Studying for a degree and training to become a commercial pilot: how does it work?

One must wonder how you can possibly study for a degree and train to become a commercial pilot at the same time. Well, at Bucks, you can do just that as the structure of the course helps manage your time.

First year: In the first year of the course, you have both a mixture of flight training and university study. For the university modules you get to tackle subjects such as; Airport Operations, Airline Management and Airline Crisis and Continuity Management. These are completed while also studying and training for the Private Pilot License, the first stage of pilot training via the modular route. For those that already come to the University with a PPL in hand, they study an extra module to gain the required credits. I have just completed my first year of the course, and overall, it has been an enjoyable experience.

Second Year: The second year is the phase in which you begin your commercial pilot training. In order to gain a commercial license, you must complete 14 theoretical exams – passing all these allows entry into the third year. The ground school and exams are done at a professional flight school within 6 months to a year and is no doubt one of the more stressful parts to a pilot’s training. Do not worry though, you will receive tons of support from your lecturers on this epic journey! After completing the exams, you have the rest of the year to enjoy some leisure flying and build the hours that you need to qualify for the advanced training later in the course.

Third Year: The third and final year you will be back at Bucks, studying your final modules along with the dissertation or research project. While I have only finished first year, I shall be entering third year this year – this is because of the coronavirus pandemic and the university allowing us the option to swap years. It just goes to show how flexible this course can be!

After you graduate: The rest of the pilot training happens after the degree, and from there it is possible to go out and hunt for a job with the airlines or any other job as a qualified pilot.


To find out more about the pilot training courses offered then you can check out the Aviation page or alternatively chat to our aviation lecturers and students.

Blog written by Jacob, a Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training student.