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 Processese

06-321   ChemE Thermodynamics

ChE 205  Thermodynamics II

06-363   Transport Lab

ChE 203.3 Laboratory Theme

06-364   Chemical Reaction Engineering

Reactor Design and 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


06-464   Chemical Eng Process Control

Process Dynamics and Control

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


Notify Cindy Vicker 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

Going to Imperial for the year was the best and easiest decision I’ve ever made. I know it’s a bit scary to leave the country for an entire year, leaving your friends and your life behind. My biggest fears were that I would come back and I would be behind on schoolwork, I would lose touch with my friends, or that I just wouldn’t like it in London and would be stuck there for a year. Looking back, there was no reason to be afraid of any of those things. I’m definitely prepared for this year and had no problems at all getting used to our immense workload. My friends still love me, I think, and we kept in touch constantly last year. And I definitely loved London!

Let’s go through some of the advantages of going to Imperial. It looks great on your resume. It makes you a bit more interesting in the dating arena. You get to experience a different culture for an entire year. There’s a huge difference between visiting a place for a week and living there for a year. You get to meet some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. Everyone I met was so interesting! They had travelled so much, they were intelligent, and they were mostly nice. Girls, the men there are gorgeous and romantic. Guys, the ladies there are gorgeous, too.  Plus they mostly have British accents. They do have a lot of international students, too, from different countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Make friends with them so you can sleep on their couches when you’re travelling! Speaking of travelling, Europe has some great budget airlines: Ryanair, Easyjet, etc. There’s no excuse for you to not travel a LOT. You’ll have weekends and huge breaks throughout the year to travel. Last April during Easter break, I went to various cities in Spain, Italy, France, and Morocco (you get the entire month off!).

But what about all the work you have to do? Well, there’s barely any. Imperial really stresses independent study. This means that there’s barely any homework.  The only times I felt stressed from work last year were these 2-3 weeks of Knowledge Lab (which is the equivalent of our Transport Lab) and finals term. I could count the number of assignments we had on my hands. This does make studying for finals a bit more daunting, but if you go to class regularly, you’ll be fine.

Imperial College is located in central London, a short walk from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. The area is called South Kensington and it’s quite posh. Harrods is actually a few blocks from campus. There are plenty of museums in the area, which are all free. There are some good restaurants in the area and London nightlife is awesome. There really is something for everyone, whether you’re into art, theater, shopping, or just heavy drinking. You can choose to live off-campus if you’d like, but all five of us last year lived on campus. If you do that, I’d recommend either Eastside or Southside. They’re a block away from campus and are right by Eastside Bar. By the way, there are bars and pubs on campus. Yeah. Anyway, these are first-year halls, but there will be other exchange students with you and many of the first-years will be 19 years old since they tend to take gap years after high school.

Bottom line, you should apply. You’d be crazy not to.

Marianne Thaila (2011-2012)