Undergraduate BEng (Hons)

Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies

School of Science, Engineering and Environment



With placement


Three year

Four year

Next enrolment

September 2020

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In a nutshell

Demand for air travel is predicted to increase and there are exciting technological advancements in flight. With the aviation industry in need of talented aircraft engineers with excellent technical knowledge and strong business acumen, start a high-flying career with a degree in aircraft engineering with pilot studies.

Salford is a regional UK centre for aeronautics study and research. Providing a gateway to professional status, our popular aircraft engineering course is professionally accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), so you'll be educated to the highest industry standards.

The course combines practical and theoretical aspects of flight, with the underlying principles of aircraft engineering. Delivered over three years – or four with an industry placement year - you’ll study a suite of modules designed to embed theoretical knowledge and creative application and help you become a world-class aircraft engineer.

This course is also available with an integrated masters route.

You will:
  • Study the essential elements of aircraft design and complete experiments and project work in specialised aeronautical laboratories
  • Specialise in propulsion, computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, materials and structures
  • Experience a flight test project at Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory Centre
  • Choose to include an optional structured pilot training programme leading to the opportunity to gain a Private Pilot Licence
  • Take an industry placement year to increase your professional aviation and aeronautics skills

options available


students accepted

Course accreditations
Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) logo
Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) logo

This is for you if...


You're fascinated by the opportunities in engineering and want a degree with professional status


You're excited by aircrafts and flight and desire a future career in this field


You're a keen problem-solver who enjoyed mathematics or physics at school/college

Course details

All about the course

Having the ability to apply technical detail is at the heart of engineering, and core to Salford’s values. We strive to embed this as a core learning objective throughout your studies. Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies combines mathematics, science, computer-based methods, design, and engineering to solve complex aircraft engineering problems. As you gain theoretical knowledge and develop creative thinking, you'll build industry-ready practical skills.

In year one, you’ll follow a range of modules designed to enhance your core engineering knowledge and introduce aeronautics. As you progress into year two, you’ll explore specialist aviation modules, such as aircraft structures, flight systems, aerodynamics, flight simulation, route planning, and navigation systems. As you head into your final year, you'll cover advanced modules including avionics and aircraft system design. You'll complete experiments and project work, culminating in your individual final year project.

Prior to the final year, you'll have the opportunity to experience a flight test course delivered at Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory Centre using specially instrumented Jetstream 31 aircraft. During the flight, the aircraft will conduct specific manoeuvres during which flight data is gathered for later analysis.

You can also choose to include an optional structured pilot training programme to gain a Private Pilot Licence. A total of 45 flying hours are offered within the training programme by external partners at an additional cost.


Industry placements are a great opportunity to get real-world experience and make career connections. On this course, you'll have the option to take an industry placement between years two and three. Although you’ll be responsible for securing your placement, our tutors will support you, monitor your progress and assess your final placement report. By successfully completing a placement year, you can also add 'with professional experience' to your final degree award.

Year one

Aviation Business Enterprise

This is your introduction to the history of air transport systems leading to the current state of the aviation business.

You will study topics such as the:

  • Evolution of surface transportation systems – roadways, railways and waterways
  • Beginnings of air transport – first generation airships and winged flying machines
  • Development of technologies relating to improvements in civilian and military aircraft designs
  • Passenger facility enhancements such as in-flight catering, conveniences and entertainment
  • Birth of the modern airliner leading to the demise of the airships and the ocean liners.

Engineering Materials and Electrical Systems

You will develop an understanding of the basic properties and applications of materials and of the principles of electronic and electrical engineering. This will include learning about the relationship between the micro-structure and mechanical properties of materials, mechanisms of corrosion and corrosion protection, the principles of electronic and electrical engineering, and the response of electrical elements in circuits to AC or DC supplies.

Engineering Mathematics

You will build on the engineering mathematics module from your first year by developing advanced knowledge and skills in mathematical analysis. This will enable you to tackle more advanced engineering problems. Subjects covered include partial differentiation, determinants and matrices, vector analysis, Laplace transforms and functions of a complex variable.

Engineering Structures and Engineering Dynamics

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of structural behaviour and the nature of stress and strain and provide you with a foundation in engineering dynamics, allowing you to tackle simple engineering problems, and preparing you for subsequent modules.

Project Management Aerofluid Mechanics

This module will introduce you to project management techniques, particularly in the areas of project planning, organisation and control. You will develop an understanding of project timings and resource allocation and a broad understanding of quantitative methods used for decision-making in industry. You will gain an understanding of the basic engineering principles that underpin the design of propulsion systems for the aerospace industry and have an introduction to the principles of gas turbine theory and jet engines. The module also covers the principles of aerodynamics for a range of flight conditions and consolidates a good understanding of flight manoeuvres and design aspects with case studies.

Principles of Air Navigation and Meteorology for Aviation

In this module you will gain proficiency and knowledge in the planning of multiple leg flight plans and build awareness and experience of aviation meteorology. On completion you should have developed skills including practical knowledge of operational procedures; requirements for safe and adequate flight planning; understanding requirements for time planning; the principles of aviation meteorology; and be able to make rational assessments for flight safety by interpreting synoptic weather forecasts.

Year two

Engineering Mathematics (year 2)

Develop more advanced knowledge and skills in mathematical analysis relevant to engineering applications. Gain the confidence to apply your skills to tackle advanced engineering challenges.

Safety Assessment in Aviation and Human Factors and Crew Resource Management

The aims of this module is for you to, develop an in depth knowledge of aviation safety issues, use and evaluate analysis so you can anticipate and alleviate safety risks in aviation and to develop an understanding of Human Factors and CRM to optimise capability to operate in a safe and efficient aviation environment.

Flight Systems (Year 2)

You'll learn the basic principles and theory of statics and dynamics as related to the static and dynamic behaviour of an aircraft and the theory of flight control as related to the dynamic behaviour of an aircraft.

Route Planning and Navigation Systems

This module will introduce the theory of business economics in route planning. You will learn the techniques and methodologies used for navigating an aircraft using modern navigation aids.

Aircraft Structures

On completion of this module you will be able to establish the integrity of typical basic structural aircraft components and explain the process of material selection for the structural items of an aircraft.

Aerodynamics (year 2)

Topics and concepts covered in this module include fluid mechanics, boundary layer theory, sources of drag in particular aircraft drag, thin aerofoil theory, lifting line theory as it applies to the aerodynamic analysis of unswept wings in low speed flow. In addition to the apparatus used and techniques employed in wind tunnel testing.

Year three

Aerodynamics (year 3)

This module is concerned with the analysis of gas turbine engines as used in aircraft propulsion and high speed aerodynamics. Emphasis is placed on the aerodynamic and thermodynamic aspects which influence the performance of a given engine design. Wherever possible, data for actual aircraft engines is used to support the analysis.

Final Year Project

The final year project is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding and application of the knowledge you have acquired on the course. The project topic chosen will be on an agreed subject related to audio or acoustics and you have the option to work within a group or as an individual with regular supervision.

Flight Systems (Year 2)

You'll learn the basic principles and theory of statics and dynamics as related to the static and dynamic behaviour of an aircraft and the theory of flight control as related to the dynamic behaviour of an aircraft.

Industrial Management and Project Preparation

This module has two main components. Industrial management in which you will be introduced to the commercial issues which must be addressed by engineering businesses, and the principles of quality management systems; and project preparation which will develop your ability to work independently, become competent in analysing and assessing the value of information, and develop effective communication skills both written and orally.


This module will give you an in depth knowledge of avionic systems currently fitted to modern aircraft, including communication, flight instruments, flight management, automatic flight, warning and recording and passenger systems.

Aircraft Systems Design

In this module you will learn about aircraft design, including detailed refinement of component design and major interactions that have a crucial influence on the overall effectiveness of the design. You will study the interactive nature of aircraft design, including business and commercial influences, and be able to report outcomes effectively.  On completion you should also have an appreciation of market requirements in the design process.            

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practical activities


You will be assessed through a combination of formats:

  • Lab exercises
  • Examinations
  • Reports

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

From cyber security to biomedicine to architecture, our expanding suite of multidisciplinary courses shapes the next generation of scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Through advanced research, we’re pioneering robotics and AI, smart environments and the appliance of data. With a team of over 200 dedicated academic, technical and administrative staff, you’ll experience a supportive, professional environment where you can realise your potential.


As a centre for aeronautical study and research, Salford hosts a range of dedicated laboratories and facilities.

The Mechanical Laboratory is used to understand material behaviour under different loading conditions and contains a tensile test machine and static loading experiments. Typical laboratory sessions include tensile testing of materials and investigation into the bending and buckling behaviour of beams.

The Aerodynamics Laboratory contains low speed and supersonic wind tunnels. Typical laboratory experiments include determining the aerodynamic properties of an aerofoil section and influence of wing sweep on the lift and drag characteristics of a tapered wing section.

The Control and Dynamics Laboratory is home to flight simulators and programmable control experiments. Typical laboratory sessions include studying the effects of damping and short period oscillation analysis, forced vibration due to rotating imbalance, and understanding the design and performance of proportional and integral controllers.

Our Merlin MP520-T Engineering Flight Simulator supports the design modules, by giving a more practical experience of aircraft design. Our Elite Flight Training System is a fixed base Piper PA-34 Seneca III aircraft simulator certified by the CAA as a FNPT II-MCC Multi-Crew Cockpit training environment.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


On successful completion of the course, you’ll be closer to realising your ambition to work in aviation.  Aerospace and aviation is one of the UK’s largest employment fields, and with a growing air travel market, career opportunities are expected to increase. 

A degree in Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies can lead to fascinating and rewarding career pathways. Opportunities can range from supporting air traffic control to operating as an airworthiness engineer. You may even have ambitions to fly aircraft and add to your skills by taking further training to become a fully-registered pilot.

Salford’s aircraft engineering alumni work throughout the world at leading companies and aviation-specific organisations, including the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), CTC Aviation and Goodrich.


You might find you want to learn more about aerospace and engineering, so we offer a range of specialist postgraduate courses to help you take your career and interests even further. Salford graduates and alumni also receive a significant fees discount.

A taste of what you could become

An air traffic controller

A pilot

An aircraft engineer

A safety consultant

And more...

Career Links

This course is extensively informed by collaboration between the university’s academics and industry partners from aeronautics, engineering and technology fields.

The course team has a wide range of long-standing and professional relationships with the aviation industry in the North West and beyond. Continued collaboration with the professions also ensures a stimulating range of external guest lecturers and career networking opportunities.

External validation of the course content recognises that it meets both UK and international standards required by the engineering profession.


What you need to know


We're looking for applicants with strong numerate skills, demonstrated by good A Levels in relevant subject areas. Ideally, you'll have a keen interest in aeronautics and aviation, with aspirations for an engineering-focused career. You may also be interested in becoming a pilot, but want the academic engineering background so you have a wider range of career options.


International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.


Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.


Standard entry requirements


English language and maths at grade C/grade 4 or above.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

UCAS tariff points

112-120 UCAS points to include the study of Mathematics and a numerate science. 

A level

112 - 120 points with C in Mathematics and numerate science. A pass in the Practical Element of science A levels must be achieved.

BTEC National Diploma

DMM from Engineering or Science subjects, must include Distinctions in Mathematics modules.

Access to HE

Pass with 112-120 UCAS points from a QAA-approved Engineering course; including 60 credits overall with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3 and Distinctions in numerate modules.

Scottish Highers

112-120 UCAS points to include Mathematics and Physics grade C for Advanced Higher level, or grade A at Higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate

112-120 UCAS points to include A2 in Higher Level Mathematics and Physics.

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 60% from Science or Engineering.

International Baccalaureate

31 points to include grade 5 in Higher Level Mathematics and Physics

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we receive your application, we'll assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

Please contact Admissions for further information.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15,240per year
Additional costs

You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International students 2020/21

To celebrate the University of Salford's expertise and industry links in Computing and Engineering, high achieving international students may be eligible for our Computing, Science and Engineering International Excellence Scholarship of £3,500.

For more information go to International Scholarships.

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Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID H490

Institution S03