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  • Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training BSc (Hons)

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Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training BSc(Hons)

Why choose this course?

Boeing forecast that there will be an "unprecedented" demand for 790,000 pilots during the 20 years from 2018, representing double the current workforce and the most significant demand in their history. The demand is being driven by an anticipated doubling of the global commercial aircraft fleet, record-high air travel demand, and a tightening labour supply.

This degree is designed for those with an ambition to become commercial airline pilots and who want to achieve an aviation degree in the process. Experience has shown that airlines desire pilots who have a wide knowledge of the industry so that they can appreciate future challenges facing the industry. This degree programme provides the additional knowledge that will set students apart at the interview stage.

Throughout the course you will be taught by academics and instructors who have many years of experience of working in the aviation industry. Teaching staff are equipped with the skills required to deliver an engaging and effective learning environment. Alongside formal lectures and tutorials, the technical theory is supplemented by practical learning in well-resourced laboratories. To ensure that the course content is aligned to the latest industry trends, visiting lecturers and guest speakers from the industry are invited to deliver some of the teaching.

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time H464 Clearing 2019
4 years full time including sandwich year H465 Clearing 2019

Important: This course is not available to international students requiring a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK.

Please be aware that, in addition to university tuition fees, the cost of the second year, which involves the integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) training, is approximately £70,000.

Location Roehampton Vale and Penrhyn Road campuses and Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Integrated into this course is a 15-month training course leading to an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).
  • Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT) is partnered with the Florida Institute of Technology and you'll have the opportunity to conduct practical flight training in the USA.
  • This degree offers you additional knowledge of the airline industry that will set you apart at future interviews.

What you will study

As part of the course, you will embark on a 15-month integrated flight training course leading to a frozen Air Transport Pilots' Licence (ATPL). BCFT provide accommodation, transport and all the flying equipment required to achieve the ATPL. BCFT work in partnership with the Florida Institute of Technology in the USA and students on this pathway have the opportunity to conduct some practical flight training in Florida.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list as these could change before your year of entry.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1 introduces aviation and equips you with the maths and physics skills needed for Years 2 and 3. You are introduced to the theory of flight and the aircraft systems that enable aircraft to fly. You are also provided with the core communication skills required to become a pilot and a future leader.

Core modules

Mathematics and Physics for Practitioner Engineers

30 credits

This module covers all of the topics in the EASA part-66 Mathematics and Physics syllabuses and provides knowledge and understanding sufficient for you to take the associated EASA category B licence examinations that must be passed in order to become an aircraft maintenance engineer. It also extends the mathematics knowledge to a level sufficient to underpin key engineering principles and prepare students for the mathematics in the level 6 modules of the programme and further study. To become a design engineer you would need to complete some additional mathematics and science study at level 5.

Higher Education Study Skills and Personal Development

30 credits

This module is designed to help you transition from sixth-form and/or Further Education (FE) study to Higher Education (HE) study and to prepare you for the learning that lies ahead. The two learning environments, and what is expected of you in those two environments, are very different, and this needs to be clearly understood by you if you are to obtain the maximum benefit from your HE course of study.

The module will explore the differences between the two environments, explain the professional skills and personal attributes needed to successfully complete an HE programme and lay foundations for second and third year modules and life after completion of the programme; be that employment or further study. Basic research, report writing, referencing, use of IT, maintaining digital records, the fundamentals of working in teams, maintaining a study journal, understanding and using feedback, reflection and professional development will all be covered in scheduled learning sessions that will comprise a mixture of presentation, lecture, discussion, workshop and tutorial. You will be expected to devote time outside the schedule sessions to prepare for discussions and workshops, to maintain a study journal and to produce a portfolio of evidence. The journal and the portfolio will be used for both summative and formative assessment of the module and will provide a record and examples of work that can be used at personal tutor meetings.

The skills gained in this module will be further developed and extended in AE5004 Professional Practice for Aircraft Engineers which is delivered in the second year of the programme. 

Introduction to Aerospace Engineering

30 credits

The module introduces the student to basic aerodynamics, aircraft systems and propulsion using the Kingston Learjet aircraft to provide a frame of reference. Students on the Aerospace, Astronautics and Space Technology routes (Astro students) will be introduced to the essential differences between space engineering and its environment, and aircraft and aerospace engineering.

The module starts by introducing the International Standard Atmosphere and basic aerodynamic terms, followed by basic discussion of the theory of flight, stability and lift augmentation. The ATA systems covering general construction, layout and operation of aircraft systems and components will be covered.

The module then introduces typical Gas Turbine and associated system architecture before concluding with broad coverage of the Aerospace Industry, its Regulation, Licensing and Accreditation, while Astro students will be introduced to the space environment and history of spaceflight, illustrated with examples from UK, European and international space missions in place of certain aircraft specific (eg. ground handling) teaching.

Thermofluids and Mechanical Systems 1

30 credits

This module introduces the students to the fundamentals of thermofluids (thermodynamics and fluid mechanics) and solid mechanics (statics and dynamics). The thermofluids section of the module covers the key concepts of system, work, heat and the main thermodynamics laws (zeroth, first and second laws) with special reference to their engineering applications. This section also introduces the main equations of fluid mechanics and dynamics, dimensional analysis, properties of fluids and their measurement methodology and units. The solid mechanics section provides an understanding of the behaviour of particles and rigid bodies whilst stationary and in motion. Bodies under equilibrium are studied and the external and internal parameters such as force, moment, stress, strain etc. are defined, derived and used for problems solving. This section also introduces kinematics and kinetics/dynamics of particles and rigid bodies with their engineering applications. The module is primarily delivered through lectures supported by tutorials sessions and laboratories. Course materials will be available on Canvas.

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the fundamental properties of a fluid, use correct unit, property tables and charts. State and apply the zeroth, first and second laws of thermodynamics to engineering problems.
  • State the basic equations of fluid mechanics, explain the concepts of pressure, temperature and measurements methods.
  • Describe laminar and turbulent flows and apply continuity, momentum and energy equations to fluid flow.
  • Determine the external and internal forces and moments in simple structures under equilibrium and carry out one-dimensional stress analysis of engineering components in tension, compression and bending modes.
  • Carry out kinematics and kinetics analysis of dynamic systems with constant and variable accelerations.
  • Apply Newton's laws and energy method to engineering components in motion modelled as particles and rigid bodies.

In Year 2 you are taught the specialised topics required for pilot training. The content is aligned with the 14 theoretical knowledge subjects required to achieve an EASA ATPL(A) licence. You are encouraged to keep a reflective written log of your training. Please be aware that the cost of the second year is approximately £70,000 in addition to university fees.

Core modules

Professional Development for Commercial Airline Pilots

30 credits

This module is designed to support you in identifying the range of skills you have acquired over the course of your integrated pilot licence training and the first two years of your degree. The module is designed to prepare you for Level 6 study. In particular, it develops your ability to reflect on your learning, your critical thinking and communication skills.  It is delivered primarily through on-line individual tutor support.

Flight Operations and Meteorology

30 credits

This module is designed to cover the syllabus required to pass the flight training theoretical knowledge topics covering Principles of Flight, Aircraft Performance, Flight Planning and Monitoring, Meteorology and Communications. These topics are considered to be the core subjects for flight operations and the content is designed and approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency. The assessment is conducted by BCFT and replicates the format and structure of the Theoretical Knowledge assessment of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Aircraft Systems and Navigation

30 credits

This module is designed to cover the syllabus required to pass the EASA flight training theoretical topics covering Aircraft General Knowledge - Airframe, Systems and Powerplant, General Navigation and Human Performance. These topics are considered to be the core subjects for flight operations and the content is designed and approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency. The assessment is conducted by BCFT and replicates the format and structure of the Theoretical Knowledge assessment of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Instrumentation, Law and Operational Procedures

30 credits

This module is designed to cover the syllabus required to pass the EASA flight training theoretical topics covering Aircraft General Knowledge-Instrumentation, Mass and Balance, Radio Navigation, Air Law and Operational Procedures. These topics are considered to be the core subjects for flight operations and the content is designed and approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency. The assessment is conducted by BCFT and replicates the format and structure of the Theoretical Knowledge assessment of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

In Year 3, the focus is on understanding the operational and commercial nature of the airline industry. You are given the opportunity to research a topic of your choice to enhance your independent learning skills. You will also carry out a group project on airline management.

Core modules

Aerospace Technology

30 credits

This module is designed for students from a range of aerospace related programmes.  It provides an understanding of how the principles of aerodynamics, propulsion, structures and materials science all determine the configuration and performance of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Individual Project - Aviation Studies

30 credits

The overarching aim of this individual project module is to provide you with the opportunity to impress.  Working on a topic of your own choosing, with minimal guidance from your supervisor, you should apply approximately 300 hours of individual effort into the analysis of the problem and determination of the best solution or course of action.  That analysis can take a variety of forms ranging from an in-depth comparison of a number of already documented potential solutions to the collection and comparison of experimental and theoretical data.  The topic investigated should ideally be of an aircraft operational or engineering nature, though other other topics may be permitted with the agreement of the module leader.

By completing a capstone project of this nature, you are able to demonstrate that you can draw together the information from all the other  teaching and learning on the course and, through innovation and analysis, demonstrate that you truly are independent learners.

Air Transport Economics

30 credits

Throughout the course of your studies, you will have so far studied material that has been focused on a specific role or roles within the air transport industry whether it be aircraft design, maintenance, operations or repair and overhaul.  The aim of this module is to take a step back and explore how employers within the various sectors of the air transport industry combine all these functions in order to make a profit. 

In addition to looking in detail at the overall profit and loss equation:

Traffic x Yield - Output x Cost = Profit or Loss

The module also compares the operation of the air transport market with that in other sectors and, in more general terms, looks at what makes the industry tick. The standard method of recording and reporting financial performance is also considered. 

On successful completion of this module, you will not only understand how your future role will contribute to your employer's success but, should you decide to move away from the air transport sector, you will have a firm grounding in the general economic principles by which all industries operate.

Airline Operations and Scheduling

30 credits

It is only when an aircraft is flying en route carrying passengers or cargo that it will be earning money for its operator.  Ideally, that aircraft should spend as much time as possible in the air carrying a full load of passengers, all of whom have paid the highest possible fare.  In this module, you will examine all the factors that go together in the creation of an airline operational schedule.  You will explore how the route is selected and the appropriate fares determined.  You will examine all the requirements for getting that aircraft airborne from aircrew, operations and maintenance perspectives.  You will also look at what happens when it all goes wrong (through eg. inclement weather) and how the airline can recover from such disruption in the shortest possible time.

In order to make the teaching in this module as relevant as possible, the majority of the formal lectures will be delivered by a team of external lecturers, all of whom are active consultants working in industry.

All of the assessment will be derived from a group exercise in which you will have to derive a realistic schedule for yourselves; this will, however, contain some individual elements.  As you are unlikely, hitherto, to have received any formal group working or project management training, this will be provided as part of the module.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

If you want to join us in 2019 through Clearing, please call us on 0800 0483 334 (or +44 020 8328 1149 if you are calling from outside the UK) and speak to our friendly and knowledgeable hotliners who will be able to provide information on available courses and will guide you through your options.

Please note the tariff information below is for 2020 entry only.

Typical offer

  • 96 UCAS points from three A Levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications
  • BTEC Extended Diploma in an Engineering, Science or Technology subject with grades MMM.

Candidates are normally required to hold five GCSE subjects grades A*-C including Mathematics and English Language (or comparable numeric score under the newly reformed GCSE grading).

Additional requirements

Entry on to this course does not require an interview, entrance test, audition or portfolio.

Alternative routes

We will consider a range of alternative Level 3 qualifications such as an Access Course in a relevant Engineering, Science or Technology subject which has been passed with 96 UCAS points.

Applications from those that have undertaken an Engineering foundation year will also be considered.


We welcome applications from international Applicants. This course is not available to international students requiring a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK. View our standard entry requirements from your country.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0, with no element below 5.5.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 2
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 3
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study

How you will be assessed

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Coursework
  • Practical
  • Exams
Year 2
  • Practical
  • Exams
Year 3
  • Coursework
  • Practical
  • Exams

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 35 students and lecture sizes are normally 35-50.  However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught at Kingston University's Roehampton Vale and Penrhyn Road campuses in Years 1 and 3, and at Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT) for Year 2.

Course fees and funding

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU) or 'Islands' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250* plus the additional cost in the second year, which involves the integrated ATPL training and is approximately £70,000 (subject to any increases imposed by Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT))
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

 * These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). 

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest-rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials, security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.


In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.


Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

Pilot licence

Please be aware that, in addition to university tuition fees, the cost of the second year, which involves the integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) training, is approximately £70,000.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

EU students starting a programme in the 2019/20 academic year will be charged the same fees as those who began in 2018/19 (subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the Kingston University fees schedule).

They will also be able to access the same financial support for the duration of their course as students who began in 2018/19, even if their degree concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

No assurances have yet been made regarding 2020/21 and beyond. Updates will be published here as soon as they become available.


Based at Bournemouth International Airport (Hurn), Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT) is one of the longest established airline pilot training organisations on the south coast. Fully approved to deliver the theory and practical training required for the issue of the Frozen Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL), BCFT is one of the very few 'one-stop' pilot training organisations in the UK.

To ensure standardisation of equipment, availability for training and reliability, BCFT owns all its aircraft and there is an onsite maintenance centre. Rather than operating a generic simulator, BCFT have chosen a type specific FNPTII which allows for the full integration between simulator and aircraft.

After you graduate

Careers and progression

There is currently a great demand for ATPL qualified pilots. Employment opportunities are excellent for those who achieve the necessary licence. Graduates with an ATPL licence will also be well prepared for management roles within the industry.

According to Keith Cooper, vice president of Training & Professional Services for Boeing Global Services: "Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labour supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near term. An emphasis on developing the next generation of pilots is key to help mitigate this."

Our graduates have gained employment with airlines such as Ryanair, Flybe, EasyJet, Emirates and Cathay Pacific. Many have also moved into flight training as flying instructors.

Careers and recruitment advice

The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing has a specialist employability team. It provides friendly and high-quality careers and recruitment guidance, including advice and sessions on job-seeking skills such as CV preparation, application forms and interview techniques. Specific advice is also available for international students about the UK job market and employers' expectations and requirements.

The team runs employer events throughout the year, including job fairs, key speakers from industry and interviews on campus. These events give you the opportunity to hear from, and network with, employers in an informal setting.

Employability preparation at Kingston University

In addition to building expertise in your own discipline, our courses will also help you to develop key transferable skills that you'll need for professional life or further study once you graduate. 

As well as a range of careers and employability activities at Kingston, we also offer you the chance to apply and develop your skills in live contexts as an integral part of your course. Opportunities include:

  • placements;
  • working or studying abroad;
  • volunteering;
  • peer mentoring roles; and
  • internship opportunities within and outside the University.

In your final year, you'll get the opportunity to complete a major 'capstone' project where you can apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired to a range of real issues in different contexts. This is a great way to learn and is a valuable bridge to employment or further research at masters level.

Courses available after you graduate

If you decide that you would like to go on to postgraduate study after your undergraduate course, we offer a 10 per cent discount on our postgraduate course tuition fees to our alumni.

What our students say

The Kingston University aviation studies course has been essential for me in securing a position with Ryanair. The aviation industry is by nature very competitive and unstable, so putting all the odds on your side is fundamental in improving your chances of success. By the end of the course you will not only have an in-depth knowledge of pilot theory, but also of the aviation industry as a whole.

The course is designed for aspiring commercial airline pilots to gain a frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence and BSc degree. During the first two years at Bournemouth Airport, I completed my PPL and ATPL ground school. As the ground school covers much more detail than the norm over a longer period of time, you acquire a greater understanding of all the subjects. This helps in securing very good ATPL results, which in turn helped me impress the Ryanair interview panel. During the third year at Kingston University, you cover all the modules of the aeronautical engineering course, as well as an additional airline operations and scheduling module. Numerous progress tests and individual/group reports and presentations along the way help develop good communication skills, confidence, and teamwork. These above average skills will definitely make you stand out from the crowd.

Throughout the course, instructors and lecturers are always available, helpful, professional and very knowledgeable. The atmosphere is friendly and I made some very close friends. The flexible nature of the course means that you can adapt your training to suit your needs. As choosing where to carry out your next stage of training can be difficult, I found that the three years gives you enough time to weigh up all your options."

Alexander Marca, Aviation Studies for Commercial Pilot Training Foundation Degree FdEng and BSc(Hons) top-up

The decision to pursue a career in civil aviation is one that cannot be taken lightly. Commercial pilot training is expensive, complex and daunting. The Kingston University aviation studies course equipped me with the knowledge and flexibility I needed to secure a job as a first officer with the Europe's largest independent regional airline.

The course is designed for students who want to study for a bachelor of science degree in parallel with professional flight training. Basic flight training and ATPL theory are conducted alongside a standalone 'degree' qualification in Bournemouth. Knowledgeable instructors and modern teaching techniques ensure a solid training foundation for students. The extended teaching period and development of communication skills through technical reports, group projects and presentations instilled a greater depth of understanding which I firmly believe helped me secure my first airline job!

The third-year modules are tailored to give students wider exposure to the aviation industry; I particularly enjoyed Airline Operations and Scheduling module where we were tasked with creating a fictitious airline and presenting our business model to a panel of industry experts.

For me, the course struck the right balance between university education and pilot training. I have made lifelong friends and have had experiences I will always cherish. It also served its purpose perfectly and I look forward to starting my new career as an airline pilot!

David Knight, Aviation Studies for Commercial Pilot Training Foundation Degree FdEng and BSc(Hons) top-up

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

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