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Enrich your study of biotechnology with an integrated year conducting research overseas.

Key information

Award

BSc

Duration

4 years

full-time

Minimum entry

Three A-level offer: A A A

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

9 : 1

Based on 2020 entry data

  • UCAS course code: n/a*
  • ECTS: 240
  • Start date: October 2022

* Apply initially to BSc Biotechnology (J700)

Apply on UCAS

Overview

Biotechnology creates a vital link between biology and technology. Our courses cover all aspects of the applied biochemistry and biotechnology industries, including commercialising technology, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property and patents, with lectures and case studies from business leaders and academics.

This course offers you the opportunity to spend your third year conducting research at one of our leading partner institutions overseas.

Study programme

All Biotechnology and Biochemistry students follow the same core modules for the first two years, including biological chemistry, molecular biology, integrative cell biology and genes and genomics. This gives you a solid grounding in the fundamental topics, and prepares you for advanced study.

You spend your third year conducting research in a medical, industrial or other relevant biotechnological setting overseas, and the Department has links with various partner universities in Europe.

You will need to develop proficiency in the language of your host country before the placement, and free classes are available at the College to help you prepare.

Obtaining a placement is competitive, and students normally need to be on track for at least a 2:1 in order to be eligible.

Our teaching is enriched by the Department’s internationally leading research programme, so you’ll be learning at the very cutting edge of the subject. You will also benefit from access to our outstanding facilities, including for genomic and cell biology studies, tissue culture suites and the most modern microscopes.

You also have the chance to complete an integrated year abroad at one of our partner universities where you can challenge yourself in a different academic and cultural environment. You will then return to Imperial to complete your studies during your fourth and final year.

Transfer between courses

A student using zebrafish larvae to investigate inflammatory immune responses.The structure of the Department's courses means that transfer between different Biotechnology and Biochemistry degrees is usually possible up until the end of the second year. 

  • Transfer onto Language for Science courses must be completed at the very start of the first year.
  • Transfer onto Year in Industry/Research courses should be completed at the start of the second year to allow time to arrange a suitable placement.
  • It is not possible to transfer onto one of the Biological Sciences degrees from a Biochemistry or Biotechnology degree.
  • Transfer onto the Management Year is subject to approval from the Imperial College Business School; and academic performance in the first two years of the degree (students should be working to a 2:1 standard by the end of their second year).

If you are an international student, transferring to a different course could have an impact on your student visa. Please visit our International Student Support webpage for further information.

Structure

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 them.

Year 1

Core modules

  • Biological Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Enzymes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology

Year 2

Core modules

  • Fundamentals of Molecular Biochemistry
  • Genes and Genomics
  • Integrative Cell Biology
  • Protein Science
  • Topics in Biotechnology
  • Tutored Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Applied Molecular Biochemistry
  • Challenges in Cell Biology
  • Computational 'Omics
  • Topics in Biotechnology

Research abroad

Opportunities

The third year consists of an agreed programme of study at an approved university in either Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or Switzerland. We currently have exchange agreements with:

  • University of Vienna, Austria
  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, France
  • SupAgro, France
  • University of Paris, France
  • University of Paris Saclay, France
  • University of Strasbourg, France
  • University of Toulouse 3, France
  • University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • University of Padova, Italy
  • University of Leiden, Netherlands
  • Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
  • University of Valencia, Spain
  • Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland

This is an integrated year abroad so the grades you achieve will count directly towards your Imperial degree.

Conditions

Language proficiency

Teaching is in the language of your host country in France, Germany, Italy and Spain so you will need to reach an acceptable proficiency in the relevant language before you go. Free language classes are available at the College to help you prepare.

Availability

There are limited places available on the Year Abroad programme, which means that competition for selection is strong and a placement cannot be guaranteed.

Normally only students who are on track for at least a 2:1 will be eligible for placements in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Other

  • Please note the above is an illustrative list of universities located abroad which the Department is currently partnered with. Partnerships with universities are subject to continuous review and individual partnerships may or may not be renewed.
  • There may be limitations placed upon your ability to live and study in these locations. If applicable you will need to successfully apply for the relevant visa. This applies to all students, including Home students, in light of the UK's decision to leave the European Union. Find the latest information on Imperial and the EU.

Year 4

Core modules

  • Science Communications plus Dissertation
  • Research Project - laboratory, data or field-based

Optional modules

You choose one module from each group below.

Group 1
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Metabolic and Network Engineering
  • Plant Biotechnology and Development
  • Principles of Development
  • Stem Cells, Regeneration and Ageing
  • Structural Biology and Drug Design
Group 2
  • Advanced Bacterial and Eukaryotic Cell Biology
  • Advanced Topics in Infection and Immunity
  • Advanced Topics in Parasitology and Vector Biology
  • Cancer
  • Integrative Systems Biology
  • Mechanisms of Gene Expression
  • Symbiosis, Plant Immunity and Disease
Group 3
  • Advanced Immunology
  • Biodiversity Genomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Disease Ecology and Epidemiology
  • Medical Glycobiology
  • Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Systems Neuroscience

Download the programme specification [PDF] – this is the most up-to-date version available for this course. It may change for your year of entry. If/when changes to this course are approved by the College, we will update this document and the information on this course page.


I-Explore

Through I-Explore, you'll have the chance to deepen your knowledge in a brand new subject area, chosen from a huge range of for-credit modules.

All of our undergraduate courses include one module from I-Explore's wide selection. The module you choose will be fully integrated into your course's curriculum and count as credit towards your degree.

Find out more about I-Explore

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

You will spend time in the laboratory, lectures, tutorials and seminars, as well as undertake site visits, a group project and a research project to aid the understanding of real world application.

Assessment

You will be assessed by a combination of:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Individual research
  • Laboratory write-ups
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Written examinations

Staff expertise

At Imperial, you will be taught by a range of teachers of all levels from Professors to PhD students, including some who undertake groundbreaking research and are regarded as experts in their field.

You may also experience peer teaching and be taught by specialists external to the College.

Associateship

As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS) on completion of this course.

The Royal College of Science is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Compare this course

Discover Uni compares things like student satisfaction and what graduates do after they finish the course.

Because acceptance onto this course is via in-course transfer, it does not have its own Discover Uni page.

However, there is a high degree of overlap with the main course in this Department. You should look at the Discover Uni data for that course instead.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.

A-levels

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2022 entry is AAA overall, to include:

  • A in Chemistry
  • A in Biology, Mathematics or Physics
  • A in another subject

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.


Typical offer range

As a guide, here are the typical offers made to at least 80% of A-level applicants for 2020 entry:

  • Three A-level offer: AAA-A*AA

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

The practical endorsement is part of the reformed English linear A-levels.


Language requirement

Applicants must have a relevant language GCSE grade B/ grade 6.


Additional Mathematics support

Our A-level Mathematics online course covers a range of key topic areas to help you gain a deeper understanding of the skills and techniques required to succeed in your A-level Mathematics exams.

This optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus with the aim of developing your thinking skills, fluency and confidence.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is available free of charge via the EdX website. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

International Baccalaureate

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2022 entry is 38 points overall, to include:

  • 6 in Chemistry at higher level
  • 6 in Biology, Mathematics or Physics at higher level

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made to at least 80% of IB applicants for 2020 entry was 39 points.


Language requirement

A pass in the relevant language (SL) is required.


Mathematics Higher Level for award in 2022

For entry in 2022, the Mathematics Analysis and Approaches or the Applications and Interpretation syllabi will be accepted at higher level with no preference.


Additional Mathematics support

Our A-level Mathematics online course is available free of charge via the EdX website.

Although this optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus, it is relevant to your curriculum too.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

Advanced Placements

The grades detailed below are the minimum requirements for students offering only Advanced Placements as their exams for entry to Imperial.

If you are studying a High School Diploma that is accepted by Imperial alongside Advanced Placements, requirements may apply to both your Diploma and Advanced Placements.

Please consult our country index to check whether we accept your High School Diploma programme for admission.

Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:

  • 5 in Chemistry
  • 5 in Biology, Physics (1 or 2 or C) or Calculus (AB or BC)
  • 5 in another subject (excluding Art, Music and languages other than English)

Language requirement

You must also achieve at least grade 3 in the relevant language.


Additional Mathematics support

We have launched an A-level Mathematics online course, which is available free of charge via the EdX website.

Although this optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus, it is relevant to your curriculum too.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

Selection process

Assessing your application

Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant. Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones.


Interviews

Generally, the department does not hold interviews. 


Pilot admissions schemes (Home students)

From 2020 entry, we will be using information about our applicants in a number of new pilot admissions schemes, to consider the wider context of Home students from groups underrepresented at the College.

More about pilot admissions schemes

Deferred entry

Applications from school leavers who wish to take a gap year are welcome. Applicants must state in their UCAS personal statement how they propose to spend their time.

Foundation programmes

A foundation course is a one-year preparation course, designed for international students, which leads to undergraduate programmes in the UK. Foundation programmes are normally for school-leavers who have studied a non-British curriculum but wish to pursue a degree at a UK university.

Foundation programmes are offered by many UK universities, but only two would be considered for entry to Imperial: 

  1. UCL’s Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE), and 
  2. Warwick’s International Foundation Programme (IFP) in Science & Engineering

UCL UPCSE

A year-long programme for international students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow them direct entry to UK universities. Students must complete four modules across the year – two compulsory and two elective modules:

ModuleStatus
Research and Academic Skills: Science and Society Compulsory
Academic English Compulsory
Biology Elective
Chemistry Elective
Mathematics Elective
Physics Elective
Information correct at time of publishing, but subject to change
Summary of the table's contents

To be considered for admission to Biochemistry/Biotechnology, international students studying UCL UPCSE must achieve:

  • 70% overall
  • 80% Chemistry 
  • 80% Biology, Mathematics or Physics

Warwick IFP Science and Engineering

A year-long programme for international students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow them direct entry to UK universities. 

To be considered for admission to Biochemistry/Biotechnology, international students studying Warwick IFP Science and Engineering must achieve:

  • 70% overall
  • 80% Chemistry 
  • 80% Biology, Mathematics or Physics

To meet these requirements, students should choose from the following IFP pathways:

  • Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences

Contextual admissions

We want to make sure that the Imperial learning community is as diverse as the society we serve. So to make our admissions process as fair as possible, we have introduced admissions schemes for Home students that allow us to consider your application in the full context of any additional barriers you may face.

Find out if you meet the eligibility criteria for our contextual admissions schemes. 

This department will make you a guaranteed offer if you have predicted grades that meet the minimum College entry standard of AAA at A-level or an equivalent level qualification and you demonstrate motivation to study the specific subject area.

Read more about the contextual admissions scheme in this department and others.

Second year entry

For Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, we sometimes accept transfers from other institutions into the second year. Students should provide us with a transcript of their first year grades and details of their Pre-University Qualifications and the grades attained in them.

Offers are based on the number of places available (if any), the relevance of the modules covered in the first year elsewhere and the grades achieved. If we feel direct entry to the second year wouldn't be possible we may offer you first year entry instead.

We do not accept any transfers into the third year of any of our courses.

Important information (all Life Sciences applicants)

Applicants who are unsuccessful cannot be reconsidered for entry within the same cycle but may reapply the following year without prejudice with a new application. We consider resit students in open competition with all other applicants.

We do not accept Access courses, Foundation years or OU courses.

General studies will not be accepted at any level. Other qualifications, such as Key Skills or Critical Thinking, while useful, will not count towards an offer.

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 higher 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 undergraduate applicants.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

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

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support website.

View our terms and conditions on visas.

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 Life Sciences' 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 Life Sciences

T: +44 (0)20 7594 5398
E: lifesciences.admissions@imperial.ac.uk

Tuition fees and funding

We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.

Home rate of tuition

2022 entry

The fee for Home students is controlled by the UK government. It has not been confirmed for the 2022-23 academic year.

As a guide, the Home rate of tuition for the 2021-22 academic year was £9,250.

Year abroad

For the 2021-22 year abroad, the fee was £1,385 for that year.

Read more about funding for year abroad placements.

For each subsequent year, you should expect and budget for your tuition fee to increase by an amount in line with inflation. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPIX) value, taken from April in the calendar year in which the academic session starts.

For example, the RPIX 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.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Government funding

If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course.

You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.

 

Overseas rate of tuition

2022 entry

The fee for Overseas students is controlled by the College. It has not been confirmed for the 2022–23 academic year.

As a guide, the Overseas rate of tuition for the 2021–22 academic year was £34,500.

Year abroad

For the 2021-22 year abroad, the fee was 15% of the relevant fee for that year.

Read more about funding for year abroad placements.

For each subsequent year, you should expect and budget for your tuition fee to increase by an amount in line with inflation. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPIX) value, taken from April in the calendar year in which the academic session starts. For example, the RPIX 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.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Additional course costs

This section outlines additional costs relevant to this course. These are not included in your tuition fees. It's possible that all, or only some, of these will be relevant to you.

Figures are approximated, usually based on costs in the most recent academic year. They are likely to change each year but it's useful for you to be aware of the things you may have to pay for. This can help you budget for life at Imperial.

Mandatory costs are those that you will need to pay to fully participate in and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies so you can opt-out of these.


Summary
DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost
Personal Protective Equipment Mandatory Provided
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory for some activities on this course. Where this applies, the Department of Life Sciences will provide you with the necessary PPE free of charge to ensure you can undertake lab work safely. This includes:

  • Lab coat
  • Goggles

Accommodation and living costs

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

Most Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across different accommodation options.

Read our rough guide to university spending in London.

Careers

Life sciences graduates enjoy excellent career opportunities. Many of our graduates go on to study for a higher degree in the field, typically starting with a Master’s degree, followed by a PhD and a career in academic research or industry. Other opportunities for Life Sciences graduates include government and industrial research, public health, and careers in business.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Bioinformatics Data Analyst, Multinational healthcare company
  • Senior Associate, Management consulting firm
  • Co-founder, Biochemical startup
  • Pharmacy Technical Officer, NHS
  • Senior Analyst, Medical communications and health economics agency

How to apply

UCAS key information

  • UCAS course code: n/a*
  • UCAS institution code: I50
Apply on UCAS

Apply on UCAS

You can start and track your application on UCAS Hub. There you can add this course as one of your choices.

* Apply initially to BSc Biotechnology (J700)

Application deadlines

26 January 2022 at 18.00 (UK time).

If your application includes a medicine course, the deadline is 15 October 2021 at 18.00 (UK time).

Any questions?

You can read our guidance on how to apply. You can also find answers to your questions about admissionsAnswers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, Visas and more.

You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:

Connect with us

Researcher in Life Sciences lab

Got a question?

T: +44 (0)20 7594 5398
E: lifesciences.admissions@imperial.ac.uk

Department of Life Sciences

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