Students in halls

How much does it cost to live in London as a student?

Living expenses at university will vary considerably according to your personal circumstances and lifestyle.

Below is a rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London. We have considered key costs such as accommodation, food and travel. Tuition fees and study materials are not included here, but you will want to factor these into your own budget.

Basic prices for things like food, personal costs, bills and insurance are similar wherever you study. Costs related to accommodation and travel are more specific to London and Imperial.

Likely costs for living in London – 2022-23
CostWeeklyMonthly9 months12 months
 Accommodation College-run  £209  £907  £8,160  N/A
Private sector  £214  £926  £8,331  £11,108
Food  £65  £281  £2,533  £3,377
Travel  £32  £121  £1,092  £1,264
Personal and leisure  £62  £269  £2,424  £3,233
Totals  £368 to £372  £1,579 to £1,597
 £14,209 to £14,380
 £18,982
Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Summary of the table's contents

How are these costs calculated?

UPDATED: September 2022

These numbers are based largely on averages from the Student Experience Survey 2022 results, and have been uprated by inflation (RPI) from February, when the survey was taken, to August 2022. They are here to help you consider and plan for the costs associated with studying at Imperial. Many students are able to budget below these averages.

We all have different living costs, so these figures are just for here your information. We always recommend that you fully research your likely living costs for yourself.

Accommodation

The figures for College-run accommodation are based on rents at our different undergraduate halls of residence. You can find them in full on our Compare halls page. All of our undergraduate halls include utility bills, internet access, basic contents insurance, maintenance, communal cleaning and a contribution to the halls activity fund. Typically, you will need to sign up for a 9 month contract for College-run accommodation.

It's worth noting that College-run accommodation rents increased since 2020 to accommodate more single-occupancy rooms.

There are lots of different options when it comes to private accommodation. If you want to live in private accommodation, you may need to commit to a 12 month contract, so be sure to factor this into your budget. Find out more about private accommodation in London.

Food

These food costs cover the typical requirements for someone studying in London. The actual costs may be higher or lower, depending on how often you dine out or where and what you eat.

Travel

These figures are based on the costs of TFL travel cards in London. As a student in London, you will be able to purchase an 18+ Student Oyster Card for Zones 1–3. This is a popular and cost-effective solution, and should cover the majority of your travels within London. However, you may want to explore other options.  

We calculated travel costs using three travel card options, for 7 days, 1 month and 1 year. These are usually the most cost-effective options for their respective time periods.

Personal and leisure

These estimates are based on feedback from real Imperial students, collected during the Student Experience Survey 2022. Your own costs will depend on your lifestyle and activities, so always consider what your plans are for your studies.

Managing your money

Planning ahead and estimating costs is the best way to stay in control of your finances.

To help you, we have invested in a financial education platform for current and prospective students to engage in financial learning and access to budgeting tools. For more information and to register on the Blackbullion platform, visit our budgeting page.

Additional costs

Visa and travel costs

If you need a Tier 4 student visa, you will need sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees and living costs for your first year of study.

The estimates above do not include the cost of flights or insurance.

Don't forget that if you are planning to arrange initial short-term accommodation when you arrive in London, you will need to budget for this expense as well.

Start up costs

As a new student, you may have additional start-up costs in your first year.

This may include things like accommodation deposits and flights. International students may need up to £1,500 for costs like these.

In College-run accommodation, each room is already equipped with a bed, study desk, chair, wardrobe, shelving, desk lamp, curtains, chest of drawers, notice board, bookshelf/case.

Other essentials you may need to buy include items such as bedding, crockery, cutlery and even some essential electrical items.

Field trips/study visits

Some of our courses involve compulsory attendance on one or more field trips or visits. 

Wherever possible an estimate of the costs involved will be given to you at the time an offer of admission is made.

If you are sponsored, you will need to make your financial sponsor aware of any such additional costs.

Some courses involve non-compulsory conference costs, which will be communicated by the Departments. Students can apply for funding to cover these costs by applying for financial assistance from their Department, the Student Support Fund or the Imperial College Trust Fund.