Partner with us: BE Professional Placements

Interested in hosting a student at your organisation? Register your organisation or contact: for further information. We’ll contact you and arrange a meeting to discuss opportunities with your organisation.

Scroll down to find out more about the Professional Placement course.

Host Guidelines - Q and A (printable document)


What is Professional Placement?

UNSW School of Built Environment offers Professional Placement as an elective course for undergraduate and postgraduate students. In addition to a placement, the academic requirements for the course require students to undertake employability modules, reflective tasks and a final report.

What can a placement offer my organisation?

Would you like to establish a pathway for future recruits and access to the next generation of talented designers? Are you interested in partnering with a built environment school ranked in the top 25 globally? Professional Placement offers you the chance to contribute to the development of work-ready graduates and future leaders across the built environment disciplines.

How long are students on placement?

Students complete 140 hours work part-time within a host organisation, across one university semester/term. This can be two days a week over 10 weeks, or equivalent alternative arrangements as agreed by the student and host. Students also have the option to enrol over Summer term and complete the course intensively over 4 weeks in January.

What type of work will the student need to undertake?

The placement must offer authentic learning experiences to the student and incorporate meaningful learning activities with a clear purpose. The learning experiences offered by the host during the placement need to be aligned to course learning outcomes and feedback given to a student related to these outcomes.

How are placements set up?

Option 1 - Advertised Placements

Students will have access to an online ‘placement noticeboard’ prior to enrolling in the course and will be permitted to apply for a maximum of 2 opportunities per semester, to avoid hosts being inundated with applications and excessive selection processes. Host organisations will select students using a recruitment process of their choice, and interview students and accept/decline based on their own selection criteria.

The interview process will be managed by the host organisation and student; however, UNSW School of Built Environment will need to be notified of successful/unsuccessful candidates prior to commencement.

Option 2 - Student Sourced Placements

Students can also source their own placement opportunity, either by bringing in their existing part-time employment in a built environment related role, or by seeking an entirely new placement opportunity at a firm of their choice.

What support will students require?

A workplace supervisor will need to be provided who will regularly meet with the student to discuss progress and challenges. Planning is important, and clear timelines and goals for the placement are jointly established prior to the start of the placement. The supervisor will also complete a short post placement report jointly with the student. Students are also supported by a UNSW School of Built Environment staff member for the duration of their placement.

Are students paid?

This is up to the discretion of the host organisation. We encourage all potential hosts to review the student placement guidance on the Fair Work website here:

For paid opportunities, such as existing employment arrangements, UNSW will write to the host setting out the requirements to ensure students are appropriately challenged with learning activities above and beyond whatever duties the student might already perform competently as an employee in their employment. This is to ensure that course learning outcomes can be met, and the student can use the time and activities for learning credit.

Any offer of casual or part-time employment that may arise following the placement period is a matter for the company to negotiate with the student, independent of UNSW.  The University will be clear to students enrolling in the course that they should not have any expectation of an offer of employment arising from the placement.

For both paid and unpaid placements a letter of agreement will be signed between UNSW School of Built Environment and the host organisation outlining roles and responsibilities.  

What insurances does UNSW cover?

UNSW and the Host Organisation must each hold public liability insurance and personal accident insurance with a level of cover, for an individual accident, of $20 million.  If the student is employed by the Organisation, the Organisation must hold workers' compensation insurance.

At UNSW School of Built Environment we welcome staff and students from diverse backgrounds. We invite partners that share our values in ensuring equality in recruitment, paying particular attention to ensuring no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability or Indigenous origin. Read more.