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Professional practice – University of Reading

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    Your career starts here

  • See work from the Real Jobs scheme

    Read about our students' experiences in their own words at our Real Jobs blog

Professional practice

Professional practice is integrated into the course through our highly regarded 'Real Jobs' scheme and through industry placements.

Real Jobs

The Real Job professional practice scheme is one way we help you become a top-tier graduate. The scheme enables you to gain experience in professional practice as you study. Design work done for real clients introduces you to the opportunities, constraints and responsibilities of professional practice, and gives you valuable experience in team-working and the range of roles that support successful design.

Song of crow

(A banner created by one of our students as part of their "Real Job". Read more about  their experience working on the "Song of Crow"  project.)

"Some design graduates leave university capable of big conceptual ideas but without the confidence to translate that into something that can be actually be produced. But these real world factors are things that Reading's graduates take for granted. It's the Real Jobs scheme that allows you to get that from an early stage."

Joe Thompson

Graduated in 2010 and now works as the Creative Director at Outré Creative

Real Jobs give you invaluable experience beyond the studio. You take on client communication and briefings, concepts and proposal pitching, budgeting and project management, and design specification and implementation, whether in print, onscreen or in an exhibition. Real Jobs test your ability to create appropriate designs, manage the demands of client work, and reflect on your efforts. But you get something employers tell us they really care about: experience in genuine professional practice.

Ephemera Society flyer

(An advertisement created by one of our students . Read more about their  "Real Job" experience working with the Ephemera Society.)

"When we are looking through the portfolios we want to know if someone has an understanding for business, if they can solve problems. The degree course teaches you about design, but the Real Jobs teach you how design works.Client contact is the really big thing … learning how to talk to them, get briefs from them and working with timelines."

Emma Beckingsale

Graduated from Reading in 2016 and now works as a Junior Designer for Air Design


Placements offer an exciting way to enhance work-related skills, develop a network of contacts, strengthen career prospects and cultivate a specific field of professional interest. We encourage our students to seek out placement opportunities, especially between academic sessions.

Each year we send a group of students on paid internships to the University's design studio.

"Through schemes like Real Jobs and internal internship opportunities, I was able to gain a better understanding of the industry and the challenges and rewards it brings. Being able to apply learning to a real world setting helped build my confidence, develop my interpersonal skills and expand my technical knowledge."

Emma Beckingsale

BA Graphic Communication

We also host the annual Vince Ma Prize, awarded to three high performing students in year 2. Gold, silver and bronze prizes are given, which include summer placements for gold and silver winners in London at Design Portfolio.

"Overall, working at Design Portfolio was an invaluable experience, and taught us a lot. We've realised that even within a corporate design agency, the diversity in their jobs and clients provides an abundance of new and interesting challenges to a designer, which definitely builds versatility. Although we did not imagine a placement to be so enriching, we can now see why they are encouraged since the end of first year, and would in turn definitely recommend applying for one even if you are not 100% sure of what area of design you would like to pursue."

Louise Lee

BA Graphic Communication

Year In Industry

For students seeking a longer and more intensive experience of professional practice, our undergraduate course enables you to work for a year in industry. Positioned between the second and third year of the course, the experience will benefit you when you return to study and can give you a platform for taking your career in a specific direction.

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