How to apply for a Government Social Research sandwich student placement

The Government Economic and Social Research (GESR) Team run a 12-month sandwich student placement scheme aimed at students who are seriously considering a career in the Government Social Research (GSR) profession after graduation.



The Government Social Research (GSR) Sandwich Student Placement is now closed.

Please register to be notified when the scheme opens again in Autumn 2024.

Are you a social science undergraduate in your penultimate year? Do you want to gain practical experience and use your research skills to make a difference? Join the UK Government for a paid student placement.   

You would spend a year working alongside social researchers and policy officials before returning to your studies. The job could involve analysing research data to help government decision making, evaluating the impact of policies, and providing social research advice to help shape government strategy.  

Placement students also get a priority interview for a government role upon graduation and many return to work for us.  


London: £25,000 minimum (salaries vary according to department and location) 

Nationwide: £20,000 minimum (salaries vary according to department and location) 


Birmingham, Cardiff, Darlington Edinburgh, Glasgow, Harrogate, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Salford, Sheffield, Treforest, Wolverhampton (locations vary according to department)

About Government Social Research 

We are the professional body for social researchers in the Civil Service. Our Social Researchers study and analyse various aspects of society, like people’s behaviour, opinions, and needs. This then helps the government make informed decisions. We recruit students, graduates, and apprentices to work in over 30 departments across the UK.

Eligibility Requirements

This scheme is only open to students in their penultimate year of undergraduate study (i.e., year before the final year of study) and who are on track for a 2:1 or 1st class degree, as indicated by exam results of your first year.

To be eligible applicants must be studying for a degree which contains a minimum of 30% in social research methods in your overall degree content, your degree must include quantitative research methods (i.e., research design, data collection (i.e., questionnaire design, sampling, weighting), and data analysis (e.g., statistical analysis, interpretation)) as well as three out of the following five areas:

  1. qualitative methods, including research design, data collection (i.e., interviewing, focus groups, ethnographic), data analysis (e.g., thematic analysis)
  2. study design, hypothesis formation, testing and evaluation
  3. systematic/literature review
  4. interpretation of data (qualitative & quantitative), presentation of results, provision of recommendations/ conclusions
  5. application of ethics to research

Individuals will also need to demonstrate that they meet the relevant immigration requirements and their eligibility under the Civil Service Nationality Rules (CSNRs). Nationality requirements are explained in more detail on the Civil Service nationality rules webpage.

More information on the eligibility criteria, can be found at the top of this page in the attached Application Guidance Notes, along with a 2024-25 Job Descriptions pack from individual government departments.

How to Apply

The GSR 2024-25 Sandwich Student Placement scheme is now closed.

2024-25 Candidates who are successful at the sift stage will be randomly allocated to any of the participating departments.

Candidates who are unsuccessful at the sift stage will not be given any feedback or comments. If you do not hear from us within 2 months of the closing date, please assume your application has been unsuccessful.

Please note that some departments require candidates to have a UK footprint for 3 years in order to get security clearance.


Candidates who are successful at the sift stage for the 2024-2025 scheme will be invited for interview at one of the participating Departments. Interviews will take place in November and December 2023 and will be conducted virtually.

Re-join GSR after your placement

As part of the scheme, we have included an enhancement to the already successful sandwich placement scheme by making an offer of a permanent contract (subject security clearance) to those students to take up upon graduation (in their placement department where possible or another government department) and who:

  • are on track for a minimum 2:1 degree containing at least 30% in social research methods

  • are assessed to have successfully completed their placement by their line managers

  • have passed a Civil Service Social Research Assessment Centre (SRAC) towards the end of their placement

  • have the right to work in the UK

This means that the placement scheme is now a gateway to a career as a government social researcher.

Please note: Some departments may not be able to offer a permanent contract if successful at SRAC and you will be informed of this, should this be the case.

Equal Opportunities

The Civil Service is an Equal Opportunities employer. Candidates with disabilities (as defined in the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act) can choose to declare on their application form that they require adjustments at interview, for which we can make a range of provisions. Please contact us should you have any questions regarding this – we would be happy to help.

We are interested in your skills and aptitudes. We have no preferences for particular backgrounds or universities. We want to reflect the diversity of the country we serve.

Social media

Please follow our social media accounts to keep up to date with relevant information.





Complaints procedure

Complaints must be submitted in writing or email and addressed to:

Head of GESR Recruitment,
GESR Team, 1 Blue,
HM Treasury,
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ

Please provide the fullest account possible of the circumstances surrounding your complaint.

If you do not submit your complaint within a year after the campaign took place, we will not be obliged to consider it.

Our commitment to you

  • we will aim to acknowledge your complaint within three working days of its receipt
  • we will take your complaint seriously, give it high priority and investigate it fully and impartially
  • we will aim to send you a full written response to your complaint within 20 working days of its receipt. If this is not possible, we will let you know, and explain why
  • if your complaint is upheld, we shall take action to ensure that the event complained does not recur
  • if your complaint is not upheld, we will advise you of options for pursuing it further, should you wish to do so

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

The GSR Code is an addendum to the Civil Service code. The purpose of the GSR Code is to set out the GSR’s additional professional standards of behaviour.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Updates to this page

Published 16 September 2015
Last updated 24 October 2023 + show all updates
  1. The Government Social Research sandwich student placement has now closed.

  2. The online Q&A session for applicants will now take place on Thursday 12 October 2023, 1-1.45pm.

  3. Link to Civil Service jobs advert added.

  4. The details section has been expanded to include the month the scheme opens (October 2023).

  5. Scheme closed at 11.55am on Monday 24 October - link to application form on Civil Service Jobs Website removed.

  6. Application deadline extended to 11.55 am on Monday 24 October 2022 and 2023 Job description pack updated.

  7. Added link to CS jobs for applying

  8. 2023 to 2024 scheme application due to be open date of 3rd October added. Plus new 2023 Application Guidance notes.

  9. 2022-23 scheme now closed for applications.

  10. Scheme timetable in Guidance Notes amended to show extended application deadline of 16.55pm on 18 October 2021

  11. Scheme deadline for applications has been extended to 16.55pm on Monday 18 October 2021

  12. Job descriptions updated

  13. 2022-23 Vacancy open from 4 to 15 Oct 2021 at 11.55am - Civil Service Jobs reference number provided

  14. 2022 to 2023 scheme will open for applications the week commencing 4th October 2021.

  15. 2021-22 scheme closed for applications at 4pm on 18 November 2020

  16. The GSR Sandwich Student Placements 2021-22 scheme is now open. Including Application guidance notes and Job Descriptions

  17. Updated with details of the 2020-2021 scheme

  18. The scheme is now closed and the Application Form has been removed.

  19. The information on the 2019-20 scheme has now been added

  20. GSR 2018/19 application form, job descriptions and application guidance has been added

  21. Information for GSR Sandwich Student Placements 2018-19 has been added

  22. The Government Social Research 2017-18 sandwich student placement scheme is now closed.

  23. CoP has been added to the application form and job description.

  24. HMRC job description has been added.

  25. scheme opening date has been added. application form in word format and sample job descriptions have also been added.

  26. Information on how to apply for a 2017-18 Government Social Research sandwich student placement

  27. First published.

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