Computing is a creative and wide-ranging subject. It's about using sound underlying principles and clear logical thinking to engineer systems that really work and are fit for purpose.

Computing is a young profession working in a young industry. It retains an informality and an openness to fresh ideas and practices. There are fewer barriers of age and gender, and the industry is leading the way in flexible working practices and career planning. Constant updating of knowledge is essential. A good computer scientist does not just have core technical skills but is also able to adapt to technological change, with its challenges and opportunities.

Computing at Imperial

At Imperial, students learn through problem solving with an emphasis on practical work based around a wide range of computer systems, programming languages and tools, with specific engineering problems in mind.

The Department of Computing strongly values the quality of its teaching. Students are taught by experienced teaching staff all of whom are dedicated to fulfilling the Department’s teaching mission. Our teaching content is informed by current research in Computing, including that being undertaken by our internationally leading researchers.

Practical engineering

In the first two years, there is a carefully planned programme of laboratory-based work where students solve problems of gradually increasing size and complexity. Each problem is designed to teach a specific aspect of Computing and, at the same time, provide exposure to a range of software and hardware platforms and tools appropriate to the problem. The emphasis is very much on transferable problem-solving skills, rather than on the teaching of specific technologies.

In the third year all students undertake a group project, which provides them with experience of what it’s like to work as part of a team. Students also have the opportunity of working with external companies/collaborators as part of this project and are supervised by a member of the teaching staff.

In the final year (third year for BEng, fourth year for MEng) students undertake a major individual project spanning around eight months. This presents an exciting opportunity for students to apply the technical the skills they have learnt throughout the course, including research and presentation skills, under the supervision of an academic adviser. The topics covered by individual projects vary enormously, from the very theoretical to the very practical. Many projects are aligned directly with the Department’s research themes which include the following:

  • Analysis and Verification
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Science
  • Programming Languages
  • Security
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems
  • Theory and Algorithms
  • Visual Computing

The best student project work from Imperial is among the most impressive of any academic institution in the world. It is quite common for our best student project work to be published in top research conferences and journals.


The ability to work effectively in teams is an essential skill for any aspiring engineer and Computing is no exception. Much student learning happens in small groups and the third-year group project in particular is at giving student experience of working in larger teams, as is normal practice in industry.

Small-group tutorials

Our relatively small annual intake means that every student gets individual attention. In our tutorial and small class teaching system we strive for personal development, as well as academic attainment.

Students each have a personal tutor who looks after their interests and advises them throughout their time at Imperial. During the first year each student also has a personal programming tutor and two personal maths tutors.

Imperial has one of the best staff–student ratios in the country, and a team of dedicated teaching staff.