Biomedical Science

Develop the technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills for a career in this growing engineering field

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start dateOctober 2022
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

Applications are now closed

Overview

Bioengineers are leading the way in tackling modern healthcare challenges. From the development of rapid testing technologies to designing new life-saving devices. At the interface of engineering and medicine, Bioengineering advances knowledge in engineering, biology and medicine, improving lives through cross-disciplinary activities.

Our Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering first began in 1991 and provides all the necessary technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills to succeed in one of the fastest growing engineering disciplines.

  • Biomechanics and Mechanobiology pathway – this stream focusses on bioengineering problems related to systems including cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, ophthalmic, and respiratory systems. The content is aimed at understanding how mechanical forces impact biological function at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and organism levels.
  • Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering pathway – this stream covers the use of biomaterials in medical and surgical environments. The content covers the use of advanced biomaterials in healthcare exploring aspects such as biocompatibility and tissue regeneration.
  • Medical Physics and Imaging pathway – this stream trains graduates in the physical understanding required for healthcare and medical research, with focus on human physiology, radiotherapy and clinical imaging. The content explores methods, techniques and application for monitoring and imaging of biological systems.
  • Neurotechnology pathway – this stream focuses on new technology for investigating brain function, such as developing neuroprosthetic devices and new neuroimaging techniques. The content examines the development and application of brain-machine interfaces and the science behind communication throughout the nervous system.

It is important to specify your stream of choice on your application or in your personal statement as space on streams is limited. All four streams lead to the award of MSc Biomedical Engineering.

Location

Teaching will be shared across our  South Kensington and White City Campuses and you will be expected to attend lectures, study groups and labs on either site.

This is an exciting time, with the opening of The Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub that will drive clinical translation of MedTech innovation through integrated clinical and imaging facilities and by virtue of its proximity to the Hammersmith Hospital campus.

Careers

Our career-focused degrees ensure graduates are well-placed to gain employment in a growing industry. The global population is ageing which increases demand for biomedical engineers to create new medical devices.

There are many areas of employment open to you as a graduate of this course, and previous graduates have gone on to pursue careers in:

  • Healthcare
  • Medical device industry
  • Research
  • Medicine
  • Start-ups
  • Teaching
  • Consultancy
  • Finance

Around 60% of our Postgraduate graduates go into employment upon completion of their degree while just over a third go on to further study or training. Graduates have gone on to work at such companies as:

  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • GE Healthcare
  • GSK
  • Philips Healthcare

Find out what Bioengineering graduates have gone on to do in recent years.

Professional accreditation

This degree is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and Institution of Engineering Designers (IED), on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Our accreditation agreements are renewed every five years and the current agreement runs until 2023.

Structure

This page reflects the latest version of the curriculum for this year of entry. However, this information is subject to change.

The curriculum of this programme is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for this year of entry.

We recommend you check this page before finalising your application and again before accepting your offer. We will update this page as soon as any changes are confirmed by the College.

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 any changes made.

Page last reviewed on 25 October 2021.


Your first two terms will give you a solid foundation in the field, focussing on lectures and practical work, followed by full-time work on a research project. You will take all of the core modules plus those relevant to your stream choice.

You will then select optional modules to help develop your specific interests. A range of seminars and workshops will help deepen and broaden your research skills-base.

Your studies culminate in a substantial research project hosted by one of our world-leading research groups.

This course runs for 12 months, starting in late September. You will be expected to spend the summer months working full-time on your individual research project.

Structure

Core modules

The below core modules are taken by students on all four streams of the MSc.

  • Principles of Biomedical Imaging – explains how images of the body can be obtained using different forms of penetrating radiation, and details how different forms of imaging such as Computer Tomography (CT), X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Ultrasound work.
  • Journal Club – A seminar-based module that will develop your ability to critically analyse the latest research in Biomedical Engineering and advance your scientific writing and presentation skills.
  • Medical Device Certification – focuses on the key knowledge and skills needed by professional engineers in the development of medical systems and devices, specifically in the preparation of regulatory approval.
  • Systems Physiology – describes the organ systems and their function covering everything from the cardiovascular system to brain function and the musculoskeletal and respiratory systems.
  • Statistics and Data Analysis – enables the understanding of basic statistical analyses and their application and presents a fresh view of statistical concepts.

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

Core modules

The following core modules are compulsory for all students on the Biomechanics stream:

  • Biomechanics – an introduction to the principles of mechanics, such as solid mechanics and fluids mechanics, and their application to living systems.
  • Physiological Fluid Mechanics – focused on understanding advanced concepts in fluid mechanics and the implementation of numerical methods for computational fluid dynamics.
  • Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Biomechanics – introduces the application of engineering principles and approaches towards the study of biomechanical behaviour from a cellular to tissue scale.
  • Orthopaedic Biomechanics - introduces the basic mechanics of the musculoskeletal system, covering the structure and function of the musculoskeletal tissues, the mechanics of the tissue, diseases and injury. 

Optional modules

You choose one optional module from below.

  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine – introduces fundamental concepts in normal tissue development and discusses their imitation within a lab setting.
  • Cellular and Molecular Mechanotransduction – examines biomechanics on a cellular scale and investigates methods of sensing and cell manipulation.
  • Human Neuromechanical Control and Learning – explores the control of human movement from the perspective of both adaptation of the neural control system and adaptation of properties of the mechanical plant.
  • Biomimetics – explains the scope of biomimetics and investigates the principles that help engineers solve technical problems using inspiration from nature.
  • Biomedical Advanced Computational and Stress Analysis - explores advanced topics in mechanical drawing, stress analysis, and finite element simulation including nonlinear material models appropriate for biomedical applications.

Biomaterials

Core modules

The following core modules are compulsory for all students on the Biomaterials stream:

  • Biomaterials for Bioengineers – an introduction to the major classes of biomedical implant materials, including metals, ceramics and polymers, their use in the body and reasons for failure.
  • Advanced Biomaterials – introducing you to the latest development in hard tissue biology.
  • Advanced Tissue Engineering – investigating modern developments in tissue engineering and the principles on which they are based.
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine – introduces fundamental concepts in normal tissue development and discusses their imitation within a lab setting.

Optional modules

You choose one optional module from below. Typical options include:

  • Biomechanics – an introduction to the principles of mechanics, such as solid mechanics and fluids mechanics, and their application to living systems.
  • Biomimetics – explainsthe scope of biomimetics and investigates the principles that help engineers solve technical problems using inspiration from nature.
  • Mathematical Methods for Bioengineers – introduces a range of appropriate mathematical models to model biological systems and analyse complex biological data.
  • Non-Ionising Functional and Tissue Imaging – explains the latest advanced features of medical imaging (CT, X-ray, MR and US) and their use in modern hospital practice.

Medical Physics

Core modules

The following core modules are compulsory for all students on the Medical Physics stream:

  • Advanced Physiological Monitoring and Data Analysis – focuses on the core aspects of biological and clinical measurement such as data handling, sampling and measurement.
  • Image Processing – examines digital image processing relevant to image analysis giving an appreciation for aspects of computation involved in interpreting images.
  • Ionising Tissue & Flow Imaging – explains the basic physics of nuclear medicine, providing an overview of the range of applications in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • Non-Ionising Functional and Tissue Imaging – explains the latest advanced features of medical imaging (CT, X-ray, MR and US) and their use in modern hospital practice.

Optional modules

You choose one optional module from below:

  • Mathematical Methods for Bioengineers – introduces a range of appropriate mathematical models to model biological systems and analyse complex biological data.
  • Neuroscience – introduces the key principles and methods of neuroscience, covering multiple levels of organisation, from molecules to behaviour.
  • Engineering in Cancer Therapy - explains the basic physics of ionising radiation as safely implemented in radiotherapy, providing an overview of the range of applications used in the treatment of patients.

Neurotechnology

Core modules

The following core modules are compulsory for all students on the Neurotechnology stream:

  • Brain Machine Interfaces – introduces technology that is used already in clinical settings for interfacing of the human brain to electronic circuitry, looking at clinical uses for brain-machine interfaces and deep-brain stimulation.
  • Neuroscience – introduces the key principles and methods of neuroscience, covering multiple levels of organisation, from molecules to behaviour.
  • Mathematical Methods for Bioengineers – introduces a range of appropriate mathematical models to model biological systems and analyse complex biological data.

Optional modules

You choose two optional modules from below:

  • Reinforcement Learning – Introduces reinforcement learning and its mathematical foundations
  • Biomimetics – explains the scope of biomimetics and investigates the principles that help engineers solve technical problems using inspiration from nature.
  • Computational Neuroscience – an introduction to Computational Neuroscience, providing an appreciation of the role of computational and theoretical approaches to understanding the nervous system.
  • Human Neuromechanical Control and Learning – explores the control of human movement from the perspective of both adaptation of the neural control system and adaptation of properties of the mechanical plant.
  • Image Processing - examines digital image processing relevant to image analysis giving an appreciation for aspects of computation involved in interpreting images.

Individual project

The individual research project is an important part of the Bioengineering degree course. Projects give you the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in the rest of the course to current research problems. They also help you to develop important project management, teamwork and communication skills that are highly valued by employers and international research groups.

Throughout the year you will carry out an extended research project. You will be assessed by a planning report, submitted in early March, a written dissertation and an oral presentation to be held by the middle of September.

You will carry out your project under the direction and guidance of a member of the academic staff and their research group. They are by far the most important pieces of work in the degree programme. They provide the opportunity for you to demonstrate independence and originality, to plan and organise a large project over a long period, and to put into practice some of the techniques you have been taught throughout the course.

Previous projects

Examples of previous project titles and outlines are below. Please note these are historic examples and may not be offered on future courses.

Organ-on-Chip Exploration of Circulating Tumour Cell Cluster Microvascular Transit Dynamics

Dr Sam Au

90% of cancer associated deaths are a result of metastasis, a sequence of discrete events in which circulating tumour cells (CTCs) escape primary tumours, use the cardiovascular & lymphatic systems as highways to reach distant organs, where they grow into secondary tumours. To overcome this challenge, we use microfluidic organ-on-chip devices (platforms fabricated with micron-scale features for handling nano-scale volumes of fluids that are typically coated with living cells) as physical models of organ systems such as the microcirculation.

Recently, it has been discovered that the main cellular drivers of metastasis are not individual CTCs, but rather aggregates of these cells (CTC Cluster). In work conducted at Harvard Medical School, we found that CTC clusters are able to transit through narrow vessels by rearranging into single file chains (which reduces their hydrodynamic resistance to flow). This work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previous work was conducted in straight microchannel constrictions. This project builds upon this work to explore how CTC clusters behave at capillary Y-junctions in microfluidic capillary network-on-chip platforms. We have preliminary evidence that cells will sacrifice part of their cytoplasms to break inhibitory force balances during transit. The novel insights gained in this project will greatly advance our understanding of how cancer metastasizes.

Students will be equipped for in-demand careers within academia or industry with many of the following skills: cell & tissue culture, cancer biology, organ-on-a-chip, drug screening, microfabrication, computer-assisted design, statistical analysis, computational modeling, scientific writing/presentation skills and project management.

SnailBORG - the snail-machine interface

Professor Simon Schultz

The pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, has been a preparation of interest in neuroscience for the study of the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory, due to several convenient features, including a drug-permeable body, and large neuronal cell bodies. We surmise that it may also be a useful platform for testing brain-machine interface technologies. This project will involve developing a novel device for controlling the locomotion of a pond-snail through microstimulation, along the lines of the cockroach projects in "backyard brains" (backyardbrains.com). The device should be water-immersible, since the pond snail is an aquatic animal. This project would suit someone with an interest in brain-machine interfaces, neuroscience and a desire to perform wet laboratory work.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

Teaching across the programme is through a mixed mode delivery which includes:

  • Demonstrations
  • Group exercises
  • Guided practical classes
  • Individual research project
  • Laboratory work
  • Lectures (conventional and flipped)
  • Presentations (live and pre-recorded)
  • Seminars
  • Workshops

Assessment

Assessment is undertaken both for learning and of learning, methods include:

  • Coursework
  • Oral presentations
  • Written examinations (open and closed book)
  • Written reports, including a dissertation

Course timetable

You will receive your course timetable by the beginning of your studies in October and the core teaching hours for the College are 09.00 to 18.00.

Overall workload

The expected total study time is 2,250 hours per year.

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.

For a typical 5 ECTS module, it is expected that 27 hours would be spent in lecture and/or tutorials/labs, and 98 hours in independent study.

For the research project, we expect that students spend 100 hours in training, meetings and other research group-related activities, and 900 hours engaged in independent study and research.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in an engineering, physical sciences or mathematical subject. Applications for the programme are competitive, applications with less than a 2.1 or international equivalent will be unlikely to receive offers. 

As an engineering degree, the Biomedical Engineering MSc requires a strong maths competency and successful applicants will typically be expected to have scored the equivalent of a 2.1 or above in maths topics during their undergraduate degree.

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology – applicants should have some experience in solid mechanics including kinematics and stress analysis and fluid mechanics/dynamics.

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering – applicants should have either wet-lab skills or experience in modelling and simulation.

Medical Physics and Imaging – applicants should demonstrate a focus towards the healthcare sector and some practical experience.

Neurotechnology – applicants should demonstrate a strong mathematical background with experience of advanced calculus including Ordinary Differential Equations, linear algebra including the manipulation of vectors and matrices and probability theory.

Students from a Medical or Life Sciences background may wish to consider our MSc Engineering for Biomedicine.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

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 postgraduate applicants.

Competence standards

Our competence standards highlight the core skills students should be able to demonstrate by the end of this course.

View the Department of Bioengineering's competence standards [pdf]

We believe in providing the widest practicable access to all of our degree programmes and will make reasonable adjustments wherever possible to support your study. For more information, please contact the Department using the contact details below.

Department of Bioengineering

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

How to apply

How to apply

Application deadlines

We consider applications to this degree in three rounds. When you apply will determine which round your application is considered in.

Please note, a completed application includes your most recent transcript, personal statement and two acceptable references. Make sure you check that these aspects of your application are received by the relevant date.

We recommend applicants keep track of whether their references have been sent and be proactive in following up with their referees if necessary.

  • First round deadline: Friday 7 January 2022
    • Latest decision date:  Friday 11 February 2022
  • Second round deadline:  Friday 18 March 2022
    • Latest decision date:  Friday 29 April 2022
  • Third round deadline: 1 July 2022
    • Latest decision date: 29 July 2022

Stream choice

It is important to include you stream choice in your application for the programme as places on the relevant streams may fill up and become unavailable.  If a stream preference is not included on your application, you will be contacted by the department to indicate a preference of stream before your application is considered complete. We try to accommodate changes of stream requests after an offer has been made, but please note streams are capped so this is not always possible.

Second choice applicants

Applicants with MSc Biomedical Engineering as their second choice will only be considered if they are unsuccessful at gaining a place on their first choice programme. Applicants will be placed in the application round based on when their complete application becomes eligible for this programme, normally the first working day after they have received a decision on their first-choice programme.  It is advisable to clearly denote your stream choice in your personal statement as this cannot be included on the application form for second choices.

Late applications

Applicants are advised to apply within the gathered fields to ensure equal consideration. We occasionally have spaces for applications made after 1 July 2022 please email be.pgadmissions@imperial.ac.uk before applying.

Waiting list

We endeavour to give a final accept or reject decision on all applications by the published date. However, a small number of applicants may receive a “waiting list” decision, to allow us to fairly compare applicants across gathered fields. Applicants on the waiting list will receive a final decision by  29 July 2022 or sooner.

Making an application

Apply online

All applicants must apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

If you are applying for a taught Master’s course, you will need to pay an application fee before submitting your application.

The fee applies per application and not per course:

  • £80 for taught Master's applications (excluding MBAs)
  • £135 for MBA applications

There is no application fee for MRes courses, Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or research courses, such as PhDs and EngDs.

If you are facing financial hardship and are unable to pay the application fee, we encourage you to apply for our application fee waiver. 

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Further questions?

Find answers to your questions about admissions. Answers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, visas and more.

Visit the FAQs

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Home rate of tuition

2022 entry

£15,400

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

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.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 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.

EU/EEA/Swiss students 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 we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication). 

Overseas rate of tuition

2022 entry

£35,700

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

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/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 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.

EU/EEA/Swiss students 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 we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2022-23 entry, the maximum amount is £11,836. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

Departmental scholarships

The Department of Bioengineering has a limited number of partial scholarships available for some courses.

All students who submit a completed application for this course (with two references) before Friday 19 March 2021 are considered for these scholarships.

Scholarships

The Department of Bioengineering offers a limited number of £5,000 scholarships to outstanding applicants.
 
All students who submit a completed application for this course (with two references) before Friday 18 March 2022 will be automatically considered for one of these scholarships, based on academic merit and prospect.
 
The College also offers a range of other scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Find out more about our scholarships to see what you might be eligible for.
 
A number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students. Find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

British Council scholarships for women in STEM

This course is eligible for the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM, which Imperial is offering for the 2022/23 academic year. These are for women from Brazil, Mexico or Peru who apply to one of our eligible STEM Master's courses. Find out more about this scholarship.

Accommodation and living costs

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

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Bioengineering

Got a question?

Admissions Tutor and Enquiries
T: +44 (0)20 7594 5146
E: be.pgadmissions@imperial.ac.uk

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