Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is a technical university whose main campus is located in South Kensington in west London. Other campuses are distributed evenly, mainly on the left-hand side of the London map:
- as well as two non-medical campuses outside London
Imperial was formed in 1907 from a merger of the City and Guilds College
, Royal College of Science
and the Royal School of Mines
. Ever since then it has been expanding, primarily through acquisition of smaller establishments, especially medical schools. Latest (2002) plans include a merger with University College London
. The size of the undergraduate population is around 9000.
Up to 2001 Imperial kept the notion of the original four colleges, namely City and Guilds College, Royal College of Science, Royal School of Mines and the School of Medicine but has recently been redivided into four faculties by the new rector Sir Richard Sykes - Engineering, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine. In actual fact the divisions are far more noticeable across departments:
- Biology and Biochemistry
- Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Earth Science and Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Agricultural Sciences
- Biological Sciences
- School of Medicine
There is also a Business School, whose main speciality is Management, but it does not officially fit into the faculty structure.
IC makes a heavy emphasis on research, and is rated second best in the UK - a whisker behind Cambridge University. Its biggest research grants are won in the fields of Biochemistry, Computing, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. IC has had 14 Nobel laureates in the 20th centrury.
IC is a member college of the University of London, but will most probably leave it (for the rector has such plans) by 2005. This decision stems primarily from a belief (backed heavily with statistics) that Imperial is the best college in the University of London and wants to award its own degrees. This belief is also backed up by the reputation of Imperial's students as "the clever ones" in the UoL, very heavy workloads and the highest entry requirements.
Imperial has its own students union (ICU), which contains the biggest number of clubs and societies than any other UK university and a student council. ICU is not a member of the National Union of Students(NUS). ICU runs the largest university careers fair in the UK on a yearly basis (circa 100 attending employers). It also runs a series of student bars, a cinema, college radio (ICRadio) and a TV station(STOIC). To be fair, the reasonably good college-run Southside Bar must also be mentioned here. ICU and Southside are the cheapest drinking establishments around South Kensington.
As it is said above, IC is quite a popular hunting ground for all sorts of employers, since students are used to working hard. A lot of graduates go to work in The City, mainly in various financial institutions and accounting firms. Some choose to go into research, a lot of these people stay to do PhD's in Imperial instead of going elsewhere.
Geographically, Imperial is situated in on of the poshest areas in London - South Kensington. Imperial's direct neighbours are the Albert Hall, Royal College of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, all of which (apart from maybe the RCA) are landmarks known throughout the UK.