Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
What is I-Explore?
I-Explore is a broad portfolio of for degree credit modules that launched in Oct 2020, providing an opportunity for you to broaden your knowledge and tackle a subject area outside of your core discipline.
Undergraduate students who have started in academic year 2019/20 onwards, will choose a for-credit module from I-Explore’s wide selection. Depending on your department, you will take your I-Explore module in either your second or third year of study at Imperial.
To make it easier to follow your interests, we’ve divided the I-Explore portfolio into a series of categories:
What is the purpose of the modules?
The College is committed to providing a broader and more inclusive education experience for all students. In the academic year 2019/20 we took a significant step forward in realising that ambition, with undergraduate students being offered a for-credit module from options outside of their core subject.
The College wants to help prepare you to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world by giving you educational experiences, skills, and knowledge which go beyond the traditional limits of a university curriculum. By taking part in challenging activities outside of your discipline, you will be able to apply your knowledge in a new context.
What are the types of modules I can choose from?
You can choose from modules in the following four categories:
Imperial Horizons modules
Imperial Horizons gives you access to a wide range of options, including modules focused on humanities, social sciences, languages, and culture, society and global challenges. There are opportunities to collaborate and work on projects with real-world impact.
Business for Professionals of Engineering and Science (BPES) modules
BPES modules, delivered by Imperial College Business School, give you the chance to gain a greater understanding of the financial, strategic and operational context of your core subject.
These modules allow you to study areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) which are outside of your core curriculum. This will also include topical STEMM areas being pioneered by our researchers that are not currently offered within our undergraduate degrees.
Multidisciplinary project modules
Multidisciplinary Projects have collaboration at their heart. You will work in a team of students from other departments to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society. Together you will work on both developing and pitching your product or idea.
Is I-Explore a compulsory part of my degree, and can I opt-out if I have a good reason?
An I-Explore module in Year 2 or 3 is an integral part of your degree. Your Department will decide on which year you will take your chosen module.
There is no option to opt-out of taking an I-Explore module. The College considers it critical to your learning experience that you have the chance to broaden your knowledge and tackle a brand new subject area, chosen from a huge range of for-credit modules built into your degree.
Am I taking my I-Explore module in my second or third year of study?
The following students take an I-Explore module in Year 2:
- Physics Department
- Maths Department
- Life Sciences Department
- School of Medicine - Students on the MBBS and BMB Programmes
- Dyson School of Design Engineering*
The following students take an I-Explore module in Year 3:
- Chemistry Department
- All Engineering departments*
*Please note that from 2023-24 students from the Dyson School of Design Engineering will take their I-Explore module in Year 2. However, students who will be in Year 3 in 2023-24 will exceptionally take an I-Explore module, as they will not have had the chance to do so in Year 2.
Are there any restrictions on which I-Explore modules I can apply for?
Please see Module restrictions for information on the general restrictions that apply when choosing your modules and any specific restrictions affecting students in your home department or on your degree programme.
Are I-Explore modules first-come, first-served?
We do not use a first-come, first-served system for I-Explore.
As we allocate using a happiness optimizing algorithm after the module selection period has closed, you can submit or change your 6 preferences any time during the module selection period. All preferences submitted during the module selection period will be treated equally.
How and when do I select my modules?
You will select your I-Explore module in the academic year before you take the module. Please see Choosing your module preferences for more information on how and when to choose your modules.
You will be asked to indicate 6 I-Explore modules that you would be interested in taking (in order of preference). We will be using a Sequential Prediction Algorithm to allocate you a module.
*Please note that Horizons and BPES operate a different selection period for students taking Horizons and BPES modules outside of I-Explore.
Can I switch my I-Explore module?
When allocations are released in August, there will be a link to a module switch request form. This form must be completed by the date specified in mid-September.
The module switching form allows you to pick from modules which have some capacity remaining following the initial allocations. Module switches will be completed on a first-come, first-served basis. You may also join the waiting list for a module that is full.
Places will be offered to students on the waiting list if they become available before the first week of term, after which it will not be possible to change your module.
Requests for module switches will be considered after the official module switching period has ended only where places remain on modules and if a valid reason for switching is given.
Once the classes have started module switching is only permitted in those circumstances covered by the IMIG module switching principles. However, if you find you are struggling with your module, please do reach out to us for support.
When do the I-Explore modules run?
On campus and live online modules run in the following timeslots:
- Year 2 - Mondays - 16:00-18:00
- Year 3 - Thursdays - 16:00-18:00
Classes commence in the second week of the Autumn and Spring terms.
Where do the modules take place?
Most Face-to-Face I-Explore modules will take place on our South Kensington campus. However, some modules can take place on our other campuses or other locations (such as local schools). The module selection platform will provide an indication of where we expect the module to take place.
Please note that the online asynchronous courses often involve group work, which might require you to meet up with your peers.
Do I-Explore modules contribute credits?
Yes, I-Explore modules contribute 5 ECTS to your overall degree credit. This has been designed into your degree, giving you the space and time needed to engage with I-Explore modules.
Horizons Languages module are worth 7.5 ECTS, however, only 5 ECTS will form part of your degree and the extra 2.5 ECTS will be awarded as Extra Credit.
Can I take I-Explore modules in multiple academic years?
No, an I-Explore module is intended to be an exploratory learning experience that complements your core subject, rather than a replacement for it. As such, I-Explore modules are available to you in one specific year of your degree.
Some of the modules available within the I-Explore portfolio are also available in certain circumstances as extra credit modules (Horizons) and as for-credit modules (Horizons and BPES). See below – ‘Why have I heard about some students taking Horizons and BPES modules outside of their I-Explore year?'.
Why have I heard of some students taking Horizons and BPES modules outside of their I-Explore year?
Both the Imperial Horizons and BPES programmes existed before the launch of I-Explore and therefore have a longstanding tradition of offering modules to students throughout their time at Imperial. It is still possible to take Horizons and BPES modules outside of I-Explore, as outlined below.
Imperial Horizons modules come in three forms:
- For-credit I-Explore modules in Year 2 or Year 3
- For-credit or extra credit modules in a different academic year from your I-Explore year (only available to students on certain degree programmes)
- Non-credit modules in Year 1
It is not possible to take for-credit and extra credit Horizons modules in the same academic year as these are taught in the same timetable slot.
BPES modules come in two forms:
- For-credit I-Explore modules in Year 2 or Year 3,
- For-credit elective modules as part of your degree (only available to students on certain degree programmes)
How will I-Explore complement my core subject?
I-Explore modules have been developed in areas that will encourage collaborative, imaginative and innovative ways of thinking, complementing your core subject by allowing you to apply your knowledge in a new context.
I-Explore modules will not reduce your contact time with your lecturers or peers during your degree, nor does it limit what you will learn in your curriculum – in fact it does the opposite as you will be interacting and learning with students from across College and have the opportunity to be taught by academic staff from outside you home Department.
Are some I-Explore modules more work than others?
The ECTS value of a module represents the amount of work associated with that module.
- Language modules are 7.5 ECTS. This larger size is intended to enable students to progress from one language level to another (e.g. Language Level A2 to Language Level B1).
- All other I-Explore modules are 5 ECTS.
You may also want to consider the amount of time that I-Explore modules are taught over (either 10 weeks or 20 weeks).
You’ll find that BPES, Multidisciplinary Project and STEMM modules are taught over 10 weeks and that Horizons modules are taught over 20 weeks.
However, a 5 ECTS module taught over 20 weeks will carry the same overall workload as 5 ECTS module taught over 10 weeks. It is the balance of class time and independent work that differs (20 week modules require less work at home).
What is the level of difficulty of the modules?
FHEQ levels are used to represent the difficulty of modules at Imperial (and Universities generally). The modules you take in your second year of a degree programme are typically level 5, and typically level 6 in your third year.
As a general rule, our I-Explore modules are either FHEQ level 5 or 6. The FHEQ level of each I-Explore module is noted on the website and the module selection system.
Language modules do not follow FHEQ levels. European languages map onto Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In order of ascending difficulty, the CEFR Levels are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.
I-Explore language modules range from CEFR Level A2 – C1. A1 language modules (Level 1) are not available within the I-Explore Programme.
How will the modules be assessed?
I-Explore modules are a compulsory part of your undergraduate curriculum. You will need to attend and pass your I-Explore module to gain enough credits to pass the year.
You’ll also get a numerical mark that will go on your transcript. However, the numerical mark won't be included in the calculation of your final degree result.
What happens if I don't pass my I-Explore Module?
You are required to take and fully attempt all components of your chosen I-Explore module and you are expected to pass it.
However, if you do not pass this module but you achieve a mark between 30.00 to 39.99 (inclusive) your I-Explore module will be eligible for compensation. If the module cannot be compensated (there are limits on the amount of compensation which can be applied each year) or you receive a mark below 30.00, you will be required to resit the module*.
*For students on the MBBS only: you may still be able to progress with the approval of the Exam Board if you do not successfully pass the module.
Is I-Explore open to all students?
I-Explore modules are built into most of our undergraduate degrees for students who have started in academic year 2019/20 onwards.
Please note, students studying the following degrees will not be able to take I-Explore module:
- Chemical Engineering students on the MEng Chemical with Nuclear Engineering programme.
- Chemical Engineering students who are abroad in year 3 (but talk to your Director of Undergraduate Studies about selecting a similar module at your year abroad institution).
- Earth Science Engineering students who are abroad in year 3 (but talk to your Director of Undergraduate Studies about selecting a similar module at your year abroad institution).
- Computing students who are abroad in year 3 (but talk to your Director of Undergraduate Studies about selecting a similar module at your year abroad institution).
- Chemistry students on MSci Chemistry with Language for Science.
- Life Sciences students on BSc Biochemistry with Language for Science, BSc Biological Sciences with Language for Science or BSc Biotechnology with Language for Science.
Who should I approach if I have any questions?
If you have questions around I-Explore and what it means for you and your studies, we recommend that you contact your Department's Undergraduate Office.
Once you are enrolled on an I-Explore module, we recommend you discuss any concerns with the module leader or your personal tutor.
For more general queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.