For eligibility please scroll down to the relevant item.




February 2024 (amendments to previous statement in italics): To confirm that the following depts within FoE and FoNS have made it known to the UROP Manager that they will no longer allow UROPs to take place (to be registered) without financial support for the student having been agreed: Chemistry, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Aeronautics, Chemical Eng, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computing, Design Engineering, Earth Science and Eng, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Materials. These departmental rules apply to all UROPs whether the student participating is an Imperial undergraduate or not. The following depts within FoE are very likely to take the same stance by spring 2024: Mechanical Engineering. In all instances queries should be addressed to the relevant Dept's Student Office.

Chemistry: More information for undergraduates of the Dept of Chemistry can be found on the internal chemistry UROP Blackboard page and queries (if you are a student of another dept within the College or are a student at another university) to


Previous update (November 2023):

A quick message to all supervisors and students who have engaged with UROPs this summer: The College hopes that all research experiences were successful (in their own way) and that both the student and the supervisor will have derived some level of satisfaction from the collaboration.

Students are encouraged to write a "perspective" (a student case study) for possible inclusion on this website. All contributions of feedback are welcomed. Various student perspectives (case studies) kindly provided by students who undertook a UROP during the summer of 2023 have been published (November 2023) alongside many from previous summers.

If there are matters pertaining to a UROP that the supervisor and/or the student require guidance on please contact Adrian Hawksworth, the UROP Manager on

The scheme looks forward to UROP being equally productive over the coming academic year, especially next summer (2024).

If you are new to understanding how UROP operates at Imperial please read our UROP information sheet - 2024

Naturally the UROP scheme wishes you to think before you act (i.e. consult this website!) but UROP in terms of individual students making contact with academic staff has no deadlines. Students can commence their search when they are good and ready, but of course some opportunities may already have been secured, even for 2024. Selection for individual UROPs is a devolved acitivity (i.e. the potential supervisor decides the equitable means by which a student is selected). If you are a first year undergraduate then please remember that it's a long game and a UROP at the end of Year 1 is not compulsory, nor necessarily the right decision for you. Any student who wishes to discuss their interest in UROP might think about discussing first with their personal tutor, and, of course, queries can be addressed to Bursary schemes (including the College's UROP bursary scheme) will have deadlines, but a UROP does not have to be registered until the outcome of a bursary application is known.

***Read the eligibility criteria for UROP by scrolling down this page to the relevant item***

Adrian Hawksworth, UROP Manager

What is UROP at Imperial College?

What is UROP (UG research)?

UROP is Imperial College’s highly active Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme for students (from within & outside Imperial, subject to eligibility criteria) who wish to develop an appreciation of research and the environment within which it takes place.

Since 1980 UROP has furthered the ambitions of thousands of students through the management of research experiences within Imperial College.

In each of 2021, despite the ongoing pandemic, and 2022 over 600 students participated (with over 500 undergraduates from Imperial College). The summer of 2022 saw a return to the vast majority of UROPs being undertaken in-person on campus while some continued to be delivered wholly or partly remotely. The on-going commitment of academic staff and research group members to support UROPs this year, and indeed any year, whenever possible has been greatly welcomed by the College. UROP is a cornerstone of the undergraduate student experience and whether it is this summer (2023) or next summer (2024) the College looks forward to healthy participation.

Students and academic staff are encouraged to consider the possibilities which the UROP system offers.

Without the engagement of academic staff UROP would not happen, so the College extends a huge thank you to all staff who participate (academic staff plus day-to-day supervisors such as technical staff, post-docs and PhD students.)

Undergraduate research is often considered to be the exploration of a specific topic within a field by a student that attempts to make an original contribution to the discipline (Wikipedia).

Undergraduate research when pursued through Imperial College's UROP scheme has this general aim in mind but our UROPs can take many formats depending on what a student and their supervisor agree to pursue. Read the next TAB for more information.

What all UROPs should provide is a structured undergraduate research experience, with clear preparation, supervision and outcomes.

Undergraduate research is often a student’s first non-classroom experience of the academic research environment and attracts students for a variety of reasons.  It is a particularly attractive proposition to students who already have a keen interest in a specific research topic, and perhaps have already experienced the research environment through high school level research programmes. Since some students arrive at university with "experience" there is a desire to get involved in undergraduate research as soon as possible, although for most students it is something they will connect with a little later in their degree.

It can be the first stepping stone to a future career in academic and commercial environments and is why many academic staff get involved because for many, especially younger researchers, it was their own first experience of research. However, for some students it will perhaps inform them that academic research is not for them (a constructive outcome nonetheless).

Broadly speaking it is a great opportunity for any student to gain an understanding of the research environment and to obtain new skills or develop current ones. Perhaps for some students, when external internships in their discipline are few and very competitive, pursuing a UROP can be an alternative way of building their CV.

For credit or not?

  • Undergraduate research in the form of a UROP is extra-curricula for Imperial College undergraduates (although in some departments extra ECTS credit can be accrued separate to a student's degree programme for participating in vacation research; the credit being achieved as a consequence of the student submitting and passing an assessment; the amount of credot being decided by the length of the vacation research experience).
  • For students who attend from outside Imperial College to undertake a UROP, participation may be extra-curricula or it may form part of a student's degree programme at their home university (e.g. a credit-based training placement).

Guidance for academic staff at Imperial College London on what actions to take when wishing to host a student. This weblink (information) is not accessible to students.

What is a research experience?

A UROP is an internally based (internal to Imperial College) research experience undertaken by an eligible student, supervised by an approved member of the host department (ordinarily academic staff, but also at the discretion of the host department other research staff, including postdoctoral research assistants). The participation of PhD students as part of the supervisory network for an individual UROP is also at the discretion of the host department.

By internal, this means that all UROP research experiences are based internal to Imperial College in one of its many research groups or areas. They may or may not involve off-site activity (with off-site activity subject to the College's procedures for managing off-site activity).

The application process is direct to a member of academic staff as there is no centralised application system for UROP research experiences. UROPs are sometimes advertised by research groups, although for the most part academic staff are receptive to individual approaches from students who have identified their particular research area. When a research group advertises a specific opportunity but receive more than one enquiry before a decision has been made then the UROP scheme would expect there to be a fair and transparent process for making a selection.

A UROP can take many formats depending on what the student and their supervisor agree to pursue. It will depend on the interests of the student (we’ll take it for granted that the student is enthusiastic and motivated), the opportunities that exist at the time in the particular research group/area and the professional guidance of the academic supervisor. The vast majority of UROPs will be led by the academic, although for some students it may provide an opportunity to lead on an idea with support and guidance from the academic.

Please take an opportunity to read about the experiences of students who have undertaken recent UROPs.

While a UROP will naturally contain some element of training, they are not explicitly training placements and a student should remember this when considering whether to pursue a UROP.

Many UROP research experiences are project based but not all, with some students finding a more comfortable platform in supporting other members of a research group with a variety of research tasks.

UROP is mainly a summer vacation activity, although students might seek opportunities at other times. A typical research experience for an Imperial undergraduate lasts between 6 -10 weeks during the summer vacation. For students from outside the UK (who fit the eligibility criteria) the research experience may be as long as 12 months (often 3-6 months).

Imperial College undergraduates can also pursue UROP on a very much part-time basis during term-time, and prior to engaging with academic staff they should discuss participation with their personal tutor to ensure that they have considered any impact on their coursework.

A framework of bursaries provides assistance with a student’s living costs although a student is free to pursue a UROP without financial support where the policy of the host department allows. A UROP research experience is not paid employment. The College greatly encourages the provision of financial support for the student by the supervisor/host-dept (including support with applications to third party bursary schemes), and to avoid approving UROPs that are not financially supported unless the matter has been properly discussed with the student. The outcomes of those discussions are required to be inputted into the UROP Registration Form.

A department ought not to approve any UROP, for which no financial support has been identified by the proposed supervisor, where participation has been determined from amongst the interest of two or more students on the basis of any individual student having no financial need.

By registering a UROP the host department ensures that a research experience (whether the student participant is from within or outside Imperial College) is hosted appropriately. Specifically, Imperial College students normally undertake a UROP on an extra-curricula basis (i.e. the research experience does not constitute part of their degree programme) and therefore UROP provides the host academic department with the light touch means to administer the research experience, including ensuring that the period the student spends in the research group is insured appropriately. For students from outside the College a UROP registered research experience also provides access to student-type services, including an ID card and library access.

Please note that UROP has been developed to be first and foremost on offer to students of Imperial College and as such some supervisors might give priority to their applications over those from students from outside the College.

Guidance for academic staff at Imperial College London on what actions to take when wishing to host a student. This weblink (information) is not accessible to students.

Why do academics get involved?

"Our main reason for having UROP students in the laboratory is to begin the process of fostering the next generation of research scientists. As a bonus, because they are willing to explore new territory, they often make novel and unexpected findings that lead us in new research directions." Dept of Life Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences.

"Hosting undergraduate students in my lab during the summers has been extremely beneficial for everyone. The students have a chance to get involved in research projects, which often opens the door to further graduate studies. PhD students and post-docs in my group benefit from the extra help and the chance to supervise students. I enjoy introducing students to research, which is very different from classroom learning. Understanding how to tackle questions when there is no known answer is a new experience for many UROP students. But, once they catch the excitement of doing something that has never been done before, they are hooked." Dept of Bioengineering, Faculty of Engineering.

"For a sharply defined research project that involves training in one or two techniques, the brief 8-week UROP project is immensely useful. On such a project, the student immediately feels the buzz of research. Not merely an extra pair of hands, the student is encouraged to think through the meaning of the work. In the end the student has experienced research and the supervisor has had important work done on his/her hypothesis." National Heart and Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine.

"The UROP scheme allows undergraduate students to get a very close contact with research being carried out at our university. In addition to how useful this is for the training they receive at Imperial, it is often the case that interesting ideas and results are generated directly as a consequence of UROP research experiences." Dept of Aeronautics, Faculty of Engineering.

Guidance for academic staff at Imperial College London on what actions to take when wishing to host a student. This weblink (information) is not accessible to students.

Eligibility (students)

Who can participate in UROP at Imperial College London?


UROP has been established at Imperial College London for over 40 years and naturally seeks to be of greatest assistance to our own undergraduate students. Therefore, while other eligible students are welcome to try and find a supervisor, academic staff are free to prioritise Imperial College undergraduates. UROP at Imperial College London, unless it is agreed otherwise, is an on-campus activity.

The following categories of students are able to participate:

1. All undergraduate students at Imperial College London, including international students, are eligible to undertake UROP during a vacation, including during the summer upon completion of their degree, AND also during term-time.

Additional guidance: When a UROP is undertaken during the summer upon completion of a student’s degree the UROP should not be registered beyond 30 September. If the College provides such a student with a bursary it is on the expectation that the student will be re-entering higher education the following autumn.

2. Undergraduate students, regardless of nationality, at other UK universities (institutions of higher education) are eligible.

Additional guidance:

  • International students of other UK universities who hold a Student Visa for studying in the UK (for longer than 6 months) are able to pursue a UROP research experience during the summer vacation.
  • This would also extend to such students wishing to undertake a UROP during the summer upon completion of their degree (where such UROPs should not go beyond 30 September).
  • If you are a non-degree student (e.g. an exchange student) at another UK institution then you need to ensure that any visa you hold for studying in the UK also allows you to undertake a research experience for the period in question.

3. Eligibility also applies to students of overseas institutions of higher education who:

are UK or Ireland nationals, or have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.


have yet to graduate from an undergraduate degree and who would remain registered at their home university (institution) for the whole duration of any UROP research experience at Imperial College. Students who are not currently undertaking their degree studies in English should be prepared to provide the how department with evidence that they have the equivalent of Level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) ideally at the point they approach a member of staff.


A notice to students who are NOT covered by the eligibility criteria


If you are a not covered by the above eligibility criteria but would like to undertake a research experience at Imperial College you can still search for a supervisor. In your case, after you have obtained the provisional approval of a member of faculty at Imperial College to host you for a research experience you would need to apply as a visiting student (non-degree) . However, please note that visiting students can expect to pay tuition fees, unless the College decides otherwise, and other conditions of entry may apply.

A Visiting Student would need to comply with UK entry clearance (immigration): either compliance with the Visitor Route rules (research experiences, as short-term study periods, of up to 6 months in duration) or obtain a Student Visa (research experiences of longer than 6 months in duration).

Guidance for academic staff at Imperial College London on what actions to take when wishing to host a student.

Guidance on visas/immigration is provided by the College's International Student Support team.

Erasmus traineeships

Erasmus is the European Union's Lifelong Education Programme. The programme incorporates (traineeships) the ability to undertake a research-based opportunity.

A student who has been awarded an Erasmus Traineeship grant by their home university is at liberty to find a willing supervisor at Imperial College (however, please first review the UROP eligibility TAB on this page). Ordinarily, an EU/EEA/Swiss national would need to apply as a Visiting Student if they have found a willing supervisor (therefore, the activity would be akin to a UROP, but would not be administered through the UROP registration system). Allow for more time to meet all the administrative requirements.

Academic staff at Imperial College London are able to read guidance on what actions to take when wishing to host a student here, including guidance on how to complete a Learning Agreement for a Traineeship. This weblink (information) is not accessible to students.