Good University Guide 2023

Aston University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Aston University

Contact details


Birmingham , B4 7ET,

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Every degree at Aston in Birmingham has work-based modules or a placement year. Most students choose integrated placements, organised by a university team, in the UK or abroad. Alternatively, students can set up and run their own business. Placement years may also be used to study overseas at one of Aston’s partner universities, or undergraduates can create a combination of options for a 12-month tailor-made experience. Students on some courses — pharmacy and optometry, for example — take a pre-registration year to gain work experience.

The university’s accent on work-ready skills has long distinguished Aston, which began as a college of advanced technology and has grown into a multi-faculty institution encompassing five schools: business, medicine, engineering and applied science, life and health sciences, and languages and social sciences. Aston has forged productive partnerships with local and global small and medium-size enterprises as well as strong links with large organisations such as BMW, HSBC, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and the National Crime Agency.

Employability skills are embedded in degrees, one of the factors that earned Aston a gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework. Assessors also admired the involvement of professional bodies and employers in course design and delivery. This pays off in a strong showing in the Graduate Outcomes survey: Aston is 35th in our analysis of the proportion of graduates in highly skilled work or further study after 15 months, a slight decline from 2021.

Based on a self-contained 60-acre site not far from the centre of Birmingham, Aston offers a campus experience within a big city. Its popularity is on the rise: a third consecutive year-on-year increase in applications brought them to a record high in the 2021 admissions cycle, up 8 per cent on the year before. New student enrolments have remained steady. 

Aston's students record rising levels of satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey. In our analysis, the university rises 12 places to rank joint 50th for satisfaction with the undergraduate experience. It is 97= for satisfaction with teaching quality.

Modern teaching facilities include a redeveloped library and an up-to-date home for the highly rated business school, the base for almost half of all Aston’s students. Extra social learning spaces have been added and a new students’ union opened at the heart of the campus in 2019. There are many pockets of greenery where students can relax: the campus is dotted with outdoor sculptures and there are geese to watch on the redesigned Chancellor’s Lake. 

The pioneer of degree apprenticeships in the UK, Aston offers 16 programmes across the IT, business, technology, transport, science and healthcare sectors. From September 2022, new programmes will cover digital marketing, business-to-business sales, research science, and leadership and management, healthcare, supply chains and engineering.

Aston doubled the number of staff taking part in its submission to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) compared with the previous national assessment in 2014, and 79 per cent of the team's work was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories, almost the same as last time around. The university hosts research centres in enterprise, healthy ageing, Europe, and neuroscience and child development, among others.  Pharmacy, another strength at Aston, was awarded a prestigious regius professorship to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016. 

Aston has lost ground as one of the best-performing pre-1992 universities in our social inclusion index in recent years (72nd). It has the UK’s second-highest proportion — 85.6 per cent — of students drawn from ethnic minority backgrounds and 87.8 per cent of its students are from non-selective state schools.

A women-only gym is among facilities at the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre on campus, which also include a swimming pool and sports hall with indoor courts. Six miles away, the Outdoor Recreation Centre has pitches for football, cricket and hockey.One of the country’s leading student cities, Birmingham’s bright lights are walking distance from campus. First-years are guaranteed student accommodation and while no halls of residence are catered, a termly meal deal at campus catering outlets provides sustenance to cookery-shy students.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 45= (45)
Teaching quality 72.8 97th=
Student experience 72.8 50th=
Research quality 40.9 57th
Ucas entry points 128 57th=
Graduate prospects 79.6 35th
Firsts and 2:1s 84.3 28th
Completion rate 91.1 35th=
Student-staff ratio 17 76th=
World ranking - 561= (485=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 20,230/3,520
Applications/places ratio 5.7:1
Overall offer rate 81.7%


Places in accommodation 1,500
Accommodation costs £144 - £150
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,250
Fees (overseas year) £1,250
Fees (international) £16,300 - £20,200
Fees (international, medical) £43,650
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,000


Sport points/rank 86, 98th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 72
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 87.8%
Grammar school admissions 8.8%
Independent school admissions 3.4%
Ethnic minority students (all) 85.6%
Black achievement gap -14.2%
White working class males 1.9%
First generation students 53.6%
Low participation areas 11.6%
Working class dropout gap -1.6%
Mature 4.7%
EU students 1.8%
Other overseas students 6.4%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Chemistry 89.6%
Chemical engineering 82.1%
Law 80.4%
English 79.5%
Building 77.6%
Civil engineering 77.6%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 76.9%
Iberian languages 75.5%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 75.5%
Psychology 75.3%
Politics 74.9%
Accounting and finance 73.7%
Computer science 71.7%
Economics 71.6%
General engineering 71.6%
Business, management and marketing 70.1%
Biological sciences 69.8%
Subjects allied to medicine 69.8%
Sociology 68.7%
Electrical and electronic engineering 67.8%
Mechanical engineering 65.7%
Mathematics 55.3%