Placements Placements and Projects

Find out about JCU's Placements and Projects

One of the ways you can future-proof your career is through hands-on practical experiences. That’s why placements, projects and fieldwork are an important part of JCU’s learning and teaching approach.

JCU offers varied and exciting opportunities. We support over 5000 student placements each year in organisations such as Education Queensland, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Queensland Health, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority.

Depending on your area of study you may take part in:

  • Student placements or fieldwork
  • Projects
  • Simulations and virtual experiences (VE)
  • Vacation Practice (Engineering students only)

Discover more in Examples by study area and on our Placement essentials for current students page.

Student placements are hands-on practical experiences that take place in clinical, business, industry and community settings.

Placements are subjects, or part of subjects, that count towards your degree. They are approved by JCU, and they usually take place off-campus.

Placements and field education in your final year of study give you the opportunity to develop additional skills that help you transition from study to work. You may also be able to undertake a placement earlier in your course. An early placement is often part of a professionally accredited degree, and offers opportunities for observation and orientation.

Fieldwork develops your skills through real-life experiences and first-hand observation. Over 100 different subjects offer fieldwork, and over 1000 JCU students take part in a field trip each year. It takes you out of a laboratory or classroom and into the natural environment to conduct your research and learning.

Fieldwork at JCU takes place in diverse locations such as the Orpheus Island Research Centre in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, our ‘classroom in the rainforest’, situated in the Daintree National Park, and our research station in the outback.

JCU has a wide range of projects that are designed to give you valuable hands-on experience. Independent projects may require you to present a project proposal, while other projects are offered to JCU’s students by our business, industry and community partners. Projects may include economic, social, cultural or scientific problems that require analytical investigation and creative solutions.

Taking part in a group project is another practical way to prepare for your future. Group projects often involve working with students from other study areas. Our projects are designed to reflect the workplace environment and highlight different skill sets. Examples of these multi-disciplinary projects include: the JCU Townsville Fire basketball grant funding project, and the Anglicare affordable housing feasibility project.

IT@JCU demonstrates how effective partnerships and hands-on experience are embedded in the curriculum; students work with our partners and use design thinking and agile processes to solve real-life problems through collaborative design and teamwork.

A simulation is an activity that uses a model or reproduction of a workplace or other real-world environment.

Examples at JCU include:

  • Law students: practice your legal arguments in Mooting/Moot courts
  • Nursing students: learn practical skills using state-of-the-art patient simulation
  • Dentistry students: practice clinical skills on simulated patient dummies

VE - virtual experiences

Virtual and augmented reality, also known as immersive technology, is changing the learning environment. At JCU we have staff who teach using this technology, we have teams researching for the future, and we have students developing AR and VR experiences as part of their degrees.

Engineering students participate in a 12-week (60 day) paid vacation practice (‘Vac Prac’), which consists of a placement in an engineering organisation's unit/department, in student's area of specialisation, and undertaken in the university vacation period. This is a requirement of Engineers Australia, the accrediting body.

Industry organisations generally advertise Vac Prac to second and third year students, and is designed to give students relevant, hands-on training that boosts a CV and opens the door to networking and employment opportunities.

To learn more about placement in engineering, please visit the LearnJCU Organisation site, 'Engineering: Work Integrated Learning and Professional Practice'.  If this org site does not appear for you, please email and request to be added to the site.

You may be able to take all or part of your student placement experience in an overseas location, for example:

  • Education: Service Learning students study in Cambodia, download the pdf to find out more about our service learning subject.
  • Journalism and Arts students work on-location in Samoa.
  • Law students: work with human rights organisations in Cambodia and Thailand
  • Language students: advanced learning experiences in France, Italy, Germany, Japan, New Caledonia and Vanuatu
  • Business students: take your internship in Vanuatu
  • Nursing students: overseas options include PNG on the hospital nursing ship
  • Occupational Therapy students: study in Sweden or Vietnam
  • Social Science students: study options include experiences in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and PNG
  • Social Work students: field placements in India
  • Tropical biology: field studies in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
  • Dentistry students: study options include Taiwan and Japan
  • Medicine and Dentistry students: clinical placements in the Solomon Islands
  • Veterinary students: Join the Australia-Thailand Veterinary Disease Management Program (ATVDMP)

Classroom in the Rainforest

Education Alumni, High School Teacher

Field Trip to the Great Barrier Reef