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Information for MSc Students

Information for MSc students before and during placement 

Placement-based dissertations provide excellent opportunities for students to think through theoretical ideas in real world contexts and to gain transferable skills through applied, practical experience with host organisations.  

Students can either choose from projects that have been organised by the University of Edinburgh OR Propose and organise their own placement - following consultation with their Programme Director

Compulsory Requirements (all students):

Project Proposal

Project proposal to be completed by student and host organisation. (Key contact at host organisation to be identified at this stage).

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

This document will be based on the project outline provided by your hosts. You are required to sign this.  Pass the document to your programme director and host organisation for signature. Host organisation to also provide: Health and Safety policy, Employer and Public liability insurance certificate, all relevant risk assessments (for work practices) and confidentiality agreements.

Leave of Absence Form 

This is a School/College requirement and should be done in consultation with your Programme Director. Leave of Absence form to be completed by student and submitted to Programme Director

Agreed Contact Points

Maintain agreed contact points with Programme Director (engagement for Tier 4 students as per usual procedures).

Organisation Feedback 

Host organisation to complete feedback form assessing student performance 


Student should be prepared to meet the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence for all UK and overseas based projects.

Additional work while on the work-based placement

Aside from the research paper, the host organisation may request a student’s involvement in other non-research related activities. Students should manage their time carefully to ensure that they are able to meet commitments to both the host organisation and the University.

While the host organisation provides a project contact who will support and may act as gatekeeper to further contacts, students are responsible for directing their research (in line with the agreed research question) and analysing any data fairly autonomously. 

However, it is worth noting that many students also found that the amount of work involved with a work-based placement was higher than they had anticipated.

Placement Abroad

If you are travelling overseas and/or conducting fieldwork, you will need to complete the relevant travel risk assessment form.


You may be required to obtain a visa to enter and stay in the country of your placement. Please consult the country's embassy for specific application guidelines. The Student Development Office cannot advise on visa matters.

Travel/Medical Insurance

For those travelling overseas, this is not optional. You must obtain travel/medical insurance for the duration of your placement. University insurance is mandatory and free. Click here for further information

Travel Letter

If overseas, the Programme Director will provide you with a travel letter that may be useful to show officials in the country of your placement. You may also require this letter for your visa application. If so, please ensure it includes all the details required by the country you will be travelling to; this information is usually available via the embassy.

Foreign Travel Advice

If you are going overseas, up to date travel advice is available from the UK Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. You can also sign up for country-specific email alerts.

Passport Copy

If your project is overseas, please provide us with a photocopy of your passport. 

Emergency Contacts

In the event of an emergency while on your placement please contact:

During office hours (UK time 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday):

  • Dr Paul Travers +44 131 651 9548 paul.travers@ed.ac.uk 
  • Kelly Douglas +44 131 651 9515 kelly.douglas@ed.ac.uk 

Out of office hours:

  • University of Edinburgh Security +44 131 650 2257 security@ed.ac.uk