Rio Tinto Challenge

Enhance your study of Biomedical Engineering by putting your knowledge into practice during a year in industry.

Key information




5 years


Typical offer

Three A-level offer: A*AA–A*A*A

Four A-level offer: A*A*AA

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

3.8 : 1

Based on 2015 application data

Professionally accredited

Read about this course's accreditation

  • UCAS course code: n/a*
  • ECTS: 270
  • Start date: October 2018

* Apply initially for MEng Biomedical Engineering (BH9C)

Summer School

Applications now open for 2017 Global Summer School.


Bioengineering is a rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field that applies engineering principles and technology to medical and biological problems. With an ageing population and advances in technology, biomedical engineering plays an integral role in global issues such as healthcare, energy and the environment.

This course aims to provide you with a broad foundation in physics, mathematics, engineering and medical science, through a range of modules designed to help you develop a deep understanding of fundamental engineering principles and an extensive knowledge of how the human body works.

As you move through the course you progress to more advanced engineering studies that apply the quantitative aspects of engineering analysis and design to a broad range of biomedical problems.

Study programme

All Biomedical Engineering students follow the same programme of core modules for the first two years, covering a broad base of fundamental engineering topics.

Throughout your second year you take part in an engineering design project as part of the Sports Innovation Challenge. This aims to unleash your creativity to improve the sporting and training equipment used by disabled people. A number of the projects developed by our students were used at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

Bioengineering studentIn the third year, you can choose to specialise in one of three distinctive pathways:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Whichever pathway you choose, you study a mixture of core and optional modules. You can also take modules from Imperial Horizons, and the Business for Professional Engineers programme, delivered by Imperial College Business School.

After the third year you will have the opportunity to complete a Year in Industry (see below).

Your study reaches Master’s level when you return to the College for your final year, including advanced modules from our MSc course in Biomedical Engineering, which we have been teaching since 1991. Studying to this level means that graduates require fewer years of work experience to become a Chartered Engineer (see Professional accreditation).

A major individual project in your final year gives you the chance to showcase your research and project management skills. This begins early in the academic year and runs through until approximately mid-June.

Year in Industry

Between the third and fourth years of your degree you will complete a 12-month paid placement in an industrial setting. Here you will work on a project set by your host company. You will be expected to help the Department organise your placement, including identifying suitable employers to apply to, however help is available from the Careers Service and the Department’s dedicated Industrial Liaison Officer. Securing a placement is competitive, so you may need to apply to multiple employers and take part in recruitment activities such as interviews.

Students from the Department have previously completed placements with:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Renishaw

The employer can often be in a location of your choice – including outside the UK – as long as you are successful in obtaining a position there and the placement is approved by the Department.

Transfer between courses

Students interested in this course should apply for the MEng in Biomedical Engineering (BH9C) in the first instance. You then have the option to transfer in your third year.

Alternatively, you may choose to undertake a study year abroad by transferring to our MEng in Biomedical Engineering with a Year Abroad. You will need to be on track for at least a 2:1 to be eligible for selection for a year abroad placement.

The Department also offers a new MEng in Molecular Bioengineering. The main difference between this course and the new course is that Biomedical Engineering takes a top-down approach, looking first at the whole organism, injury or problem and then working down to a cellular level. By contrast, Molecular Bioengineering takes a bottom-up approach, first looking at cells and molecules, then building up through tissues and organs to the whole organism or human.

It may be possible to transfer between the MEng Biomedical Engineering (BH9C) and the MEng Molecular Bioengineering (H160) programmes within the first few weeks of term. This would be at the Department's discretion, and you would need to have met the entry requirements for both programmes.

If you are an international student, transferring to a different course could have an impact on your Tier 4 visa. Please visit our International Student Support webpage for further information.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Year 1

Core modules

  • Bioengineering in Action
  • Biomolecular Engineering 1
  • Electrical Engineering 1
  • Electrical Engineering Labs
  • Electromagnetics 1
  • Electronic Build Project
  • Heat and Mass Transport 1
  • Logic and Digital Systems
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mechanics 1
  • Medical Science 1
  • Molecules, Cells and Processes
  • Programming 1
  • Vibrations and Waves
  • Wet Lab Skills

Year 2

Core modules

  • Biomolecular Engineering 2
  • Control Systems
  • Electrical Engineering 2
  • Electromagnetics 2
  • Engineering Design Project
  • Heat and Mass Transport 2
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mechanical Workshop Skills
  • Mechanics 2 Fluids
  • Mechanics 2 Solids
  • Medical Science 2
  • Programming 2
  • Signals and Systems
  • Wet Lab Skills 2

You also have the opportunity to take part in a practical engineering design project, based on the Sports Innovation Challenge.

Year 3

Bioengineering pathway

Core modules
  • Biomedical Advanced and Computational Stress Analysis
  • Biomedical Instrumentation
  • Group project
  • Modelling in Biology
  • Physiological Imaging and Monitoring
Optional modules

You choose four modules in total from the two groups below.

Group 1
You choose either two or three modules from below.

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomimetics
  • Hearing and Speech Processing
  • Human Centred Design of Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices
  • Image Processing
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Physiological Fluid Mechanics
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • Transport Systems for Biological Processes

Group 2
You choose either one or two modules from below.

Electrical Engineering pathway

Core modules
  • Biomedical Instrumentation
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Group project
  • Image Processing
  • Modelling in Biology
Optional modules

You choose four modules in total from the two groups below.

Group 1
You choose either two or three modules from below.

  • Advanced Electronic Devices
  • Advanced Signal Processing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Advanced and Computational Stress Analysis
  • Biomimetics
  • Control Engineering
  • Hearing and Speech Processing
  • Human Centred Design of Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Optoelectronics
  • Physiological Imaging and Monitoring
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • Transport Systems for Biological Processes

Group 2
You choose either one or two modules from below.

Mechanical Engineering pathway

Core modules
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomedical Advanced and Computational Stress Analysis
  • Group project
  • Modelling in Biology
  • Physiological Fluid Mechanics
Optional modules

You choose four modules in total from the two groups below.

Group 1
You choose either two or three modules from below.

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Instrumentation
  • Biomimetics
  • Computational Continuum
  • Fundamentals of Fracture Mechanics
  • Hearing and Speech Processing
  • Human Centred Design of Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices
  • Integrated Design and Manufacture
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Machine System Dynamics
  • Physiological Imaging and Monitoring
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • Transport Systems for Biological Processes
  • Tribology

Group 2
You choose either one or two modules from below.

Year 4

You will spend this year working in industry, applying your knowledge in a practical setting.

Students have previously enjoyed placement opportunities at companies such as:

  • GSK - Drugs Delivery Devices Team
  • Renishaw - Neurotechnology Department

Year 5

All pathways

You will complete an individual project no matter which pathway you choose.

You will then select six modules, allowing you to specialise in your chosen area of biomedical engineering.

There are over 20 optional modules for each pathway in the fourth year, and the below lists give you an idea of the areas you will choose from.

Biomedical Engineering pathway

  • Advanced Medical Imaging
  • Advanced Tissue Engineering
  • Cellular Biomechanics
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Medical Device Entrepreneurship

Electrical Engineering pathway

  • Current-mode Analogue Signal Processing
  • Full-Custom Integrated Circuit Design
  • High-performance Analogue Electronics
  • Radio-frequency Electronics
  • Spectral Estimation and Adaptive Signal Processing

Mechanical Engineering pathway

  • Computational Continuum Mechanics
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • MEMS and Nanotechnology
  • Modelling of Multi-Body Mechanical Systems
  • Transport Systems for Biological Processes

Professional accreditation

This degree leads to a Master’s level qualification. It is professionally accredited by the following organisations on behalf of the Engineering Council:

This quadruple accreditation will not only prepare you for a career in the rapidly growing field of bioengineering, it also provides a technical foundation for careers in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, materials engineering and medical physics by demonstrating to employers that you have achieved an industry-recognised standard of competency.

Achieving a professionally accredited integrated Master's degree (MEng) also provides you with a faster route to becoming a Chartered Engineer (CEng) in your chosen field by satisfying the educational requirements of professional registration. This means you won’t need to undertake any further academic study on your route to gaining Chartered status, though you will need to demonstrate your ability to meet competences described in the Engineering Council's UK-SPEC.

A CEng is a highly respected qualification earned by professionals working in engineering, which can lead to higher earning potential and better career prospects.

Professional registration also brings international recognition of your qualification, which is particularly useful for students preparing for a career abroad.

Our accreditation agreement with IOM3 is renewed every four years. Our agreements with IPEM, IMechE and IET are renewed every five years.

The current accreditation agreements are due to be renewed for students starting their studies in the 2018–19 (IOM3), 2019–20 (IPEM and IET) and 2020–21 (IMechE) academic years. The Department expects to be accredited into the future.


As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (ACGI) on completion of this course.

The City and Guilds of London Institute is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Teaching and assessment


You will experience a variety of teaching styles, which combine theory and practice:

  • Laboratory sessions
  • Lectures
  • Make, build and test activities
  • Tutorials
  • Study groups

The laboratory sessions will include wet, computing and mathematics laboratories which provide a practical element to teaching and assessment.


Assessment varies between modules, but for the majority it involves some combination of written exams, practical and continuous assessment of coursework. Other assessment methods include:

  • Assessed coursework (problem sheets, technical files, reports, projects, tests, reviews, lab book completion, and others)
  • Examinations (in-class, online, and written)
  • Oral and poster presentations

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.

Year in Industry

You will gain 30 additional ECTS credits (270 instead of 240 ECTS credits overall) upon successful completion of your industrial placement. The industry assessment is not counted toward the final degree mark.

Compare this course

See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions using the Unistats Key Information Set (KIS).

The KIS consists of official data which we provide about all of our undergraduate courses that have a UCAS code. This information is published by the Higher Education Funding Council on the Unistats website to help you compare similar courses at different institutions.

Because acceptance onto this course is via in-course transfer, it does not have its own KIS. However, there is a high degree of overlap with the main degree in this Department so we encourage you to use the KIS data for that degree for information on areas such as the proportion of time spent in timetabled teaching and independent study, how the course is assessed, student satisfaction and what our graduates are doing six months after completing the course.

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.


Typical offer range

As a guide, here are the typical offers made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels:

Three A-level offer: A*AA–A*A*A

Four A-level offer: A*A*AA

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A in Physics
  • A in Biology, Chemistry or Further Mathematics

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

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.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 38–40 points overall.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • 6 in Mathematics at higher level
  • 6 in Physics at higher level
  • 6 in a third subject at higher level

Advanced Placements

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

  • 5 in Calculus AB or BC
  • 5 in Physics
  • 5 in another subject

Other qualifications

Places will also be available to those with other equivalent qualifications, e.g. Advanced Placement Tests, European Baccalaureate, some of the national Baccalaureates in the European Union, Scottish Qualifications, Irish Leaving Certificate, and to applicants with appropriate educational experience or other competencies. See admission of students with other competencies.

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. It is the College’s policy to not make offers below three A’s at A-level in relevant subjects, 38 IB points with at least a grade 6 at higher level in relevant subjects, or their equivalent.

A typical range of offers made by this Department in 2016 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.

Post-application open day and interview

When assessing applications, we will consider your examination results (already gained and predicted), your motivation and understanding of biomedical engineering as a career, your potential for leadership and teamwork, your interests and the referee’s report.

If your UCAS application indicates that you are likely to satisfy our entry requirements and you live within easy travelling distance of the College, you will normally be invited to an applicant day to visit the College and our Department.

The applicant day will include an introductory presentation giving information about the course and how it is taught. There is also a presentation on the Department's research and the kinds of careers you could pursue as a graduate. You will have an interview with a member of staff.

You also participate in a group session where you are divided into small groups along with the other applicants to look at medical artefacts. The task is to identify the object, describe how it is used and suggest potential improvements. The day will include a tour of the campus and Department.

English language qualifications (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 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.

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.

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2017 entryYear in Industry
£9,250 per year 10% of the relevant fee for that year

Read more about funding for year in industry placements.

The above fee applies to the academic year 2017–18 only. This is the maximum rate of tuition chargeable by institutions that achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award under the first year of the UK government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

In its TEF: Year Two specification guidance document, the government confirmed that all institutions achieving a Bronze rating or higher in Year Two will be able to charge the maximum capped amount. These ratings will be announced in spring 2017.

You should expect the fee to increase for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

We expect EU students will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition as long as the UK remains in the EU, and for the duration of their course, provided this remains lawful.

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.

The government has confirmed that EU students entering university in the UK in 2017 and 2018 also have access to the Tuition Fee Loan for the duration of their course. This will remain the case even if their course finishes after the UK's exit from the European Union.

Tuition fees (Islands and Overseas students)

2017 entryYear in Industry
£27,750 per year 10% of the relevant fee for that year

Read more about funding for year in industry placements.

The above fee applies to the academic year 2017–18 only. The fee for the 2018–19 academic fee has not yet been set by the College. We will update this page as soon as this fee information is available so please check back before submitting an application for 2018 entry.

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Additional course costs

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study which have to be budgeted for in addition to tuition fees and living expenses. This section provides examples of these and it is possible that all, or some, of these will be relevant to you.

Please note that the cost figures given are based on what such costs were in previous academic years and these are likely to change year to year. However, it is useful for you to be aware of the types of things you may have to pay for and their cost in previous years.

This section details whether the additional costs are essential or optional. Essential costs are highlighted as costs that you will need to pay to fully participate and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies and you will be free to opt out of these.

DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost
Equipment (boiler suit) Mandatory £26
Equipment (electronics kit) Mandatory £12
Equipment (laptop computer) Mandatory £100 (refundable)
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.


The nature of the academic work you will be completing means you will need to wear protective clothing during practical sessions. The below items are mandatory for all students, which you will need from the start of the course:

  • Boiler suit (approximately £26.00)
  • Electronics kit (approximately £12.00)

You can buy both items from the Department during the first week of term. Payment is in cash.

Laptop computer

You will need a laptop for some classes and coursework. The laptop must meet a minimum specification. For the 2017–18 academic year this was:

  • Windows 10 capable
  • Intel i5/i7 6th/7th generation processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256 GB SSD HDD

The Department has a number of laptops available for loan for the duration of your course. A deposit of £100 is required, refundable when you return the laptop at the end of your course.

You will have the chance to indicate whether you wish to take part in the laptop loan scheme when contacted by the Department in the September before you start your course.

If you choose to borrow a laptop, you will be sent an invoice for the deposit amount which is payable online before the start of term. A variety of payment methods are available.

Accommodation and living costs

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

Over 90 per cent of Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. 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.


Forbes ranks biomedical engineering as the best job in Engineering and IT (ten-year forecast estimated from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Our degrees will not only prepare you for a career in the rapidly growing field of bioengineering, but also provide a technical foundation for careers in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, materials engineering and medical physics. Some graduates also launch their own startup companies, whilst others apply to enter graduate medical programmes.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Device Development Engineer, Roche
  • Graduate Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover
  • PhD student, ETH Zurich
  • Research Programmer, MIT
  • Trainee Clinical Scientist, King's College Hospital

How to apply

UCAS key information

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

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

* Apply initially for MEng Biomedical Engineering (BH9C)

Application deadlines

All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2018 for entry in October 2018.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2018 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2017.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

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

Contact us

Bioengineering student

Got a question?

Dr Jenna Stevens-Smith
T: +44 (0)20 7594 5146

Read more on the Department of Bioengineering website.

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