Aviation College Majors/Degrees

Hi Infinite Flight Community!
I have a question for those of you that are in an aviation career or college. If I was to go to a college with an aviation program, with the aspirations of a pilot, what major/degree should I go for? I’ve asked this question many times, but I keep getting different answers. So I was hoping to get the answer to this question once and for all. Just to clarify, I am not asking about aviation colleges, I have already seen a few topics here on the forums about that and I have been given plenty information about aviation colleges. All I’m asking about is if I want to fly, what major/degree should I go for? I did search before making this topic, and I could not find one about this, and the topic about aviation colleges has been closed, so I can not comment this on it. If there IS a topic about this already that has not been closed, link it below please!
Have a great day!


The term would be a “professional flight” degree. Depending on the university and recognition, you will have the opportunity to obtain your pilot’s license under Part 91 of FAA regs along with the degree. Purdue, Western Michigan, and Embry-Riddle are a few that offer this. There’s a few other major aviation schools in Florida as well, I think. Do some research.


Thank you very much!

I cannot stress heavily enough how careful you need to be about the right school certifications and the price points. If some universities offer professional flight only with no stipulations or transcripts recording your flight time/lectures, then you would have to go through the FAA all over again from scratch to get your license. There is a key difference between a degree and a license/certification! If you want to fly legally…


If approved, the school is required to submit documents every month through an audit to the FAA verifying that you’re attending the course hours needed to get XX, whether it be a pilot’s license, mechanic, etc.

Purdue, the university I attend, has a Polytechnic Institute offering degrees coupled with licensing programs. For instance, my major, Aeronautical Engineering Technology, gives me the opportunity to take the exam for the A&P Powerplant certification under current FAA regs because it is an approved school with course materials sanctioned by the FAA.

Just be sure yours will be too.


I heard some airlines are turning down people with private pilots license that want to fly commercially because they have got bad habits over the years the airline I heard about took on a new cadet with a lowered pay cut

1 Like

A lot of the universities these days have a structured flight program that feeds right into the airlines. In fact, we’re having a career fair next week with five regional carriers attending. It’s commonplace for professional flight to get their license and necessary further certifications, then transfer right in.


At my university, the major is called commercial aviation fixed wing.

1 Like

Like Josh covered, I would recommend looking at school/universities/colleges that have been recognized by the FAA. Below I have attached a PDF that I share with folks who are looking to pursue their dream in aviation. I know you mentioned you weren’t asking about colleges, but this PDF includes the list of universities, as well as the major/degrees that are offered by each. What this list really is, is a list of schools that have been approved by the FAA for what is called the “Restricted ATP or RATP”. Meaning the requirements have been reduced to 1000hr from the standard 1500hr. Again, the majors/degrees listed next to the schools are of the “professional pilot” focus. Most of these schools are a 4 year degree institution. There may be a 2 year institution thrown in here but you’d have to do your research to find out what will work best for you. Your financial standing (can you afford it?), safety records for the school, scholarships (which school will offer you the most money) and many more other factors will need to be considered in your decision. Sometimes going with the big name school is not always the right choice depending on your situation. Hope this helps out a little! 🙂


I’m looking at Stanford. Do they have something like this?

Stanford doesn’t even have a flight school…

1 Like

That’s unfortunate for me.

Lets not forget CAU (California Aeronautical University). They’re part 141 approved and have a system where they train their students to be flight instructors, then reduce their tuition if the students decide to teach other students how to fly (pretty genius if you ask me!) just throwing it out here for all my California future pilots looking for a close university.


A lot of schools with a flight program offer that “tuition reimbursement” program.

How so? Have you gotten into Stanford yet?

No, I’m still a freshman. But that’s my dream school.


If you put your mind to it, you can get in any university on this planet ;)
or fly any aircraft for any airline, you can even be an astronaut, make your dreams reality Ryan. This goes for anyone, anything can be done with dedication.


Same or University of Chicago


I believe that Embry-Riddle has an FAA certified flight school. Even if you are not a pilot, they have a lot of related majors.

1 Like

“Academy college”… man they put some hard thought into that school name.

Question, does your PDF differentiate between non-profit and for profit schools?

Also would you suggest one over the other or just focus on accreditation?

@Padi3_14 I am enrolled at ERAU, not to be a pilot though. I am in the undergrad program “aviation business management and my minor is logistics management”.

My end goal, leave ATC and TERPS behind and run an FBO. Secondary goals are airport management air side or getting into a top 5 cargo company such as fedex, UPS, cargolux etc.


No it does not. That’d be something that one would have to look up during their research.

ERAU is great. UND, OSU, SIU, Purdue are some other great schools