Aston University, Birmingham

 

 

Overall ranking: Came 27th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.

History: Began life as Birmingham Municipal Technical School in 1895 before being renamed first Birmingham Central Technical College and then the first College of Advanced Technology. Finally became a university in 1966 at the same time as Bath, Loughborough and Surrey.

Address: Aston Triangle in the centre of Birmingham.

Ambience: Set on a modern green 40-acre campus. Aston is a compact university with a close-knit atmosphere and the tree-ringed lake is a magnet for the 8,500 students. The campus is a five-minute walk from Birmingham city centre with its excellent nightlife and futuristic shopping centre.

Who's the boss? Professor Dame Julia King is vice-chancellor. She previously held academic posts at Nottingham and Cambridge before spending eight years at Rolls Royce and a two-year stint as the Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics.

Prospectus: 0121 204 3000 or download one here.

UCAS code: A80

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Above average. Most courses require BBB-AAB at A-level or equivalent or around 390 UCAS points overall. There were 13,000 applications for 2,300 places in 2013.

Vital statistics: Small industry-focused university with 70 per cent of students on sandwich courses- the highest in the UK according to 2011 data. Business, engineering, languages, subjects allied to medicine, social sciences and health sciences are all strong points. Almost 90 per cent of students are from the state-sector.

Added value: Strong European focus with one in 10 students spending a year abroad as part of their course. A £215m development of the campus and accommodation is taking place. A state of the art library opened towards the end of 2010 before refurbishment of the Woodcock Sports Centre was carried out in late 2011. Shiny new psychology, pharmacy, computing and audiology labs, social study areas and a £22m extension to the business school in 2006. All rooms are on campus and ensuite. A £20m investment in new and renovated labs, public areas, seminar rooms and lecture theatres between 2005 and 2010.

Teaching: Ranked 87th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide.

Research: Came 48th out of 124 according to the Research Assessment Exercise. Scored highly for business and management studies and allied health professions.

Graduate prospects: Placed 15th with 78.1 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes- 2010 saw the opening of 1,300 new rooms. On-campus accommodation starts at £121 per week up to £134. The university guarantees a place in halls for all first years subject to conditions.

Cheap to live there? Yes- student rents in the private sector average a mere £68 per week but prices may rise for the coming academic year.

Transport links: Plenty of buses on the campus doorstep. Birmingham New Street station is a 15-minute stroll from campus and Digbeth (for coaches) is a five-minute cab journey. Three miles from the M6 and nine miles from Birmingham International Airport.

Fees: Aston has set a tuition fee of £9,000 per year for all UK and EU undergrads. There is a reduced fee in placement yet- to encourage more students to take one the charge is just £1,000. Fees vary for overseas students but are higher. Students on placement often earn around £15,000 in salary to help offset costs.

Bursaries: On estimate 65 per cent of students are eligible for one or more scholarships designed to reduce the cost of study and reward those taking a placement year. Maintenance grants of up to £3,250 are available to those from households with an income of £42,600 or less.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: A lively spread of events at the students' guild with several bars, four club nights a week and occasional comedy nights. Concerts and events such as the Charter Ball and the Astonbury music festival always prove popular. Plenty of affordable pubs and restaurants nearby in Birmingham city centre and a lively and varied club scene that includes the legendary Gatecrasher, 02 Academy and firm indie crowd favourite Snobs.

Price of a pint: About £2.50 but prices vary depending on the chosen establishment.

Sporting reputation: Not particularly sporty- ranked 95th in the current BUCS league.

Notable societies: Being a small university, Aston does not have the range of societies that other, bigger institutions boast. There are plenty of the more traditional ones on offer though, plus scope to create your own.

Glittering alumni: Lord Drayson, former Cabinet Minister; Gregor Townsend, former Scottish international rugby player; Lord Rooker, Labour peer; Laura Jones, BBC Newsround reporter; Frankie Boyle, comedian (for a year); 2008 and 2009 Apprentice final programme contestants Alex Wotherspoon and Kate Walsh.

Alternative prospectus: Check out how current and recent students rate their university experience at Aston on What Uni? here.

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