Degree Programme

Degree Programme

UWE BristolCombine your commercial pilot training with a degree delivered by the University of the West of England, UWE Bristol

Key Features

  • Combined UWE degree and PPL & ATPL programme (ATPL in 2023 – subject to approval)
  • Outstanding value ATPL training
  • Employment focussed
  • Flexible training options

Who is it for?

If you are looking to combine a full-time high-quality aviation-related degree with outstanding value commercial pilot training, leading to employment, this is the route for you.


The purpose of the UWE degree programme and modular flight training, is to enable you to obtain an aviation related degree while simultaneously training as a commercial pilot. The flight training is scheduled to run alongside your degree, with three months of full-time pre-employment training after graduation.

In 2023 UWE will offer the following aviation degrees:

• BEng Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies

• MEng Aerospace Engineering with Pilot studies

And in addition, these aviation degrees (subject to university approval):

• BSc Aviation with ATPL studies

• BSc Aviation

• MSc Aviation Management

The Wings Alliance team will discuss with individuals the options available for the flying element of this degree. Some of the commercial pilot training will count towards the degree.

Getting started

Enrolment with UWE is just the same as for any other degree programme.

We recommend you attend a Wings Alliance Assessment Course to gain an insight into the type of skills airlines are looking for at interview, identifying your strengths and the areas you may need to further develop during your training.  By attending this course, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether this is the right career choice for you – before you have spent time and money on training.

You can either go through the Assessment course before you start your degree, or complete the Assessment after you have started your university course.

How the commercial pilot training is integrated into the degree programme

1st year – Private Pilot Licence (PPL) theory and practical training


The PPL theory training counts towards your degree and is planned for the first year. The practical training is undertaken at Clifton Aviation, who are based at Gloucester Airport. You will be able to book flying lessons directly with Clifton Aviation to fit in with your own timetable. The cost of the theory training and examinations is covered by UWE. The flight training is an additional expense; a budget of about £10,000 is advised. If you already have some flight time, you may be able to count some of this towards the total needed for your PPL. If you already have a PPL, you may skip this stage, although you will not be able to count the theory element towards your degree.

2nd and 3rd Year – Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) theory and hour building

PPL and ATPL Theory

ATPL theory

When you have your PPL, you will be enrolled with our Wings Alliance training partner, Bristol Groundschool, who are also local to the UWE campus. Your ATPL theory training and examinations will be spread over two years. This training will also count towards your degree. The fourteen subjects are divided into three ‘modules’. The work is delivered in a computer-based training (CBT) course completed at your own pace, while carrying on with your flight training and other degree work. The plan is to complete a phase of individual learning, and then undertake a one-week full-time period of classroom learning, known as a ‘revision week’, either online or in-person at Bristol Groundschool, followed by the exams. Depending on your rate of progress, you may complete one or two of these modules in year two, and the remainder in your third year at university.

Hour building

By the time you complete your degree you’ll need 150 hours flight time, and just short of 100 hours Pilot in Command (PIC). Therefore, after your PPL you’ll need to log about 100 hours including 90 hours PIC. You will also need to include:

  • a night rating;
  • an advanced ‘upset prevention and recovery training’ (UPRT) course; and
  • a ‘qualifying cross country’, which is a three-sector flight of at least 300 nautical miles, involving two intermediate stops.

While quite legally, you can hire a cheap aircraft and go off and have fun, doing that may cost you in the long run, as you are quite likely to inadvertently develop bad habits that might cause you difficulties later, and you’ll also have missed the opportunity to develop your skills. Therefore, on this route you will conduct this training under the supervision of Clifton Aviation who will periodically check your flying skills and help you plan gradually more stretching flights, exposing you to more demanding and adventurous flying. Your ‘hour building’ will be done concurrently with your theory training, with you booking-in for flying in the same manner as on the PPL phase. As with the PPL, the flight training is an additional expense; a budget of about £18,000 per year is advised.

On graduation – full-time airline pilot training

Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) and Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (MEIR) course


When you have the minimum flight hours and ATPL theory exam passes, you may progress onto the final two stages of the programme. We will help you to arrange a full-time course after university graduation to complete your combined CPL/MEIR course. This course typically last from between 9-14 weeks full-time.

Airline Pilot Standards Multi-Crew Cooperation (APS-MCC) Course


The APS-MCC course takes around 3 weeks and is the final element of your training before we support you in finding employment as a commercial pilot. We recommend VA Airline Training in Cambridge, UK, this course currently costs £6,400. If you choose the course with VA and book this through the Wings Alliance, as part of the training package, we will also include the Wings Alliance Airline Preparation Day which you would attend after you complete your APS MCC. For further information click here.

Throughout your flight training, the Wings Alliance will be available to offer support and guidance to you and answer any questions you may have.


The exact breakdown of the training hours may vary a little. However, in a typical course you will log:

Modular training


Some of the costs are met by UWE; you will be responsible for the remainder.

What Next?

If you would like to apply for the degree route or for more information click here to be taken to UWE’s website.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to do my flight training with Clifton Aviation and Diamond Flight Academy?

For your PPL theory to be counted towards your degree, you must do that training as offered by UWE. However, the practical flight training could be conducted elsewhere, or previous training could be counted towards the requirements. If you have good reasons for wishing to do your flight training elsewhere, we can discuss these on an individual basis.

If I cannot afford the flight training, can I defer it?

Yes, that is possible. The only constraint is that the theory examinations have a validity period of 18 months from the date of your first examination until the last exam, and when all your exams are completed you must have your licence issued within a further 3 years.

If I find I cannot fit all the flying in, what happens?

If it becomes apparent that you are having trouble, we are there to help. Options may include planning to catch-up with flying in university holiday time, or even after graduation. Your priority while at university is your degree programme and we would not want you to compromise that or your flight training performance by taking on more than you can cope with.

I’m just doing a Master’s degree; how does this fit in with me?

If you have no previous flying experience, it is probably not feasible fitting in all the flight training as well as doing your Master’s in one year. If you have already started flying, it may be feasible to do at least some of the training with your degree. Subject to the time you can devote to flight training, we will recommend that you complete as much of the flight training as you can during your year with UWE. After you complete your degree at UWE you can aim to complete the training. We will work out an individual training plan for you, based around your circumstances and wishes.

I’m planning on an industry placement year; how does this fit in with me?

This will not be difficult to accommodate but will require some planning. During your year in industry you may either continue your flight and theory training or suspend it. Once you are through assessment, you can chat with our Training Advisor who will support you in devising a training plan to accommodate your year away from UWE.

How much is Wings Alliance membership?

The Wings Alliance membership is free, to register click here.

I’d like to budget accurately; is it possible to be more precise?

Yes, it is. There are several variables (e.g. any previous flight training, currency exchange risk, and future price rises), so this will not be a fixed-price programme, but our training advisors can help you with this.

Apply to UWE

Talk with one of our training advisors (Mon-Fri, 08:30-16:30)  – +44 (0)1275 345 914

Schedule a chat with an advisor

Email us with any questions –[email protected]