Molecular Bioengineering

Develop skills and knowledge in engineering, biology and chemistry to understand how vital molecular level interactions can benefit human health.

Key information




4 years


Minimum entry

Three A-level offer: A*AA

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

3 : 1

Based on 2017 entry data

  • UCAS course code: H160
  • ECTS: 240
  • Start date: September 2019


The focus of this degree course is developing a ‘bottom up’ understanding of the links between molecules, cells, tissues, organs and limbs generating function, health and disease within a bioengineering context.

Alongside a breadth of core engineering and biomedical engineering knowledge, you will gain a specialist understanding of biochemical, physiological and biological processes. This knowledge is coupled with excellent advanced practical laboratory skills in chemical biology, molecular biology, synthetic biology, analytical sciences, microfluidics and device engineering.

The skills you gain will ensure you are well placed to contribute to addressing the global challenges of today: the health and wellbeing agenda; personalised medicine; and new biomedical technology industries.

Study programme

You follow a pathway of core modules in years one and two, before studying specialised molecular bioengineering modules in the third and fourth year.Student using microscope

Topics studied include:

  • mathematics
  • thermodynamics
  • medical science
  • analytical science
  • programming
  • biomolecular engineering

You will also gain extensive practical skills in the first two years, with over 60 per cent of first and second year modules including lab-based learning and teaching activities.

In your third year you can choose more advanced optional modules in molecular bioengineering alongside core modules and a group project.

Your study reaches Master's level in the fourth year, including a substantial research project that gives you the chance to undertake research and write a thesis. It is extended to six months full-time in the final year (as opposed to being interspersed with taught modules for a shorter period) and runs until approximately mid-June.

The completed thesis will be the result of over significant, full-time individual study over six months, and make up over half of the assessed work in the fourth year.

Transfer between courses

The Department also offers the MEng in Biomedical Engineering, with options to complete a year in industry or study abroad for a year.

The main difference between this course and our Biomedical Engineering course is that Biomedical Engineering takes a top-down approach, looking first at the whole organism, injury or problem and then working down to a cellular level. By contrast, Molecular Bioengineering takes a bottom-up approach, first looking at cells and molecules, then building up from tissues and organs to the whole organism or human.

It may be possible to transfer between the MEng Biomedical Engineering (BH9C) and the MEng Molecular Bioengineering (H160) programmes within the first few weeks of term. This would be at the Department's discretion, and you would need to have met the entry requirements for both programmes.

If you are an international student, transferring to a different course could have an impact on your Tier 4 visa. Please visit our International Student Support webpage for further information.


Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about them.

Year 1

Core modules

You take all of the core modules from the list below.

  • Bioengineering in Action
  • Biomolecular Engineering 1
  • Digital Logic and Programming
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineering mini-modules
  • Medical Science 1
  • Molecular Bioengineering Laboratories 1
  • Molecules Cells and Processes 1
  • Thermodynamics and Kinetics

Year 2

Core modules

You take all of the core modules from the list below.

  • Analytical Sciences
  • Biomolecular Engineering 2
  • Mathematics 2
  • Medical Science 2
  • Molecular Bioengineering Design Project
  • Molecular Bioengineering Laboratories 2
  • Molecules, Cells and Processes 2
  • Signals and Control

Year 3

Core modules

You take all of the core modules from the list below.

  • Bioengineering solutions for cancer
  • Biomaterials
  • Group Project
  • Modelling in Biology
  • Probability and Statistics for Bioengineering
  • Synthetic Biology

Optional modules

You choose three optional modules from the lists below, with no more than one module from Group 2.

Group 1
  • Biomimetics
  • Image processing
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists
  • Inter-Departmental Exchange
Group 2
  • Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists
  • Imperial Horizons

Year 4

Core modules

  • Individual Project

Optional modules

You choose three optional modules from the lists below, with no more than one module from Group 2.

Group 1
  • Advanced Chemical Sensors
  • Advanced Medical Imaging
  • Advanced Physiological Monitoring and Data Analysis
  • Advanced Synthetic Biology
  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Medical Device Entrepreneurship
  • Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists
  • Imperial Horizons
Group 2
  • Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists
  • Imperial Horizons

Download the programme specification [PDF] – this is the most up-to-date version available for this course. It may change for your year of entry. If/when changes to this course are approved by the College, we will update this document and the information on this course page.

Course changes

This section lists the changes that have been made to information about this course on this page since the UCAS application process opened in September 2018.

All core modules are displayed on this page; the optional modules represent an indicative list of those that are likely to be available rather than all optional modules that will be offered every year. As a result, the changes recorded here only apply to the modules displayed on this page rather than all available on this course.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

  • There are currently no changes to record for this course. Keep checking back for future updates.

Professional accreditation

As this is a new programme, introduced in 2017, it is not yet accredited by any Professional Engineering Institution. The Department intends to apply for accreditation of the programme, which can be sought four years after the commencement of the programme. Successful accreditation would be backdated for the first intakes of students.


As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (ACGI) on completion of this course.

The City and Guilds of London Institute is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Teaching and assessment


You experience a variety of teaching and learning methods, which combine theory and practice.

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Study groups
  • Laboratory sessions
  • Make, build and test activities

The laboratory sessions will include wet, computing and mathematics laboratories, which provide a practical element to teaching and assessment.

Teaching, independent study and placement hours

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures, seminars and similar392 hours345 hours282 hours155 hours
Independent study1,133 hours1,155 hours1,243 hours1,245 hours
Based on the typical pathway through the course


Assessment varies between modules, but for the majority it involves a combination of written exams, practical and continuous assessment of coursework. You complete group work in second and third year as well as a substantial individual project in fourth year.

Other assessment methods may include:

  • Assessed coursework (problem sheets, technical files, reports, projects, tests, reviews, lab book completion, and others)
  • Examinations (in-class, online, and written)
  • Oral and poster presentations

Assessment types

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number

Staff expertise

At Imperial, you will be taught by a range of teachers of all levels from Professors to PhD students, including some who undertake groundbreaking research and are regarded as experts in their field.

You may also experience peer teaching and be taught by specialists external to the College.

Compare this course

See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions using the Unistats Key Information Set (KIS).

You can use the KIS to find out how this course compares in areas such as the proportion of time spent in timetabled teaching and independent study, how the course is assessed, student satisfaction and what our graduates are doing six months after completing this course.

Please note this course is new and therefore the employment and student satisfaction data provided below is an illustration of provision in the subject area rather than specific data for this course. The surveys this data is drawn from are completed after all three years of the course, and this course was first available in 2017/18.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.


Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2019 entry is A*AA overall, to include:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A in Chemistry
  • A in another STEM subject

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Typical offer range

As a guide, here are the typical offers made in 2017 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels:

Three A-level offer: A*AA–A*A*A

Four A-level offer: A*A*AA

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

The practical endorsement is part of the reformed English linear A-levels.

Language requirement

A language qualification may be required for the Year Abroad degree.

International Baccalaureate

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2019 entry is 38 points overall, to include:

  • 6 in Mathematics at higher level
  • 6 in Chemistry at higher level
  • 6 in a third subject at higher level

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2017 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 38–39 points overall.

Language requirement

A language qualification may be required for the Year Abroad degree.

Mathematics Higher Level for award in 2021

For entry in 2021, the Mathematics Analysis and Approaches or the Applications and Interpretation syllabi will be accepted at higher level, but Analysis and Approaches is preferred.

Advanced Placements

The grades detailed below are the minimum requirements for students offering only Advanced Placements as their exams for entry to Imperial.

If you are studying a High School Diploma that is accepted by Imperial alongside Advanced Placements, requirements may apply to both your Diploma and Advanced Placements.

Please consult our country index to check whether we accept your High School Diploma programme for admission.

Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:

  • 5 in Calculus AB or BC
  • 5 in Chemistry
  • 5 in another subject

You may also require a relevant language qualification for this year abroad degree.

Other qualifications

Places will also be available to those with other equivalent qualifications, e.g. Advanced Placement Tests, European Baccalaureate, some of the national Baccalaureates in the European Union, Scottish Qualifications, Irish Leaving Certificate, and to applicants with appropriate educational experience or other competencies. See admission of students with other competencies.

Selection process

Assessing your application

Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant.

Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones. It is the College’s policy to not make offers below three A’s at A-level in relevant subjects, 38 IB points with at least a grade 6 at higher level in relevant subjects, or their equivalent.

A typical range of offers made by this Department in 2017 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.

Post-application open day and interview

When assessing applications, we will consider your examination results (already gained and predicted), your motivation and understanding of biomedical engineering as a career, your potential for leadership and teamwork, your interests and the referee’s report.

If your UCAS application indicates that you are likely to satisfy our entry requirements and you live within easy travelling distance of the College, you will normally be invited to an applicant day to visit the College and our Department.

The applicant day will include an introductory presentation giving information about the course and how it is taught. There is also a presentation on the Department's research and the kinds of careers you could pursue as a graduate. You will have an interview with a member of staff.

You also participate in a group session where you are divided into small groups along with the other applicants to look at medical artefacts. The task is to identify the object, describe how it is used and suggest potential improvements. The day will include a tour of the campus and Department.

The Department may offer an online test and/or Skype interview, in place of the above, where applicants do not live within travelling distance of the College.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students who apply for this course.

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support website.

View our terms and conditions on visas.

Tuition fees and funding

We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2019 entry
£9,250 per year

Please note that the fee you pay may increase annually by an amount linked to inflation and approved by Parliament under the Student Fees (Inflation Index) Regulations 2006 – currently the measure of inflation used is the RPIX.

Government funding

If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course.

You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.

EU/EEA students

The UK government has confirmed that EU/EEA students starting at the College in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition for the duration of their course/ This includes access to the Tuition Fee Loan for EU students who have resided in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to study, and access to the Maintenance Loan for EU students have been resident in the UK for at least five years.

For the latest updates on the implications of ‘Brexit’, please see the Imperial and the European Union webpages.

Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)

2019 entry
£30,250 per year

The tuition fees for Overseas and Islands students are set by Imperial College London.

You should expect and budget for your tuition fee increasing each year by an inflationary amount. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.

Additional course costs

This section outlines any additional costs relevant to this course, which are not included in your tuition fees. It is possible that all, or only some, of these will be relevant to you.

Please note that the figures provided are usually based on the cost in the most recent academic year. These are likely to change from year to year. However, it is useful for you to be aware of the types of things you may have to pay for and their approximate cost to help you budget for student life at Imperial.

This section indicates whether any additional costs that apply are mandatory or optional. Mandatory costs are those that you will need to pay to fully participate in and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies so you will be free to opt out of these.

DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost
Equipment (modelling kit) Mandatory £25
Equipment (laptop computer) Optional n/a
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.


The below item is mandatory for all Molecular Bioengineering students:

  • Biomolecular modelling kit (approximately £25.00)

You can buy the item from the Department in advance of when they are needed. Payment is in cash.

Laptop computer

Though a laptop computer is not a mandatory requirement, if you are to use one for classes and coursework, it is recommended that your laptop computer meets a minimum specification. For the 2017–18 academic year this was:

  • Windows 10 capable
  • Intel i5/i7 6th/7th generation processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256 GB SSD HDD

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

Over 90 per cent of Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.


Alongside a breadth of core engineering and biomedical engineering knowledge, graduates of this course gain a specialist understanding of biochemical, physiological and biological processes allied to excellent advanced laboratory skills in chemical biology, molecular biology, synthetic biology, analytical sciences, microfluidics and device engineering.

Rio Tinto challengeThese unique skills will ensure graduates are well-placed to help address the global challenges of health and well-being.

Our degrees will not only prepare you for a career in the rapidly growing field of biomedical engineering, but also provide a foundation for careers in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and synthetic biology, regenerative medicine and cell therapy and opportunities arising as a result of new tools of data analysis, genomics sequencing, artificial intelligence and mathematical modelling.

Graduates from the Department of Bioengineering are making an impact in many fields and across a range of industries and organisations:

  • Starting businesses which have brought new tools and techniques to: dialysis (Stentek), waste water treatment (CustoMem) and wearable devices (Blocks)
  • Developing new medical devices for large and small companies in the UK and internationally (Team Consulting and Cambridge Consultants)
  • Engineering drug delivery devices for effective and safe treatment of patients
  • Development of new scientific instrumentation to help life science companies develop drugs and products for patients and clinicians
  • NHS Science and technology roles such as clinical engineers, bioinformaticians, medical physicists and rehabilitation engineers
  • PHD students and academics in universities around the world addressing key health challenges with cutting edge scientific and technological research
  • Life Science Consulting, helping medical technology and pharmaceutical companies bring their products to market
  • Medicine, following the Graduate Entry into Medicine programme
  • Solicitors and patent attorneys protecting the intellectual property of researchers and businesses
  • In industries and organisations beyond life sciences and medical technology where the analytical, quantitative and problem solving skills of Imperial Bioengineers are hugely valued

How to apply

UCAS key information

  • UCAS course code: H160
  • UCAS institution code: I50

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can view this course on the UCAS website.

Application deadlines

All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2019 for entry in September 2019.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2019 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2018.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:

Contact us


Got a question?

Admissions Tutor
T: +44 (0)20 7594 8157

Read more on the Department of Bioengineering website.


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