Medical Device Design

Our unique, full-time MSc course focuses on the design of biomimetic systems and assistive devices for humans

Key information

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

Apply now

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 one-year full-time MSc in Human and Biological Robotics is a wide-ranging course covering robotics for humans and society, service and social robotics, rehabilitation technology, as well as machine vision, artificial intelligence and machine learning. It looks to develop understanding of neuromechanics, biomimetics design, signal and image processing and the application of robotics in health and everyday life.

This Master's course has a unique focus on engineering methods which investigate human and animal sensing and sensorimotor control, and on the design of biomimetic systems and assistive devices for humans. It builds upon the unique strengths of the Department of Bioengineering and the wider College in this new field.

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

Our graduates are well placed for the following fields:

  • Further research in universities, research institutes, industry and healthcare
  • Design and production (of medical devices and biomimetic systems)
  • Freelancing, entrepreneurship and start-ups
  • Technical and commercial consulting

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

Location

Teaching will be based on our South Kensington Campus. Some research projects and optional seminars may be based at our new White City Campus.
This is an exciting time, as the College prepares for the launch of The Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub that will drive clinical translation of MedTech innovation through integrated clinical and imaging facilities and proximity to the Hammersmith Hospital campus.

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 focus 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 which will give you a solid foundation in the field.

You will then select optional modules from the listed options 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

You take all of the core modules from the list below.

  • 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.
  • Medical device entrepreneurship – introduces various aspects of medical device entrepreneurship, looking at case studies from start-ups, industry and investment firms to give you a sense of the process and challenges in developing your own business idea.
  • Robotics 1 - introduces the field of robotics including the most important theoretic building blocks in robotics, namely, kinematics and dynamics of robots, robot control and motion planning algorithms.
  • Statistics and Data Analysis – enables the understanding of basic statistical analyses and their application and presents a fresh view of statistical concepts.
  • Systems Physiology – describes the organ systems and their function covering everything from the cardiovascular system to brain function and the musculoskeletal and respiratory systems.

Optional modules

You choose five optional modules in total. At least four of these modules will be from Group 1.

Group 1

You choose four or five modules from the list below. Typically, options include:

  • Biomechanics – an introduction to the principles of mechanics, such as solid mechanics and fluids mechanics, and their application to living systems.
  • Biomimetics – explains the scope of biomimetics and investigates the principles that help engineers solve technical problems using inspiration from nature.
  • 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.
  • Computational Neuroscience – an introduction to Computational Neuroscience, providing an appreciation of the role of computational and theoretical approaches to understanding the nervous system.
  • Computer Vision and pattern recognition – focuses on the application areas of machine learning tools, namely Computer Vision, Robotics and general Pattern Recognition. 
  • Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) for Bioengineering - introduces the basics of simulation, physical layout and verification of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) for Bioengineering applications.
  • Image Processing - examines digital image processing relevant to image analysis giving an appreciation for aspects of computation involved in interpreting images.
  • Reinforcement Learning -  Introduces reinforcement learning and its mathematical foundations.

Group 2

You choose up to one module from the list below. Typically options include:

  • Embedded C for Microcontrollers – introduces students to the C programming language, to develop the ability to programme mechatronic systems containing sensors and actuators.
  • Human Centred Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices – focuses on the design of rehabilitation systems and assistive devices, integrating mechatronics and human factors into computer games.
  • Robotics – focuses on the field of mobile robotics, at the exciting time when cutting-edge robots are beginning to leave the research laboratory to tackle real-world tasks – in space, in the desert or in your living room.
  • Animal Locomotion and Bioinspired Robotics – provides practical training in bio-inspired robotics locomotion. The course revolves around selected topics in animal locomotion and corresponding robotics projects. 

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.

Development of automated evaluation tool for clinical signs of atopic dermatitis using machine learning image analysis

Dr Reiko Tanaka

Machine learning methods and their application to image processing have shown a rapid progress over the last decades. Automated classification of melanoma malignancy has already achieved a good progress (Esteva et al. 2017, Nature), thanks to the large number of available images (129,450 images used), as well as advances in characterisation of melanoma severity.

This project aims to develop an automated evaluation tool for clinical signs of atopic eczema, a chronic skin disease, by applying machine learning methods to the images of the lesional skin sites. It will enable the daily monitoring of the disease symptoms by patients by themselves, without coming to a clinic.
Strong programming skills and a good understanding of statistics are required.

AI for Natural History

Dr Huai-Ti Lin

The worlds' natural history collections contain at least 2 billion specimens, representing a unique data source for answering fundamental scientific questions about ecological, evolutionary, and geological processes. Unlocking this treasure trove of data, stored in thousands of museum drawers and cabinets, is crucial to help map a sustainable future for ourselves and the natural systems on which we depend. The rate-limiting steps in the digitisation of natural history collections often involve specimen handling due to their fragile nature.

To facilitate this biological research, we leverage the modern machine learning toolbox to extract biometric information from specimen images. In addition, we will attempt to exploit the wealth of natural photography on the internet and extract behavioural and anatomical data. Combining online image data mining and museum specimen image analysis, we hope to develop a more efficient data science pipeline for natural history research.

This project is completely desk-based and is suitable for students with interests in programming, image processing, machine learning, data science and data visualization. The students will also get to work with NHM research team and get involved with cutting-edge natural history projects.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

The course is taught by the Department of Bioengineering, with additional input from the Departments of Aeronautics, Computing, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the Dyson School of Design Engineering.

You will be well supported by the Robotics Forum, a multidisciplinary group made up of over 20 laboratories, more than 30 principal investigators and 150 researchers and PhD students.

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

Written exams

  • Short questions/essays/multiple choice
  • Coursework
  • Written reports
  • Laboratory write-ups
  • Risk analyses and technical files
  • Paper/grant review commentary
  • Marked problem sheets
  • Grant writing exercises
  • Lab book completion
  • Mastery assessments

Online

  • Online multiple-choice progression tests
  • Online quizzes

Other

  • Laboratory practical exercises
  • Oral presentation

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 or equivalent, in an engineering, physical science or mathematical subject. Please note, a first class degree (or equivalent) is strongly preferred.

This is a mathematically-demanding programme and students are expected to have robust quantitative skills and have achieved high level grades in maths modules during their undergraduate degree.

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 two 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 29 January 2022
  • Second round deadline:  Firday 18 March 2022
    • Latest decision date: Friday 29 April 2022

Second choice applicants

Applicants who select this course as their second choice will be placed in the application round based on when their complete application becomes eligible for this course. This is normally the first working day after they have received a decision on their first choice course.

Applications received after 19 March are not considered. It is your responsibility to liaise with your first choice course if you wish to withdraw from that choice in order to be considered for MSc Human and Biological Robotics.

Late applications

This course is highly competitive. We do not normally consider any applications received after the second round deadline, 18 March 2022. After this date, you may consider applying for our MSc Biomedical Engineering or MRes Neurotechnology courses.

Waiting list

We endeavour to give a final accept or reject decision on your application by the latest decision date above. However, a small number of applicants may receive a “waiting list” decision. This allows us to fairly compare applicants across application rounds. Applicants on the waiting list will receive a final decision by Friday 29  April.

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). 

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021.

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). 

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021.

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 2021-22 entry, the maximum amount is £11,570. 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

We offer a range of 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.

If you are an Iranian national and are accepted to study at Imperial starting this October, you may be eligible to apply for the Irani family 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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