: October each year
: Two Teaching Periods, October to June
Entry requirements: English Language skills equivalent to IELTS 5.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component. Alternative secure tests of English are specified by the UKBA together with the appropriate levels in each.
Applications and contact:
Apply for this course online
Tel: +44 (0)121 204 3171
Develop your English language skills and confidence to use appropriate language in an academic environment
Learn to make confident applications for post-graduate study
Improve IELTS scores in order to complete post-graduate applications
Our International Year Abroad programme offers an English language qualification for international students in their final or penultimate year of undergraduate study.
On occasions, places may be available for newly qualified graduates.
The aim of the programme is to improve levels of language skill and confidence to use English in academic settings. Most IYA students stay at Aston to follow post-graduate study at Aston Business School or elsewhere. Many students take up places in English-speaking universities around the world.
The IYA programme is devised to develop your abilities to deploy academic English in completing university level tasks across the range of language skills. In addition, IYA students have the opportunity to create a programme that reflects their own particular interests through elective modules that explore cultural aspects of life in the UK as well as developing vocational skills.
You will study at one of the UK’s leading universities on our friendly, green campus situated in Birmingham city centre, Britain’s second city.
Core modules totalling 70 credits across two terms:
The module aims to prepare students for an IELTS test through work to develop English language skills as well as the strategies necessary to achieve the IELTS levels required for post-graduate work at an English-speaking university. Classes are designed to prepare students in all four skills – listening and speaking, reading and writing, as well as allowing time for considering important current events in the world as an aspect of producing appropriate IELTS essays. For more information on the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills requirements, please refer to the IELTS website: www.ielts.org
Most students follow this module for two Teaching Periods and gain 20 credits; 10 credits elements are available for ERASMUS and Exchange students in each Period.
10-credit assessment: Two-hour reading and writing tests in each period (50%).
Individual speaking and listening tests in each period (50%).
The module aims to develop both linguistic knowledge and skills in order to raise students’ English language proficiency before starting a postgraduate programme of study at an English-speaking university or similar programmes. Most students follow this module for two Teaching Periods and gain 20 credits; 10 credits elements are available for ERASMUS and Exchange students in each Period. The classes have an integrated skills approach, with practice in reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as some work on grammar and lexis. Students are required to complete practical tasks of an individual and group nature.
20-credit assessment: Individual report at end of Teaching Period 1 - 1000 words (50%). Individual reflective diary at end of Teaching Period 2 – 1000 words (50%).
The module covers a range of topics relating to the systems and institutions that shape life in Britain. Students explore how the people, history, geography, government, law, education, economy and other socio-political factors of Britain will influence the physical and psychological environment in which they will be living whilst studying in the United Kingdom. The module aims to develop students’ accuracy, fluency and overall communicative ability when using spoken and written English in a British university setting. In addition, the module helps students to develop their knowledge and understanding of UK systems and institutions. Most students follow this module for two Teaching Periods and gain 20 credits; 10 credits elements are available for ERASMUS and Exchange students in each Period. Most students follow this module for two Teaching Periods and gain 20 credits; 10 credits elements are available for ERASMUS and Exchange students in each Period.
10-credit assessment: 1000 word essay at the end of Teaching Period 1 (100%).
The module will include an examination of cultural dimensions, verbal and non-verbal communication, barriers to intercultural communication, and intercultural competence when working in face to face and virtual teams of a multicultural nature. The module will also introduce international students to basic research concepts such as research design, primary and secondary research, quantitative and qualitative data, data analysis tools, and research ethics. This 10-credit module may be followed in either of the two Teaching Periods.
10-credit assessment: Individual research report in either Teaching Period. 1500 words (100%)
Elective modules totalling 50 credits across one or two terms:
The module requires the study of a number of contemporary English texts. Primary texts will consist of excerpts from contemporary literature chosen for what they reveal about British society as well as for their literary and cultural significance. The material will be organised thematically, sessions devoted to analysing work that provides insights into areas such as the British class system, immigration and multiculturalism, youth culture, education, British attitudes to sport, leisure and food, landscape and childhood. Most students follow this module for two Teaching Periods and gain 20 credits; 10 credits elements are available for ERASMUS and Exchange students in each Period.
10-credit assessment: 1000 word essay at end of Teaching Period 1 (100%).
The module deals with issues of current interest at the time when the module is delivered. Students will track these stories in newspapers and magazines. They will analyse the different presentations of single issues and seek to account for the differences through their study of the role, purpose and audience of the different types of printed media, including free and online newspapers. They will also analyse closely genres typically adopted in newspapers and magazines, and they will be given an opportunity to produce these genres themselves. Attention will be given to the concepts of objectivity and bias and how they are manifested. This 10—credit module is available in Teaching Period 1 only.
10-credit assessment: Working in groups, students will prepare a proposal for a 4-page newspaper and present their work in the form of a storyboard, which will include text and images. (100%)
The module covers a number of key themes in British cinema and television and reflects on the representation of national characteristics. Students will analyse the different presentations of single issues, such as social class, ethnicity and political bias, and seek to account for the differences through their study of the history and roles of film and television. They will also analyse typical genre, characterisation, dialogue and language. Attention will also be given to accent and dialect, giving students the opportunity to explore some of the many varieties of English existing in Britain. This 10-credit module is available in Teaching Period 2 only.
10-credit assessment: PowerPoint and video presentation. Working in groups, students will prepare and present a storyboard proposal for a 30 minute documentary, which will include a sample video sequence. (100%)
The module aims to develop students’ understanding, fluency and communicative powers in English using ideas and language drawn from the business domain. Across the module, students will consider aspects of marketing, leadership, human resource management, operations and finance, using authentic texts and realistic case studies. Most students follow this module for two Teaching Periods and gain 20 credits; 10 credits elements are available for ERASMUS and Exchange students in each Period.
10-credit assessment: Case-study task in Teaching Period 1 (100%).
The module is devised to help students understand a range of authentic materials in newspapers, journals and publicity materials that relate to the provision and experience of hospitality services. The module is coursebook based and includes the study of a range of academic and professional texts as they relate to the understanding and management of tourism services. The 10-credit module can be followed in Teaching Period 1 only.
10-credit assessment: Group academic presentation at the end of the Teaching Period - (100%)
The module is devised to help students understand a range of authentic materials in newspapers, journals and publicity materials that relate to the nature, provision and experience of banking services. In addition, students are helped to express themselves in speech and in writing across a range of genres relevant to aspects of finance including banking using appropriate English. The module is coursebook based and includes topics such as The nature and origins of banking, Banking institutions, Measuring performance in banking, International banking and role in developing countries, Banking ethics and standards.
This 10-credit module may be studied in Teaching Period 2 only.
10-credit assessment: Group academic presentation at the end of the Teaching Period - (100%)
The module is devised to help students understand the relationships between forms of mass media and their target markets, recognise the range of genre use in areas of the spoken and written media, and understand a range of authentic materials found in newspapers and magazines, on radio and television that serve different customer segments. In addition, students will be helped to express themselves in speech and in writing across a range of genres relevant to a study of media, in English. This 10-credit module is only available in Teaching Period 2.
10-credit assessment: Group academic presentation at the end of the Teaching Period (100%)
In addition, suitably qualified undergraduate students may follow elective mainstream modules in areas of politics, international relations, and linguistics as well a language from the University Wide Language Programme.
Learning and Teaching Methods
International Year Abroad modules are delivered by a team of qualified, experienced and dedicated staff at Aston University’s Centre for English Language and Communication (CELCA). We use a variety of innovative and engaging teaching methods which include lectures, seminars, tutorials and interactive workshops as well as private and small-group work. The IYA Social Programme provides opportunities for students to meet informally, play games, make occasional visits and celebrate significant festivals.
Click here for a list of useful online resources that can help to develop your English language skills.
Modules are assessed in a variety of ways, which include coursework, assignments, formal oral and written examinations. Feedback is provided continuously throughout the programme and an IELTS exam can be taken at the end, the cost of which is included in the fee.
Students who have earned 120 credits in total from both core and elective modules will be awarded the Certificate in Higher Education which is a portable qualification recognised by universities across the UK. Undergraduates follow a short-term study abroad programme leading to a Certificate in Higher Education in Languages and Social Sciences; new graduates follow a Student Visitor Programme leading to Certificate in Higher Education in English Studies.
Successful completion of the programme does not guarantee automatic progression to a postgraduate programme at Aston University.