Imperial College London Acceptance Rate For UK and International Students

Imperial College London Acceptance Rate For UK & International Students

Imperial College London is one of the most prestigious universities in the UK, renowned for its highly competitive admission standards. It’s part of the leading education and research institution Russell Group. Getting into Imperial is no easy feat, with the university boasting some of the lowest acceptance rates not just in the UK, but globally. 

In this guide, we’ll break down the admissions process and Imperial College London acceptance rate to give you an inside look into your chances of getting into this top university.

Admissions Process at Imperial College London

The admissions process at Imperial involves submitting an online application through UCAS by mid-January for undergraduate courses. For postgraduate courses, applications are directly submitted to Imperial by early January. 

Applicants are assessed based on their secondary school grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, reference letters and personal statements. Those shortlisted are invited for an interview before final decisions are made by late March/early April. 

Competition is extreme, with over 28,866 applicants competing for just over 3,000 undergraduate places, according to date in 2021. As one of the top universities worldwide, Imperial can afford to be highly selective in who it admits. Especially with a huge interest from the USA students. 

Why Is the Acceptance Rate Important for Imperial College London?

The acceptance rate at Imperial College London indicates the proportion of applicants offered admission. A lower rate signals that a university is highly selective and receives many more applications than it can accommodate.

For prestigious universities like Imperial, a low acceptance rate is a marker of exclusivity. It demonstrates the quality and competitiveness of admitted students. A low rate also enhances the university’s reputation and brand image.

However, an extremely low rate could deter potential applicants from applying. Universities have to strike a balance between maintaining selectivity while also attracting a strong applicant pool.

Recommended for reading:

Factors Influencing Imperial College London Acceptance Rates

There are many factors to consider that can influence the acceptance rate. Imperial’s acceptance rates are influenced by:

  • Number of applications received
  • Quality of applicant pool – grades, test scores, and achievements 
  • Number of places available
  • Strategic goals – widening participation, internationalisation
  • Reputation and brand positioning
  • Competition with peer universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Durham or KCL

These factors may cause fluctuations in Imperial acceptance rates year to year. For instance, a particularly competitive applicant pool or increased international applications could lower acceptance rates.

What is Imperial College London Acceptance Rate? 

Imperial College London had an acceptance rate of 11.06% for undergraduate admissions in 2021.

This means about 1 in 10 applicants received an offer

For postgraduate courses, the 2021 acceptance rate was slightly higher at 30.4%. This compares to an average UK university acceptance rate of 73%.

Over the past 5 years, Imperial’s undergraduate acceptance rate has declined by 2%, indicating an increasingly competitive admissions process.

Imperial College London Acceptance Rates by Course

Acceptance rates differ across Imperial’s various courses. Below in the table, you can find Imperial College London acceptance rate for some courses. 

CourseAcceptance rate
Natural Sciences10.92%

Medicine is the most competitive, with over 5,000 applicants chasing for 500 places. Meanwhile, engineering sees the highest number of applicants overall, but also has the most places available.

Imperial College London Acceptance Rate for International Students

International students face even lower acceptance rates compared to UK applicants. 

In 2021, the acceptance rate for international undergraduates was 9.9%, versus 11.06% for UK students. International applicants have to meet higher academic cutoffs and compete for limited overseas places.

Imperial College London Acceptance Rate For Masters

Imperial received over 49k applications for postgraduate Taught and Research courses like Masters in 2021. With only around 6,400 places available, the 2021 Imperial acceptance rate for Masters degrees was 12.98%.

The most competitive Masters was Computing (3.9%), while Medicine and Engineering were around 11%. Higher acceptance rates are seen for niche courses like Global Health (43.8%).

So applicants need to stand out from the crowd academically to get into Imperial’s Masters programmes. 

93% of 2021 applicants had a 1st class undergraduate degree.

Comparison with Other Russell Group Universities

To put Imperial’s undergraduate acceptance rate into perspective, here’s how they compare to other top Russell Group universities:

  • Oxford: 13.73%
  • Cambridge: 15.7%
  • UCL: 16.7%
  • LSE: 16%
  • Imperial College London:11.06%
  • King’s College London: 16.9%

Imperial, with Oxford and Cambridge has some of the lowest acceptance rates in the Russell Group, considered the hardest UK universities to get into.

Factors Affecting Your Chances of Getting Into Imperial College London

While the Imperial acceptance rate may seem daunting, it’s still possible to maximise your chances of admission with the right application profile. Here are some key factors that influence admission success and university tutors.

You Need Great Grades

With mean entry grades of A*A*A, academic excellence is a prerequisite. 93% of accepted undergraduates in 2021 had A*AA or higher grades.

For postgraduates, a 1st class degree or GPA of at least 3.7 is essential. Strong grades in quantitative subjects are valued, given Imperial’s science and technology focus. 

If you need help, make sure to check out our guide: UCAS Tariff Points Table: How does it work [Example table]

Extracurricular Activities and Leadership

Well-rounded applicants who demonstrate passion and impact through extracurricular activities have an edge. Volunteering, sports, music, and student government are assets.

Leadership in these activities indicates teamwork, communication and organization skills. Unique pursuits like entrepreneurship or research distinguish applicants further.

Personal Statement and Reference Letter

You need to write a personal statement that must convince admissions tutors of your suitability for the course and fit with Imperial’s ethos. Teacher reference letters corroborating your achievements are also persuasive.

Check out over 300 UK Personal Statement Examples

Entry Admission Tests 

High standardised test scores make applicants more competitive. For some course, you will be required to take a test before sending the application. For example, here are some courses that require admission exams:

  • UCAT – Medicine
  • BMAT – Medicine 
  • STEP – Mathematics
  • GRE – Postgraduate courses 

Practice extensively for these exams which assess aptitudes like critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, scientific knowledge etc.


Some courses will invoice shortlisted applicants for an interview. Applicants invited for an interview have a higher chance of admission. Prepare thoroughly – research your course, and practise answering common questions. Show your passion and knowledge. 

Technical interviews for courses like Engineering require demonstrating problem-solving abilities.

Final Thoughts

There’s no sugarcoating the fact that Imperial College London is one of the most selective universities, with acceptance rates much lower than the UK average. However, this makes admission all the more rewarding for successful applicants. Make sure to examine the Imperial acceptance rate, and calculate your chances to get into this prestigious university.

With outstanding grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, personal statements and interview performance, it’s possible to overcome the odds. Research your course options, consult seniors who got in, and put your best foot forward in your application.