The Graduate School Career Development Framework facilitates industry experiences, as Placements, to allow you to experience current practice and develop networks while demonstrating and strengthening your transferable, professional and research skills.

An HDR Placement can enhance your career options and help to develop skills in planning, strategy, communication and leadership. Opportunities for Placements can come from industry, government or non-government organisations. 

To participate in the Placement program, you must be an HDR candidate currently enrolled at The University of Queensland for the duration of the Placement, and must have attained your confirmation milestone. If you are unsure about your eligibility please contact the Graduate School

UQ insurance extends to enrolled candidates who are undertaking an approved Placement, which must:

  • run for at least 30 working days (6 weeks equivalent);
  • be with an Industry, NGO or Government organisation;
  • be independent of your thesis; and
  • develop your transferable and professional skills.

If you are considering undertaking an HDR Placement during your candidature it is important to be proactive and plan ahead. Read through the guidelines and attend a Placements Information Session, so that you understand the obligations of a Placement.  You can also read about placements other HDR candidates have undertaken.

Discuss participation with your principal advisor

When applying to participate in an HDR Placement, formal endorsement from your principal advisor is a requirement; you can request this through my.UQ dashboard.

Make sure your advisor understands that the purpose of an HDR placement is to develop transferable skills, and therefore may not be directly related to your thesis topic. You should discuss how you will comfortably manage the workload of a Placement alongside your candidature. In some cases, your principal advisor may be able to make some introductions to organisations on your behalf.

Consider these important factors

  • Attend a Placement Information Session before you start to seek a Placement opportunity.
  • Placement commencement cannot be approved until a specific legal document (UQ Placement Agreement) has been fully executed between the Graduate School and the Host Organisation. The Graduate School will need to facilitate the Placement Agreement process and will advise you when that has been done.
  • We recommend allowing no fewer than two months for the approvals process.
  • A Placement is not an employment contract, and you cannot be paid to undertake a Placement.
  • You will be required to submit a reflective report on completion of your Placement. 
  • Participation will be assessed against the HDR Graduate Attributes and the final outcome will be included on your academic transcript.
  • You must demonstrate your suitability for a Placement. Participation is not guaranteed, and offers may be subject to
    • school approval
    • advisor endorsement
    • your progress and conduct
    • the quality of your application
    • your suitability for the role
    • appropriate project scope
    • a successful interview with the host organisation
    • participation in CDF Career planning sessions.
    • Placement commencement date - Must be within a week of submission date if placement is being undertaken post submission.
  • The HDR Placement program is open to approved HDR candidates from any discipline. Non-cognate Placements are encouraged so that you can demonstrate the transferable skills you have gained through your research degree.
  • Unless otherwise stated, any advertised Placements are open to International and Domestic students enrolled in a PhD or MPhil program.
  • In some circumstances advertised Placements may be restricted to particular student groups. Any restrictions will be shown on the Placement advertisement.

Attending an information session will give you an overview of the Placement program, projects, possible funding options, and the approach required to secure an approved Placement. 

Contact the Graduate School

Once you have attended a Placement information session and have decided to pursue the option of undertaking a Placement, contact the Graduate School to discuss your proposed activity and request the resources required to start your approach.

From time to time, the Graduate School has advertised placement opportunities (see below), however most students prefer to source their own. You may choose to find your own placement opportunity and work with us to ensure it meets UQ Graduate School placement guidelines. It is important to plan ahead as it can take several months to ensure all administrative requirements are fulfilled once a placement location has been found. You should start preparing as early as possible, and at least three months prior to your thesis review milestone. 

The host organisation that you propose should

  • be a medium or large, reputable industry organisation;
  • not be an academic institution; and
  • must be able to offer an immersive experience and adequate supervision while you undertake meaningful work within that organisation,
  • and must hold appropriate levels of Public Liability insurance (And Professional Indemnity insurance where applicable).

Placements will not be approved for High Risk Destinations (DFAT LEvel 3 or 4). 

Once you have identified your proposed host organisation, it would need to be deemed appropriate by the Graduate School, as you will need to develop in conjunction with that organisation, a placement project proposal that the Dean will review before endorsing.

On request, the Graduate School will provide you with the resources required to start the process of securing formal approval for the placement. 

The HDR placements program has had many organisations participate in hosting HDR candidates over the past few years. Below is a selection of organisations who have successfully partnered with our candidates.

You do not have to choose an organisation from this list. It is merely to give you an idea of the options that may be available to you.

Organisation About
Abt Associates Abt is a global company that provides consulting and research in the pursuit of improving the quality of life worldwide.
Alluvium Alluvium provides consulting in the provision of catchment, river and coastal analysis and advice.
Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) is the peak professional body for packaging education and training in Australasia.
BMT BMT is a consulting firm specialising in international design, engineering, science and risk management.
Bush Heritage Australia Bush Heritage Australia is an independent not-for-profit that buys and manages land, and partners with Aboriginal people for the purposes of conservation.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is an animal attraction working to conserve native wildlife and nurture local indigenous heritage.
Department of Environment and Science, QLD Government DES is a section of the QLD government in charge of matters involving the environment, science and the arts.
Integria Healthcare Integria is a healthcare company offering herbal, nutritional and complementary healthcare products supported by scientific and traditional evidence.
NAPCAN NAPCAN is a national organisation dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of Australia's children and young people.
Relationships Australia Queensland Relationships Australia provides suppport and advice to people experiencing difficulties in relationships, addiction, trauma, family and domestic violence and other social issues.
Stanley Roads Stanley Roads is group of companies specialising in road construction, equipment hire and asphalt manufacturing.
True Relationships and Reproductive Health True Relationships and Reproductive Health provides expert reproductive and sexual health services to women.
VitroFlora Vitroflora is a commercial producer of premium plant tissue cultures.


Available placements

APR.Intern is the only national all sector—all discipline internship program placing PhD students into short-term industry and university research collaborations.
Work in a truly international environment with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and improve your analytical and technical skills.