A sandwich degree is a course specific to the United Kingdom. A thick sandwich degree is either a four-year undergraduate course as part of a bachelor's degree, or a five-year postgraduate course as part of a master's degree, and involves a placement year or internship in industry, normally after the second year at university. A thin sandwich degree involves multiple shorter placement or internship periods rather than an unbroken year.
The concept was first articulated in a 1945 report by the Ministry of Education which advocated those attending courses at technical colleges would receive a new kind of education in which theoretical studies and industrial training would be interwoven.:11 The term "sandwich" was used in a 1950 National Advisory Council on Education for Industry and Commerce report on possible developments within the further education sector.:13 During the early 1950s, sandwich course proposals were formulated involving the close association of industry and colleges, encouraging movement of students and researchers between academia and industry.:14-15 Growth of sandwich courses was encouraged by a Ministry of Education white paper on Technical Education 1956.:16-17
The Newcastle Polytechnic Bachelor of Arts degree in "Design for Industry" starting in 1953 was an early example of this kind, formerly a three-year "Industrial Design" degree. The new course with two additional terms for industrial placements, extended the degree to four years and popularised the term "sandwich course". Alumni include Rick Dickinson of Sinclair and Jony Ive of Apple.
During 1989 in the United Kingdom, about 20% of the students in higher education were on sandwich courses. By 2002 this had dropped to 9.5 percent and by 2010 7.2 percent. Enrollments were growing again by 2014/15.
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