Degree Programme

Degree Programme

In partnership with the University of the West of England, UWE Bristol

Key Features

  • Combined UWE degree and PPL & ATPL programme (ATPL in 2022 – subject to approval)
  • Outstanding value ATPL training
  • Employment focuseed
  • 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 programme for you.


The purpose of the UWE and Wings Alliance degree programme is to enable you to obtain an aviation related degree while simultaneously training as a commercial pilot. Like all Wings Alliance programmes, the ultimate aim of this is to help you gain employment as an airline pilot in a cost-effective way. The flight training programme is scheduled to run at the same pace as your degree, with three months of full-time pre-employment training after graduation.

In 2022 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 will provide the private pilot studies (PPL) and ATPL (Airline Pilot Transport Licence) studies elements of these degrees. 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.

Like all Wings Alliance programmes, entry is subject attending a Wings Alliance Assessment and achieving an assessment of 3 or above. We want to make sure that this is the right programme for you; we don’t want you to commit to significant financial risk before you find that out. . For more details about the assessment process, have a look at our separate guide.

You can either go through pre-assessment for the Wings Alliance programme, or complete 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 part-time at Wings Alliance member school, Clifton Aviation, who are based at Gloucester Airport. This will allow you 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 £8500 is advised. If you already have some flight time, you make 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

ATPL theory

When you have your PPL, you will be enrolled with Wings Alliance member, Bristol Groundschool, who are also local to the UWE campus. Your ATPL theory training and examinations will be spread over two years. For the 2021 intake, this training will also count towards your degree. The fourteen subjects are tackled in three ‘modules’. Each module consists of a body of work 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 pattern is to complete a phase of individual learning, and then undertake a one-week full-time period of classroom learning, 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 157 hours flight time, and just short of 100 hours Pilot in Command (PIC). Therefore, after your PPL you’ll need to log about 107 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 the UWE/Wings Alliance programme 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 £11 000 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. Typically, we’ll arrange you to do a full-time course after university graduation with Diamond Flight Academy, based in Sweden or Smart Aviation, in Poland, to do a combined CPL/MEIR course. The courses last for 9 weeks in Sweden or 13 weeks in Poland. Both organisations are Wings Alliance members.

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 help you find employment as a commercial pilot. Conducted in the UK near to UWE, this course currently costs £6950. Whereas there may be choices of who to train with for the previous stages, this is a mandatory course. The reason for that is it is our last and only chance to assure the quality of our training output, and that quality assurance is an essential ingredient in the integrity of the promise we offer to employers: our graduates are of the highest quality and, not only are they great pilots but excellent employees too.

Throughout your flight training and degree studies, your pilot training progress and performance are monitored by Wings Alliance. The mentoring service continues beyond graduation until your training is complete and you have found employment as a commercial pilot. This programme is not just about obtaining a degree from a great university. It is not just about obtaining a commercial pilot’s licence and recommendation from one of the most respected aviation training organisations in Europe. It is about finding employment.


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


Some of the costs are met by UWE; you will be responsible for the remainder. We will help you prepare a detailed personal budget with will include all your costs and a recommended contingency allowance.

What Next?

If you would like to apply for the degree progamme 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 raining 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. The only mandatory practical flight training course is the Wings Alliance APS-MCC course.

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, and when all are completed you must have your licence issued within a further 3 years.

If I do not pass assessment, what happens then?

You will have two choices. You may continue with the flight training course and pilot studies degree, with the knowledge that we have advised you that you may find it difficult to graduate to the required standard and/or find employment as a commercial pilot on graduation. You may follow the same training programme and receive the same service, but unless you prove us wrong and graduate from the degree and pilot training elements to the standard required for us to recommend you to employers, we will not be able to provide you with the job-finding service at the end. That will be the only difference. Alternatively, you can continue with your degree without the pilot studies element; it will otherwise be exactly the same degree.

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

Your flight training progress and performance is monitored constantly by Wings Alliance and we will check-in with you every 2 weeks. 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, our Training Advisor will sit down with you and devise an individual training plan which will accommodate your year away from UWE.

How much is Wings Alliance membership?

You need to be a student member of Wings Alliance while training on our flight training programmes. Membership covers things like the general overheads, the cost of training advice and mentoring . There is a joining fee of £375 then monthly membership of £38.50/month, payable annually in April (pro rata for part years).

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 part of the individual planning process, immediately after your successful assessment, is to help you produce an accurate budget. An example is shown here.

Apply to UWE

Go to the flight training page