BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

Study at one of the largest engineering schools in the UK
Study at one of the largest engineering schools in the UK
Access fantastic facilities, from flight simulators to wind tunnels
Access fantastic facilities, from flight simulators to wind tunnels
Work for airlines or aerospace industries around the world
Work for airlines or aerospace industries around the world

This course includes the sandwich year options of:

Work Placement*

Study abroad*

*No fees are charged for this year

Why choose this course?

You’d like to design aircraft and have a passion for flying. 

We’ll teach you how to design from a pilot’s perspective. We’ll train you up in everything you need to know, from aircraft structures and materials to aerodynamics. There’ll also be opportunities to fly. We’re passionate about aerospace, and it’s an important part of our institution’s history. It’s how we began. Working with the de Havilland Aircraft Corporation and BAE Systems, the first aerospace engineers started their training back in 1952. As a result, our degree has an excellent and well-established reputation within the aerospace industry.  

University of Hertfordshire aerospace engineers graduate with practical experience of design and development for future aerospace systems. You’ll get hands-on with our flight simulators, wind tunnels, specialist laboratories and CAE software. We have an open-access laboratory policy for students doing experiments in their own time. With an emphasis on Computer Aided Engineering, you’ll be using industrial standard software wherever possible.   

We’re proud of our TEF Gold rating, which recognises our excellent teaching and support. You’ll be taught by experienced aerospace staff, who’ll share their industry knowledge with you.  There's plenty of support on offer to help you gain the skills you need to succeed. You'll get a personal tutor for the duration of your course, who can guide you all the way to graduation. You can also access our specialised Centre for Academic Skills. Our Learning Resources Centre is open 24/7, so you can study whenever suits you best, plus you’ll have access to online resources and online discussions with staff and students.  

Like the students before you, you’ll benefit from our strong links to industry. Our students have had work placements at companies such as Airbus, Virgin Atlantic Engineering and BAE Systems. Recent Aerospace Engineering graduates have gone on to work at organisations including The Royal Air Force, Jaguar Land Rover and BAE Systems.  

What's the course about?

In your first year, you’ll learn the fundamental skills and knowledge required by a modern engineer, including principles of flight and aircraft operations. You’ll be introduced to computer packages commonly used in the aerospace industry. You’ll also have the opportunity, at an additional cost, to sign up for a Flight Experience course at our partner flying school, Northwestern Michigan College in the USA and fly over the great lakes. 

In your second year, the first-year core themes are developed for use in aerospace engineering. You’ll learn about the components and the electronics inside the airframe that enable the aircraft to be so widespread and the safest form of transport available. You’ll learn how aircraft are designed for their handling qualities, and expand your knowledge of aerodynamics, with wind tunnel experiments. You’ll also build your pilot skills by studying elements of PPL Ground School. 

Additionally, you’ll learn about the design process through our practical CDIO modules.  In a group, you will design and manufacture a model aircraft. The best models of the year will be taken to compete at the University Challenge organised by the British Model Flying Association. Your aircraft may be the winner! 

Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you can choose to take a work placement or a study abroad year. Both are valuable experiences and something you can add to your CV to make you stand out. 

In your final year, in addition to your flight training you’ll work on two projects:  

  • The Aerospace Design group project - is where you’ll showcase your engineering skills.  You will be allocated to a team to design a full-size aircraft and test fly it using our flight simulator.  Every year the design task is different – in previous years, our students designed wide body commercial airliners, heavy cargo aircraft, fire-fighting aircraft and even strategic bombers.   
  • The Individual Project - is where you’ll immerse yourself in an area of aerospace engineering, you’re passionate about, using either the University or industrial facilities. This is a rewarding part of your degree that can lead to future employment.  

Flying training is supported further by a Pilot Studies and Flight Analysis module and our flight simulation facilities. 

Your main campus is College Lane   

This is where the creative arts, science and health related subjects are based. This means you’ll share the campus with future nurses, scientists, artists and more. You can use the common rooms to relax with friends, work out in the 24-hour gym or have a drink in our on-campus pub or cafes. We also have restaurants for you to eat in or grab something on the go. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.  

What will I study?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.    

Alumni Stories

Kennedy Ameh

Meet Kennedy Ameh who has explored his passion for the aviation industry since graduating. He currently works as the Head of Operations Strategy at Collins Aerospace.

Current job roleHead of Operations Strategy
Year of graduation2010
Course of studyBEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering

Since graduating, Kennedy has gone on to work for Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. He currently holds the role Head of Operations Strategy within the organisations Mechanical Systems Business Unit. 'I joined through the graduate development programme, and I have held roles of increasing responsibility throughout my career here. In my role, I am responsible for creating, developing and executing manufacturing strategy across six global sites in Asia and Europe.' Kennedy credits being ‘results driven’ and always rising to the challenge as the driving factors that have gotten him to where he is today.

University experience and opportunities

Kennedy recognises the impact the University made on his career, having been exposed to many fantastic opportunities during his time as a student. He says, 'During my time at the University, I was exposed to a faculty of experts that drew from industry experience and transferred this knowledge to the classroom. I also acquired a plethora of information through the Learning Resources Centre during my placement year in the industry. During my studies, I was challenged to think differently, identifying solutions before problems. I was taught to use my initiative and leverage on teamwork.'

Diverse community

A key factor that made Kennedy choose the University was the diverse community. He says, 'As an international student, the vibrant international community at the University was important to me. However, the real attraction was the rich aviation heritage of the University of Hertfordshire.' Kennedy took advantage of the University’s industry connections to propel himself forward in the sector.

Aspirations for the future

Looking forward, Kennedy intends to stay at Collins Aerospace yet still remains ambitious. He says, 'I want to run an aviation business in the future and I am very conscious of the opportunities emerging in markets like Africa. I hope to be an employer on the continent to enhance, enable and empower young minds like mine to operate globally.'

The University of Hertfordshire truly shaped me personally as well as my career. I can guarantee that no other University would have provided me with the same opportunities they did and I can confidently say that if I had not studied here, I wouldn’t be as happy in my career as I am today.

Alumni Stories

Jim Hammett

Meet Jim Hammett who landed his dream career in the aerospace industry. He currently works as a Chief Flying Instructor (Helicopters) at Bliss Aviation.

Current job roleChief Flying Instructor (Helicopter)
Year of graduation2000
Course of studyBEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering

Jim Hammett

Lifelong aspiration

Becoming a pilot was an aspiration for Jim as long as he could remember. At the age of 18, his passion led him to his first flight at the controls of a Cessna 152, a 2-seated aircraft primarily used for training and personal purposes.

While studying at the University he had the opportunity to have a subsidised trial lesson in a PA28 warrior followed by a short flight in an R22 at Elstree. He says, 'This first flight in a helicopter was like a lightning strike for me and changed what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I got my Private Pilots Licence PPL(H) in 2006 while working as a Project Engineer for an aerospace company.'

After saving for 3 years, Jim went to the USA to achieve a Commercial Pilot License (CLP (H)) and also managed to gain an American instructor rating. He explains, 'When I returned to the UK, I was sponsored to convert my US instructor rating to a European instructor rating. I then travelled the country looking for work as an instructor and was finally taken on by Airways Aviation in April 2012.'

Jim's determination over the years has paid off, from his initial training to his current position as Chief Flying Instructor. However, he explains that his degree still contributes to his current job role on a daily basis. He says, 'It [has given] me a deeper understanding of the principles of flight and general aircraft knowledge. It also made gaining my license easier as I felt I already knew some parts of the course.'

Helping future generations

As a Chief Flying Instructor, some of Jim's daily responsibilities include helping students to obtain their PPL(H), ensuring all training given is up to standard and writing and amending operations and training manuals. 'My day-to-day activities vary depending on bookings and the weather. Every day is different and you have to come to work ready for anything. My responsibilities don't change but the amount of work I do does.'

For those who are looking to get into a similar career, Jim stresses the importance of having a strong love for aviation as the sacrifices are not often reflected in the pay scale. He says, 'Should you achieve your goals, the view from the office is much better! Having a good backup career is also a fine plan if you lose your medical.'

Plans for the future

In the future Jim would like to branch out into other areas of commercial helicopter flying, possibly in other countries: 'I would like to take on pleasure flights, sling work and VIP Charter. It's also been an ambition of mine to start a flying school of my own one day.'

This first flight in a helicopter was like a lightning strike for me and changed what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.