Essential Architecture-  London

Imperial College




main campus is located on the boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster in London, with its front entrance on Exhibition Road.




'blood and bandage" Edwardian


stone and brick


  Queen's Tower and Royal School of Mines Entrance
Motto Scientia imperii decus et tutamen
Knowledge is the adornment and protection of the state
Established 1907
Type Public
Endowment £47 million
Rector Sir Richard Sykes
Staff 5,764 (2004/5)
Students 11,152 (2004/5)
Undergraduates 7,843
Postgraduates 3,309
Location London, England, UK
Campus Urban
Affiliations University of London, Russell Group, AMBA, IDEA League, ACU, 'Golden Triangle'

Imperial College London is a prestigious British academic institution focusing on science, engineering and medicine, complemented by a business school. Its main campus is located on the boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster in London, with its front entrance on Exhibition Road. Imperial is a constituent college of the University of London, though it is set to be become an independent university by 2007.


Imperial Institute, South Kensington
Imperial College was founded in 1907, with the merger of the City and Guilds College, the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science (all of which had been founded between 1845 and 1878) with these entities continuing to exist as constituent colleges. The college was granted a Royal Charter by Edward VII in July 1907.

In later years, St Mary's Hospital Medical school (1988), the National Heart and Lung institute (1995), and the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School (1997) merged into the Imperial College School of Medicine, the fourth constituent college. In 1997, the size of the Medical School was increased with the merger of Royal Postgraduate Medical School, and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In 2000, a merger with the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology expanded it even further.

Also in 2000, Imperial merged with Wye College, the University of London's agricultural college in Wye, Kent. It has been claimed that the merger may have been due to Imperial's wish to obtain the significant amount of land owned by Wye College, rather than for academic reasons; Wye College accepted the merger because it was in financial difficulties due to its uneconomically small size. The college announced a science park program in the Wye campus, totalling about £1 billion in investment, in December 2005. However revelations by a local investigative website resulted in the leak of official documents which showed the real investment was much smaller, less than £200 million, and the principal aims of the project were to raise £100 million in income by developing protected countryside designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with housing and commercial building. The plans have created enormous local opposition. At the same time Imperial have announced they are abandoning all undergraduate teaching in Wye and handing over the remaining business studies courses to the University of Kent.

In 2002, the constituent colleges were abolished in favour of a new faculty structure. A merger with University College London was proposed in October that year, but was called off a month later after protests from staff and students of both colleges.

In 2003, the college was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right by the Privy Council. Exercising this power would be incompatible with remaining in the federal University of London, and on 9 December 2005 Imperial announced that it was beginning negotiations to withdraw from the University [3]. It is anticipated that the college will become independent in time for its centenary celebrations in 2007. The first group of students to be awarded the Imperial College degree by default will start studies in 2008, but all current students will be offered the option of choosing to be awarded a London degree or an Imperial degree.

Imperial College is a member of the Russell Group of Universities, AMBA, and is one of the five members of the IDEA League. The college's official title is Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, which it used in public relations up to 2002.


Imperial College's activity is centered on its South Kensington campus which is located in the area with a high concentration of cultural and academic institutions known as Albertopolis; the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Art and the Royal Albert Hall are all nearby. Imperial College has two other major campuses – at Silwood Park (near Ascot in Berkshire) and at Wye (near Ashford in Kent). It also has medical campuses associated with various hospitals in Greater London, including St. Mary's Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital, Northwick Park & St. Mark's Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital. The expansion of the South Kensington campus in the 1960s absorbed the site of the former Imperial Institute, designed by Thomas Colcutt, of which only the 287-foot (85-metre) high Queen's Tower remains among the more modern buildings.

Currently there are extensive renovation being performed on many College buildings, particularly in time for the centenary celebrations in 2007. A £27m financial contribution to the college from alumnus Gary Tanaka in 2000 allowed the construction of a new building for the management school (now renamed the Tanaka Business School). The business school building provides the college with an official and imposing "Main Entrance" and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004.

In late 2005 the Southside hall of residence on Prince's Gardens was demolished to make way for a new, more modern, building which will be more in keeping with the surrounding buildings. This is part of an ongoing redevelopment of Prince's Gardens which will see other halls of residence on the square replaced and the gardens redeveloped.

In January 2006 the College's new sports centre, named Ethos, was opened for use by students and staff. The state-of-the-art centre was built at a cost of £17.5m and is currently free for all students to use the gym and pool facilities.

The Central Library, located at the South Kensington campus, also houses the Science Museum Library in addition to College texts.

Academic Structure
Imperial offers both undergraduate and postgraduate education, with its research and teaching organised into three faculties, each headed by a principal. The faculties are: Engineering, Medicine and Natural Sciences. In addition to the three faculties, a Business school exists as well as a Humanities department. However, the humanities department's main purpose is to provide elective subjects and language courses outside the fields of science for students in the other faculties and departments. Students are encouraged to take these classes either for credit or in their own time. Courses exist in a wide range of topics including philosophy; ethics in science and technology; history; modern literature and drama; art in the twentieth century; film studies. Language courses are available in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese and Urdu.

Academic Reputation
Imperial has been consistently ranked in the top three universities in the UK by newspaper league tables. Recent tables show that - despite being science-based - it is third overall, whilst topping most of the engineering and medicine tables. The Sunday Times and The Guardian both placed Imperial 3rd in the UK in 2005. The Financial Times placed Imperial College's Business School within the top 10 in Europe [4]. Imperial College's FT MBA is ranked number 1 in Europe, and within the top 3 globally, for Entrepreneurship. According to league tables published by the Times Higher Education Supplement 2005, Imperial was ranked the 13th university in the world, and 5th for engineering and IT (1st in Europe), 6th in the world for biomedicine and 10th for science.

Imperial was ranked as the 3rd best university in the UK by the Times 2007 University Guide. [5]

Academic and research staff number around 3,000. Of these, 53 are Fellows of the Royal Society, 57 are Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one Fields Medallist. Distinguished past members of the College include 14 Nobel Laureates and one Fields Medallist.

Teams from Imperial College won University Challenge in both 1996 and 2001.


Coat of arms of Imperial College London (no longer used officially)
Imperial's research income is among the largest in the UK – £167.2 million for 2002–03. This includes Research Council grants, grants from charities and a larger sum from industry than any other British university. It also received the highest amount of total research income out of all the UK universities in 2003, at £153 million.

In the December 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, 75 per cent of staff achieved a 5* rating, the highest proportion in any UK university. The College was second in the country with an overall score of 6.68 out of 7.

Imperial College graduates have by far the highest average starting salaries among British graduates. According to The Sunday Times 2005 table, the average starting salary for Imperial graduates was £24,247.

Students' accommodation
Imperial College owns and manages over thirty halls of residence in Central London, Ealing, Ascot and Wye. Additionally, students are eligible for places in eight University of London Intercollegiate Halls situated in Central London. Over three thousand rooms are available, guaranteeing first year undergraduates a place in College residences.

The majority of halls offer self catered 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. Most halls are self-catered.

Most students in college or university accommodation are first-year undergraduates. The majority of older students and postgraduates find accommodation in the private sector, help for which is provided by the College private housing office.

A full list of halls of residence for Imperial students can be found here.

Students' Union
The Students' Union (ICU) is run by five full-time sabbatical officers elected from the student body for a tenure of one year, as well as many permanent members of staff. The Union is given a large endowment by the College, much of which is spent maintaining clubs and societies.

Student Media

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 over the internet and, since 2004, on 1134AM in Wye. It has also recently relaunched its website, with podcasts and various competitions. The radio station has a library of over 51,000 tracks, which are searchable on their website.

STOIC (Student Television of Imperial College) is Imperial College Union's TV station. It broadcasts from the Student Union to the Junior Common Room and occasionally DaVinci's Bar. There is also a non-student Imperial College television organisation called ICTV, whose main activity is producing videos of College events.

Published weekly, Felix is the free student newspaper of Imperial College London. It aims to be independent of both the College itself and also the Student Union. The editor is elected from the student body for a full-time sabbatical position with a tenure of one year. There is also a non-student Imperial College newspaper called Reporter.

Live! is an online student news source and forum run by the City and Guilds College Union.

Imperial College has a dedicated technology transfer company known as Imperial Innovations. Imperial actively encourages its staff to commercialise its research and as a result has given rise to a proportionally large number of spin-out companies based on academic research.

Student Body

Tanaka Business School entrance
For the 2004-05 academic year, Imperial College had a total full-time student body of more than 11,000. This comprised roughly 8,000 undergraduate students and 3,000 postgraduates. In addition there were over 900 part-time students, all postgraduates. 27% of students come from outside the European Union. [6]

Imperial's male:female ratio for undergraduate students is somewhat uneven at approximately 65:35 overall and 4:1 in some engineering courses, in line with the general global trend for technical courses.

Student and Staff Alumni
Also see the List of Imperial College London people
Imperial alumni include such noted scientists as physicist Abdus Salam, biologist T. H. Huxley and pharmacologist Alexander Fleming alongside such diverse alumni as Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, author H. G. Wells and Queen guitarist Brian May.