Carnegie Mellon University

Imperial College, London, UK

Carnegie Mellon started an exchange program with Imperial College in London, UK, in September 1997. This program is for Chemical Engineering students and involves an exchange with the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College.  Every year about three students can participate in this program.

The Imperial College exchange program offers very exciting opportunities to those students who are interested in spending their junior year abroad.  Imperial College is one of the leading schools in Europe in engineering and manufacturing.  Air Products & Chemicals and Procter & Gamble will consider interviewing students for a summer internship before or after going to London as they are interested in students that get training in the US and in the UK.  The possible internship with Procter & Gamble is in two parts.  The first part is in the summer prior to the year in London and takes place in Cincinnati.  The second part is in the London research facilities at Procter & Gamble at the end of the one-year stay in London.  Visit their application site.  Go to Careers>>Job Category>>Internship/Co-op>>Country/Region: USAlso be sure to mention your interest in the Imperial exchange program to the P&G recruiters visiting campus during the Technical Opportunities Conference.

The Imperial College exchange program has similar arrangements as the one with RWTH Aachen. Students pay regular tuition to Carnegie Mellon.  Housing costs are of the order of £550 per month and food about £300 per month.  The classes start early in October. Imperial College is located in a prime location in central London, South Kensington, next to Hyde Park. 

The courses that Chemical Engineering students will take at Imperial College, and that are nearly equivalent to the ones in your junior year here at Carnegie Mellon, are the following:

06-323   Heat and Mass Transfer

ChE 104.2 Heat and Mass Transfer and ChE 202.1 Heat Transfer

06-361   Unit Operations

ChE 202.1 Separation Processes I

06-321   ChemE Thermodynamics

ChE 205  Thermodynamics II

06-363   Transport Lab

Knowledge Labs

06-364   Chemical Reaction Engineering

Reaction Engineering I

06-300   Junior Research

To be arranged with ICSTM faculty

09-347   Advanced Physical Chemistry

ChE 106.3 Properties of Matter

09-217   Organic Chemistry I

ChE 1-06-1 Chemistry (get CMU/CHE waiver)

03-232   Biochemistry I


06-423 Unit Operations Lab

Pilot Plant Project

06-464   Chemical Eng Process Control

Process Dynamics and Control

In addition, students should take one free elective and two gen ed courses.

 Notify Nora Siewiorek of your interest in the program by the first Friday after you return from winter break.  Once Cindy notifies you that you have been accepted in the program, you must then also apply online at the Imperial application site so that they can electronically capture your information.

Feedback from CMU students

My time at Imperial and abroad bustled with excitement. Pilot Plant has been my favorite class in my academic career. You cannot get an experience like it at CMU. Colin, the professor, is an absolute icon and you also learn real world skills like editing a P&ID and writing operating procedures. Though lectures are recorded and noncompulsory, make sure to go! I always enjoyed showing up to classes 10-20 minutes early to meet a fun and diverse bunch of students. Do not fear going away for a year, as there are many opportunities to make friends and become a member the Imperial community.  There’s a lot more varieties of clubs, so it is a great place to hone a passion or pick up a skill like sky diving or scuba diving. There are endless travel opportunities within the UK (Edinburgh, Wales) and to continental Europe (Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Berlin, and more!). The tube system makes it really easy to explore London’s museums, pubs, and markets. Go to Borough Market! Overall, Imperial was one of the most informative experiences I’ve had to both my personal and academic life.

 Isabella Vendetti (2018-2019)

Three reasons to go abroad:

  • It makes you a better person.
  • It's a lot of fun.
  • You learn a lot.

When I went abroad, I learned just how big the US is.  Everyone knows the US and they usually have plenty to say about it.  This is good because it lets you experience other perspectives you wouldn't see from staying within the country.  You also get to participate in another culture for a year, and it's fun to find differences in culture that you would never spot without having lived there.  By doing so, you learn to empathize and adapt more easily, which are good life skills to have.  London is very different from Pittsburgh, and you may see, that as a good or bad thing, but either way, it will give you a new found appreciation for CMU and your home, as well as all the other countries you may visit.

There's so much to see and so much to eat!  All the lectures at Imperial are recorded so, if necessary, you can take the week off and travel then catch up on lectures on your own time.  There's also no homework which allows for more independencve compared to American schools.  You can follow your own schedule for the most part since thre aren't many scheduled lectures, and you won't have the opportunity to do that again until you're retired!  You also have the opportunity to go to places you've always wanted to go because it's much closer and cheaper, so do your research!

The courses at Imperial are structured differentrly from CMU and they allow you to use the knowledge you gained through "project courses" such as Pilot Plant.  It helped me a lot to see ChemE in practice and made it seem less daunting.  The lecturers are also very good so you won't fall behind your peers at CMU; don't worry!

Alicia Ng (2016-2017)

Applying to the Imperial exchange program was by far the best decision I have made at CMU.  I was at first hesitant to do so because I wasn't sure if I would enjoy a year-long program; however, I am so glad that I applied.  I found that staying for an entire year allowed for me to make valuable relationships with everyone I met, and it gave me the opportunity to truly immerse myself in the London experience.  By the end of my studies, I was really sad to leave!  Not only did I get to explore London, but also other areas in the UK and other areas across Europe (traveling is really cheap compared to traveling within America).  Fortunately, with Brexit the USD is worth a bit more than it used to be making the experience slightly more affordable than it would have been previously.  The classes are structured differently than the courses at CMU making it mildly difficult to adjust, but I think in doing so it makes for good experiences to highlight in interviews.  London is my favorite city in the world now; everyone is very nice and friendly.  Although it may take a while to decipher some people's accents, you will become an expert by the end of your stay.  Though the traditional food would not be my first choice at cuisine, I still found great food options with English food and internantional dishes.  London is teeming with food from across the globe so you can find any food you could imagine.  With an American accent (or just saying you study in America), you will always get questions abut America as soon as you start talking to someone which I thought was fun and it was always interesting to see international perspectives on the States.  As far as being far away from home and CMU, it actually isn't as daunting as it seems.  With Facebook messenger, What's App, iMessage, etc. there are a myriad of ways to keep in contact with people in Pittsburgh.  I was scared that I would lose touch with people at CMU, but in fact it was super easy to stay connected with everyone despite the 5 hour time difference.  Long story short, it was the best year of my life and I highly suggest anyone and everyone to apply to this program.

Megan Pudlo (2016-2017)