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Your Questions Answered

1.Visas
2.Health & Welfare
3.Fees and Scholarships
4.How to choose what to study?
5.Applications Process
6.Entry Requirements & English Language
7.Working in the UK/Placements/Sandwich Programmes or - Exchanges
8.Arriving in the UK
9.Accommodation

Visas

Who can help me with the visa application process?

  • Aston has a dedicated team of qualified immigration advisers who can advise you on a range of visa and immigration issues, and help you apply for your Tier 4 General visa. This is a free service.
  • We work with selected educational representatives around the world. They can help you with the visa process. For further information please see our list of representatives.
  • More information on visas can be found here

    • Whether you need a visa to enter the UK
    • How to apply for a visa
    • How much it costs
    • Downloadable application forms

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Health & Welfare

      • Do I need health insurance?

International students, studying for more than 6 months in the UK, are entitled to receive general medical care and treatments under the National Health Scheme (NHS). This includes free visits to the doctors and nurses surgeries and standard charges for prescription medicine, dental treatment and eye tests. Our on-campus facilities include a confidential University Health Service from our modern Health Centre where a team of qualified male and female doctors and nurses offer a full range of medical advisory services. There is also a Dental surgery and optician’s on-campus with the nearest pharmacy a short walk from the campus.

Contact telephone for the Health Centre reception: +44 (0)121 503 8580

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      • What welfare support is there?

Aston University ensures that the welfare of international students is taken seriously and as a student, you will benefit from a full range of welfare and support services. This includes an Orientation Programme for international students at the beginning of the academic year, dedicated International Student Adviser, specialists in visas and immigration issues, trained counsellors, a Personal Tutor or Adviser, on-campus health facilities and religious provision

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      • Can I contact existing students from my country?

If you are interested in talking to a student at Aston from your country, you can contact them through the Students Guild if there is an International Student Society set up for your country, or alternatively you can ask the school if they have any students who would be happy to contact you directly via email.

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      • How safe is the campus?

The Campus at Aston provides a secure and safe environment for you to study and live. Halls of residence have swipe cards/keys and 24 hour security to ensure that only students living on campus have access to the apartments. CCTV monitors are also placed on campus to ensure that your security and safety is maintained at all times.

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      • Can my family stay on campus with me?

It is not possible for your family to stay on campus with you; however there is a wide range of accommodation available nearby where your family can stay whilst you settle into your on campus accommodation.

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      • What is your religious provision like?

Student societies such as the Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Sikh Societies celebrate religious diversity at the University. There are also campus prayer rooms.

Our chaplains, who represent the Christian churches, offer confidential support to students and staff of all faiths or none.

In addition, the city of Birmingham offers a wide choice of places of worship covering all major religions.

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      • Can I buy my favourite foods in Birmingham?

Birmingham has a wide variety of markets/food stalls and supermarkets from which you can buy your favourite foods. There are many supermarkets right in the city centre near the Aston Campus from where you can do your grocery shopping.

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Fees and Scholarships

      • International scholarships

Aston offers a number of scholarships which you may be eligible to apply for. Check our scholarship pages for further information.

We advise students to also make contact with your Ministry of Education or Education Department, as they should have information of scholarship opportunities available to students who wish to study overseas.

Your local British Council office may also have information on scholarship schemes as many of them administer scholarship schemes which are only open to nationals of a particular country e.g. Chevening Scholarships

      • Paying for fees

Once you have accepted your offer to study at Aston University, you may be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit. All the details about your tuition fees and deposits will be provided to you by the Admissions Office. Meanwhile, please refer to Student Finance page.

      • Paying for accommodation

For non-EU international students Accommodation on campus is guaranteed for every year of study. For EU students, campus accommodation is guaranteed for the first year of study. The Licence period for International/EU (Non-British) students is 40 weeks (includes Orientation and Freshers Week).

  • Can I pay my tuition fees in instalments?

 

It is possible to pay your fees in instalments provided that this is set up in advance. The usual practise is that you must 50% of the tuition fee by the end of October. A further 25% is paid in January and the final 25% is paid in April

For further information, please refer to the Student Finance page.
      • Do I still have to pay fees during my sandwich year?

Undergraduate Bachelors degree students taking up a years professional work experience pay a reduced fee whilst they are on their placement year. Please click here for the current charge for the placement year.

      • Do I get a refund if I withdraw from my course?

If you are considering withdrawing from your course you should discuss the matter with your personal tutor, then there is a procedure for withdrawing from your course within your academic school of study. Should you decide to withdraw; the university will consider a refund on a pro-rata basis.  For further information, please refer to the Student Finance page.

      • What is my fee status and what are the requirements to qualify for home fee status?

In order to ascertain whether you are eligible for home fee status you will need to contact the Registry Department who will ask you to provide some information on your background, including questions on where you have been residing and whether you are a British or EU citizen. For further information please refer to the Fees Status Self-Assessment guide.

      • Are my tuition fees fixed or will they increase each year?

Tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are fixed for the duration of your programme.

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How to choose what to study?

      • What is QAA?

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) was established in 1997 to provide an integrated quality assurance service for UK higher education. Each university is responsible for ensuring that appropriate standards are being achieved and a good quality education is being offered. The QAA reviews standards and quality, and provides reference points that help to define clear standards, by using peer review processes where teams of academics conduct QAA audits and reviews.

      • What is RAE?

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is a national exercise which assesses the quality of research across all UK higher education institutions. The last RAE was published in December 2008 and confirm the quality and depth of Aston University’s research. Read more here.


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Applications Process

      • I didn’t study in the UK – Will you accept my qualifications?

We look for quality students and assess each application on individual merit. We accept many international qualifications and the International Office is happy to provide individual advice on whether your particular qualifications are suitable for undergraduate entry at Aston.

Please e-mail international@aston.ac.uk with full details of your

      • Qualifications
      • Country
      • School / institution
      • dates of study
      • course title
      • level of study
      • grade, mark or GPA

We can then let you know how your qualification fits into the British education system.

      • Can I transfer to Aston from another university?

Reflecting the high quality and professional integrity of our degree programmes, we do not accept any students directly onto the final year of any our programmes.

We do allow entry onto the second year of certain degree programmes provided you have fulfilled all the requirements. We would need the following information:

      • What modules you have done in your first year at university and any marks/grades obtained so far.
      • What qualifications you did before entering university and what marks/grades you achieved.
      • What English Language and Mathematics qualifications you hold.

Each application is assessed individually on academic merit. You will still need to apply through UCAS, stating clearly that you are looking for entry to Year 2. We advise you to send copies of your academic transcripts, with the subjects you have studied and the grades obtained, to the University. If you studied outside of the UK, these must be certified copies and translated into English.

      • Is there an application fee?

If you are applying for an undergraduate Bachelors degree there is a fee which is paid to UCAS. If you only wish to apply to Aston University, you will be asked to pay a fee of £5. If you apply up to five institutions, the fee will be £15.

      • Can my relative / friend contact the University about my application?

Due to UK data protection laws, we are unable to release information about your application to anybody else without your written permission.

      • Have you received my application?

Foundation & Undergraduate programmes:

If you are applying for a undergraduate course then you should be notified by UCAS when your form has been received.

You can also monitor the progress of your application using your UCAS ID number. More details of this can be found on the UCAS website.

Postgraduate Applications

If you are applying for a postgraduate taught course or research programme you should make sure to include the following information:

    • Your full name
    • Your application number (if applicable)
    • The programme you applied for
    • Your nationality
    • Your date of birth

 

      • I have been told I have a Conditional offer; what does this mean?

This means that you have been offered a place at the University, subject to some conditions. This is likely to be passing certain examinations e.g. your High School examinations, completing your Bachelors degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or obtaining a minimum score in your IELTS/TOEFL.

Once you have confirmed you have met these conditions, the University will change its offer to Unconditional

      • How do I apply for a foundation programme?

To apply for an Aston Foundation programme, applications are made on line: http://www1.aston.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/apply/

      • How do I apply for Undergraduate programme?

To apply for an undergraduate Bachelors programme, applications are through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). http://www.ucas.com

UCAS is a national computerised application system which is intended to save you time and money as you only need to complete one application form. The form allows you to apply up to 6 different courses/institutions.

The UCAS application process is done online.

Applications are received from the September prior to the start of the degree programme e.g. September 2012 for October 2013 admission. International (non-EU) students can submit their application anytime up until 30 June, however, we advise you to apply as early as possible as the more popular courses get full quickly. EU students must submit their applications before 15 January.

Competition for places at Aston is high. We look for quality students and assess each application on an individual merit. We accept many international qualifications and the International Office is happy to provide individual advice on whether your particular qualifications are suitable for undergraduate entry at Aston.

The institution code for Aston University is A80.

      • How do I apply for a research programme?

If you are applying for research, you must submit a research proposal, detailing the original work you intend to carry out, with your application form.

Before submitting your application, we advise you to look at the research pages on the relevant department’s web page and make contact via email with the relevant department to discuss your proposal in detail with a member of academic staff.

You may find this video helpful in how to write a research proposal.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate

Please note that international research students in certain science, engineering or technology disciplines may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate. The ATAS certificate must be obtained before applying for a student Entry Clearance or VISA. Good and bad examples of research proposals are provided here. For more information, please check the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) website

      • Who can help me with the application and admission process?

We work with selected educational representatives around the world. They can help with you with the application and visa process. For further information please see our list of representatives.

Your local British Council office may also be able to provide you with some support.

      • How do I apply for Postgraduate Masters programmes?

Aston welcomes postgraduate Masters applications from candidates offering qualifications equivalent to a good Honours degree from a British University. In general, if you wish to study for a postgraduate degree, you should have the equivalent of a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree.

All applications are made direct to Aston University. You must apply using the University’s postgraduate online application. You should attach transcripts of any qualifications and examinations already taken. If you have studied outside of the UK, transcripts must be translated into English and be certified copies. All applications must also be accompanied by 2 references.

For MBA applications, you must also demonstrate clearly on your application that you have a minimum of 3 years professional /managerial work experience.

      • What is the deadline for applying for undergraduate programmes?

As competition for places at Aston University is high, we advise you to apply as early as possible as the more popular courses get full quickly.

For foundation and undergraduate Bachelors programmes, applications are received from the September prior to the start of the degree programme e.g. September 2012 for October 2013 admission.

The official UCAS deadline for:

    • EU applicants is 15 January
    • International (non-EU) applicants is 30 June
      • What is the deadline for applying for postgraduate programmes?

Although there is no official deadline for postgraduate applications, we advise you to apply as early as possible as the more popular courses get full quickly.

      • How soon should I apply?

As competition for places at Aston University is high, we advise you to apply as early as possible as the more popular courses get full quickly.

We look for quality students and assess each application on an individual merit. We accept many international qualifications and the International Office is happy to provide individual advice on whether your particular qualifications are suitable for undergraduate entry at Aston.

      • Can I transfer on to the second or final year of a programme?

Reflecting the high quality and professional integrity of our degree programmes, we do not accept any students directly onto the final year of any our programmes.

We do allow entry onto the second year of certain degree programmes provided you have fulfilled all the requirements. We would need the following information:

      • What modules you have done in your first year at university and any marks/grades obtained so far.
      • What qualifications you did before entering university and what marks/grades you achieved.
      • What English Language and Mathematics qualifications you hold.

Each application is assessed individually on academic merit. You will still need to apply through UCAS, stating clearly that you are looking for entry to Year 2. We advise you to send copies of your academic transcripts, with the subjects you have studied and the grades obtained, to the University. If you studied outside of the UK, these must be certified copies and translated into English.

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Entry Requirements & English Language

      • What English language qualifications does Aston recognise?

To ensure that you will be successful in your studies at Aston, we look for strong evidence that you have a good level of written and spoken English before you are accepted onto any of Aston’s programmes. This is to ensure that you are able to cope with the demands of our programmes.

To be accepted onto our programmes, you must be able to satisfy the University’s English Language Requirements. The level required will depend on the programme you are applying for.

If you meet the academic requirements of the programme you are applying to, the University may offer you a place, conditional on obtaining the minimum level on your IELTS or TOEFL. This is called a "conditional" offer.

Even if you do not think your test results are good, please tell us what you have obtained! This makes it easier for us to work out how many weeks of English language tuition you will need before your programme starts. If, for example, you achieve IELTS 5.5, the university may still offer you a place, conditional upon attending one of the University’s Pre-sessional English Language Programmes. This condition will be written into your offer letter.

The University offers a number of pre-sessional English language programmes

Many students who have already reached the English language requirements to enter the university still take advantage of a short pre-sessional course at the university. We recommend students to do this as it is an excellent way to prepare you for life at the university.

      • How and where do I find out about sitting an IELTS/ TOEFL test?

 

      • How long is my IETLS/ TOEFL test valid for?

Your test results are valid for 2 years.

For further information:

 

      • What IETLS score is needed for my course?

To ensure that you will be successful in your studies at Aston, we look for strong evidence that you have a good level of written and spoken English before you are accepted onto any of Aston’s programmes. This is to ensure that you are able to cope with the demands of our programmes.

To be accepted onto our programmes, you must be able to satisfy the University’s English language requirements. The level required will depend on the programme you are applying for.

If you meet the academic requirements of the programme you are applying to, the University may offer you a place, conditional on obtaining the minimum level on your IELTS or TOEFL. This is called a "conditional" offer.

Even if you do not think your test results are good, please tell us what you have obtained! This makes it easier for us to work out how many weeks of English language tuition you will need before your programme starts. If, for example, you achieve IELTS 5.5, the university may still offer you a place, conditional upon attending one of the University’s Pre-sessional English Language Programmes. This condition will be written into your offer letter.

      • Do you offer short courses/programmes to improve my English?

The University offers a number of pre-sessional English language programmes

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Working in the UK/Placements/Sandwich Programmes or Exchanges

      • What does “sandwich” mean?

A "sandwich" degree means that you do a one year work placement in the middle of your degree. You would be placed in a company or industry relevant to your degree and will be given significant responsibility for that job.

Undertaking a placement has many benefits, including:

      • The opportunity to put into practise the theory you have learnt
      • Enhancing your job prospects after graduation
      • Improving your English language skills
      • Improving your social skills by meeting people from different backgrounds
      • Increasing your confidence for your final year
      • Developing your independence
      • Developing your responsibilities
      • The opportunity to earn a salary

It means that your degree will take 4 years instead of 3 to complete. In most cases you will be paid for the year.

      • Can I work in the UK after my graduation?

For the latest information on this, please click here

      • Can I work whilst studying?

The UK Government allow non-EU students to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full time during the vacation periods. If you are an EU resident/citizen there are no work restrictions.

As Britain’s second city, Birmingham offers plenty of part-time job opportunities in areas such as office work, catering and retail. The Students’ Guild runs a Job Shop where job vacancies on campus and in the city are advertised. Please also remember that employment is not guaranteed and you cannot rely on the possibility of finding a part-time job to cover your living costs or tuition fees.

If you are on the undergraduate Bachelors degree, we offer students the opportunity to undertake a placement year. You would be placed in a company or industry relevant to your degree and will be given significant responsibility for that job.

For the latest information on this, please click here

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Arriving in the UK

      • Which airport should I fly to?

Birmingham International Airport is the closest airport to Aston University and takes approx 20 minutes by train or taxi. To find out which airlines fly direct into Birmingham visit Birmingham International Airport website http://www.bhx.co.uk

      • Do you pick me up from the Airport?

New international students arriving at Birmingham International airport can arrange to be met by the Student Guild Aunties who will meet you and bring you and your luggage to Aston University during the first weekend of the International Orientation programme. You must register for this and details for registration are in your arrival booklet which will be sent to you.You can also view the Aston Welcome Programme online.

      • Where is Birmingham?

Birmingham is Britain’s 2nd largest city and is located in the middle of Britain in the West Midlands. It is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city ideally placed for travel in and out of the UK. Just 90 mins from London by train and 20 minutes from the international airport, Birmingham has excellent access to the UK’s road and rail network. It is culturally rich and diverse offering a world class cultural scene, a diverse and lively mix of shopping, attractions, nightlife, major international events and exhibitions and access to some of the country's most beautiful countryside. Aston University is located within walking distance of Birmingham city centre.

More information about Birmingham.

      • How easy is it to travel around the UK?

Birmingham is ideally placed for travel in the UK and aboard, as it has excellent travel networks including train, coach and air travel and central motorway links to the south and north of the country. You can easily visit your friends at other universities or explore cities or the countryside.

The University supports the HOST programme, where international students have the opportunity to spend weekends or part of vacations with local families, enabling you to experience traditional British festivities at Christmas and Easter. Most visits usually take place at weekends (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon is the usual arrangement), or for 3 or 4 days at Christmas. Visits for a single day can also be arranged rather than for the whole weekend.

Hosts treat their guests as 'friends of the family', so most visits combine participation in normal everyday life with one or two outings. If you want to know more about how to apply to go on a HOST visit, email info@hostuk.org for further enquiries or visit the website:http://www.hostuk.org

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Accommodation

      • When will I be allocated accommodation?

If you apply for on campus accommodation and you apply before the deadline date, you will be allocated accommodation as soon as you convert to unconditional offer and your academic place at the University has been confirmed. Should we make you an offer, please ensure that you accept the offer via the online booking system by the date specified in your offer details. Due to the high demand for our accommodation, rooms are quickly re-offered if the acceptance form and deposit are not received by the due date. All offers for University Residences are made for a full residential year only.

      • Do you provide single sex accommodation?

 Yes, we will endeavour to provide you with an apartment that is single sex; however you must indicate this on your application form. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee single sex accommodation and that the university reserves the right to change the sex of the flat to avoid vacant rooms.

      • I want to live off-campus?

If you want to live off campus there is a wide variety of accommodation available in Birmingham. Please contact the Student Advice Centre in the Students’ Guild for more information http://www.thestudentsguild.com/

      • Why wasn’t I given my first choice of accommodation?

Due to the high number of requests it is not always possible to allocate you your first choice of accommodation.  

      • Can I move out of campus accommodation after the first term?

If you choose to move out of your campus accommodation you will be legally liable for the rent on your room for the duration of the residential year unless a replacement full time Aston student (not already living on campus) is found for your room – (see Conditions of Residence and Licence Agreement on the accommodation web site). If you do want to move out, you will need to contact your Residence Officer for further advice.

      • Are there internet facilities available in campus accommodation?

        Internet access is available in all rooms on campus via an external Internet Service Provider. Registration packs and the charges are available on arrival.

      • When do I have to apply for campus accommodation?

If you are an international student you must ensure that your application form is submitted by the by the deadline stated on the accommodation web site. Please note that all offers of accommodation will be sent to the email address you provide on your accommodation application form.

      • Can I apply online?

You can apply online for your accommodation,

Please ensure that you bring details of your UCAS / Student number, when you arrive to collect your keys.

      • Am I guaranteed accommodation on campus

The University's Allocation Policy guarantees a residence place to the following students, subject to the University receiving the application by the deadline -

  • New Undergraduate applicants holding Aston as their firm choice (i.e. UF or CF) for the first year of study only.
  • New Postgraduate applicants
  • International fee paying applicants (non-EU) for the duration of their course (three terms per academic year), provided they apply by the deadline for Returning students each year
  • All Exchange applicants at Aston for a full academic year.

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