Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. Its founder, Prince Albert, envisioned a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Imperial Institute. His wife, Queen Victoria, laid the foundation stone for the Imperial Institute in 1888. In 1907, the college joined the University of London, before leaving it a century later. In 1988, the Imperial College School of Medicine was formed through a merger with St Mary's Hospital Medical School, and then in 1997 with Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.
The main campus is located in South Kensington, with a new innovation campus in White City. Imperial is organised through faculties of science, engineering, medicine and business. The university's emphasis is on technology and its practical application.
In 2018-19, Imperial is ranked 8th globally and first in London in both of the THE World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings, as well as 27th globally in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Imperial is ranked as the second most difficult university to get into in the UK by The Complete University Guide. It was ranked also ranked by Reuters as the most innovative university in Europe. Staff and alumni include 14 Nobel laureates, 3 Fields Medalists, 74 Fellows of the Royal Society, 84 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and 85 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
The Great Exhibition in 1851 was organised by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Fuller and members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. The Great Exhibition made a surplus of £186,000 used in creating an area in the South of Kensington encouraging art and science for the public. Prince Albert's vision developed a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Geological Museum, Royal College of Science, Royal College of Art, Royal School of Mines, Royal College of Music, Royal College of Organists, Royal School of Needlework, Royal Geographical Society, Institute of Recorded Sound, Royal Horticultural Gardens, Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute. Several royal colleges and the Imperial Institute merged to form what is now Imperial College London.
Royal School of Mines
CC BY-SA 4.0
The Royal College of Chemistry was established in 1845 by subscription as a necessary national resource for industrial and technical development. Royal patronage came from Prince Albert, who was President of the Council. The founders, John Lloyd Bullock and John Gardner appointed August Wilhelm Hofmann as the first Professor. He held the post until returning to Germany in 1865.
The Royal School of Mines was established by Sir Henry de la Beche in 1851, developing from the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment. De la Beche created a school which laid the foundations for the teaching of science in Britain. Prince Albert was a patron and supporter of the later developments in science teaching, which led to the Royal College of Chemistry becoming part of the Royal School of Mines, and to the creation of the Royal College of Science and eventually to these institutions becoming part of his plan for South Kensington being an educational region.
The Royal College of Science, established in 1881, was a higher education institution located in South Kensington; it was a constituent college of Imperial College London from 1907 until it was wholly absorbed by Imperial in 2002. Famous alumni include H. G. Wells and are distinguishable by the letters ARCS (Associate of the Royal College of Science) after their name. Organisations linked with the college include the Royal College of Science Union and the Royal College of Science Association.
The Imperial Institute was created in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee to promote research in support of industry throughout the British Empire. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1888 and opened the building in 1893. It was administered by a Governing body with the then Prince of Wales as President. The Imperial Institute was designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt in the neo-renaissance style. It was 700 feet long with a central tower . It contained a library, laboratories, conference rooms and exhibition galleries with gardens at the rear.
In 1907, the Board of Education found that greater capacity for higher technical education was needed and a proposal to merge the Royal School of Mines, the Royal College of Science, and City and Guilds College, was approved and passed, creating The Imperial College of Science and Technology as a constituent college of the University of London. Imperial's Royal Charter, granted by Edward VII, was officially signed on 8 July 1907. The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.
Imperial acquired Silwood Park in 1947, to provide a site for research and teaching in those aspects of biology not well suited for the main London campus. On 29 January 1950, the government announced that it was intended that Imperial should expand to meet the scientific and technological challenges of the 20th century and a major expansion of the college followed over the next decade. In 1959 the Wolfson Foundation donated £350,000 for the establishment of a new Biochemistry Department. A special relationship between Imperial and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi was established in 1963.
The Department of Management Science was created in 1971 and the Associated Studies Department was established in 1972. The Humanities Department was opened in 1980, formed from the Associated Studies and History of Science departments.
In 1988, Imperial merged with St Mary's Hospital Medical School, becoming The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. In 1995, Imperial launched its own academic publishing house, Imperial College Press, in partnership with World Scientific. Imperial merged with the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1995 and the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, Royal Postgraduate Medical School and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1997. In the same year the Imperial College School of Medicine was formally established and all of the property of Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, the National Heart and Lung Institute and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School were transferred to Imperial as the result of the Imperial College Act 1997. In 1998, the Sir Alexander Fleming Building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II to provide a headquarters for the college's medical and biomedical research.
Imperial College Business School
In 2000, Imperial merged with both the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Wye College, the University of London's agricultural college in Wye, Kent, which later closed.
In 2003 Imperial was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right by the Privy Council. The London Centre for Nanotechnology was established in the same year as a joint venture between UCL and Imperial College London.
In 2004 the Tanaka Business School and a new Main Entrance on Exhibition Road were opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The UK Energy Research Centre was also established in 2004 and opened its headquarters at Imperial. In 2008, the Tanaka Business School was renamed the Imperial College Business School.
In November 2005 the Faculties of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences merged to become the Faculty of Natural Sciences. On 9 December 2005, Imperial announced that it would commence negotiations to secede from the University of London. Imperial became fully independent of the University of London in July 2007. In July 2008 the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics was opened in the Materials department.
In April 2011, Imperial and King's College London joined the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation as partners with a commitment of £40 million each to the project. The centre was later renamed the Francis Crick Institute and opened on 9 November 2016. It the largest single biomedical laboratory in Europe. In 2014 the Dyson School of Design Engineering was opened following a £12m donation by the James Dyson Foundation, along with courses such as the MEng in Design Engineering.
Natural History Museum Adjacent
CC BY-SA 4.0
Imperial's main campus is located in South Kensington, within central London. The university is located steps away from world-class cultural attractions, restaurant and music venues. Cultural landmarks within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea include:
A second major campus is under construction in the White City area of London. The White City Campus innovation hub will house new research facilities, space for spin-off entrepreneurial companies as well as student accommodation.
In addition to its original South Kensington campus, Imperial has teaching hospitals across London and an ecological research centre:
Charing Cross Campus, Hammersmith
A medical teaching and research campus based around Charing Cross Hospital. Facilities include a campus library, cafe and fitness gym.
Chelsea and Westminster Campus
A medical teaching and research campus based around Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Facilities include a campus library.
Hammersmith Campus, East Acton
A medical teaching and research campus based around Hammersmith Hospital. Facilities include a campus library, catering outlets and sports facilities.
Royal Brompton Campus, Chelsea
A medical teaching and research campus based around the Royal Brompton Hospital. Facilities include a campus library.
St Mary's Campus, Paddington
A medical teaching and research campus based around St. Mary's Hospital. Facilities include a campus library and sports facilities.
A postgraduate campus of Imperial located in the village of Sunninghill near Ascot in Berkshire. The Silwood Park campus includes a centre for research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation set in 100 ha of parkland where ecological field experiments are conducted.
Organisation and administration
Faculties and departments
Imperial is organised through a network of faculties and departments:
Faculty of Engineering -
Faculty of Natural Sciences
- Aeronautics Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil & Environmental Engineering
- Design engineering
- Earth Science & Engineering
- Electrical & Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Medicine -
- Surgery and Cancer
- Institute of Clinical Sciences
- National Heart and Lung Institute
- School of Public Health
- Centre for Environmental Policy
- Life Sciences
Imperial College Business School -
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The Francis Crick Institute
CC BY-SA 4.0
Imperial hosts cross-departmental centres that have been established to promote inter-disciplinary work.
- Energy Futures Laboratory
- Gandhi Centre for Inclusive Innovation
- Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment
- Institute for Security Science and Technology
- Institute of Global Health Innovation
- Data Science Institute
- Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering
- Francis Crick Institute
The highest academic official of Imperial College London is the President and Rector. The Rector is the chief executive, elected by the Council of the college and Chairman of the Senate. The position has been held by Alice Gast, an American chemical engineer, since September 2014.
In 2012, the additional post of Provost was created. James Stirling became the first Provost of Imperial College London in August 2013.
The council is the governing body of Imperial, it consists of 23 members including the Chairman, the President, the Provost, the President of the Imperial College Union, 4 members of senior staff, and between 9 and 13 lay members who are not employees of Imperial. The current Chair is Sir Philip Dilley.
Finances and endowment
Graduation in the Royal Albert Hall
In 2016/17, Imperial had a total income of £991.2 million. It has the eighth largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, and the second largest of the universities in London. The college's endowment is sub-divided into three distinct portfolios: Unitised Scheme – a unit trust vehicle for college, Faculties and Departments to invest endowments and unfettered income to produce returns for the long term; (ii) Non-Core Property – a portfolio containing around 120 operational and developmental properties which college has determined are not core to the academic mission; and (iii) Strategic Asset Investments – containing college’s shareholding in Imperial Innovations and other restricted equity holdings.
Affiliations and partnerships
Imperial is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, European University Association, Global Alliance of Technological Universities, League of European Research Universities and the Russell Group. It is a founding member of the Imperial College academic health sciences centre, the Francis Crick Institute and MedCity.
CC BY-SA 4.0
World & Europe
Imperial is ranked 8th worldwide overall by the 2018 Times Higher Education ranking, as well as 3rd in Europe and in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge 1st in London. Within the same ranking, Imperial is 4th worldwide in medicine, 9th in natural sciences and mathematics, 9th in computing, 10th in engineering and technology as well as 10th in life sciences.
The college is ranked 8th worldwide by the 2019 QS Top Universities Ranking overall, as well as 4th in Europe (after Oxbridge and ETH Zürich), 3rd in the UK (after Oxbridge) and 1st in London. By the same ranking in 2018, Imperial is 6th worldwide in engineering and technology (including 3rd worldwide in civil engineering, 5th in electrical and electronic engineering, 7th in chemical engineering, 8th in mechanical and aeronautical engineering as well as 12th in computing), 10th in natural sciences (including 9th worldwide in environmental sciences, 10th in mathematics, 11th in materials science, 11th in physics and astronomy, 13th in chemistry and 23th in Earth science) as well as 11th in life sciences and medicine (including 11th worldwide in medicine, 17th in pharmacology and 19th in biological sciences).
Imperial consistently scores strongly in the UK university rankings and is ranked 4th in the 2016 Times Higher Education "Table of Tables" which combines the results of the 3 main domestic league tables. In the 2016 Complete University Guide, all 14 of the subjects offered by Imperial were ranked top 10 nationally meaning it was one of only two mainstream universities (along with the University of Cambridge) in the UK to have all subjects ranked in the top 10.
Imperial ranked 1st in London and 3rd in the UK in the US News & World Report Global Rankings.
In 2017, Imperial has been awarded the Gold Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), judging that Imperial "delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students" and that it "is of the highest quality found in the UK".
According to both the 2016 Guardian University Guide and the Complete University Guide, students were ranked as having the top employment prospects among UK universities. As of 2014 the average starting salary of a graduate was the highest of any UK university. The New York Times ranked Imperial College as one of the top 10 most-welcomed universities by the global job market.
Imperial submitted a total of 1,257 staff across 14 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment.
This found that 91% of Imperial's research is “world-leading” (46% achieved the highest possible 4* score) or “internationally excellent” (44% achieved 3*), giving an overall GPA of 3.36. In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results Imperial was ranked 2nd overall.
Imperial actively encourages its staff to commercialise their research and as a result has given rise to a large number of spin-out companies based on academic research. Imperial has a dedicated technology transfer company, Imperial Innovations.
Imperial College London has a long term partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In January 2018, the mathematics department of Imperial and the French National Center for Scientific Research launched a joint research laboratory of mathematics – UMI Abraham de Moivre –aiming to tackle the most challenging problems still unsolved and to build a bridge between the British and French scientific knowledges, based on the South Kensington campus of Imperial. The Fields medallists Cédric Villani and Martin Hairer hosted the launch presentation.
For its research on Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis, Imperial hosts the largest brain bank in the world consisting of 296 brains.
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Applications 20,395 19,200 18,205 16,570 15,315
Offer Rate 43.6 46.2 50.7 53.6 54.4
Enrols 2,715 2,545 2,630 2,515 2,425
Yield (%) 30.5 28.7 28.5 28.3 29.1
Applicant/Enrolled Ratio 7.51 7.54 6.92 6.59 6.32
Average Entry Tariff n/a 219 552 567 566
For 2016 entry, the acceptance rate was 13.0% for undergraduates and 16.2% for postgraduates. At undergraduate level, there is roughly 1 place for 8 candidates. For 2016 entry, the domain with the lowest acceptance rate was Mechanical Engineering (11.5:1 ratio). The highest was Bioengineering (3.7:1). By way of example, acceptance ratio in Mathematics was of 9.3:1, in Medicine 8.6:1, in Chemical Engineering 8.3:1 and in Physics 6.7:1.
In 2018, Imperial was ranked as the 2nd most hard university to get into in the UK by The Complete University Guide after Cambridge, with new entrants having an average UCAS tariff of 219.
Imperial is the most international university in the United Kingdom, with 50% of students from the UK, 16% of students from the EU, and 34% of students from outside the UK or EU. The student body is 39% female and 61% male. 36.5% of Imperial's undergraduates are privately educated, the fourth highest proportion amongst mainstream British universities.
Sir Alexander Fleming Building Opened by Queen Elizabeth II
The Imperial Faculty of Medicine was formed through mergers between Imperial and the St Mary's, Charing Cross and Westminster, and Royal Postgraduate medical schools and has six teaching hospitals. It accepts more than 300 undergraduate medical students per year and has around 321 taught and 700 research full-time equivalent postgraduate students.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust was formed on 1 October 2007 by the merger of Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust and St Mary's NHS Trust (St. Mary's Hospital and Western Eye Hospital) with Imperial College London Faculty of Medicine. It is an academic health science centre and manages five hospitals: Charing Cross Hospital, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, and Western Eye Hospital. The Trust is currently one of the largest in the UK and in 2012/13 had a turnover of £971.3 million, employed approximately 9,770 people and treated almost 1.2 million patients.
Other (non-academic health science centres) hospitals affiliated with Imperial College include Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, West Middlesex University Hospital, Hillingdon Hospital, Mount Vernon Hospital, Harefield Hospital, Ealing Hospital, Central Middlesex Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital, St. Mark's Hospital, St Charles' Hospital and St Peter's Hospital.
Wye campus sale
Wye College, an agricultural college in Wye, Kent (closed in 2004)
Imperial acquired Wye College in 2000, which is set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was rapidly dismantled, causing controversy, particularly a plan for substantial redevelopment in the area, with adverse environmental implications. A local campaign secured the overthrow of the scheme, following which the Wye campus was closed in September 2009. The Wye campus, some of it dating back to the 15th century, is currently vacant and available for sale or rent.
Accusations of bullying
In 2003, it was reported that one third of female academics "believe that discrimination or bullying by managers has held back their careers". It was said then that "A spokesman for Imperial said the college was acting on the recommendations and had already made changes". Nevertheless, allegations of bullying have continued. In 2007, concerns were raised about the methods that were being used to fire people in the Faculty of Medicine. In 2014, Stefan Grimm, of the Department of Medicine, was found dead after being threatened with dismissal for failure to raise enough grant money. Grimm's last email accused his employers of bullying by demanding that he should get grants worth at least £200,000 per year. The College announced an internal inquiry into Stefan Grimm's death, and found that the performance metrics for his position were unreasonable, with new metrics for performance being needed.
For the academic year, Imperial had a total full-time student body of, consisting of undergraduate students and postgraduates. 50.7% of the student body is from outside of the UK. 32% of all full-time students came from outside the European Union in 2013-14, and around 13% of the International students had Chinese nationality in 2007-08.
Imperial's male–female ratio for undergraduate students is uneven at approximately 64:36 overall and 5:1 or higher in some engineering courses. However, medicine has an approximate 1:1 ratio with biology degrees tending to be higher.
Imperial College Union
Imperial College Union is the students' union and is run by five full-time sabbatical officers elected from the student body for a tenure of one year, and a number of permanent members of staff. The Union is given a large subvention by the university, much of which is spent on maintaining around 300 clubs, projects and societies. Examples of notable student groups and projects are Project Nepal which sends Imperial College students to work on educational development programmes in rural Nepal and the El Salvador Project, a construction based project in Central America. The Union also hosts sports-related clubs such as Imperial College Boat Club and Imperial College Gliding Club.
The Union operates on two sites; Beit Hall, South Kensington and Reynold's, Hammersmith.
Sports facilities at Imperial's London campuses include four gyms, two swimming pools and two sports halls. Imperial has additional sports facilities at the Heston and Harlington sports grounds.
On the South Kensington campus, there are a total of six music practice rooms which consist of upright pianos for usage by people of any grade, and grand pianos which are exclusively for people who have achieved Grade 8 or above.
There are two student bars on the South Kensington campus, one at the Imperial College Union and one at Eastside.
The central library is open all hours, except between Friday at 23:00 and Saturday at 10:00. Imperial College London began refurbishment works for two floors of the central library in 2017 to improve the cooling and ventilation systems.
Farmers' Market at Prince's Gardens
CC BY-SA 4.0
Imperial College Radio
Imperial College Radio was founded in November 1975 with the intention of broadcasting to the student halls of residence from a studio under Southside, actually commencing broadcasts in late 1976. It now broadcasts from the West Basement of Beit Quad over the internet.
Imperial College TV
Imperial College TV (ICTV) is Imperial College Union's TV station, founded in 1969 and operated from a small TV studio in the Electrical Engineering block. The department had bought an early AMPEX Type A 1-inch videotape recorder and this was used to produce an occasional short news programme which was then played to students by simply moving the VTR and a monitor into a common room. A cable link to the Southside halls of residence was laid in a tunnel under Exhibition Road in 1972. Besides the news, early productions included a film of the Queen opening what was then called College Block.
Felix is weekly student newspaper, first released on 9 December 1949. In addition to news, Felix also carries comic strips, features, opinions, puzzles and reviews, plus reports of trips and Imperial College sporting events.
Imperial College Boat Club
The Imperial College Boat Club is the rowing club of Imperial and was founded on 12 December 1919. The club has a number of notable accolades, such as three alumni of the college in the gold medal winning GB 8+ at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, along with their coach Martin McElroy. The club has been highly successful, with many wins at Henley Royal Regatta.
Imperial's Exploration Board was established in 1957 to assist students with a desire for exploration. Trips have included Afghanistan, Alaska, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Fiji, the Himalayas, Iran, Morocco, Norway, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine, and the Yukon.
The Imperial College Dramatic Society (ICDS or DramSoc) is one of two major theatrical arts societies, with the other being the Musical Theatre Society, and it was founded in 1912. The society puts on three major plays each year, in addition to several smaller fringe productions. It is additionally one the London-based dramatic societies to participate in the London Student Drama Festival, and regularly attends the Edinburgh Fringe. ICDS is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the Union's theatrical space, the Union Concert Hall.
South Kensington Farmers' Market has a lovely location on Imperial's campus at Queen's Lawn or on Prince's Gardens. It is open to everyone and on Tuesdays; everything from the market either comes straight from the farm or uses local, sustainable ingredients. Lots of choices for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Enjoy fresh vegetables, bread, fruit, juice and more.
Bars and Pubs
There are a number of popular pubs and bars on campus and also surrounding the campus, which become a popular social activity for Imperial's students. The Pewter tankard collection at Imperial College Union is the largest in Europe, with the majority of clubs and societies having tankards associated with their clubs.
CC BY-SA 4.0
Imperial College owns and manages twenty one halls of residence in Inner London, Ealing, Ascot and Wye. Over three thousand rooms are available, guaranteeing first year undergraduates a place in College residences.
The majority of halls offer single or twin accommodation with some rooms having en suite facilities. Study bedrooms are provided with basic furniture and with access to shared kitchens and bathrooms. The majority of rooms come with internet access and access to the Imperial network. Most of them are considered among the newest student halls at London universities.
Most students in college or university accommodation are first-year undergraduates, since they are granted a room once they have selected Imperial as their firm offer at UCAS. The majority of older students and postgraduates find accommodation in the private sector, help for which is provided by the college private housing office. However a handful of students may continue to live in halls in later years if they take the position of a "hall senior". Some students also live in International Students House, London.
List of Halls of Residence:
- South Kensington Village
- * Beit Hall
- * Garden Hall
- * Weeks Hall
- * Eastside
- ** Linstead Hall
- ** Gabor Hall
- ** Wilkinson Hall
- * Southside
- ** Falmouth Hall
- ** Selkirk Hall
- ** Tizard Hall
- ** Keogh Hall
- Evelyn Gardens
- * Bernard Sunley Hall
- * Fisher Hall
- * Holbein Hall
- * Southwell Hall
- * Willis Jackson Hall
- Wilson House
- Orient House
- Parsons House
- Pembridge Hall