Summary of Aston University
|Popular majors||Business and Economics, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities|
Placement Year: £2,500 for International Students
Overview of Aston University
Aston University is a public research university located in Birmingham’s city centre, England’s second largest city in terms of population.
Its origins date back to the 19th century when a School of Metallurgy was founded in the Birmingham and Midland Institute. By 1895 it had become the Birmingham Municipal Technical School. Several other name changes ensued until Aston gained university status in 1966.
The university is made up of five schools: Engineering and Applied Science, Life and Health Sciences, Languages and Social Sciences, the Aston Medical School and the Aston Business School. It has a total student body of over 11,000 students, comprising around 9,000 undergraduates and more than 2,000 postgraduates.
Aston’s Business School was founded in 1947 and is one of the oldest and largest in the UK. It holds triple accreditation, which is a classification given to only 73 business schools worldwide by the three leading business school accreditation associations.
The university campus is spread across 60 acres of land in the Gosta Green area of Birmingham and comes complete with a swimming pool, sports centres, a library, cafés, restaurants, pubs, and shops, hairdressers, health centres and lots of green space.
The library is spread over four floors and holds more than 250,000 books and 800 periodicals with room for around 700 reading spaces. It also has access to nearly 3,500 electronic journals and 40 electronic databases.
Aston boasts strong links to industry and business and in 2012 The Telegraph newspaper ranked Aston among the top 10 UK universities for producing millionaires.
It also has partnerships in place with more than 140 universities in 40 different countries, including China, Hong Kong and India.
Among Aston’s alumni are stand-up comedian Frankie Boyle, BBC journalist Ivan
Noble, and senior international correspondent at CNN, Nic Robertson.
- 49th in 2018 (Times University Guide)
- 44th in 2019 (Times University Guide)
Accommodation at the Aston University
Aston University guarantees international non-EU students campus accommodation for the whole of their study. EU students are guaranteed university campus accommodation for the first year of their studies and can apply for campus accommodation in the subsequent years.
Aston’s campus is in the centre of Birmingham and contains 3,000 en-suite rooms. They are all five minutes’ walk from the main university buildings and the centre of Birmingham. Apartments are self-catering and house between 3 and 12 students. On-campus facilities include launderettes, satellite television lounges, 24-hour library and numerous cafes, pubs and restaurants. Residence tutors and wardens are available to support students.
Special Features about Aston University
Over the years, Aston has played host to some of the biggest bands and music artists on the planet. Among the many world-famous acts to have thrilled audiences at the University are Brummie boys Black Sabbath, Status Quo, Deep Purple, psychedelic pioneers Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, post-punkers The Cure, Blur, U2, The Police and The Rolling Stones. The University also used to organise its own annual music festival, ‘Astonbury’, on campus.
Temodal, a drug used all over the world to treat brain cancer, was discovered at Aston University in the late 1970s. Professor Malcolm Stevens led a team of scientists in developing, synthesising and trialing the drug, which has resulted in a significant increase in survival rates with minimal side effects for patients with brain tumours. By 2008, worldwide sales of the drug had reached a staggering $1bn a year.
After an episode of Japanese children’s show Pokemon caused 685 people to be admitted to hospital with suspected epileptic seizures, Aston neurologist Professor Graham Harding was flown to Japan to help set new guidelines for flashing images on TV. The rules he created were then adopted by British TV – and is the reason why all programmes have to give a warning about flashing images if they contain them.
Diverse Student Body
Located in the heart of Birmingham, one of the UK’s most vibrant, diverse and exciting cities, it is fitting that Aston University’s student population reflects that diversity. The University is home to 13,000 students from over 130 different nations who are all part of a tight-knit campus community. All students are encouraged to learn new languages during their time at Aston too, with free courses in Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish offered.
Bioenergy Power Plant
Aston has its very own power plant on campus, capable of generating enough energy to provide electricity for the parts of the campus and the surrounding city grid. The Pyroformer bioenergy power plant, currently the only one of its kind up-and-running in the UK, has no negative impact on the environment. Instead, it transforms common waste like garden cuttings, leftover food and sewage sludge, into energy, providing heating, cooling and electricity.
Student Formula Car
Every year, Aston students design, build and race their own sports in an international Formula Student competition. The car, typically a single-seater capable of travelling from 0 – 60mph in under four seconds, is raced against student teams from universities across Europe on some of the continent’s most famous race tracks – including Silverstone in the UK.
For more than 30 years, Aston has been home to several generations of a family of kestrels. The taloned birds of prey, who can see and catch a beetle from 50m, nest in a ventilation shaft high up on the University’s tenth floor every Spring. The kestrels have their own dedicated Twitter page and you can see them snuggling in their nest via a webcam on Aston’s website.
Centre for Forensic Linguistics
Aston academics based at the University’s Centre for Forensic Linguistics have helped to crack several murder cases with their language skills. By analysing suspicious texts, emails and letters, experts like Professor Tim Grant have been able to identify suspects and spot imposters posing as other people. They are frequently called on to testify in court with their evidence.
Record Breaking Taxi Ride
Three Aston graduates set the world record for the longest ever journey by taxi – driving 43,000 miles around the world in 2012 and raising £20,000 for the British Red Cross in the process. The epic trip saw Paul Archer, Johno Elison and Leigh Purnell take their black cab, named ‘Hannah’, across fifty countries and five continents, using 8,000 litres of diesel in a journey that would have racked up a whopping £80,000 fare.
Perhaps the most curious tradition at Aston University involves the passing of the skeleton of a small Bonobo ape from one Head of Biology to the next. The ape has been at Aston for over 50 years and was originally used as an educational tool in biology classes and laboratories. As the study of the discipline began to focus more on the cellular and the molecular, the ape became a treasured curio. It now sits in the office of Professor Anthony Hilton, the University’s current Head of Biology.