About ESE

Who we are and research

Who we are

The Department of Earth Science and Engineering (ESE) hosts approximately 50 academic staff, 70 research and support staff and 600 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Through our various undergraduate and postgraduate MSc courses, our commitment to excellence in teaching ensures that our students graduate with the skills they need to reach senior positions in industry and academia. 


ESE academics and researchers use both pure and applied research to remain at the cutting edge of investigating how Earth systems work; how to sustainably extract and use natural resources and energy; how solid bodies in the Solar System have evolved over time; and much more (see our ‘Research’ pages).

Our work is aided by strong collaborative ties with Imperial’s Energy Futures Lab, Sustainable Gas Institute, Data Science Institute and Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment 

Our history and how we work


ESE is part of the Royal School of Mines (est. 1851), which officially became part of Imperial College in 1907. For 160 years, geoscientists and engineers at the Royal School of Mines and then the Department of Earth Science and Engineering (est. 2001) have been committed to excellence in the teaching and research of Earth Sciences.

Put simply, we’ve been studying the way the world works longer than any university in the UK, and are one of the oldest historic colleges in the world. 

How we work

Our Departmental values – Supportive | Excellence | Integrity | Innovative | Inclusive | Inspiring – couple with those of Imperial and support us in making ESE a place for excellence in research and teaching, and the best place to study, work and develop your career. 

We work collaboratively, including with nearby world-famous institutions including the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, where some of our students undertake research during their studies. We are also closely connected with professional and learned societies, which provide networking opportuinities.

We have dedicated teams develop equality, diversity, inclusion and culture (EDIC) at ESE, to ensure every person in the Department is respected and supported.

Find out what it's like to be a part of our diverse community and the important research that we do.

Life in ESE

Find out what it's like to be a part of our diverse community and the important research that we do.

Student Life

Student unions

The Royal School of Mines (RSM) has its own Union. This is a central part of many students’ social life, providing the opportunity to meet and mix with people from all years in a friendly, supportive environment. 

In addition, students can also take advantage of the huge range of clubs and societies run by Imperial College Union – more per student head than any other university in the UK. Further details: Imperial College Union website 


There are two notable societies at ESE: the Imperial College Geology and Geophysics Societies. Both aim to spark interest in these fascinating subjects in a relaxed setting. 


Awards and rankings

Our staff are regularly honoured by both College and external awards for their teaching, research, contributions to education, support of the student experience, outstanding work in their field(s), and more. These range from the Nobel Peace Prize to the Imperial College President's Award for Excellence in Teaching to having asteroids named after them by the International Astronomical Union. 

For the current League Table rankings, please see the Teaching Excellence in Earth Science and Engineering page.