Become a Dstl graduate or student

Scratch the surface and experience innovation first-hand at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Graduate opportunities

You could be one of roughly 120 graduates we recruit each year.

Start your career in one of 2 ways:

  • enter a graduate scheme
  • join a specific role

If you enter a graduate scheme, you’ll spend 2 years experiencing hands on training and development on different projects - some of which rotate depending on the division you’re working with, and could also include an industrial placement abroad!

If you join a specific role, your growth and development will be tailored to that role, empowering you to succeed.

Whichever way you join Dstl, you’ll benefit from working with experienced peers as well as each other. Your learning and development doesn’t stop after 2 years - we’ll encourage you to grow through mentorships, chartered programmes and accreditations.

Becoming part of Dstl, you’ll take pride in your work knowing your contributions have genuine impact.

Undergraduate opportunities

As an undergraduate, you can join us on one of the following schemes:

  • 1-year industrial placement
  • 10 to 12 week summer scheme

Whichever scheme you choose, you’ll gain essential practical experience (transferring theory to reality) within your degree discipline.

You’ll join one of our delivery teams experiencing growth and development on assigned tasks whilst learning and collaborating with your peers. Your contribution will be to bring fresh ideas to our projects and (depending on your placement area) be involved in any of the following:

  • Practical lab-based tasks
  • Supporting trials
  • Working in IT (helping to advance our research)

What you get out of it

You will:

  • gain personal development
  • benefit from valuable experience transitioning from university to the workplace
  • be rewarded with new skills
  • get job satisfaction
  • receive a salary of £21,131 (pro-rata for the duration of your placement)

Get sponsored

If you impress us enough with your talents during your placement, we could offer you a sponsorship opportunity. This means we will pay towards the remainder of your studies and you will be fast-tracked to the interview stage of a graduate opportunity when you finish your degree.

What we look for

We mainly look for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates who also have a positive and enthusiastic attitude (if you’ve already graduated, we can sometimes arrange an earlier start date too, depending on the role).

If you’ve not studied a STEM subject, but you’re a computer science hobby-ist, can code or have technical skills, we still want to hear from you. Just highlight this in your application!

We also offer career paths for project support officers looking to upskill and get into project management.

Where you will work

You’ll be based at Porton Down near Salisbury, or Portsdown West near Fareham, spending at least 70% of your time on site. This gives you the best chance to learn, grow and develop with peers and experienced professionals.

If you’re on a graduate scheme, an industry secondment could mean you’re in another location for about 6 months.

When you can apply

Our graduate vacancies go live on Civil Service Jobs between October and November to start the following year. If you miss the application cycle, you can apply next year instead.

How we will support you

When you join Dstl you’ll start to shape your career from day one, with ongoing support through:

  • collaboration with experienced professionals (internally, in industry and in academia)
  • internal and external events (including work-related conferences)
  • role-specific courses
  • our in-house graduate community
  • encouragement to belong at work

Our recruits in their own words

Hear from some more of our employees about their career paths and experiences working at Dstl:

Read more stories from the people inside Dstl.

Find out more about the benefits of working for us, and how we make Dstl a place where everyone can thrive, succeed and achieve their ambitions.

Published 25 August 2023
Last updated 22 November 2023 + show all updates
  1. Adverts for 2024 graduate opportunities have now closed.

  2. Project manager placement role removed.

  3. Summer and industrial placements closing today but graduate placements open today 16 October 2023.

  4. Project management placements extended until 16 October 2023.

  5. Now featuring on Dstl's homepage.

  6. Added links to latest summer and industrial student placements for undergraduates, taking place 2024 to 2025.

  7. First published.