Leader in Engineering lab showing a soldering iron

This programme will give you an insight into the exciting world of research at Imperial College. 

At a glance

  • Applications open: 9 January 2024
  • Applications closed: 6 March 2024
  • Decisions released: 3 May 2024
  • Dates: 1 - 5 July 2024
  • Non-residential
  • For year 12 students

About Work Experience Programme

The work experience programme is designed to give students an insight into life as a researcher and other careers in higher education. Students will experience working life, from the daily commute to managing their time and navigating a professional environment, all whilst gaining a fantastic insight into the exciting world of research at Imperial. In 2024, the following departments will take part:

Applications for the Work Experience Programme closed on 6 March 2024. Late applications cannot be considered.

What to expect

During the five day programme you will get an insight into research being conducted within your chosen department and academic careers associated to this field of study. The programme will attempt to simulate typical working life. You will be expected to commute to and from campus each day, have lunch with your peers and meet deadlines. You will also have access to research and teaching laboratories, workshops and specialist technical suites whilst in your department. 

Please note that each department runs their own timetable and the content of each stream varies. 

As well as experiencing the world of academic research, students will also be given talks relevant to applying to university covering topics such as writing effective personal statements and interview skills.  You will be supported by a student ambassador throughout your time on the programme. Our ambassadors will help you navigate the campus, provide support during tasks and be able to answer your questions about university life.

At the end of the week there will be an academic-style conference where students will work in small groups to present a poster and short oral presentation about their time on the programme to their peers, leaders and invited guests.

This summer school is fully funded (free to successful applicants), which includes all course fees, materials as well as lunch. Travel is not included, and it is expected that most participants will live in or near London (or have family in London they can stay with for the duration of the programme). However we may be able to offer successful applicants  financial assistance for their travel. 

Year 12 Work Experience promo

Students doing group work

"I would 100% recommend the programme to anyone considering applying, because you gain a lot of advice from both people who have been through the admissions process recently and the admissions tutors themselves and you learn more about your subject in a more interactive way than you would at school."

— Siyani, year 12 student, Work Experience Programme 2020 (life sciences stream)

Applicant information

To apply for the Y12 Work Experience Programme, you must be:

  • in Year 12 at the time of application,
  • able to travel to and from Imperial College London each day

This outreach programme is funded by Imperial College London and aims to support state school students from backgrounds under-represented at university and Imperial. We use the criteria below to assess who is eligible to participate. The more criteria you meet, the more likely your application will be successful.

We recommend that you use our eligibility checker tool to see if you are eligible to apply.

 We will prioritise your application if:

  • You have been in care
  • You live independently (estranged), meaning you no longer have the support of your family due to a breakdown in the relationship which has led to ceased contact

 We will also assess whether:

  • You are a young carer and have caring responsibilities for a close relative with a disability, long-term illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem that is a significant demand on your time
  • Your family income is below £50,000 each year
  • You are eligible for free school meals and/or pupil premium
  • Your parents/guardians did not attend university
  • You live in a neighbourhood with low overall progression rates to higher education (POLAR4 Quintile 1 or 2 areas) or high levels of deprivation (IMD Quintile 1 areas)
  • Your school has a high percentage of students receiving free school meals
  • Your school has below average attainment

To be eligible for this programme, you should: 

  • Expect to study a science, technology, engineering or maths subject at university
  • Have achieved a minimum of eight GCSEs with at least five at grades 7-9, including maths and sciences
  • Have achieved a minimum of grade 5 in GCSE English Language

Please note that there are specific A-level (or equivalent) subject requirements for each department. For 2024 these are as follows:

  • To apply for Bioengineering you need to be studying Maths and either Chemistry or Physics.
  • To apply for Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment you need to be studying Maths and one of the following Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Maths or Physics.
  • To apply for Materials you need to be studying Maths and either Chemistry or Physics.
  • To apply for Mathematics you need to be studying Maths and Further Maths.
  • To apply for Physics you need to be studying Physics and Maths.
  • To apply for Chemical Engineering you need to be studying Chemistry and Maths.
  • To apply for NHLI you need to be studying Biology and either Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

Applications for summer 2024 closed on 6 March 2024. Late applications cannot be considered. We will release decisions on 3 May.

Applications are made through Aspire, our online application system. A link to Aspire will be added to this webpage once applications are open.

Setting up your account
You must create an account with Aspire before you can complete your application.

  • If you have applied to an Imperial Outreach programme in the past, you can use your existing account. There is a forgotten password feature on the Aspire login page.
  • If this is your first application to one of our programmes, we recommend you use a personal email address rather than a school email address when creating your account. Security settings in some school email servers will prevent you from receiving emails from Aspire.

Completing your application
Once you are logged in you will need to start a new application. As part of the application form you will need to tell us about your school, the subjects you are currently studying and the course(s) you plan to study post-16. Although the form will force you to include English, Maths and Science for Key Stage 4 (GCSE or equivalent) and ask you if you are planning on studying specific STEM subjects post-16, you do need to tell us about all the subjects you are studying at school. Please use the 'Other subjects' section to add this information.

Please take care to ensure you select the correct programme when using the drop-down options. Some of our programmes have similar names, so it is important to double-check.

You will be asked questions relating to the eligibility criteria listed above. Where possible, please try to have this information to hand before you apply. You will also be asked to write a short personal statement. This gives you the chance to tell us more about why you are applying for this programme and why you think you would be suitable.

As part of the application process, we will seek references from a parent/guardian and a teacher at your current school. Please speak to the individuals you would like to provide these references in advance, so you can check you have the correct email address and contact numbers for them and that they are happy to support your application.

Once you have successfully submitted your application, we will email your parent/guardian and teacher referees. They will be sent a personalised link to Aspire, where they will provide information to support your application.

The reference forms ask similar questions about the eligibility criteria and include the opportunity to provide a supporting statement. These statements can be used to let us know about other challenges you may have faced and/or what you might get out of participating in the programme. Teachers will also be asked to verify the subject/grade information you provided in your application.

We will release decisions via email on 3 May 2024. If you are offered a place on the programme, or on the waitlist, you will have a limited amount of time to accept this offer. Successful applicants will receive details on the next steps.

For information about the application process, please see our application FAQs.

Contact us

For more information, please see our Outreach Programme FAQs.

If your query is not answered in the FAQs, please email us via outreach.scienceactivities@imperial.ac.uk or phone +44 (0) 20 7594 3575.

Want to stay up to date with Imperial outreach events? Click on the links below to follow us on our social media sites and follow the hashtag, #icoutreach