2018 Year in industry program has now closed!

About the program

The School of Chemistry offers an elective program to Second Year students in which they have the opportunity to spend their third year of training in full-time employment in the chemical industry or a government scientific laboratory. Over the years, feedback from students who have taken part in the program has indicated that this "year in industry" has added much to their confidence, as well as their finances, and is perceived as a definite advantage by potential employers. The new skills acquired, both work-related and interpersonal, that can only be learnt "on-the-job", all add to improved employability in future years.

At the end of the year, participating students return to the University to complete their studies for their Science Degree. In many cases, they then proceed to their Honours Degree in Chemistry.

Please note that this program is only open to students who are Australian citizens.

Requirements for entry into the program

Students electing this alternative program must have the character and self-reliance to be able to work effectively in an industrial setting, which will be quite different from the academic framework of lectures, laboratory assignments and examinations. In the selection of students, some weight is given to academic performance during the first and second years, with particular emphasis on good work in the practical courses. However, academic performance is not the only criterion for selection and personal interviews will be conducted by a small committee of staff members to advise students on their suitability for the program.

The committee shortlists students for interviews by several employers but the actual selection of a student is made by the employer concerned after personal interview. Usually, a number of students are sent to each job interview, so that the placement procedures extend over several weeks during the September/October period.

Type of work in industry

The jobs offered are regular jobs and not a special training program or assignment designed especially for students. Therefore, the range of work required is varied. The work ranges from analysis of industrial chemicals to testing of new pharmaceutical products and use of a wide range of instrumentation and techniques. Some jobs are in research laboratories and others in production and quality control. The jobs are for approximately twelve months, commencing in December, January or February, depending on the employer. The number of positions varies from year to year. Thus it should be realised that not all students who apply can be accommodated in the program. The salaries offered vary considerably, being determined by a variety of industrial awards.

Application for the 2018 program has now closed

The program is for students who intend to take a Science (or combined) degree in chemistry. Only students enrolled in both semesters will be eligible. The School will write to the Faculty of Science requesting that students participating in the program have their studies suspended for the year. Please note that this program is only open to students who are Australian citizens.

Motivation for the program

The School of Chemistry has instigated this program for a number of reasons. Firstly, an increasing proportion of career opportunities in chemistry are in the industrial sector (here we include CSIRO and similar laboratories.) Secondly, the academic curriculum is designed to teach fundamentals of chemistry but we believe that students should also learn something of the complex interplay of human, technical and financial factors that determine the stage and progress of the national chemical economy. This kind of learning can best be done in a job and not from books or lectures. Lastly, students who have participated in the program have a distinct advantage with regard to job opportunities.

How it will affect you as a student

The University will grant suspension of enrolment to students for the industrial year. This means that you will not be an enrolled student and will not be eligible for travel concessions, University scholarship payments, nor any Commonwealth Government student payments. However, the School will organize for your Library access privileges and your University email account to remain open.

Participating companies

Employers participating in the scheme in 2018 (with one to three placements) are:

Formal university requirements

Eligibility of students for Austudy will be re-instated when they return to full university enrolment. Students are advised to monitor Government policies in this area.

Overseas students are not eligible to apply for participation in the Year-in-Industry program as the Department of Immigration will not extend student visas for this purpose.

Student profiles

Click here to read about the experiences of students who spent a year in the program.

Contact person

Associate Professor Chris McErlean
Room 518A
School of Chemistry
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
T: +61 2 9351 3970
F: +61 2 9351 3329