How to apply for a Government Social Research summer placement

Guidance for students who wish to apply for a place on the Government Social Research (GSR) summer student placement scheme.


GSR Summer scheme 2018 job descriptions

GSR summer placement 2018 guidance


The 2018 GSR summer vacation placement scheme is now closed as sufficient applications have been received..

The Government Social Research (GSR) summer student placement scheme is aimed at students who are considering a career in the GSR profession after graduation. The placements generally last for 6 - 12 weeks.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible you must:

  • be a UK national, Commonwealth citizen, a Swiss national, or a member of the European Economic Area
  • if a holder of a student visa, be allowed under the conditions of this visa to undertake a full-time paid placement in the UK without a work permit
  • be on course for a 2:1 or 1st class social science degree with a substantial social research component, or doing a Masters degree/Postgraduate Diploma in social science with a substantial social research component. Relevant social science disciplines include, but are not restricted to:

    • Area and Development Studies
    • Demography
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Environmental Planning
    • Human Geography
    • Linguistics
    • Management and Business Studies
    • Methods and Computing
    • Political Science and International Studies
    • Psychology
    • Science and Technology Studies
    • Social Anthropology
    • Social Policy
    • Social Work
    • Socio-Legal Studies
    • Sociology and Statistics

To be considered as including a substantial research methods component, applicants’ degree courses should include tuition on some or all of the following: research design, collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, reporting research results, understanding of the uses, strengths and limitations of various methods, interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data.

Students are not required to have undertaken research themselves as part of their degree course, but they should have gained an understanding of the principles and skills needed to design and conduct social research and to be able to critically evaluate research the methods, strategies and data used by social scientists.

Please note that due to the nature of work, the placements are not open to first year undergraduates or second year undergraduates at Scottish universities. If you have already graduated you would only be eligible immediately after graduation and if you have further study planned.

If you are unsure about whether you are eligible to apply for the scheme, the GESR team is happy for you to contact us with your queries before you submit your application. Our contact details are at the end.

Essential Information

If the following information is not submitted, applications will be discounted:

  • all modules of undergraduate degree/postgraduate degree/diploma studied thus far, including grades

  • number of credits allotted to each module and total number of credits taken thus far

  • research methods modules indicated on the appropriate column (Research methods) and a clear description of the research methods studied

Job descriptions are available above.

You must state your preferred department to be placed in. However, due to the large volume of applications you will not necessarily be placed in your preferred department.

If you have visa status you must send a copy of your visa with your application form to show it covers the period of the placement.

Application Process

You must submit you application using the correct application form which is available above. Do not send CVs or cover letters. Make sure you complete your form fully as incomplete forms will not be considered. Any applications sent before the opening date will not be considered.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications by the end of April.

Sift Process

Candidates who are successful at the sift stage will be considered for interviews at one of the participating Departments.

Candidates successful at the sift stage but not allocated to a department will be placed in a reserve pool. Occasionally, a department might withdraw from the scheme before placements are offered, and in such cases applicants allocated to that department will also be placed in the reserve pool.


At interview you will be tested on general competencies and social science knowledge.

Contact details

If you have any queries regarding the application form, or application process, please do not hesitate to contact us:

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.

Published 5 February 2016
Last updated 21 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. Details of the 2018 GSR summer scheme has now been advertised.
  2. The 2017 GSR summer vacation placement scheme has now closed.
  3. job description update
  4. Details of 2017 GSR summer scheme added
  5. First published.