they are not living with their parents) can apply for the London rate of financial support. This means that a student from the University of Leeds undertaking a parliamentary placement can apply for and receive the same level of funding for that period as a student studying at a London university.
The maximum possible maintenance support, for a student from a low-income family entitled to the London rate, has been £11,354 per year (2018/19 academic year).
Most parliamentary offices also offer placement students assistance with expenses, for example for travel and/or lunch, and some offer a wage.
Students on placement are not expected or required to work full-time for a calendar year. Typically placements are four days per week, and we seek placements that roughly mirror the academic year.
At Leeds, a substantially reduced tuition fee is paid by all students who undertake a study abroad or work placement year. The latest fees information can be found on the University fees page.
Over the past 30 years, the BA (Hons) Politics and Parliamentary Studies degree has supported the development of exceptional graduates with outstanding career prospects.
The supported integration of a parliamentary placement into the degree programme is a core element of its success.
For the vast majority of these graduates, they would not otherwise have had access to a parliamentary placement.
To read what some of the students say about their course, take a look at the PPS student profiles here.