Imperial College London

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Overview


Imperial College London is a public research university located in the United Kingdom. Its royal patron and founder, Prince Albert, envisioned an area composed of the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute. The Imperial Institute was opened by his wife, Queen Victoria, who laid the foundation stone. The college has expanded its coursework to medicine through mergers with St Mary’s Hospital. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.

Imperial is organised into faculties of science, engineering, medicine and business. Its main campus is based next to Kensington Palace in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Imperial’s contributions to society include the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and fibre optics. The university’s focus is in science and technology and their applications for industry.

Imperial is ranked among the top universities in the world by university rankings. According to The New York Times, students are highly recruited globally. The university is among the most innovative in Europe. Imperial staff and alumni include 15 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 70 Fellows of the Royal Society, 82 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and 78 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Imperial College London is the only university in the UK to focus exclusively on science, engineering, medicine and business. Joining such a specialist community means studying what you love with people who love it too – all in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities.

We’re ranked 8th best university in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2015, making an Imperial degree highly valued by employers across the globe.

Our location in central London is a huge advantage in what we do: attracting the best minds from all corners of the world and setting us in the heart of a truly international community of employers. This paves the way for guest lectures from top industry experts, internships with major companies, industry-inspired project work and exciting careers.

And it starts right here.

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties


  • Aeronautics
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computing
  • Dyson School of Design Engineering
  • Earth Science and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering

  • Institute of Clinical Sciences
  • Department of Medicine
  • National Heart and Lung Institute
  • School of Public Health
  • Department of Surgery and Cancer
  • Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine – London Office
  • Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Faculty of Medicine

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Life Sciences
  • Centre for Environmental Policy

Faculty of Natural Sciences

  • Finance
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Management

Imperial College Business School

History


The Great Exhibition in 1851 was organised by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Fuller and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. The Great Exhibition made a surplus of £186,000 used in creating an area in the South of Kensington celebrating the encouragement of the arts, industry, and science. Albert insisted the Great Exhibition surplus should be used as a home for culture and education for everyone. His commitment was to find practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Prince Albert’s vision built the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Geological Museum, Royal College of Science, Royal College of Art, Royal School of Mines, Royal School of Music, Royal College of Organists, Royal School of Needlework,Royal Geographical Society, Institute of Recorded Sound, Royal Horticultural Gardens, Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute. Royal colleges and the Imperial Institute merged to form what is now Imperial College London.

The Royal College of Chemistry was established by private subscription in 1845 as there was a growing awareness that practical aspects of the experimental sciences were not well taught and that in the United Kingdom the teaching of chemistry in particular had fallen behind that in Germany. As a result of a movement earlier in the decade, many politicians donated funds to establish the college, including Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone and Robert Peel. It was also supported by Prince Albert, who persuaded August Wilhelm von Hofmann to be the first professor.

William Henry Perkin studied and worked at the college under von Hofmann, but resigned his position after discovering the first synthetic dye, mauveine, in 1856. Perkin’s discovery was prompted by his work with von Hofmann on the substance aniline, derived from coal tar, and it was this breakthrough which sparked the synthetic dye industry, a boom which some historians have labelled the second chemical revolution. His contribution led to the creation of the Perkin Medal, an award given annually by the Society of Chemical Industry to a scientist residing in the United States for an “innovation in applied chemistry resulting in outstanding commercial development”. It is considered the highest honour given in the industrial chemical industry.

The Royal School of Mines was established by Sir Henry de la Beche in 1851, developing from the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment. He created a school which laid the foundations for the teaching of science in the country, and which has its legacy today at Imperial. Prince Albert was a patron and supporter of the later developments in science teaching, which led to the Royal College of Chemistry becoming part of the Royal School of Mines, to the creation of the Royal College of Science and eventually to these institutions becoming part of his plan for South Kensington being an educational region.

The Royal College of Science was established in 1881. The main objective was to support the training of science teachers and to develop teaching in other science subjects alongside the Royal School of Mines earth sciences specialities.

In 1907, the newly established Board of Education found that greater capacity for higher technical education was needed and a proposal to merge the Royal School of Mines, theRoyal College of Science, and City and Guilds College, was approved and passed, creating The Imperial College of Science and Technology as a constituent college of theUniversity of London. Imperial’s Royal Charter, granted by Edward VII, was officially signed on 8 July 1907. The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.

City and Guilds College was founded in 1876, which aimed to provide a practical education for craftsmen, technicians, technologists, and engineers. The medical schools of Charing Cross Hospital, Westminster Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital were opened in 1823, 1834 and 1854 respectively.[17] Imperial acquired Silwood Park in 1947, to provide a site for research and teaching in those aspects of biology not well suited for the main London campus. On 29 January 1950, the government announced that it was intended that Imperial should expand to meet the scientific and technological challenges of the 20th century and a major expansion of the college followed over the next decade. In 1959 the Wolfson Foundation donated £350,000 for the establishment of a new Biochemistry Department.

A special relationship between Imperial and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi was established in 1963.The Department of Management Science was created in 1971 and the Associated Studies Department was established in 1972. The Humanities Department was opened in 1980, formed from the Associated Studies and History of Science departments. In 1988 Imperial merged with St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, becoming The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. In 1995 Imperial launched its own academic publishing house, Imperial College Press, in partnership with World Scientific.Imperial merged with the National Heart and Lung Institutein 1995 and the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS) and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1997. In the same year the Imperial College School of Medicine was formally established and all of the property of Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, the National Heart and Lung Institute and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School were transferred to Imperial as the result of the Imperial College Act 1997. In 1998 the Sir Alexander Fleming Building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II to provide a headquarters for the college’s medical and biomedical research.

In 2000 Imperial merged with both the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Wye College, the University of London’s agricultural college in Wye, Kent. It initially agreed to keep Agricultural Sciences at Wye, but closed them in 2004. The origins of the later acquired College of St Gregory and St Martin at Wye, was originally founded by John Kempe, theArchbishop of York, in 1447 as a seminary, with an agricultural college being established at Wye in 1894 after the removal of the seminary. In December 2005, Imperial announced a science park programme at the Wye campus, with extensive housing; however, this was abandoned in September 2006 following complaints that the proposal infringed on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and that the true scale of the scheme, which could have raised £110m for the college, was known to Kent and Ashford Councils and their consultants but concealed from the public. One commentator observed that Imperial’s scheme reflected “the state of democracy in Kent, the transformation of a renowned scientific college into a grasping, highly aggressive, neo-corporate institution, and the defence of the status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – throughout England, not just Wye – against rampant greed backed by the connivance of two important local authorities. Wye College campus was finally closed in September 2009.

In 2003 Imperial was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right by the Privy Council. The London Centre for Nanotechnology was established in the same year as a joint venture between UCL and Imperial College London. In 2004 the Imperial College Business School and a new Main Entrance on Exhibition Road were opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The UK Energy Research Centre was also established in 2004 and opened its headquarters at Imperial. In November 2005 the Faculties of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences merged to become the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

On 9 December 2005, Imperial announced that it would commence negotiations to secede from the University of London. Imperial became fully independent of the University of London in July 2007 and the first students to register for an Imperial College degree were postgraduates beginning their course in October 2007, with the first undergraduates enrolling for an Imperial degree in October 2008. In July 2008 the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics was opened in the Materials department.

In May 2012 Imperial, UCL and the IT company Intel announced the establishment of the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities, a London-based institute for research into the future of cities.

In August 2012 it was announced that Imperial would be the lead institution for the MRC-NIHR Phenome Centre, a new research centre for personalised medicine to be based at GlaxoSmithKline’s research and development facility in Harlow, Essex, inheriting the anti-doping facilities used to test samples during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In July 2014 the Dyson School of Design Engineering was opened. As of October 2015, the newly formed school offered a course in design engineering following a £12m donation by the James Dyson Foundation, along with courses such as the MEng in Design Engineering.


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