Aston University History
Aston University is a public research university situated at Gosta Green, in the city centre of Birmingham, England. Aston began as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School in 1895, evolving into the UK’s first College of Advanced Technology in 1956. Aston University received its royal charter from Queen Elizabeth II on 22 April 1966.
In 2016, Aston was ranked in the top 33 universities in the UK by all three major league tables, and also received recognition Times Higher Education for the second best teaching quality in the UK.Aston was ranked by QS as the 42nd best university in the world under 50 years old in 2015.
Aston pioneered the integrated placement year concept over 50 years ago,with more than 70% of Aston students taking a placement year, the highest percentage in the UK.
The origins of Aston University are a School of Metallurgy formed in the Birmingham and Midland Institute in 1875. The Birmingham Municipal Technical School separated from the Institute in 1895, teaching chemistry, physics, metallurgy and electrical engineering. In 1911, commercial classes were introduced and grew into an independent School of Commerce by 1916. The school changed its name in 1927 to the Birmingham Central Technical College, to reflect its changing approach to teaching technology.
In 1951, the Technical College was renamed the College of Technology, Birmingham and work began on the Main Building at Gosta Green. In 1956, it became the first elite designated College of Advanced Technology and underwent a major expansion.It moved into buildings that were constructed between 1949 and 1955 to a design by Ashley & Newman. Princess Margaret laid one of the first foundation stones at the base of the new building in 1951. The building is one of Europe’s largest, freestanding brick buildings.In 1955, the College of Advanced Technology was opened by Her Majesty The Queen.The college expanded again to a design by the City Architect of Birmingham Alwyn Sheppard Fidler between 1957 and 1965.
It officially became the University of Aston in Birmingham on receipt of its Royal Charter on 22 April 1966 and the first Chancellor of the University, Lord Nelson of Stafford, was installed on 10 May. The Charter of the University outlines objectives appropriate to a technological university: “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.” The emphasis given to the sandwich course system, and the maintenance of strong links with industry, arises naturally from the institution’s history. The motto of the University is the same as that of the City of Birmingham – Forward.
Establishment of the Aston Science Park and Aston University’s contribution to the city of Birmingham was fully recognised when the area was granted its own postal address “The Aston Triangle” in 1984, emphasising the campus as an official district of Birmingham. The logo of the establishment takes from the shape of the area.
Since May 2011 Sir John Sunderland has been the current Chancellor of Aston University.
Aston University hosted the British Science Festival in September 2010, said to be Europe’s largest public science event.
Aston University Engineering Academy
The university is a lead sponsor of Aston University Engineering Academy, a new university technical college (UTC) which opened in September 2012. The UTC is for students aged 14 to 19 wishing to pursue further study and careers in engineering, and is located at the edge of the Aston University campus.
Aston Science Park
In 1983, Aston University, in partnership with Birmingham City Council and Lloyds Bank, established Birmingham Technology Ltd., which manages the Aston Science Park adjacent to the university site.
Aston Medical School
In October 2014, Aston announced plans to launch a new £60 million Aston Medical School in October 2015.The University also announced a £35 million cash injection for a major upgrade of the campus, including a new £19 million revamp of Aston Business School and improvement work to the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies and the School of Languages and Social Sciences.
Aston University Online
In February 2017, Aston University launched its online programme website. 4 of their MSc programmes are offered 100% online to students in the UK and worldwide, including the Aston Business School’s MBA.