Focus your study on all types of microorganisms, acquiring the theoretical and practical skills needed for a career in microbiology.
Three A-level offer: AAA
Applications : admissions ratio
5 : 1
Based on 2017 entry data
- UCAS course code: C500
- ECTS: 180
- Start date: September 2019
Biological Sciences at Imperial aims to understand the behaviour of living systems from the level of cells up to whole organisms and ecosystems.
The Department of Life Sciences offers a number of degrees in Biological Sciences, with some degrees enabling you to choose from a broad selection of modules, and others allowing you to specialise in a particular area.
This specialist course focuses on all types of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi and viruses.
You will acquire all the skills you need for a career in modern microbiology, covering the fundamental science of different types of microorganism as well as the important biotechnological, industrial, medical, food and agricultural applications.
All Biological Sciences students follow the same core modules for the first year, covering the basic areas of biology alongside key scientific skills. This gives you a solid grounding in the fundamental topics, and prepares you for advanced study.
In the second year you study further core modules including virology and genetics.
In your final year you will complete a research project on a topic of your choice, and choose from an even wider selection of modules such as epidemiology, immunity and infection, and a tropical biology field course.
Our teaching is enriched by the Department’s internationally leading research programme, so you’ll be learning at the very cutting edge of the subject. You will also benefit from access to our outstanding facilities, including for genomic and cell biology studies, tissue culture suites and the most modern microscopes.
Transfer between courses
The structure of the Department's courses means that transfer between different Biological Sciences degrees is usually possible up until the end of the first year.
- Transfer onto Language for Science courses must be completed at the very start of the first year.
- Transfer onto Year in Industry/Research courses should be completed at the start of the second year to allow time to arrange a suitable placement.
- Transfer onto the Management Year is subject to approval from the Imperial College Business School; and academic performance in the first two years of the degree (students should be working to a 2:1 standard by the end of their second year).
- It is not possible to transfer onto one of the Biochemistry or Biotechnology degrees from a Biological Sciences degree.
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.
Please note that the curriculum of this course is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.
Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.
- Biological Chemistry and Microbiology
- Biology of Organisms
- Cell Biology and Genetics
- Ecology and Evolution
- Applied Molecular Biology
- Bacterial Physiology
- Tutored Dissertation
You will choose one optional module from each of the lists below.
Business and Humanities
- Imperial Horizons – offers a wide range of modules, including languages and humanities options, which are designed to broaden your education, inspire your creativity and enhance your professional impact
- Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists
- Science Communication
- Medical Microbiology
- Laboratory-based research project or a literature-based dissertation
You will choose one module from each group below:
- Advanced Topics in Immunity and Infection
- Symbiosis, Plant Immunity and Disease
- Synthetic Biology
- Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection
Download the programme specification [PDF] – this is the most up-to-date version available for this course. It may change for your year of entry. If/when changes to this course are approved by the College, we will update this document and the information on this course page.
Teaching and assessment
You will spend time in the laboratory, lectures, tutorials and seminars, as well as undertake site visits, a group project and a research project to aid the understanding of real world application.
Teaching, independent study and placement hours
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Lectures, seminars and similar||237 hours||319 hours||514 hours|
|Independent study||1,263 hours||1,182 hours||987 hours|
|Based on the typical pathway through the course|
You will be assessed by a combination of:
- Individual research
- Laboratory write-ups
- Written examinations
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number|
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.
As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS) on completion of this course.
The Royal College of Science is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.
Find out more about our Associateships.
Compare this course
See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions using the Unistats information below.
You can use the Unistats website to find out how this course compares in areas such as student satisfaction and what our graduates are doing six months after completing this course.
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.
Minimum entry standards
Our minimum entry standard for 2019 entry is AAA overall, to include:
- A in Biology
- A in Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics
- A in another subject
General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.
Typical offer range
As a guide, here are the typical offers made in 2017 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels:
Three A-level offer: AAA
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.
The practical endorsement is part of the reformed English linear A-levels.
Minimum entry standards
Our minimum entry standard for 2019 entry is 38 points overall, to include:
- 6 in Biology at higher level
- 6 in Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics at higher level
Typical offer range
As a guide, the typical offer made in 2017 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 38 points overall.
Mathematics Higher Level for award in 2021
For entry in 2021, the Mathematics Analysis and Approaches or the Applications and Interpretation syllabi will be accepted at higher level with no preference.
The grades detailed below are the minimum requirements for students offering only Advanced Placements as their exams for entry to Imperial.
If you are studying a High School Diploma that is accepted by Imperial alongside Advanced Placements, requirements may apply to both your Diploma and Advanced Placements.
Please consult our country index to check whether we accept your High School Diploma programme for admission.
Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:
- 5 in Biology
- 5 in Chemistry, Physics (B or C) or Calculus (AB or BC)
- 5 in another subject*
* excluding Art, Music and languages other than English
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 2017 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.
Offer-holder open day
If your application to the department is successful, you will be invited to attend one of our offer holder open days. These comprise:
- a tour with current undergraduates of the South Kensington Campus, the Department's facilities and a laboratory.
- a selection of talks about life at Imperial, the course structure, and our current research
- opportunities to meet and discuss your application with the admissions team
Generally, we do not hold interviews.
Applications from school leavers who wish to take a gap year are welcome. Applicants must state in their UCAS personal statement how they propose to spend their time.
Second year entry
For Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, we sometimes accept transfers from other institutions into the second year. Students should provide us with a transcript of their first year grades and details of their Pre-University Qualifications and the grades attained in them.
Offers are based on the number of places available (if any), the relevance of the modules covered in the first year elsewhere and the grades achieved. If we feel direct entry to the second year wouldn't be possible we may offer you first year entry instead.
We do not accept any transfers into the third year of any of our courses.
Important information (all Life Sciences applicants)
Applicants who are unsuccessful cannot be reconsidered for entry within the same cycle but may reapply the following year without prejudice with a new application. We consider resit students in open competition with all other applicants.
We do not accept Access courses, Foundation years or OU courses.
General studies will not be accepted at any level. Other qualifications, such as Key Skills or Critical Thinking, while useful, will not count towards an offer.
English language requirement (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 higher 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)
|£9,250 per year
The UK government has confirmed that EU students entering the university in 2019 will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition for the duration of their course.
Please note that the fee you pay may increase annually by an amount linked to inflation and approved by Parliament under the Student Fees (Inflation Index) Regulations 2006 – currently the measure of inflation used is the RPIX.
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 UK government has confirmed that access to government funding will remain unchanged for EU students entering the university in 2019 throughout the duration of their course. This includes access to the Tuition Fee Loan for EU students who have resided in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to study, and access to the Maintenance Loan for EU students have been resident in the UK for at least five years.
For the latest updates on the implications of ‘Brexit’, please see the Imperial and the European Union webpages.
Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)
|£31,000 per year|
The tuition fees for Overseas and Islands students are set by Imperial College London.
You should expect and budget for your tuition fee increasing each year by an inflationary amount. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.
Additional course costs
This section outlines any additional costs relevant to this course, which are not included in your tuition fees. It is possible that all, or only some, of these will be relevant to you.
Please note that the figures provided are usually based on the cost in the most recent academic year. These are likely to change from 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 approximate cost to help you budget for student life at Imperial.
This section indicates whether any additional costs that apply are mandatory or optional. Mandatory costs are those that you will need to pay to fully participate in and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies so you will be free to opt out of these.
|Description||Mandatory/optional||Guide to cost|
|Field trip (African biology; food and accommodation)||Optional||£350|
|Field trip (African biology; flights)||Optional||Variable|
|Field trips (first year)||Mandatory||Provided|
|Personal Protective Equipment||Mandatory||Provided|
|Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.|
African biology field trip
The optional African biology field trip is specific to Biological Sciences courses, Ecology and Environmental Biology, and Microbiology.
It takes place in your third year and costs £350 (2016-17) and this cost includes food and accommodation.
You will need to pay for and organise travel to and from Africa, and it is recommended to bring spending money of between £25 and £50.
First year field trips
Your first year field trips are funded by the Department of Life Sciences, and are provided free of charge.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory for some activities on this course. Where this applies, the Department of Life Sciences will provide you with the necessary PPE free of charge to ensure you can undertake lab work safely. This includes:
- Lab coat
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.
Bursaries and scholarships
Life sciences graduates enjoy excellent career opportunities. Most of our graduates study for a higher degree in life sciences and many follow careers in the field, particularly in the research and management areas of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biomedical science, food technology, agrisciences, and pest, disease and environmental management.
Similar opportunities exist for life scientists in government and independent laboratories involved in medical research, public health, forensic investigation, disease research, conservation, and pollution. Some of our graduates also go on to work in medical careers, become teachers, or even work in the media.
Recent graduates of the Department have become:
- Genome Scientist, Illumina
- PhD student, Sir Francis Crick Institute
- Communications Manager, Orangutan Project, Borneo
- Investment Analyst, JP Morgan
- Clinical Data Manager, Institute of Cancer Research
How to apply
UCAS key information
- UCAS course code: C500
- 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).
You can view this course on the UCAS website.
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 2019 for entry in September 2019.
The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2019 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2018.
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:
Department of Life Sciences
Read more about our life sciences courses on the department's website.