Students in halls

Rough guide to university spending

Living expenses at university will vary considerably according to your personal circumstances and lifestyle choices.

You must have sufficient funding in place before enrolling on your course so it is important to consider the real costs involved. Underestimating this figure could have a negative effect on your studies and, in rare cases, can result in a student having to withdraw from their course, or accruing substantial debts.

Below is a rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London. Estimates cover accommodation, food and travel but exclude tuition fees.

Basic prices for food, personal costs, bills, insurance, etc will be fairly consistent wherever you study – costs relating to accommodation and travel are specific to London and Imperial. Visit the accommodation website to see the full range of rents available in College accommodation. The private accommodation webpage provides a useful overview for different types of private housing across London.

39 Week academic programme of study

39 week academic programme of study- for those living in College Halls

This table provides estimated living costs for students studying a 39-week academic programme of study (generally undergraduates) when living in halls accommodation. This includes Medical students on years 1 to 4 of their course. Year 5 and 6 Medical students may want to refer to the information for 52-week programmes. 

Updated- May 2020

Cost of living in London (academic year 2020-21)
 Weekly (£)39 weeks (£)
Accommodation and utilities: College Halls of Residence1 181.782 7,089.58
Accommodation and utilities: Private-sector Housing4 186.72 7,282.083
Food4  62.52
Travel (Zones 1–3 with 18+ Student Oyster) annual cost is based on monthly travel cards  29.60 1,023.30
Personal and leisure4  46.67 1,820.13

Total 1  £320.57

Total 2  £325.51



1 Based on rents displayed on the Compare halls page.

2 This average cost includes a contribution to the Activities Fund. 60% of rooms in College accommodation cost less than the weekly average. Average calculated in May 2020. Changes to room offerings and rent have occurred as a response to COVID-19. Please see the Changes for 2022.

3 Students choosing to live in private accommodation may be required to commit to a 52-week contract and therefore may need to budget for 52 weeks of accommodation costs.

4 Figures taken from a Student Experience Survey 2020 of Imperial students.

52 week academic programme of study- for those living in private accommodation

This table provides estimated living costs for students studying a 52-week academic programme of study (usually postgraduate). This includes medical students on years 5 and 6 of their course. Medical students studying on years 1 to 4 may wish to refer to the information for 39-week programmes above. 

Updated May 2020

Cost of living in London (academic year 2020-21)
 Weekly (£)52 weeks (£)
 Accommodation and utilities  186.72  9,709.44
 Food  62.52  3,251.04
 Travel (Zones 1–3 with 18+ Student Oyster)  annual cost is based on the annual travel card  29.60  1,184.00
 Personal and leisure  46.67  2,426.84
Total 325.51 16,571.32

A guide to our tuition fees can be found on the College's Tuition fees page.

Additional costs

Visa and travel costs

Tier 4 student visa applicants must have sufficient funds to cover their tuition fees and living costs for their first year of study.

The estimates above do not include the cost of flights or insurance.

Don't forget that if you are planning to arrange initial short-term accommodation when you arrive in London, you will need to budget for this expense on top.

Start up costs

New students will face additional start up costs in their first year of study. International students are estimated to budget up to £1,500 for an accommodation deposit and flights to the UK. 

Study rooms in College accomodation are equipped with a bed, study desk, chair, wardrobe, shelving, desk lamp, curtains, chest of drawers, notice board, book shelf/case.

You will be required to purchase other essential items such as bedding, crockery, cutlery and even some essential electrical items.

If you wish, before you arrive at the College, you can purchase your essential items through UniKitOut, a company which specialises in providing competitively-priced packs, tailored to the needs of new students. You can pre-order these and Imperial students receive a discount by quoting IMP18 at the checkout.

Field trips/study visits

Some of our courses involve compulsory attendance on one or more field trips or visits. 

Wherever possible an estimate of the costs involved will be given to you at the time an offer of admission is made.

If you are sponsored, you will need to make your financial sponsor aware of any such additional costs.

Some courses involve non-compulsory conference costs, which will be communicated by the Departments. Students can apply for funding to cover these costs by applying for financial assistance from their Department, the Student Support Fund or the Imperial College Trust Fund.