Aston University, situated in the heart of vastly-popular student city Birmingham, is famous for leading the way on the integrated placement year idea more than half-a-century ago, with over 70% of its students taking a placement year – the highest figure in the country.
It began life as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School in 1895, later becoming the UK’s first College of Advanced Technology in 1956, and received its Royal Charter from the Queen a decade later.
In 1875 a School of Metallurgy was established in the Birmingham and Midland Institute. The Birmingham Municipal Technical School split from the Institute 20 years later, teaching Physics, Metallurgy, Chemistry and Electrical Engineering. By 1911, commercial classes were unveiled and it became an independent School of Commerce a further five years down the line. The school changed its name to Birmingham Central Technical College in 1927, with a stronger emphasis on teaching Technology.
In 1951, it was renamed the College of Technology, Birmingham, and within five years it would be the first elite designated College of Advanced Technology and was opened by none other than the Queen!
It became the University of Aston in Birmingham after receiving the Royal Charter on 22 April, 1966, with the first Chancellor of the University, Lord Nelson of Stafford, soon appointed. Aston University’s contribution to Birmingham was acknowledged in 1984, when the area was granted its own postal address, The Aston Triangle, alongside Aston Science Park.
In 2010, the university played host to the British Science Festival, one of the biggest public science events in Europe. The university’s charter pledges to advance, disseminate and apply learning and knowledge by teaching and research, for the benefit of industry and commerce and of the community generally: and to enable students to obtain the advantage of a university education, and such teaching and research may include periods outside the university in industry or commerce or wherever the university considers proper for the best advancement of its objects. Its motto – ‘Forward’ – is the same as the City of Birmingham’s.
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Television personality and stand-up comedian Frankie Boyle studied at Aston University, as did BBC journalist Ivan Noble, and Nic Robertson, the Senior International Correspondent for the American broadcaster CNN. Labour politician and Life Peer Baron Bradley also attended, along with fellow political figures Malcolm Harbour, Ashok Kumar, Robert Walter and Baron Rooker.
Aston University was rated as one the best business schools in the UK, according to The Eduniversal 2016 Business School Ranking Results. Aston was placed 11th out of 154 in the UK, and was also ranked fourth for having the most ‘significant international excellence’ out of all the business schools in Western Europe.
In the latest National Student Survey, the university enjoyed its best ever result, with 89% student satisfaction. The survey focuses on teaching, academic support and social life, and placed it 24th out of 132 universities in the UK. English Language received a 100% student satisfaction rating, while more than 60% of courses got more than 90% satisfaction, including Marketing, Computing Science, Pharmacy and Biological Sciences.