Imperial student smiling

Rough guide to university spending

You are now enrolled at Imperial and are living in either student or private accommodation. Living expenses vary at university considerably according your personal circumstances and lifestyle choices, and you may want to know if your outgoings are typical of someone studying in London. Underestimating your budget can have a negative effect on your studies so it is important to get it right.

Below is a rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London. Estimates cover accommodation, food and travel but exclude tuition fees.

Basic prices for food, personal costs, bills, insurance, etc are fairly consistent wherever you study – costs relating to accommodation and travel are specific to London and Imperial. Visit the Accommodation website to see the full range of rents available in College accommodation. The London Rents Map provides a useful overview of rent rates for different types of private housing across London.

39 Week academic programme of study

39 week academic programme of study – for those living in Halls

This table provides estimated living costs for students studying a 39-week academic programme of study (generally undergraduates) when living in halls accommodation. This includes medical students on years 1 to 4 of their course. Year 5 and 6 Medical students may want to refer to the information for 52-week programmes. 

Cost of living in London (academic year 2018-19)
 Weekly (£)39 weeks (£)
Accommodation and utilities: College Halls of Residence1 176.512 6,884
Accommodation and utilities: Private 176 6,8643
Food4  58 2,262
Travel (Zones 1–3 with 18+ Student Oyster)  27.90   9655
Personal and leisure  43  1,677

Total 1 £304.90

Total 2 £305.41



1 Based on rents for 2018-19. Costs for 2019-20 will be displayed on our website once confirmed.

2 This £177 average cost includes a £2 weekly contribution to the Activities Fund. 65% of rooms in College accommodation cost less than the weekly average of £177.

3 Students choosing to live in private accommodation may be required to commit to a 52-week contract and therefore may need to budget for 52 weeks of accommodation costs.

4 Figures taken from a Student Experience Survey 2018 of Imperial students.

5 Annual Zones 1–3 with 18+ Student Oyster photocard costs less than a weekly travelcard.

52-week academic programme of study – for those living in private accommodation

This table provides estimated living costs for students studying a 52-week academic programme of study (usually postgraduate). This includes Medical students on years 5 and 6 of their course. Medical students studying on years 1 to 4 may wish to refer to the information for 39-week programmes above. 

Cost of living in London (academic year 2018-19)
 Weekly (£)52 weeks (£)
 Accommodation and utilities  176  9,152
 Food  58  3,016
 Travel (Zones 1–3 with 18+ Student Oyster)  28  1,116
 Personal and leisure  43  2,236
Total 305 15,520

A guide to our tuition fees can be found on the College's Tuition fees website.

Field trips/study visits

Your course may involve compulsory attendance on one or more field trips or visits.  Where possible, an estimate of the costs involved will have been given to you when you were offered a place.  If you are sponsored, your financial sponsor must be made aware of any such additional costs.

Overseas students

If you are an overseas student with a Tier 4 student visa, you must have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees and living costs for each year of study.. In addition to the estimates above, you need to factor in the cost of flights and insurance. 

There may be other hidden costs.  For example, if you go back to your home country for the summer without having arranged your next year's accommodation, you may need to budget for initial short-term accommodation while you find somewhere new to live when you return to London. Plan thoroughly.

Our international student experience pages provide a list of suggested activities to help you discover London and make the most of your student experience on a budget. The International Student House Travel Club also organises subsidised trips to visit new places and make friends around the world along the way.