Academic experience

Aeronautics students

I am so grateful for all the amazing opportunities that Imperial gives you here."

Mala

Student blogger

Imperial is a major research university and member of the Russell Group. With so many discoveries happening all around, your son/daughter can expect to be challenged and inspired as we open their mind to the latest thinking in their subject area.

What makes Imperial special is the quality of our people, who come here from all over the world and contribute diverse perspectives, new ideas, and fresh approaches to solving complex problems.

Studying at Imperial is a challenging experience – but that's what makes it one of the best. Our students are expected to work hard, but they will receive plenty of support to help them reach their potential.

Postgraduate study

Imperial's commitment to training the world's leading scientists, engineers and medics is continued in our extensive selection of Master's and research programmes.

This means your son or daughter will have lots of options for continuing their academic career at Imperial, if this is a route they are considering.

A broad education

Our specialist focus means we’ve got the people, facilities and industry connections to offer your son or daughter an extremely rigorous science-based education. However, we also offer a rich programme of opportunities to help them develop the sort of critical skills, business awareness and cross-cultural experience that will inspire their creativity and enhance their professional impact:

  • Our Imperial Horizons programme offers a variety of free short courses including languages, business modules and humanities options. These can be taken either as part of, or alongside, their main degree. 
  • Many of our degrees give students the chance to study, work, travel or conduct research abroad. This is a great way for your son or daughter to challenge themselves in a different academic and cultural environment.
  • Our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme gives students the opportunity to experience life as a university researcher by working on a real research project within one of our research groups.
  • We encourage our students to take advantage of opportunities to gain valuable work experience by completing industrial placements – these could be anything from a summer internship to a full year in industry in some departments.

How does university study differ?

Studying at university is likely to be a bit different from what your son or daughter is used to. It will involve more independent learning and research, with students taking more responsibility for their education and time management.

At Imperial, we also place a lot of emphasis on analytical and problem solving skills, encouraging our students to develop as independent thinkers who can formulate their own theories and ideas.

Our degrees are designed to give students increasing freedom as their course progresses, which will allow your son or daughter to tailor their education to their own personal interests and career plans, with the support of staff who are leaders in their field.

Learning and assessment

Maths students

Learning methods

The exact style of teaching will vary from course to course, but your son/daughter can expect to learn through some combination of the following:

  • lectures (large group teaching)
  • tutorials (small group teaching)
  • peer tutorials (where students from higher years tutor first-year students)
  • laboratory classes, practicals and field work
  • problem solving classes
  • industry placements
  • project work
  • e-learning
Students taking exams

Assessment methods

The method of assessment will vary depending on which course your son/daughter is taking, but will comprise one or more of the following:

  • traditional closed book exams with essay-type questions
  • open book or take away exams
  • exams with short answer questions
  • computer-based exams
  • coursework and/or laboratory work
  • group and/or individual projects
  • oral presentations

Grades and support

Students in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering lab

Understanding grades

The university grading system will probably be different to what you are familiar with.

UK degree classifications are as follows:

  • First-Class Honours (70% and above)
  • Upper Second-Class Honours (60-70%)
  • Lower Second-Class Honours (50-60%)
  • Third-Class Honours (40-50%)

This might mean that your son or daughter will be getting lower numerical marks than they are used to, but this is nothing to worry about. Helping them to have realistic expectations can make the adjustment to university study easier.

Please note that due to Data Protection, we are unable to release any information regarding a student's academic performance.

Students with tutor

What support is available for my son/daughter?

The transition to degree-level study can be a challenge. In order to make it as smooth as possible, we’ve put together an online resource – the Imperial Success Guide – for new undergraduates, containing a wide range of hints, tips and advice on everything from effective study to health and well-being.

Our students also receive plenty of individual support to help them reach their potential, including from their personal tutor and from returning students through departmental buddy schemes. 

We also have a Centre for Academic English to support undergraduates whose first language is not English to successfully complete their studies.

Find out more about the College’s network of student support.