About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is a science, engineering and business-focused university in the heart of central London. Founded in 1907, Imperial has grown to become a world-leader in science research and education, ranked 2nd in the world by the prestigious QS world university rankings. If you want to join an international university with an impressive Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) reputation, look no further than Imperial!  

What can you study at Imperial?

To apply to Imperial, you’ll need to decide what course you want to study there. The most obvious thing to consider is that Imperial is a STEM only university – you can’t study humanities or arts subjects. Within STEM, though, Imperial offers an impressive variety, from every kind of engineering under the sun to specialist degrees in biotechnology or joint maths and computing that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere. It offers unique Language for Science degrees where you can study a modern foreign language full-time alongside your STEM course, alongside options to study management and business in a similar way. You can also combine almost every course with a year abroad, year in industry (where you work in a business for a year) or an integrated Master’s degree. When we mention a degree here, we won’t go into every permutation, but the vast majority of degrees at Imperial have these options, so have a look!  

Interested? Read on to learn more about every degree Imperial offers to pick the best one for you! To help you choose, we’ll look at the courses linked to each of Imperial’s constituent unions, separate student unions for particular subject groups which link you with students studying similar subjects. As an undergraduate Imperial student, you’re automatically a member of your relevant constituent union, as well as Imperial College Union

City & Guilds College Union Courses 

The City & Guilds College Union (CGCU) includes anyone studying in the Faculty of Engineering (unless you’re part of the Department of Materials or the Department of Earth Science & Engineering, who make up the Royal School of Mines). The CGCU started life as the student community of the City & Guilds Institute, founded in 1878 to promote technical education in the UK before becoming part of Imperial. 

Students who are part of the CGCU study: 

– Aeronautics Engineering 

– Biomedical Engineering  

– Civil Engineering  

– Chemical Engineering 

– Design Engineering 

– Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Electronic and Information Engineering 

– Mechanical Engineering 

– Computing 

Imperial College School of Medicine Courses 

Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSMSU) is made up of students from the Faculty of Medicine. ICSMSU was founded when the students’ unions of the Charing Cross & Westminster, Royal Postgraduate, and St Mary’s Hospital Medical Schools merged between 1988 and 1997 to become part of Imperial College London. 

ICSMSU isn’t just medical students! ICSMSU students study: 

  • Medicine 
  • Medical Biosciences 
  • Intercalated BScs, special one-year degrees for medical students 

Royal College of Science Courses 

The Royal College of Science Union (RCSU) welcomes students from the Faculty of Natural Science. RCSU was founded in 1881 together with the Royal College of Science – and legend has it that famous science fiction writer HG Wells was the RCSU’s first student leader. 

RCSU students study: 

– Biology 

– Chemistry 

– Physics 

– Mathematics 

– Biochemistry 

– Biotechnology 

– Biological Sciences 

– Ecology and Environmental Sciences 

– Microbiology 

Royal School of Mines Courses 

The Royal School of Mines Union (RSMU) represents students from the Department of Materials and the Department of Earth Science & Engineering. Founded in 1851, the Royal School of Mines is dedicated to geology and metallurgy and its student union dates back to at least 1902. 

RSMU students study: 

  • Geology 
  • Earth and Planetary Science 
  • Geophysics 
  • Materials Science Science and Engineering 
  • Materials with Nuclear Engineering 
  • Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering 

Wow, that’s a lot of options, ranging from pretty specific courses to broad science degrees! There’s also a lot of vocational options: medicine might spring to mind, but courses like civil engineering are also preparing you for specific careers. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering how competitive Imperial’s courses are. There’s no denying that Imperial is a popular choice, but some courses are more popular than others. We’ve summed up the ten most popular choices to give you an idea of what people tend to apply to Imperial for. 

  1. Medicine – 5, 602 applicants in 2022-23 
  2. Computing – 4, 162 applicants in 2022-23 
  3. Mathematics – 3, 769 applicants in 2022-23 
  4. Life Sciences – 3, 141 applicants in 2022-23 
  5. Mechanical Engineering – 2, 024 applicants in 2022-23 
  6. Physics – 1, 966 applicants in 2022-23 
  7. Electrical and Electronic Engineering – 1, 876 applicants in 2022-23 
  8. Chemistry – 1, 456 applicants in 2022-23 
  9. Aeronautics –1, 403 applicants in 2022-23 
  10. Chemical Engineering – 763 applicants in 2022-23 

We’ve used the total applications received to show how popular certain courses are, but remember that some courses have more places than others – Earth Science and Engineering admitted just 96 students for 2023 entry (ie, people applying in 2022-23 before starting their course in September 202), while Life Sciences (which includes Biology and associated degrees) admitted 385, or almost 4 times as many. Also, courses are aggregated – Chemistry will include Chemistry with a Year Abroad or Year in Industry as well as undergraduate BSc and MSc degrees. 

As well as their popularity, remember that courses will have A level or equivalent entry requirements, on top of potentially entrance exams and interviews. Make sure you do your research and prepare properly to apply, rather than just applying to a ‘non-competitive’ course. 

Postgraduate Options 

As well as their undergraduate degrees, Imperial has plenty of options for students who’ve completed a degree and want to take their studies further. As well as intercalated Masters’ courses, which you apply to as an undergraduate, Imperial offers over 165 taught Masters’ courses across a wide variety of STEM subjects. The Business School also offers MBA, MSc and Executive programmes, often with a focus on technology and entrepreneurship. Imperial also hosts doctoral students – Imperial PhDs are typically research based, so they are very much tailored to an individual’s interests. If you’re interested in a PhD at Imperial, you would typically be approaching an individual supervisor on a personal level to explore the project you could undertake and how to find funding.