On behalf of all my colleagues, both academics and support staff, I hope that your time at Aston is both enjoyable and rewarding. We know that University now involves a significant personal financial commitment by students, but an Aston degree remains an excellent investment in your future: not only do our programmes provide a rigorous academic training in your chosen discipline, but Aston graduates are among the most highly regarded by employers of all kinds. The information in this Handbook is designed to introduce you to the School and its organisation. We hope it will be useful in explaining the basics of the School's Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree programmes, together with a number of administrative details. If you do need any help or advice, do not hesitate to contact us: your Personal Tutor, the Programme Director for your degree or the School’s Programme Support Team will all be able to help you directly, or put you in touch with other relevant areas of the University’s extensive network of support services. Lastly, I want to encourage you to make the most of your time at Aston. University is a unique opportunity to develop both personally and intellectually, and whether it is via your formal degree programme, or attending one of the many events the School typically hosts, or contributing to the Students’ Union and its societies, there are many ways to get involved. Good luck with your studies! Professor Simon Green FAcSSPro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-active University, known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and the professions. It is also an inclusive, forward-thinking and diverse institution, deeply committed to ensuring all of its students can maximise their achievements.
Whether you’re a UK, EU or international student looking for advice on managing money, wanting to join or even set-up a student society or needing guidance and support when looking ahead to your future career, Aston has friendly and experienced professionals ready to help.
We take supporting our students very seriously. Aston was proud to have been awarded Gold by the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) where we were acclaimed for “students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”. Similarly, in the National Student Survey (NSS) Aston has achieved an overall satisfaction rate of at least 88% for the last four years (above the national average of 86%).
We are dedicated to equipping our students with the skills needed to thrive in the world of work. Aston is ranked among the top four universities for helping students secure a work placement year during their studies, helping them gain invaluable experience. With the aid of our award winning Careers+Placements team, Aston’s graduates are some of the most employable in the UK. Six months after graduation, nearly eight out of ten Aston alumni are in graduate level destinations – an employability rate comparable to those of the traditional elite universities.
For those who do not want to take the traditional graduate route, however, our Careers+Placements team can assist with other options such as further study, voluntary or charity work, and starting your own business. For postgraduate students we have a specialist careers adviser who can help with career planning and we also have opportunities for postgraduate internships that can provide important work experience.
For students who are not based on campus Careers+Placements have an online collection of tools for career planning and research.
Having celebrated our 50th year as a University in 2016 and welcomed our new Vice-Chancellor, we are constantly adapting to the changing needs of our students. In keeping with the University’s progressive motto, ‘Forward’, we pledge to continue to do so.
Professor Helen E Higson OBE Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Key Contacts Timetabling and module registration – Mingqing Jia, Timetabling Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)Student support team – email@example.com Exams and assessment – firstname.lastname@example.org Contacting Academic Staff Please use the Staff Directory to look up contact details.
In addition, academic staff will advertise at least 4 hours a week during term time where they will be available for you to discuss your academic work and receive feedback. This is often called office hours or consultation hours. How these sessions are managed is down to individual academics – you may be able to just drop in, or you might have to arrange a specific time either via email or through the WASS appointment system. You may be able to arrange an appointment outside of these hours, by negotiation. Who to contact? If your query or issue relates to...
You can also contact Dr Virginie Grzelczyk (Associate Dean Portfolio Development and Recruitment), Dr Sarah Jane-Page (Associate Dean Regulations and Awards) or Dr Raquel Fernández Sánchez (Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching) for matters that cannot be resolved by any of the above people. Appointments can be made via WASS. Absences and Pastoral Care Please contact us as soon as you are aware that you will be absent from class or if there are any matters that are affecting your ability to attend classes and keep up with your studies. Please e-mail: email@example.com
Social media You can also follow Aston LSS on Facebook and Twitter
Executive Dean – Professor Simon Green Deputy Dean – Professor Frank Austermuehl (TP 1), Professor Jonathan Tritter (TP 2)Associate Dean, Associate Dean Portfolio Development and Recruitment - Dr Virginie Grzelczyk Associate Dean, Regulations and Awards - Dr Sarah Jane-Page Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching – Dr Raquel Fernandez-Sanchez
The School is organised into four different Departments. They are responsible for the delivery of all aspects of a programme relating to that subject or discipline. Department Heads English: Prof Urszula Clark Languages and Translation Studies: Dr Stefan Manz Politics and International Relations: Dr Ed Turner Sociology and Policy: Dr Gary Fooks (TP1), Dr Karen West (TP2)
Management Team Head of Administration – Lisa Gregg Academic Programme and Quality Manager – Yvonne Henderson Marketing Manager – Mathew Gostelow Examinations and Assessment Manager – Hayley Jones Research Manager – Dan Thomson Visit the Staff Directory for a full listing of LSS Staff.
In Addition to your personal tutor each subject area has at least one Senior Personal Tutor. The role of the Senior Personal Tutor is to oversee and offer additional advice and support to Personal Tutors and to work with Programme Teams to identify students who may benefit from additional support during their period of study.
The Senior Personal Tutors are:
Sociology: Dr Pam Lowe (TP1), Dr Elisabeth Schimpfossl (TP2), Dr Katie Tonkiss (TP2)
Politics and International Relations: Dr Andrew Glencross (TP1), Dr Jorg Mathias (TP2), Dr Parveen Akhtar, Dr Yaprak Gursoy
English: Dr Nur Hooton (TP1), Dr Marcello Giovanelli (TP2)
Languages and Translation Studies: Dr Nathalie Mrgudovic
References and Testimonials
These can be requested via MAP, in the “Academic References” section. You need to make sure your referee can comment on your academic progress so far, therefore an Academic Reference can be requested from your Personal Tutor, any academic who has taught you or your Dissertation Supervisor.
Further information More information about personal tutors can be accessed via the links below: http://www.aston.ac.uk/current-students/academic-support/personal-tutoring-guide-for-students/ http://www.aston.ac.uk/current-students/academic-support/personal-tutors-toolkit/key-contacts-and-support-services-for-students/
Senior Tutor Each subject group has one or more members of academic staff who undertake the role of Senior Personal Tutor. As experienced Personal Tutors, the Senior Personal Tutor acts as a central source of advice where additional support is needed.
Director of UG Programmes
Dr Nur Kurtoglu-Hooton
Dr Marcello Giovanelli
Languages and Translation Studies
Dr Brian Sudlow
Politics and International Relations
Dr Cristian Nitoiu
Sociology and Policy
Dr Demelza Jones
If you study on a Joint Honours programme taught entirely within LSS, each Director of Undergraduate Programmes above is responsible for their respective half of the programme.
If you study on a Joint Honours programme taught between LSS and another school, please see the table below.
Programmes delivered jointly by LSS and ABS:
Programme Director 1
Programme Director 2
BSc Business & International Relations
Dr Breno Nunes
BSc Business & Politics
BSc Business & Sociology
Dr Anton Popov and Marcos Estrada
Dr Julie Lewis
BSc Business, Management & Public Policy
Dr Anton Popov and Marcos Estrada
BSc Business Management and English Language
Dr Erika Darics
Dr Julie Lewis
BSc International Business and French
BSc International Business and German
BSc International Business and Spanish
BSc International Business, French and German
BSc International Business, French and Spanish
BSc International Business, German and Spanish
BSc Politics and Economics
Dr Chris Jones
Programmes delivered jointly by LSS and LHS:
BSc Psychology & English Language
Dr Kate Nicholls
Dr Nur Kurtoglu-Hooton
BSc Psychology & Sociology
Dr Richard Cooke
Dr Anton Popov and Marcos Estrada
MA Forensic Linguistics
MSc Forensic Linguistics (by distance learning)
Professor Tim Grant
Dr Kate Haworth
Double MA Europe and the World (with Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Lille)
MA European Union and International Relations
Double MA Governance and International Politics (with Otto-Friedrich-Universitat, Bamberg)
MA International Relations and Global Governance
Joint MA Multilevel Governance and International Relations (with Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Rennes)
MA Emerging Europe in a Global Perspective
Dr Patrycja Rozbicka
MA Sociology and Social Research
MA Policy and Social Research
Dr Graeme Hayes
Dr Sue Garton
MA TESOL and Translation Studies
Dr Sue Garton and Prof Frank Austermühl
MA Translation in a European Context
MA Translation Studies
Prof Frank Austermühl
MSc TESOL (by distance learning)
MSc Educational Management in TESOL (by distance learning)
Dr Sue Garton
Aston firmly believes in the value of attendance, and its relationship with engagement and achievement is very important. Attendance at scheduled teaching sessions enhances the experience of all students, and provides the opportunity for you to benefit fully from the support and guidance the University offers.
You should ‘check in’ to timetabled classes by placing your uniCARD on readers on entry to all your scheduled teaching sessions including lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab session etc. You will then be able to access your record of attendance in My Aston Portal (MAP). This supports the University’s proactive approach to learning and we encourage you to assume responsibility for your own academic progress, and manage your time effectively.
If you hold a Tier 4 visa, MAP Check-in will create an automatic face to face engagement for you and will form part of your Student Engagement Monitoring information for the UKVI.
For further information please visit the MAP Check-in webpages
Attendance at lectures, seminars, tutorials, one-to-one supervision, and other contact sessions is compulsory and is monitored through signing-in lists.
At University, students are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own academic progress, and to manage their time effectively. Missing scheduled classes also means missing the opportunity to benefit fully from the learning experience and the support and guidance LSS offers.
It is our expectation that students attend no less than 80% of timetabled contact hours over the whole academic year.
If you attend fewer than 50% of contact sessions for all modules across a designated time period, you will be sent a letter advising you that your attendance is cause for concern and asking you to meet with your Personal Tutor.
If you attend fewer than the required number of classes and do not respond adequately when we contact you about this, you may ultimately be withdrawn from your programme.
Where students are experiencing problems which are having a serious impact on their ability to meet attendance requirements, they should discuss these problems with their Personal Tutor as soon as possible to see how best to minimise the detrimental effect on their studies. Please also see the section on Exceptional Circumstances.
Module leaders who observe that a student has been repeatedly absent from lectures and/or seminars may request that his/her attendance record throughout the School is examined. Where no reason for the absence has been reported disciplinary proceedings are likely to be instituted by the Associate Dean, Regulations and Awards.
If satisfactory attendance is not resumed, the Executive Dean may require the student to withdraw from the programme. It is important that students respond immediately to correspondence from tutors or officers of the School on the subject of non-attendance.
If you are absent from class because of illness, notify the relevant module tutor(s) and the Programme Support Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do this as soon as possible, otherwise you will be contacted about your lack of attendance. For illness lasting up to 7 days, you should provide medical evidence and hand this in to the School Reception. For illness lasting more than 7 days, you must obtain a medical certificate from your GP or a medical centre and hand this in to the School Reception.
If you will be absent for a scheduled exam or a coursework submission day, it is a different procedure. Please see the sections regarding non-submission/attendance of assessments and Exceptional Circumstances on BlackBoard in LSS Undergraduate Information>Assessment.
Ask the lecturer for copies of any handouts and advice about guided reading. Check BlackBoard to see whether work has been posted there for the missed session. Please talk to the lecturer or your Personal Tutor if you are experiencing difficulties catching up.
Staff are not normally able to offer individual tuition to students who have missed lectures or seminars.
If you know in advance that you will have to be absent for a time (e.g. for planned surgery), it will be necessary for you to negotiate an individual programme to catch up on missed work.
Absence of more than 1 week and less than 1 month: Contact the Head(s) of the relevant academic Department. Also contact the Prorgamme Support Team (email@example.com)
Absence of more than 1 month: Contact the Associate Dean, Regulations and Awards. Please also refer to the information on leave of absences in the "Where to go for academic/pastoral support information" section (“Thinking of taking a break from your studies?”) and HERE.
If you are an international student, please refer to the information HERE.
Some full-time students undertake voluntary or paid employment during academic terms. Although we recognise that this may be a matter of financial necessity, or develops important skills and provides experience, you should ensure that such work does not result in absence from any timetabled activity or the late submission of assessments and does not have a detrimental effect on your academic performance.
The Government recommends that no full-time student should undertake part-time work during term in excess of 12 hours per week. The legal limit for paid part-time work during term time is 20 hours a week.
For information about Aston University and your Tier 4 visa, please click HERE.
Learn Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, or Spanish at Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced levels while you study.
More information is available HERE.
For information on student equal opportunities, please see the Advice and Representation Centre (ARC) section of the Aston Students’ Union website.
The formal requirements for degree programmes are contained in the University’s General Regulations which can be found HERE.
The Careers team provide help with:
The compulsory placement year takes the form of a Year Abroad for students studying French, German, or Spanish. For students on joint honours programmes with Business, Economics, or Psychology, both UK and overseas options are available.
Academic supervision and support are coordinated by: Year Abroad Tutors: Dr Nathalie Mrgudovic for French (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dr Claudia Gremler for German (C.Gremler@aston.ac.uk), Dr Raquel Fernández-Sánchez for Spanish (email@example.com), Dr Brian Sudlow for Translation Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dr Katy Pilcher for Sociology and Policy (email@example.com), Dr Jörg Mathais (J.Mathias@aston.ac.uk) for Politics and International Relations in TP1, Dr Uwe Wunderlich for Politics and International Relations in TP2 (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Dr Krzysztof Kredens for English Language (email@example.com).
Documentation on assistantships, companies and universities is available for reference from the Careers and Placements Team. A complete series of briefing meetings, presentations and workshops takes place at various points throughout the year to assist Stage Two students with CVs and placement applications, and detailed supporting documentation is provided. An opportunity will be given to Stage Two students in October to meet final year students who have returned from their Year Abroad placements.
For placements in Europe, students are normally eligible for additional funding via the Commission of the European Communities’ ERASMUS student mobility work placement programme.
The Careers and Placements Team provides students with individual support during the placement process and continues to monitor and assist students throughout their placement year.
The Placement team services include:
Find out more:Careers & Placements website
English Language UG
BlackBoard – LSS Undergraduate Information>English Language
Languages and Translation Studies UG
Generic LTS marking criteria are available in the BlackBoard areas for specific LTS modules
Politics and International Relations UG
Use General LSS UG criteria
Sociology and Policy UG
Translation Studies PG
MA Study Companions (distributed to students)
TESOL Distance Learning PG
MSc TESOL Study Companion
Politics and International Relations PG
MA Programme Handbooks (distributed to students)
Sociology and Policy PG
MSc Forensic Linguistics
Arrangements for supervision of dissertations and projects will be detailed in the appropriate module guides and specifications. Alternatively, more specific information can be obtained from the relevant module leader.
Exam dates and Submission Dates will be made available via the Assessments and Submissions calendar in LSS Undergraduate Information>Assessment in BlackBoard.
A programme specification is a general overview of the structure of the programme. It includes information about modules available on the programme, learning outcomes, assessment, and teaching methods. Programme specs are available on MAP.
Reading lists for all modules are viewable HERE. Use the search box to search for modules by code, title or keyword.
More information: http://www.aston.ac.uk/library/
The Alumni and Development team is HERE.
For information about these services, please click HERE (PDF download).