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As many of you will be aware, I have spent a number of years teaching at Bucks New University. Whilst I have no shame in accepting that the university as a whole possesses some serious need for development in order to improve its ranking (see The Times, 2018), one thing we have historically done well is aviation. In fact, we have been ranked one of the best universities to study aviation management, specialising in a number of fields including the commercial pilot’s license with a degree. 

Bucks New University was the first university (or college as it was back then) to offer a degree qualification alongside a commercial pilot’s licence. Since 2001, the university has trained hundreds of students, many of whom now work for major airlines based in the UK and further afield. Modeled largely on their Airline and Airport Management degree, the course offers two years of full-time academic study combined with a year-out to concentrate on the theoretical and practical elements of flying.

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Until recently, a career as a pilot was not deemed as ‘graduate-level’ employment and indeed, many airlines do not insist on candidates possessing a degree-level qualification as part of their recruitment process. Nonetheless, there are few pilots employed who do not have a degree and it is a highly desirable element of ones CV. 

Historically, prospective pilots have been torn between the desire to do their pilot training and the rationalisation of the importance of undertaking a degree. Bucks New University, therefore, were the pioneers in this area; developing a course that enabled students to achieve both within a three year period. This was, and remains to be, no easy feat. Students work hard and sit many more exams than their non-pilot undergraduate colleagues. The end result, however, is one worth putting in the hours. 

Having recognised the success of the commercial pilot’s license with a degree, recent years have seen the market open up, with new providers emerging each year. This has put pressure on existing universities to offer the most competitive product that they can, whilst offering students a wider range of choice.

Finding a commercial pilot’s license with a degree course, however, is somewhat of a challenge and unlike tourism or aviation, there is no clear list ranking institutions in this area. Here is a list of the main courses (note- some courses focus more on engineering than management- check the course details on the university website for specific details): 

Best Universities In The UK To Get A Commercial Pilot’s License with A Degree

1- Bucks New University: Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training 

2- University of West London: Aviation Management with Commercial Pilot Licence

3- University of the West of England: Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies 

4- University of Central Lancashire- Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies

5- University of Hertfordshire: Aerospace Technology with Pilot Studies

6- Kingston University: Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training 

7- University of Leeds: Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies

8- University of Liverpool: Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies

9- Middlesex University: Professional Aviation Pilot Practice 

10- University of Salford: Aerospace Engineering (private pilot instruction) 

Have you studied a commercial pilot’s license with a degree? What were your experiences and which university would you recommend? Please leave your comments below! 

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