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Aston's Research Programmes are offered through the Schools

Are you thinking of doctoral research?

  • A Vitae resource to help you decide whether a doctorate is for you. 

The UK doctorate: a guide for current and prospective doctoral candidates

  • A Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and National Union of Students (NUS) publication.

The Graduate School's main objective is to provide a supportive environment for all research students across the University, whatever their mode of study and wherever they are located, with a view to widening and enriching their experience during their research studies.The Graduate School is also responsible for maintaining the quality of research degree programmes and the development of training in core research and transferable skills, thus enabling all research students studying for an Aston degree to realise their full potential, whichever pathway they choose.

Subject-specific postgraduate training and development 

Your School is the main centre for the delivery of subject-specific postgraduate training and development. Complementing this, the Graduate School provides a focus for the sharing of ideas and best practice between the Schools.  The Graduate School supports and promotes cross-institutional work and studies and, together with the Aston Postgraduate Research Society (APRS), which is sponsored by Schools, promotes both academic and social events.  These will provide many research students with the opportunity to interact with other research students across the academic disciplines.

Your Journey

The journey from enrolment to graduation can be challenging at times, but it should also be enjoyable. Both the Graduate School team and your School are here to give you full support and advice whenever you need it. 

Information you will need during your study is contained in the Student Handbook or can be found in these Graduate School webpages which contain links to Support, Regulations, Training & Development and other opportunities which you may wish to embark upon. 

During your studies, you will also be supported by a Graduate Development Team, with experts in different areas (for example, Library Services, Career Development, Research & Knowledge Exchange) who collectively provide a range of training and development opportunities for research students and research staff.  Engagement in these opportunities provides an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas and information across discipline boundaries, and is an important part of your research development.

Graduate School Facilities

The Graduate School is located on the sixth floor of the Main Building (MB652).  In addition to the Graduate School Office and the Graduate School Training Room, there is the Postgraduate Student Common Room (MB652c), a space designated for you to meet, relax and socialise.     

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In addition to the range of training and development opportunities provided by your School, the Graduate School draws on specific expertise and experience from across the University to deliver the Graduate School Training Programme. Course information can be found in CORE when booking onto courses. Guide on ‘How to Book onto Courses in CORE'.
The Departments that contribute to the Training Programme are collectively known as the Graduate Development Team, comprising: 
The Graduate School Training Programme is a comprehensive suite of personal and professional development opportunities for research students.  The collection of courses and workshops covers a broad range of generic skills that support your ability to succeed on your programme, and skills that will prepare you for future employment.  The course provision is mapped against the national Vitae Researcher Development Framework and in broad terms the courses cover:
  • Research Methods
  • Research Skills
  • Personal Skills and Effectiveness
  • Professional and Career Development Skills
  • Working with Others
  • Teaching
  • Communication Skills
  • Business Skills
  • Academic Writing Skills
  • IT Skills

Access to the Graduate School Training Programme is an inclusive part of your learning experience at Aston, and we encourage you to talk to your Supervisor about which courses you should do and how you can schedule them over your period of research. 

In addition to the courses, each Department in the Graduate Development Team offers other opportunities that are more personalised and often one-to-one - follow the links to their webpages above to find out more.  You may also be interested in opportunities offered by the following Departments:

There are also resources on the Blackboard Module Aston Graduate School: Postgraduate Research Students - Researcher Development, including training videos (for example, The Good Viva, The Good Presentation).   Also on Blackboard (and Aston YouTube) are some of the presentations from the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.  This is a regular event organised by the Graduate School which students are encouraged to participate in, either as a competitor or attendee.

There are also 'Vitae' resources available to research students and staff, including:

Advice on doing a doctorate: This offers doctoral students general advice on various aspects of doing and doctorate and how to access further support and guidance.

Vitae booklets: These booklets give practical advice and tips tailored to researchers on topics chosen to support personal, professional and career development. There are seven booklets in the series and each booklet, which focuses on a specific topic, e.g. the Enterprising Researcher and the Informed Researcher, includes advice and suggested exercises to work through.

There is an active postgraduate research community at Aston and plenty of opportunity to get involved: 

International students

The International Student Support Unit provides help and advice to students from overseas, both before you join Aston and once you've arrived. The team organise social events, but can also give advice on practical issues, such as opening a bank account and visa applications. There are also several  international student societies.

Student societies

There are many societies at Aston and a full list is available on the Students' Union societies page. There are several faith societies and the Chaplaincy is a welcoming place for all students of any faith or background. 

Students' Union

As an Aston student you're also a member of the Students' Union, which gives you access to a range of benefits, support, entertainment and services. 

Committee Representation

There is a student member on each School Research Committee and these students usually also sit on the University's Graduate School Management Committee, which has a student member from each School.  Elections to these committees are notified to students by the School Research Office.  For further information, contact staff in the School Research Office or current student members:

  • Yazan Qarout, Engineering & Applied Science - email Yazan
  • to be elected, Languages & Social Sciences 
  • Amara Ajaegbu, Aston Business School - email Amara
  • Hoor Ayub, Life & Health Sciences  - email Hoor   

Volunteering opportunities

Help out at Aston and in the local community:

Your student handbook contains essential information you will need throughout your studies, including assessment and progression requirements. To access the handbooks please login.


  • To access Supervisor Handbooks and other useful information for Supervisors, please login.

Login to view information about our Graduate School Management Committee.

Dean of Aston University Graduate School

  • Professor Gertrud Reershemius: Contact via Alison Birch, Student and Academic Services.

Graduate Development Team

For advice and support on research student training and development:

  • Jeanette Lilley          
    Research Development Advisor, Research and Knowledge Exchange
    Telephone: 0121 204 4609
  • Ellen Pope
    Head of the Learning Development Centre
    Telephone: 0121 204 3311
  • To be confirmed [post vacant]
    Director of Research Strategy and Impact, Research and Knowledge Exchange
    Telephone: 0121 204 4243

  • Angela Brady
    Assistant Director, Library and Information Services
    Telephone: 0121 204 4505

Student and Academic Services

For advice on regulatory matters relating to doctoral programmes (PhD, MPhil, Professional Doctorates)

  • Alison Birch               
    Student and Academic Services, Secretary to Graduate School Management Committee    
    Telephone: 0121 204 4653


For Advice on Research Ethics:

  • John Walter                 
    Director of Governance, Secretary to Senate and Council
    Telephone: 0121 204 4869

IT support for research

  • Trevor Bayliss              
    Network Services Manager - ISA
    Telephone: 0121 204 4430

Aston Business School contact details 

  • Stephen Tipping
    Research Degree Programme Manager
    Telephone: 0121 204 4284 
  • Ranjit Judge
    Research Degrees Administrator
    Telephone: 0121 204 3354

School of Engineering and Applied Science contact details 

  • Stephen Baker
    Postgraduate Admissions Officer
    Telephone: 0121 204 5246
  • Sandra Mosley
    Research Student Administrator - Student Support
    Telephone: 0121 204 3513
  • Helen Yard
    Academic Support Administrator - Team Leader
    Telephone: 0121 204 3547

School of Languages and Social Sciences contact details 

  • Dan Thomson
    Research and Department Support Manager
    Telephone: 0121 204 3972
  • John Pollard
    Research Degrees Coordinator
    Telephone: 0121 204 5161

School of Life and Health Sciences contact details 

  • Julie Taylor
    Postgraduate Admissions Administrator
    Telephone: 0121 204 4019
  • Gill Pilfold
    Senior Research Administrator
    Telephone: 0121 204 3880
  • Professor Tim Meese
    Director PG Research Training & Postgraduate Tutor
    Telephone: 0121 204 4130

Midland Graduate School