Student smiling during bioengineering lab work

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

Key information

Award

MEng

Duration

4 years

full-time

Minimum entry

Three A-level offer: A* A A

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

3.5 : 1

Based on 2019 entry data

  • UCAS course code: n/a*
  • ECTS: 240
  • Start date: October 2021

* Apply initially for MEng Molecular Bioengineering (H160)

Overview

Molecular Bioengineering considers how we might engineer biological systems to solve challenges in health and wellbeing.

Through this course, you will develop the scientific understanding and laboratory expertise of a life-scientist with the technical knowledge and problem-solving skills of an engineer.

With this unique combination of skills, you will be well placed to address the global challenges of today: health and well-being agenda, personalised medicine, new biomedical technology industries.

You will gain a theoretical understanding through lectures, study groups and taught classes. During practical wet and dry labs and activities, you will work on real-world projects in medicine and biology with life-changing potential.

Our graduates have the ability to become leaders in their chosen areas. This programme is designed to develop your leadership, communication and teamwork skills, introducing you to professional standards and developing your understanding of engineers’ obligations to society, the profession and the environment.

Study programme

Student using microscopeYou follow a pathway of core modules in years one and two. These modules are designed to build a breadth of core engineering and biomedical engineering knowledge, as well as a specialist understanding of biochemical, physiological and biological processes.

You will undergo extensive wet laboratory training gaining extensive practical skills in the first two years.

In your third year you will begin to tailor the course to by choosing optional modules in areas that interest you. You are also required to select an I-Explore module hosted outside of the department, broadening your education experience in a new context. Alongside these modules you will also undertake a group project.

Year abroad

You spend your final year studying abroad. The study programme at your host university will closely match the structure of the programme at Imperial, including taught modules and an independent research project. This is an integrated year abroad, so the grades you achieve will count directly towards your Imperial degree.

Limited spaces mean competition for placements is strong and transfer to the Year Abroad option cannot be guaranteed. Places are allocated on a competitive basis and selection is based primarily on academic merit. Normally only students achieving marks of at least 60% at the time of selection will be eligible.

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.

Transfer between the MEng Biomedical Engineering and the MEng Molecular Bioengineering is rare 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.

Structure

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.

  • Molecules and Energetics 1
  • Medical and Biochemical Science 1
  • Mathematics and Engineering 1
  • Computer Fundamentals and Programming 1
  • Design and Professional Practice 1

Year 2

Core modules

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

  • Molecules, Materials and Measurement 2
  • Medical and Biochemical Science 2
  • Mathematics and Engineering 2
  • Programming 2
  • Design and Professional Practice 2

Year 3

Core modules

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

  • MEng Group Project
  • Biomaterials
  • Foundations of Synthetic Biology
  • I-Explore
  • Modelling in Biology*

Your I-Explore module offers you choices from a range of subjects hosted outside of the department. Here you will be taught alongside students from other courses with options including business, management and many more.

Optional modules

You choose three optional modules from below.

  • Image Processing
  • Digital Biosignal Processing
  • Programming 3
  • Human Centred Design of Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • Advanced Imaging Technologies for Systems Biology
  • Communicating Biomedical Science and Engineering
  • Hearing and Speech Processing*
  • Biomimetics*

* Modules marked with an asterisk are level 7 modules. You will need to complete a minimum number of level 7 modules by the end of your degree.

Year 4

You spend the fourth year abroad. The study programme at your host university will closely match the structure of the programme at Imperial, including taught modules and an independent research project. Students undertaking courses in this department have previously had exchanges in:

  • Australia
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • USA

Please note the above is an illustrative list. Partnerships with universities are subject to continuous review and individual partnerships may or may not be renewed.

There may be limitations placed upon your ability to live and study in these locations. If applicable you will need to successfully apply for the relevant visa. This applies to all students, including Home students, in light of the vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.


I-Explore

Through I-Explore, you'll have the chance to deepen your knowledge in a brand new subject area, chosen from a huge range of for-credit modules.

All of our undergraduate courses include one module from I-Explore's wide selection. The module you choose will be fully integrated into your course's curriculum and count as credit towards your degree.

Find out more about I-Explore


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.

Professional accreditation

This degree is professionally accredited by the following organisations on behalf of the Engineering Council:

Achieving a professionally accredited degree demonstrates to employers that you have achieved an industry-recognised standard of competency.

Achieving this accredited integrated Master's degree (MEng) means that you have satisfied the first step to becoming a Chartered Engineer (CEng) in your chosen field by satisfying the educational requirements of professional registration. To gain Chartered status, you will need to demonstrate your ability to meet additional graduate level competences described in the Engineering Council's UK-SPEC.

A CEng is a highly respected qualification earned by professionals working in engineering, which can lead to higher earning potential and better career prospects.

Professional registration brings international recognition of your qualification, which is particularly useful for students preparing for a career abroad.

We are seeking accreditation from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM). There will be a First Output Review after the first graduating class in 2021. If successful, the accreditation will be back-dated to the first intake of students.

Associateship

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

Teaching

You will experience a variety of teaching styles, which combine theory and practice:

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

Our virtual learning environment, Blackboard, is used as a repository for teaching materials including ecordings of all lectures, lecture notes and problem sheets. Learning technologies will be used to support teaching activities including in-class polling with Mentimeter, online self-diagnostic quizzes and online class forums.

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

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of face-to-face sessions and independent learning. While your actual contact hours may vary according to the optional modules you choose to study, the following gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the programme.

The expected total study time is 1500 hours per year.

 Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures, seminars and similar 400 hours 400 hours 250 hours Varies by institution
Independent study, group projects and individual research project 1,100 hours 1,100 hours 1,250 hours Varies by institution
Based on the typical pathway through the course

Assessment

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 your second and third year as well as a substantial individual project in your fourth year.

Other assessment methods may include:

  • Assessed coursework (problem sheets, practical demonstrations, project reports, oral presentations, poster presentations, academic tutorials)
  • In class progress tests
  • Mastery examinations (online/written)
  • Written examinations
  • Oral exams (conducted by some host institutions for the Year Abroad)

Assessment types

 Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Coursework 34% 53% 47% Varies by institution
Examinations 66% 47% 53%
Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole numbe
 

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.

A-levels

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2021 entry is A*AA overall, to include:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A in Chemistry
  • A in another subject (Biology, Further Mathematics or Physics is recommended)

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.


Typical offer range

As a guide, here are the typical offers made to at least 80% of A-level applicants for 2019 entry:

  • 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.


Additional Mathematics support

Our new A-level Mathematics online course covers a range of key topic areas to help you gain a deeper understanding of the skills and techniques required to succeed in your A-level Mathematics exams.

This optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus with the aim of developing your thinking skills, fluency and confidence.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is available free of charge via the EdX website. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

International Baccalaureate

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2021 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 to at least 80% of IB applicants for 2019 entry was 38–40 points.


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.


Additional Mathematics support

We have recently launched an A-level Mathematics online course, which is available free of charge via the EdX website.

Although this optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus, it is relevant to your curriculum too.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

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 (Physics 1, 2 or C or Biology are preferred)

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


Additional Mathematics support

We have recently launched an A-level Mathematics online course, which is available free of charge via the EdX website.

Although this optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus, it is relevant to your curriculum too.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

Other qualifications

Places will also be available to those with other equivalent qualifications, e.g. 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.


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 will work in small groups to apply your existing knowledge to a range of problems in Bioengineering. The day will include a tour of the campus and Department.

If you are unable to attend in person, the interview may be carried out online. In this case, you will also need to complete an admissions exercise


Pilot admissions schemes (Home students)

From 2020 entry, we will be using information about our applicants in a number of new pilot admissions schemes, to consider the wider context of Home students from groups underrepresented at the College.

More about pilot admissions schemes

Foundation programmes

A foundation course is a one-year preparation course, designed for international students, which leads to undergraduate programmes in the UK. Foundation programmes are normally for school-leavers who have studied a non-British curriculum but wish to pursue a degree at a UK university.

Foundation programmes are offered by many UK universities, but only two would be considered for entry to Imperial: 

  1. UCL’s Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE), and 
  2. Warwick’s International Foundation Programme (IFP) in Science & Engineering

UCL UPCSE

A year-long programme for international students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow them direct entry to UK universities. Students must complete four modules across the year – two compulsory and two elective modules:

ModuleStatus
Research and Academic Skills: Science and Society Compulsory
Academic English Compulsory
Biology Elective
Chemistry Elective
Mathematics Elective
Physics Elective
Information correct at time of publishing, but subject to change
Summary of the table's contents

To be considered for admission to Molecular Bioengineering, international students studying UCL UPCSE must achieve:

  • 80% overall
  • 80% Mathematics + Chemistry

Warwick IFP Science and Engineering

A year-long programme for international students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow them direct entry to UK universities. 

To be considered for admission to Molecular Bioengineering, international students studying Warwick IFP Science and Engineering must achieve:

  • 80% overall
  • 80% Mathematics + Chemistry

To meet these requirements, students should choose from the following IFP pathways:

  • Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences

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.

Home rate of tuition

2021 entry

£9,250 per year.

Year abroad

£1,385 for that year.

Read more about funding for year abroad placements.

For each subsequent year, you should expect and budget for your tuition fee to increase by an amount in line with inflation. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPIX) value, taken from April in the calendar year in which the academic session starts. For example, the RPIX value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status. Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status. Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

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 Government has confirmed that EU students who begin a course in the 2020–21 academic year (until the end of July 2021) will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

Students from the EU, other EEA and/or Switzerland starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate, and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note this does not apply to Irish students or students with Citizens Rights benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Overseas rate of tuition

2021 entry

£33,750 per year. 

Year abroad

100% of the relevant fee for that year.

Read more about funding for year abroad placements.

For each subsequent year, you should expect and budget for your tuition fee to increase by an amount in line with inflation. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPIX) value, taken from April in the calendar year in which the academic session starts. For example, the RPIX value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status. Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status. Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA students

The Government has confirmed that EU students who begin a course in the 2020–21 academic year (until the end of July 2021) will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

Students from the EU, other EEA and/or Switzerland starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate, and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note this does not apply to Irish students or students with Citizens Rights benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Additional course costs

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

Figures are approximated, usually based on costs in the most recent academic year. They are likely to change each year but it's useful for you to be aware of the things you may have to pay for. This can help you budget for life at Imperial.

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 can opt-out of these.


Summary
DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost 
Equipment (boiler suit) Mandatory £20
Equipment (electronics kit) Optional £13
Equipment (laptop computer) Optional n/a
Health Insurance Mandatory Varies
Return flight Mandatory Varies
Visa costs Mandatory Varies
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.

Equipment

The nature of the academic work you will be completing means you will need to wear protective clothing during practical sessions.

You are required to have a boiler suit, which you will need during the second year of the course.

You have the option of purchasing an electronics kit.

You can buy both items 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 2018–19 academic year this was:

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

Placements and year abroad

If you are undertaking a placement or year abroad, you may have to consider the costs involved. These will vary, depending on the location of your year abroad or placement.

Costs may include flights, transport, visas, travel insurance, health insurance and living expenses such as accommodation.

Accommodation and living costs

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

Most Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across different accommodation options.

Read our rough guide to university spending in London.

Careers

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 2021 for entry in October 2021.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2021 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2020.

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

Bioengineering student

Got a question?

T: +44 (0)20 7594 2259
E: be.ugadmissions@imperial.ac.uk

Department of Bioengineering

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