Programme Delivery

This section of the handbook talks you through the structure of your programme and how it is usually delivered and assessed including term dates. Scroll down to read on or click on the jump down menu for further information.

Structure of your Programme

The programmes comprise seven taught modules (10, 15 or 20 credits each), and a 80 credit Major Project. The taught modules are presented over two teaching periods.  Each teaching period is 11 weeks in length with the 10 th  week reserved for revision and the examinations in the 11th  week.


Each module is assessed separately by written examination, continuous assessment, or both. More information on your modules can be found in the Module Specifications.

A 10 credit module is nominally 100 hours in length.  This is divided into:

  • time spent with a member of staff in lectures, practical sessions or tutorials and directed reading;  
  • time spent studying alone or in groups but without direct contact with a member of staff;
  • time for assessed activity.

The individual subject syllabi will be given out in the first teaching period.  All items on the reading list should be in the library, and recommended books can be purchased from the bookshop.   

Lecture Classes

Lecture classes are of 50 minutes duration and commence on the hour. Details of the lecture classes you are expected to attend are shown on your timetable. Please check My Aston Portal (MAP) to see your timetable. If you think there are any problems or omissions on your timetable please let the EAS School Office know via eas_timetable@aston.ac.uk

Behaviour in Lectures

Students should show consideration for the lecturer and other students by not talking over their peers or tutor contact hours. Students causing disruption in lectures may be reported to the Associate Dean for Postgraduate Programmes and could result in them being subject to the University disciplinary procedure.


The programme on which you have enrolled operates on a modular system and you will be ‘examined’ on each of your modules. Under the University Regulations the ‘examination’ of a module can be in the form of a written paper, oral test, essay, continuous assessment work, laboratory or field study or report or other form of assessment. Within the first week you will be provided with details of the assessment method for each module together with the dates for the submission of any work involved. This information should also be stored on the respective Blackboard module.

You should note formal University written examinations will be in December and March. Referred/deferred examinations will take place in September.

Details of the dates, times and locations of written examinations will be issued to you by means of a personalised examination timetable via MAP in the period immediately prior to the examinations. It is your responsibility to check that the information on the examinations you have been entered for is correct. If there are any discrepancies in this information please inform you Course Administrator via eas_tpt@aston.ac.uk. You should note that other forms of assessment (e.g. class tests) may be held at any time during the teaching period associated with that module.

If you have religious commitments, such as festivals, which may coincide with examinations, please obtain and complete a Religious Beliefs form and return it to your Programme Director.

You can find more information on assessment in this section of the handbook.

Extensions of Submission Dates

Remember, only your Programme Director can grant extensions to submission deadlines for items of continuous assessment.  If a formal request for an extension of submission dates is to be made, the appropriate form should be completed (available from the EAS School Centre), signed by your Programme Director and submitted with your assignment.

Major Project (CS4800)

At the beginning of the project period you will formulate a proposal for your major project; this will include a literature review and Gantt chart.

Your Major Project will commence in the summer (project period 3) in module CS4800.  You are encouraged to start working on it earlier. This major work is the culmination of your MSc studies and caries 80 credits making it equivalent to 800 hours’ effort.

Major steps in conducting your project are:

  1. Talk to the Module Leader for CS4800 Programme Director about the subject of your project – they will be able to direct you to suitable potential supervisors.
  2. Work up a project specification as part of CS4800.
  3. Write all your research outcomes, thoughts, sketches, results, notes from meetings with your supervisor, etc. in your project diary.
  4. Have regular contacts with your supervisor throughout (remember that summer is vacation period so ensure you book meetings in advance).
  5. Assessment will be by written report and oral examination; this will be due at 16:00 on 30 September and will have to be submitted electronically via Blackboard (you might also be asked for a hard copy).  Don’t forget it should be written as if for one of your class mates (assume the same level of education, but no knowledge of your subject specifics), and should have a set structure and a narrative (it must be logically laid out and easy to read; I recommend telling the big picture first before zooming in to the details). Your report must be written in effective English and the main body of the report (first letter of the title page through to the last letter of the References, but not including the appendices) should not exceed 10,000 words.

Practical Aspects

You should note that the use of lecture theatres and laboratories is subject to University policy which includes no eating, drinking or smoking. A non-smoking policy also exists in all other areas of the University. The use of laboratories is also governed by safety regulations. These are detailed in the Safety Handbook.

If you experience any difficulties or problems in any of the laboratories, then you should seek assistance from the technician responsible for that laboratory or alternatively report the problem to the EAS School Centre Receptionist who will communicate the problem to the relevant member of staff.

Information about EAS laboratories can be found online.

Out of hours working

You should be carrying your ID card with you at all times, however, there are some times that you will need these to swipe into any buildings. These are commonly referred to as ‘out of hours’.

Staff and students must be in possession of a current ID card that is allocated to them and them only, to be able to swipe to gain entry.

The times when an ID card will have to be used to gain entry will be as follows:

  • Monday to Thursday 20:00 to 06:00
  • Friday 18:00 to 06:00
  • Saturday 13:00 until Monday 06:00

There will be other times that the building will be closed – Bank Holidays etc and you will receive notification of these in advance.

To gain entrance to the Main Building during these times you will need to use the entrances off Potter Street directly opposite the Blue Badge parking bays. You will also need your ID card to swipe out using this entrance.

Key Dates

Term dates until 2016 are available online


International Orientation Week

16 September 2012

Freshers Week

23 September 2012

First Term

30 September to 15 December 2012

Second Term

6 January to 23 March 2013

Third Term

14 April to 8 June 2013 *

Summer Degree Congregations

15, 16, 17, 18, 19 July 2013

Referred Examinations

28 August to 3 September 2013

* Term 3 begins with 2 teaching weeks

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research