Comparative analysis of top 10 UK aviation courses and pilot training, with extensive information about universities and their aviation degrees.
- Summary findings with a comparative table
- Summary of the history of aviation education in the UK
- Individual information about each university
- Quick summary plus some thoughts about the future of aviation
Summary findings need to include a table with data for each university:
- University Ranking
- Program/s Ranking
- Programs offered
- Pilot Training
- Cost of studies
- Cost of living in the area
- Years required
- Qualifications / Aviation degree
- Any other important metrics
- Future carer development
We need to include information for universities below:
Brunel University London
Brunel’s aviation courses include an Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies undergraduate degree, a three-year course which allows for professional pilot training after graduation. They also offer four-year “sandwich courses” involving a set period dedicated to work experience in the middle of the course. Brunel’s close proximity to Heathrow Airport gives its students exceptional opportunities to gain first-hand experience with private and commercial aircraft in one of the world’s largest airports.
Kingston University London
If you’re looking for a short course, Kingston provides options ranging from one to three years. Their full Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training degree is designed for those planning to become commercial airline pilots. The course provides broad knowledge of the industry through technical theory and lectures and tutorials from professors in aviation, alongside guest speakers from the industry. The second year of the course is spent at the Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT) centre in Dorset, which provides students with the core knowledge required to become a pilot. Entry requirements are more relaxed for this university than the alternatives listed here, requiring either 80 UCAS points or two A levels.
If a full degree is not what you’re looking for, you can take a one- or two-year foundation degree that covers the fundamentals of pilot training. In addition to the year dedicated to flight training, you can extend the degree to four years and take a year’s work placement, boosting your employability when you graduate.
Located at the university’s Stoke-on-Trent campus, Staffordshire’s Aeronautical Technology degree gets you flying in a glider in the very first year of this three-year course. In addition to practical training at the start of the degree, students have the use of state-of-the-art laboratories with wind tunnels and flight simulators for aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, as well as helicopters. Sandwich courses are available, with staff employed solely to ensure you get the best possible work experience for your desired field.
University of Sheffield
Placed in the top 10 for UK engineering by the Times Good University Guide 2017, Sheffield’s Aerospace Engineering course prepares students well with up-to-date modules. Alongside dedicated flight hours, this three-year aviation degree covers subjects including aerodynamics, project management, structural materials and flight instrumentation. The wide range of modules allows students to specialise in areas of aviation they find most interesting and valuable to their career as a pilot or avionics engineer.
Alongside their private pilot instruction courses, during which students gain first-hand experience with the aid of a seasoned pilot, the University of Sheffield’s links with the Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron provides additional opportunities for flight training.
University of Hertfordshire
While the standard three-year Aerospace Technology with Pilot Studies course at the University of Hertfordshire focuses on aerospace systems engineering and the technical skills needed to understand and integrate modern avionics systems, an optional fourth year deals entirely with flight training. This aviation degree is ideal for aspiring pilots, offering specialised knowledge that makes graduates stand out from the competition, plus a full year of flight training available in a flight centre offering British and American qualifications.
University of Leeds
With 10 dedicated hours of flight training and many more available with additional lessons, Leeds’ three-year Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies degree provides graduates with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ground examination requirements, which they can supplement with other modules to gain their Private Pilot’s Licence. While retaining a focus on pilot training and preparation for commercial pilot ground exams, science and engineering modules are also available to ensure students leave with the best possible aviation industry knowledge.
University of Liverpool
Offering both postgraduate and undergraduate courses in aerospace engineering, the University of Liverpool’s aviation courses range from Bachelor of Engineering to PhD level. Their laboratory equipment allows system programming, designing aircraft, system management and navigation. While the university’s focus is primarily on the study of flight, simulated flying is also available on one of Liverpool’s three flight simulators, which replicate the cockpits and systems of the JetStream 41, Piper PA38 and a standardised fast-jet.
University of Salford
The University of Salford’s Manchester campus provides a combination of practical and theoretical aviation during their three-year Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies undergraduate course. While Salford’s focus is on tackling complex aircraft engineering problems through knowledge of science, maths, programming and design, there’s also ample opportunity to study for a pilot qualification. With 45 hours of dedicated flight time, three flight simulators and the opportunity to fly solo and gain a Private Pilot Licence by the end of the course, Salford’s degree offering is compelling. The university also encourages students to take a year-long industry work placement to ensure employability after graduation.
University of the West of England
The University of the West of England in Bristol runs a four year undergraduate Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies course designed to provide the skills students need to become technical specialists in the aerospace industry. The modules on offer teach the fundamentals of aerospace engineering such as materials, manufacturing processes and thermodynamics. Practical experience is gained through creating and testing aircraft prototypes in the university’s labs.
University of Nottingham
Between the University of Nottingham’s academic lecturers and specialists from global aerospace companies, Nottingham’s aviation courses in aerospace engineering are excellent undergraduate and postgraduate options for becoming an aviation engineer. Their modules focus on propulsion systems, aerospace manufacturing and electric aircraft, with laboratories advanced enough to allow testing at the PhD level of aerospace engineering. With such a high standard of facilities, Nottingham is an appealing choice for academic study.
Questions we need to cover for each university
- What courses do you offer aviation and aeronautics students?
- What makes (UNIVERSITY NAME)’s courses for aviation and aeronautics unique?
- How long has the (UNIVERSITY NAME) aviation school been in operation?
- Have any famous or noteworthy professionals in aeronautics or aviation studied through (UNIVERSITY NAME)?
- Introduce us to some of the faculty staff – any noteworthy names/achievements?
- How many students do you take on each year?
- How long are each of the courses?
- How do you see future of aviation?
- How is (UNIVERSITY NAME) preparing its students for the future of the industry?
- Do you offer any bursaries, scholarships or special entrance options?
- Do you have any partnerships with notable companies in the industry? If so, can you give us a quick summary?
- For (UNIVERSITY NAME) alumni, what’s the most common career path? Private aviation, commercial aviation, military and civil, or a combination of all?
- Lastly, how should students go about applying to (UNIVERSITY NAME)’s aviation school? Any tips for up-and-coming students?
Additional information about each university
<h2>What to study to become a pilot in the UK</h2>
Before choosing a university course, it’s useful to know what qualifications you ultimately need to work in the industry. To become an airline pilot in the UK you need an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL), which involves these steps:
1) Passing a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Class 1 Medical. This includes an eyesight, hearing and general health test and must be completed at a verified Aeromedical Centre.
2) Passing a background security check.
3) Getting your ATPL, which involves 750 hours of ground school training, plus exams, and at least 195 hours of real flight training. After passing all 14 theoretical exams, you’ll receive a ‘frozen’ ATPL and be able to work as a first officer.
4) Receiving your full ATPL. You’ll need to complete a further 1,500 hours of flight training at a CAA-approved school in order to qualify as a captain and get an ‘unfrozen’ ATPL.
To prepare for flight school training, you may wish to take an aviation, engineering or aerospace degree, which can help you decide which area of the airline industry you’d like to work in. Many degrees also include training modules using either flight simulators or real planes, which help you accumulate hours for your ATPL.
<h2>How long does an aviation degree take to complete?</h2>
A full-time undergraduate Bachelor’s degree lasts three years, while a Master’s degree takes four. You can also add an additional year to many courses for practical placements or to study abroad. Completing an aviation degree part-time can take up to six years.
<h2>How much does an aviation degree cost?</h2>
The standard cost for a year of university tuition in the UK is £9,250 for students from the UK or EU. International students can expect to pay over £11,000 a year. In addition, according to the British Airline Pilots Association, training for your ATPL costs an average of £60,000 to £80,000. If your university course includes pilot training, you’ll have to pay all or some of this on top of tuition fees. To reduce the price, look for bursaries or airline sponsorship programmes.
<h2>What kind of jobs can you get with an aviation degree?</h2>
An aviation degree opens the door for all kinds of careers in the industry, including:
- Commercial airline pilot
- Military pilot
- Aeronautical engineer
- Air traffic control operator
- Aeronautical researcher
- Air transport management
- Airline operations
- Aircraft manufacturers
- Aircraft mechanic
- Ground attendant
- Airline flight attendant
- Aviation safety inspector
<h2>Where’s the best place to study for an aviation degree?</h2>
To help you become a pilot UK or work in the aviation industry, here’s a round-up of 10 top UK universities offering Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) courses:
<h3>Brunel University London</h3>
In addition to the BEng, Brunel offers a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies, which is a more comprehensive four-year programme with an extra work placement year. This course is ideal for people considering aviation engineering roles as well as flying.
Entry requirements: BBB at A Level for the BEng or AAA for the MEng.
Cost: £9,250 per year for full-time UK/EU students, or up to £18,000 for international students. There’s an additional cost for flight training on the BEng course of £3,150 and an extra £1,000 if you choose to do a placement year.
<h3>Kingston University London</h3>
Entry requirements: 96 UCAS points from A Levels or equivalent qualifications, as well as five GCSE grades A*- C.
Cost: £9,250 per year for tuition, plus £70,000 for the second-year ATPL training.
Entry requirements: 112 UCAS points, with A Levels BBC or CCC plus 16 points from other Level 3 qualifications. They also accept BTEC, DMM or MMM plus 16 points.
Cost: £9,250 tuition per year for UK/EU/Channel Island students or £11,100 for international students.
<h3>The University of Sheffield</h3>
The University of Sheffield also has an MEng option, which includes an extra year of training. You need an AAA at A Level, including maths and English, to apply for the course.
Entry requirements: AAB at A Level, including maths and science.
Cost: £9,250 per year for tuition, plus an additional £1,000 for the private pilot instruction course.
<h3>University of Hertfordshire</h3>
Entry requirements: A minimum of two A Levels, which must include maths plus either physics, technology or an engineering-based subject.
Cost: £9,250 per year for UK/EU students, £11,950 for international students. There is an extra fee for flight training. The student with the best flying performance wins a scholarship to extend their flight training once they graduate.
<h3>University of Leeds</h3>
This course includes the option of adding a fourth academic year abroad or a work placement year.
Entry requirements: Applicants typically need AAA at A Level or equivalent, including maths and physics.
Cost: £9,250 per year. Fees include 10 hours of flight training and PPL theory and ground exams.
<h3>University of Liverpool</h3>
Entry requirements: applicants typically need ABB at A Level, including maths and either further maths or physics.
Cost: £9,250 per year.
<h3>University of Salford, Manchester</h3>
The University of Salford also offers MEng courses in Aircraft Engineering and Pilot Studies or Aeronautical Engineering.
Entry requirements: Between 112 and 120 UCAS points, plus GCSEs grade C or above in English language and maths.
Cost: £9,250 per year for UK/EU students or £14,400 for international students. There’s an additional cost of £7,000 to study for your pilot’s licence, based on £140 per hour for 50 hours.
<h3>University of the West of England</h3>
Entry requirements: 128 UCAS points, with GCSE grade C/4 in English language and B/5 in maths. A Level grade B in Maths plus another relevant A Level such as science or engineering.
Cost: £9,250 tuition per year for UK/EU students.
<h3>University of Nottingham</h3>
Entry requirements: A Level AAA or AAB; maths is essential and physics is preferred. Foundation degree courses are available for students with BBB grades in other subjects.
Cost: £9,250 per year for tuition for UK/EU students.
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