UCL Careers


Graduate Job Definitions

Starting to look at jobs and work experience for the first time can be an intimidating and confusing experience. This is a guide to understanding the different types of jobs.

Various graduates standing in front of visitors at UCL graduation.

24 November 2022

Graduate or Graduate-level job

An entry-level position designed for someone who has recently finished (within the last 2-3 years) their degree. Some positions are based in large companies and overlap somewhat with a Graduate Scheme (see below). Others are based in smaller businesses and can be a good opportunity to develop your skills across different areas. These may be advertised throughout the year.

Graduate scheme

graduate scheme is an entry level training programme. They will often require a 2:1 degree or above, and you will need to have graduated in the last two years. They are usually advertised in the Autumn for a start date of Summer or Autumn the following year, and you should expect to complete some online psychometric tests (such as numerical reasoning or situational judgement tests) and perhaps an assessment centre before an interview. These are often, but not exclusively, at large companies and the competition for places is fierce.


An internship is a period of work experience, offered by an organisation, lasting for a fixed period of time anywhere between a week and 12 months, and can be full or part time. Part-time internships can often be fitted in around your studies, and you may be able to negotiate what days or hours you work. Employers use these internships to assess a student or graduate's capability and often recruit employees from their interns, rather than advertise their vacancies externally, so they can be valuable in securing graduate positions.  Summer internships will usually last for about 4-12 weeks and are usually aimed at those about to start their final year of study. Internships in the UK must be paid, with the exception of the charity sector, which is allowed to employ interns on a voluntary basis.

Work placements/Year in industry

These are different to internships as they are usually a fixed period of work experience as part of a course, and students completing one gain academic credit for the year. Most UCL courses don’t require a work placement.

Insight programme

Insight programmes (sometimes called open days, insight weeks, spring weeks and similar) are short introductions to an employer or profession. They usually involve visiting an employer’s office and meeting and networking with the people there, from interns through to senior executives. They are less likely to be paid but some employers use them as an opportunity to hire for internships or graduate schemes, so they’re worth participating in. They usually take place in Spring term (occasionally in Autumn) and are usually aimed at first year students.

Vacation schemes

These are schemes specifically designed to help Law students improve their skills and legal knowledge and generally last two to four weeks. Competition for vacation scheme places is intense so apply as early as possible. Mini-pupillages are short work placements and are the equivalent of vacation schemes, but aimed at those who want to be barristers.


These are the main types of jobs and work experience you’ll see advertised on MyUCLCareers. Are there other terms you would like help understanding? If you have a query please drop us a line at AskUCL.