Universities for Aviation Studies in the UK

Other · 7 min read · Jul 21, 2022
universities for aviation

The aviation industry is constantly growing and with the expansion comes the demand of well-trained professionals. To meet the needs of the industry, a wide range of aviation degrees and courses are offered at multiple universities and colleges. Over the last 10 years, Aviation Technology, Management, Aircraft and Aerospace Engineering, and Pilot Studies have become more and more popular.

The following is a list of 10 universities for aviation studies in the UK that offer interesting and unique degree programs. Keep in mind, that the prices and entry requirements mentioned in this article apply to UK students. International students might have to do additional research into the pricing, scholarships and entry requirements.

1.  Imperial College London

Imperial College London is a very popular and highly prestigious institute with a number of global ratings and the highest standards of integrity and technical excellence. In the UK’s leading department of Aeronautics, you can choose Aeronautical Engineering degrees offered at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate levels with several specifications such as a year in the aviation or the space industry.

The department’s core capabilities include the design of aerospace vehicles, real-time aerospace information sciences, as well as aerodynamics, fluid, and solid mechanics, advanced computation methods, and much more to support decision-making, human-system collaboration, and the design, implementation, and operation of complex aerospace systems.

The price of programs at ICL Department of Aeronautics starts at about £9,250 per year.

University students at a graduation ceremony sitting and listening to a speech.

2. University of West London

University of West London is known as a “career university” due to the amazing graduate placement rate. They also sport an extensive team of experienced industry experts, especially in their BSc in Air Transport Management.

BSc in Air Transport Management introduces students to aspects of aviation like theory of flight, passenger and goods transportation, passenger processing process, ATC systems and flight safety. On top of already providing a wide scope of subjects, the students also participate in field trips and analyze case studies. This BSc program is 3 or 4 years long, depending on whether the student opts for a placement. The cost starts at £9,250 per year.

Graduates of the Air Transport Management program have the chance to begin a postgraduate program in aviation management subject areas or immediately start a career in airline, airport, or air cargo management.

3. Brunel University London

Brunel University London is probably one of the most ambitious and progressive universities currently available in the UK. The university focuses heavily on practical work, hence the programs they offer all come with a one year placement before graduation. BUL mainly focuses on AI, Business, and Engineering courses, and they have an extensive list of aviation and aeronautics programs in their Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.

If you are looking for a comprehensive course in aviation, BUL offers BEng and MEng in Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies. This program offers technical subjects in aeronautical engineering as well as basic flying training. While there is an option to choose the program without pilot training, it is definitely worth getting the basic flying training as students can then go on to acquire a private pilot’s licence.

4. University of Salford

The University of Salford places great pride in having a long history of working closely with industry experts in engineering, nursing and sports medicine. On top of that, UOS was also one of the first universities in the UK to offer a ‘sandwich’ degree model. That means, students by default get a one-year-long placement before graduation.

Just like Brunel University London, UOS offers a BEng and MEng in Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies. Throughout these programs, students get an in-depth understanding of avionics systems, flight management, and instruments as well as principles of aircraft engineering.

Also note that while this program comes with pilot training, it is not mandatory. However, pilot training and a private pilot licence are highly suggested for an aviation student as such training provides a broader understanding of aircraft design and functionality.

The price of aviation and aeronautics courses in UOS starts at a standard rate of £9,250 per year. After completing either the BEng or MEng in Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies, they can further their education with an MEng in Aerospace Engineering.

A university graduation cap laying on a shelf.

5. University of Leeds

University of Leeds offers students a BEng program in Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies and Management. This aviation study program is probably the most comprehensive you can find in the universities in the UK. The program equips students not only with technical knowledge of aviation engineering and engineering materials but also with the economical and managerial aspects of aviation management.

Moreover, students of this program have the opportunity to do flight training in state-of-the-art flight simulators, test aircraft performance in engine laboratories, and undertake industrial work projects to prepare for their professional careers ahead. To build the network even further, students are encouraged to join the The Leeds University Union Aviation Society.

Upon successful completion the BEng, students have ample career opportunities as well as possibilities to go on to complete commercial pilot training. Alumni of this program have gone on to get jobs as professional pilots in British Airways and Royal Air Force as well as aircraft engineers and ATC.

6. University of South Wales

University of South Wales offers several BEng and MEng courses in aeronautical engineering, aircraft engineering and maintenance as well as aviation engineering and management. All their aviation courses have been constructed and reviewed in tandem with the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, so students can be sure that the knowledge they get is truly state-of-the-art and relevant for the industry.

Students of BEng aviation programs at USW are introduced to complex aircraft engineering problems, propulsion systems, aircraft design, flight controls and many other relevant subjects. Those continuing to MSc will have a chance to participate in non-destructive testing, safety management systems and human factors in risk management.

Like many other universities in the UK, USW also offers practical placements before graduation and other employability services. One more perk of USW is that their BEng programs for UK students start at a slightly lower price than others mentioned above: £9000.

7. Kingston University

Kingston University in London offers both BEng and MEng in Aerospace Engineering. Both of these programs have a forward-thinking curriculum and state-of-the-art facilities for aviation students to use. KU is a perfect place for students to combine practical and theoretical aspects of aerospace design with a very on-hands approach to learning through various group design projects and work placement.

While the courses students take are quite traditional, a unique twist of the Aerospace Engineering programs at KU is that they try to involve well-established companies in course delivery, projects, and placements. Some of the companies include KLM, Airbus, GE and Lockheed, so the students can rest assured they will get up-to-date industry knowledge. What’s more, postgraduate students are also welcome to assist in lab projects and even teach seminars under the supervision of a module leader.

The pricing for the programs for UK students at this university start at a standard rate of £9,250 per year.

8. University of Highlands and Islands

UHI is a great university for aviation as it has an Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Management BSc for those who are looking to obtain a Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence. This program is the only one of its kind in Scotland and it meets all requirements of EASA and UKCAA. Students of this program have access to innovative hangar spaces and other aviation facilities as well as close contact with many aviation companies in Scotland and the UK.

On top of studying all traditional aircraft engineering subjects, students also have the possibility to opt for a professional training package in year three of their studies. While it comes at an additional cost of £2,500, it provides easy access to a category B license. Keep in mind, this professional training package is not required to complete the degree.

The fees of this program do not differ much from those in other universities, they start at £9,250, but UHI offers the 4th year of the BSc for free to those who are on continuous study.

A university for aviation graduate wearing a graduation cap and a robe, showing off her university diploma.

9. University of Surrey

At the University of Surrey you have a great opportunity to further your education by taking up their MSc in Air Transport Management. This program offers a unique view into operation and organization of airlines and airports. Also, this UOS program has a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to work with software used by airlines and airports such as OAG, MIDT (Sabre) and Cirium (Flightglobal).

While this program might not be very practice-oriented as compared to aviation engineering degrees, the students are still going to be learning from visiting speakers from EasyJet, American Airlines, and even the European Commission. The students are also expected to prepare an airline consultancy project before their dissertation to complete the full degree.

As this is a Master’s degree program, the students are expected to hold a honors degree in a related field or have an Air Transport Pilot Licence or an Air Traffic Controller License with at least 3 years of experience. The price of this program stands at £10,900 a year.

10. Buckinghamshire New University

Last but not least is BNU, which also has a unique program within the field of aviation despite not being a solely dedicated aviation university. Their BSc Air Transport With Commercial Pilot Training is a distinctive course for those aspiring to be a commercial pilot. This program is one of very few that can provide students a Frozen ATPL and a university degree at the same time.

Throughout the program, students can expect subjects like aviation law, meteorology and instruments as well as more general topics like global aviation. As previously mentioned, this program comes with pilot training, so candidates might be expected to pass commercial pilot ground exams and flight training, too.

In addition, BNU is one of very few universities in the UK to sport their own flight simulators, which give students a hassle-free access to vital experience. Finally, BNU partners together with London Heathrow Airport, which ensures that all your knowledge and opportunities comes from a functioning airport.

Just like the other programs, BNU’s Bachelor is priced at £9,250. However, students should be mindful that there might be extra fees during year 1 based on the flight training and private pilot’s licence training of the student’s choice.

Final thoughts on universities for aviation studies

So, here are 10 universities with great aviation courses for aspiring aviators to start or further their career. While these institutions are not full-time aviation universities, the opportunities in the field they bring after graduation are truly endless.

Yet, you have to take into account that most of these programs have quite high entry requirements including grades from exams like Math, Physics and English. Besides, as we have already mentioned, the information in this article is geared towards UK citizens, so international students should do further research into tuition, requirements, and possible flying scholarships.

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Jet pilot @NASA


  1. opiyo pamela says:

    I love aviation with passion

  2. Kevin Gachara Githinji says:

    A very informative article. I’m looking to join an aviation institution in the UK and this information will be helpful. Thank you very much.

    – Kevin, from Kenya

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