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BSc (Hons) Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training

TARIFF: 96 - 120
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2021
As one of the few degree programmes that allows you to gain a Frozen ATPL as well as a university degree, our BSc (Hons) Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training can help you achieve your dream of becoming a commercial pilot.
With over 20 years’ experience, we have a strong track-record of helping students become confident commercial pilots, with many of our alumni now flying for some of the best airlines across the world.


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95% of our graduates in work or study after 15 months of graduation, HESA 2021
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Combined with location, reputation, student offering and the ‘big family feel’: BNU was my first choice. BNU Aviation has a 20-year track record of producing well qualified industry professionals, who are working and flying for the best airlines, globally.
Darren Palmer Airbus A350 Senior First Officer for Cathay Pacific Airways
A head shot of Darren Palmer, smiling at the camera in front of an airplane wing
This course will give me an advantage in securing a position as a commercial pilot. In a constantly changing industry, awareness of the industry is key and the course gives us that knowledge.
Edgar Woodhead
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Open Days

We understand that when it comes to deciding where you’d like to study, there are a lot of things to consider. Come along to our Open Day and discover why BNU could be the place for you. You can find out more about your course, meet the course team, and get all your questions answered.

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Application Guide

For everything you need to know about applying, check out our Application Guide. You can find useful information for each stage of your application journey – from before you even apply to what to do if you receive an offer, and everything in between.   

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Students' Union

At BNU, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why we’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities through our SU – all to enrich your university experience. 


Why study this subject?

The aviation industry is globally important and a career in aviation promises unique opportunities.

Boeing predicts that Europe will need another 147,000 commercial pilots by 2039 (Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook 2020).

Air Transport student

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

With our BSc (Hons) in Air Transport with Commercial Pilot, we can help you achieve a degree and a ‘frozen’ Commercial Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), in just three years.

You can get all the benefits of a university degree while training for your Commercial Pilot’s Licence with Instrument Rating. After you graduate, and have completed all remaining elements of your ATPL, you’ll be able to apply for your first role.

An ATPL is the qualification that will allow you to act as the Pilot in Command (PIC), or captain, of a large transport aircraft. The licence is referred to as ‘frozen’ until all the flight experience requirements have been met.

We have a strong focus on employability, and our training partners and professional connections give you the chance to immerse yourself in the industry.

You’ll usually be flying in Cessna, Piper or Diamond aircraft within the first few weeks of your studies. You’ll also get the chance to meet current first officers and captains, from airlines like British Airways and EasyJet, and learn from their experiences. You’ll also benefit from the experience of our specialist staff.

We’re located close to Heathrow and other major UK airports which - along with their suppliers - offer our students seasonal jobs and work placements.


Bucks aviation students enjoy free membership of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the UK professional association dedicated to the aerospace and aviation industry. As a member, you will be able to participate in a number of exciting industry events, including conferences, guest talks, student competitions, and networking opportunities.

You can also join the highly active Students’ Union Aviation Society. You’ll get to meet even more people who are passionate about the industry and guest speakers. The Society organises trips to places of interest, events and conferences to help you stand out when you graduate.

If you are interested in the military world, UK students will be eligible to apply for a place in our regional University Air Squadron, part of the Royal Air Force, and offering unique access to military flying and adventurous training.

Did you know you could also benefit from free Air League memberships that enables you to apply for flying, gliding engineering and commercial, aviation scholarships reducing the amount of their PPl cost or ATPL costs!

Some of our aviation students have produced an aviation-specific blog. Why not check it out! (Please note that the views expressed within this blog are the views and opinions of our aviation students and not those of the University.) Or why not read our blogs or watch vlogs by our student bloggers.

BNU has been running its aviation courses for over 20 years now, so they definitely have strong connections within the industry and know exactly how to tailor the course to suit what aviation organisations are looking for in their employees.
Fareeha Ahmed
Fareeha Ahmed
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What facilities can I use?

We’re one of the very few UK universities to have an FNPT II Flight Simulator. As a student pilot you’ll have exclusive access and will be able to gain vital experience, without leaving the ground.

Alongside this, our other specialised simulation facilities allow you to experience real-life airport scenarios, developing your abilities in airfield planning and operations, and crisis and emergency management.

What will I study?

By studying this degree, you’ll graduate with more than just an aviation degree – you’ll have what you need to succeed in this dynamic sector.

Throughout this programme you’ll study key modules in aviation law, meteorology and instruments alongside broader subjects such as global aviation and airport operations. You’ll take basic theoretical pilot training, while a range of practical and advanced theoretical training modules will be available through our Approved Training Organisation (ATOs).

We look at trends in the industry to make sure your knowledge is up-to-date and regularly update our courses to reflect the most recent changes within the air transport industry and globally.

Read Fareeha’s blog, an Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training graduate, explaining the course breakdown.

How will I be taught and assessed?

Buckinghamshire New University has over 20 years’ experience in running this course and you will be taught by professional commercial pilots with many years’ worth of experience.

You will also benefit from the team’s connections and valuable networking opportunities. Industry-leading professionals often deliver talks and presentations, providing valuable insight into the profession.

Lecturers go above and beyond in providing students with various learning materials for beyond the syllabus. They offer plenty of advice which is so important to becoming the best candidates for interviews and jobs for life beyond BNU.
Rebecca Norman
Rebecca Norman

Placements Plus

BNU is a Placements Plus university. So, whatever degree you do, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of industry-relevant opportunities on offer, to help you get into your chosen field.

We’ll also prepare you for work beforehand, with special skills for work training, further boosting your CV, and building skills employers will value. In recognition of the value we place on these skills we have incorporated this experience into your study time.

Placements Plus is all about helping you get some valuable experience under your belt while you’re a student, to increase your choices later, and help you get the graduate-level job you want.


Useful Documents

BSc (Hons) Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 96 - 120

You also need at least two A-levels and a GCSE Maths and English at grade C/4. Additionally some knowledge of science subjects would be an advantage.

Mature students with non-standard qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

All students will require at a minimum a Class II Medical in order to undertake their PPL solo, those students wishing to undertake Commercial training will need to gain a Class I Medical prior to enrolling with their selected Approved Training Organisation (ATO).  Further information on the requirements of Class I and II Medicals, including approved AME's, can be found on the CAA website.

Every application is considered on an individual basis.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Year 1 Modules

Professional Skills and Development

Air Transport - Security and Safety

Airline Management

Airport Operations

Management, Leadership and Change

Private Pilot Licence (PPL) Practical Training

Private Pilot Licence (PPL) Theory

Structure of the Air Transport Industry

Airline Crisis and Continuity Management

Year 2 Modules

Air Law

Aircraft General Knowledge

Aircraft Performance and Planning 

Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) (optional)


General Navigation

Human Performance and Limitations



Operational Procedures

Principles of Flight: Aeroplanes

Radio Navigation

Year 3 Modules

Instrument Rating (IR) (optional)

Multi-Crew Co-operation (optional)

Aviation Finance and Economics

Aviation in the Global Context

Business and Enterprise (optional)

Human Factors as a Fundamental Concept in Aviation Safety

Research Project (optional)

Strategic Management

Sustainability Management

How much does it cost

Home and EU

Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022

£9,250 per year


International, Academic Year 2021-2022

£13,750 per year

This course has additional costs. Please visit an open day or get in touch for more information

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:

0330 123 2023

What are my career prospects? 

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders. We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.

On successful completion of this programme, you could end up working for one of the big airlines and fly across the world. Boeing forecasts that between 2016 and 2035, Europe's commercial aviation industry will require approximately 104,000 new commercial airline pilots*, so your skills will be in demand. (*Boeing Forecasts)

When you have finished this course, and completed all the flight-training modules, you’ll be the proud owner of a Commercial Pilot Licence with instrument rating and a frozen ATPL. This will enable you to apply for First Officer positions with airlines.

When you have completed all remaining elements of your ATPL, you’ll be able to apply for your first role. You could start your type rating by November of your graduation year depending on the airline and be flying commercially by February.

Your ATPL will remain frozen until you’ve accumulated 1,500 hours when you’ll then be able to apply for promotion to Senior First Officer.

Our graduates have gone on to become First Officers with a range of airlines including British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Cathay Pacific and Jet 2.

As you’ll also have developed a wider understanding of the airline business, you can also choose to pursue a variety of different careers within the aviation industry.

If you’re interested in undertaking further study or specialising in a certain field, you can choose to study one of our renowned postgraduate programmes, such as our MSc Aviation Security, MSc International Aviation Regulation and Law, MSc Aviation Operations and Management, MSc International Aviation Regulation Law or MSc Aviation Organisational Resilience.

My degree not only enabled me to learn to fly, but to also gain an insight into so many factions and interactions within the aviation industry, that I put into practice every time I go flying.
Darren Palmer Airbus A350 Senior First Officer for Cathay Pacific Airways
A head shot of Darren Palmer, smiling at the camera in front of an airplane wing

Course leader

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