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Comparative analysis of the top aviation courses in Spain, with extensive information about universities and their aviation degrees


This report takes an in-depth look at some of the top Spanish universities and colleges offering aviation and aeronautics courses, including comparisons of costs, the courses offered, the content of each course, and how long each takes to study.



Introduction

Bright sun shining inside an aircraft cockpit
Bright sun shining inside an aircraft cockpit

Spain’s aviation, aeronautics and aerospace sector is in a positive state of significant growth and development. By 2015, the Spanish market had reached a turnover of €9,700 million with 11% of turnover invested in research and development – that’s €858 million[1].

Spain excels in several areas of aeronautics: military transport and special mission aircraft; low pressure turbines; maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) activities; air-refuelling aircraft; and air traffic management. Civil and military European aeronautics development is also a focus. As a member of the European Space Agency (ESA), the country contributes to space programs like Galileo and Kopernikus.

The Spanish space sector’s priorities have recently shifted, from those traditionally linked to launches and scientific developments to satellite uses for governments and institutions as well as telecommunications and civilians. Total sales estimates by TEDAE (Asociación Española de Tecnologías de Defensa) were expected to have reached €1 billion[2] at the end of 2018.

The commercial aviation industry is in an equally healthy state. By 2016 Spanish tourism had reached 75 million travellers a year[3], shattering all previous records. Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is set to cash in on Spain’s tourism industry by opening up new routes to the country. The airline plans to carry 6.7 million people a year to Madrid and a predicted 10% rise in passengers from Barcelona is expected to amount to 7.1 million airline travellers[4].

The implications for those working in the sector – about 54,000 workers as of 2015 – are obvious, and they’re supported by statistics that record a 65% increase in the Spanish aviation/aeronautics industry since 2000. Demand for skilled and professional workers will continue to rise, while innovations and emerging technologies open up new fields and career opportunities for aviation, aeronautics and aerospace workers and professionals.

Given that a degree is a financial commitment and can take up to four years to complete, it’s incredibly important to choose the best educational institution for your studies. This comparative analysis of five of Spain’s top aviation universities gives you key information and insights into the courses available to students. The report is in four sections: a comparative table summary of what each university offers aviation students; a brief history of aviation education in Spain; additional information for each university’s aviation courses; and perspectives on the future of aviation/aerospace and how this will affect aerospace training in years to come.

Summary of the top aviation and aerospace courses at universities in Spain













        University        World ranking 2018Aviation programs offeredPilot training programs offered       Aviation facilities      
Cost per year of studiesCost of accommodation per yearCourse length

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

    145    

Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Management

Master of Science in Aeronautical Management


None

     Engineering faculty building         

€8,584 for international and Spanish students

Student living costs in Barcelona are approximately €1,000 per month

4 years undergraduate(undergrad)

1 year (Graduate)

Universidad Europea Madrid

55

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in Aircraft

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering has its own building at the Madrid Campus, which includes classrooms, lecture halls, two workshops, computing labs, computer design labs and a controls lab


€12,790 for international and Spanish students

Two halls of residence for students not from Madrid

Single room €18,576 per year

Double room (shared) €15,036


4 years

Universidad Carlos III De Madrid

601-608

Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering (Degree with minors in Aerospace Vehicles and Aerospace Propulsion)

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering with minors in Aerospace Vehicles and Aerospace Propulsion

Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering

Libraries

General electronics lab

Aerospace technologies lab

Wind tunnel




BSc: €7,714 (non-EU students); €1,510 (EU students)

Masters: €11,570 (non-EU students)

(EU students: €1,786.8, €29.78/ECTS credit)

Three halls of residence.

Double room (full board) €8,880
Double Room (room only) €5,160
Individual Room (full board) €10,680
Apartment (full board) €11,616
Apartment (room only) €8,016

Gregorio Peces Barba (Getafe)

Individual room (full board) €890
Individual room (room only) €590
Apartment (full board) €968
Apartment (room only) €668

Fernando Abril Martorell (Leganes)

Double Room (full board) €703
Individual room (full room) €860


4 years

University of Salamanca in partnership with Adventia European College of Aeronautics

590


Bachelor of Science in Commercial Aviation Pilot and Air Operations


Bachelor of Science in Commercial Aviation Pilot and Air Operations
Flight simulators

Fleet of training aircraft

Salamanca Airport

Drones


Approx €10,400 for both international and Spanish students

Halls of residence; prices start from €1,650 per term for a single room

4 years

UPC Polytechnic University of Catalunya

474

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Systems Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Systems Engineering and Telecommunications or Network Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Technology Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Vehicle Engineering

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering

Drone labs

Aeronautics lab

Air transport lab

Cessna 150 flight simulator

Air traffic control tower simulator

Transport networks lab

Sensor and digital electronics lab

Electronics and circuits lab

Control and guiding lab

Radio frequency lab

Electronics and telecommunications lab


Bachelor’s degrees: approx. €2,500 for EU residents and €3,800 for non-EU residents

Master’s degrees: €5,300 for EU residents and €7,950 for non-EU residents)

Halls of residence; prices start from €3,888 for a double studio with kitchen

Bachelor’s degrees: 4 years (except Aerospace Systems Engineering Telecommunications or Network Engineering, which is 5 years

Master’s Degrees: 2 years

The comparison table provides several key findings that are useful to students applying for aviation courses at top universities in Spain:

  • Of the five universities surveyed, all offer bachelor’s degrees, while three offer graduate programmes. The undergraduate degrees featured aim to give students a strong scientific and practical education, allowing them to either take up work in the industry or further their studies upon graduation.
  • On average, 90% of students from the surveyed universities are hired within a year of graduation, attesting both to the high calibre of graduates and the strong demand for aviation, aeronautics and aerospace professionals.
  • All of the surveyed universities run extensive and advanced research programmes.
  • All surveyed universities cater to the ever-changing aviation industry, offering flexible programmes with specialisations in a growing number of aviation, aeronautics and aerospace fields.

History of aviation education and aviation universities in Spain

  • Spain’s aviation history began in the early 20th Century[5]. In 1919, pilot and aeronautical engineer Juan de la Cierva invented a single-rotor aircraft called the autogiro. He also eventually flew the world's first stable rotary-wing aircraft, the forerunner of today's helicopter.
  • In March 1923, José Ortiz de Echagüe[6] was the third Spaniard to gain a pilot's license and the first to fly a military plane. In 1923 he co-founded one of the country's first aircraft manufacturers, Construcciones Aeronáuticas Sociedad Anónima (CASA), which began building and developing military aircraft.
  • CASA became a leading producer of transport aircraft. By the 1980s it had developed the C-212, which today is exported to air forces around the world.
  • CASA became an original member of the Airbus Consortium in 1971, responsible for designing and manufacturing structural components such as horizontal tail units, fuselage sections and landing-gear doors.
  • CASA went on to become a founding member of the European Aerospace Defense and Space Company (EADS) in 1999.
  • Today the landing gear for EADS-Airbus planes is produced in Spain, along with parts and modules for launchers, satellites and the International Space Station.
  • EADS-CASA, Airbus and Eurocopter remain big players in the Spanish aerospace industry and have created a plethora of smaller engineering, design and manufacturing companies.
  • Thanks to Spanish aviation’s strong culture of experimentation and innovation, over a dozen universities offer aviation, aeronautics and aerospace courses as they endeavour to meet industry demand for creative solutions to pressing aeronautical conundrums.

Aviation courses at top universities in Spain

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona offers one undergraduate and one graduate degree in aeronautics

Campus Universitari de Sabadell with the sun shining on the glass windows
Campus Universitari de Sabadell with the sun shining on the glass windows

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Management[7] offered by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) gives students a thorough knowledge of the basics of air navigation and air transport logistics. Areas of study include socio-economic, legal and logistical issues that are important to the aeronautical sector, with graduates equipped to make informed decisions in the planning of airlines and airports.

UAB was the first university in Spain to offer a degree in Aeronautical Management within the parameters of the European Higher Education Area. Since it was first taught in 2004, the degree has become a national benchmark for studies in this field and aims to meet the challenges facing the sector through professional training and research.

Course graduates can go on to work in the following areas after graduation: commercial planning in the air transport and airport sectors; air transport economics; market research in air and multimode transport; planning, organisation and management of airlines; models of demand for air transport (passengers and cargo) in the short, medium and long term; and strategic, tactical, logistic and operational planning for airports.

The Master of Science in Aeronautical Management[8] teaches graduates specialist management and administration skills. The course is offered in a double format that includes both classroom-based and online instruction, with the latter allowing students to follow the coursework from anywhere in the world at no additional cost. Upon completion, graduates can find work in any of the main areas of the aeronautics sector, including airports, air navigation, auxiliary services, consultancy and aircraft building.

UAB carries out aerospace research through a number of groups and institutes, such as the Centre for Space Studies and Research; Signal Theory and Communications Unit; Logistics and Aeronautics Unit; and Systems Engineering Unit. Although not yet 50 years old, it has earned a reputation as one of the 200 best universities in the world and one of the top 10 universities[10] with greatest international reach.

If you believe you have what it takes to become an aerospace innovator of the future, then speak to us about applying for a course at your aviation school of choice and we’ll do our best to provide some helpful advice. Air Charter Service (ACS) also provides aviation and flying scholarships for many of the best aviation universities in Spain and around the world. Find out more on our Aviation Scholarships and Student Grants page.

Universidad Europea Madrid offers an undergraduate degree in aerospace studies

Wide view of people walking to and away from the entrance over the bridge of The Universidad Europea Madrid
Wide view of people walking to and away from the entrance over the bridge of The Universidad Europea Madrid

The Universidad Europea Madrid (UEM) offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.

The four-year degree in Aerospace Engineering[12] equips students with the necessary skills to become a technical aviation engineer. After graduating, pupils can enroll on a Master of Science degree to qualify as an aeronautical engineer. Taking into account the global nature of the sector, the first year’s instruction is in Spanish with subsequent years taught in English.

UEM has a vibrant research culture that falls under the School of Doctoral Studies and Research, with projects[13] aiming to discover and develop knowledge that can contribute to social progress. Students are exposed to scientific research processes in their fields so they can see, first-hand, the latest breakthroughs and their results.

UEM welcomes over 5,000 international students and professors every year, allowing pupils to experience a multicultural and international campus. A total of 70 programmes and over 250 courses are taught exclusively in English or a bilingual format, with students given opportunities to further their education by learning additional languages like French, Italian and Chinese.

According to UEM’s website, over 90% of graduates find work within a year[14] of graduating.

If you believe you’re one of the aviation greats of tomorrow, speak to us about applying for a course at the university of your choice and we’ll do our best to provide some helpful advice. ACS also provides aviation and flying scholarships for many of the best aviation universities in Spain and around the world. Find out more on our Aviation Scholarships and Student Grants page.

Universidad Carlos III De Madrid offers one undergraduate degree and one graduate degree in aerospace studies

Back of the Universidad Carlos III De Madrid on sunny day with clear blue skies and green trees by the entrance
Back of the Universidad Carlos III De Madrid on sunny day with clear blue skies and green trees by the entrance

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering[15] is taught in English and takes four years to complete, upon which students qualify as aeronautical technical engineers. Students go on to work at companies that design, manufacture and certify a variety of aerospace products and systems; from space shuttles and satellites to helicopters, aeroplanes and even rocket and turboprop engines.

Students begin the degree by studying core engineering subjects like mathematics, physics, materials, structures and fluid mechanics. Subsequent years focus on more specific subjects like aerodynamics, propulsion, dynamics and flight control, aircraft design, navigation and air transport.

The degree is taught in small groups and has a practical component, which can include work experience at an aerospace company. The Universidad Carlos III De Madrid (UC3M) has agreements with around 6,000 companies and institutions that offer internships to its students. According to the university’s website, 92.3% of graduates find work in the first year after graduation.

The university’s aerospace graduate programme responds to the speed of change in the industry, aiming to produce professionals with the necessary skills to tackle the sector’s challenges and contribute to its growth. The Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering[16] qualifies graduates as fully accredited aeronautical engineers and allows them to work in all sectors of the aeronautical and space industries, as well as agencies and research centres. It also enables students to apply for the PhD programme if they’d like to further their studies.

UC3M’s offers research services to businesses, partners and institutions[17] in four ways: research project contracts, collaborative research projects, consulting and technical services, and transfer or licence of research results. The university’s Science Park[18] features labs and workshops fitted out with advanced equipment and the latest technology, allowing students and researchers[19] to conduct their research as effectively as possible.

The Aerospace Engineering Research Group[20] carries out research in four main areas: aerodynamics, air navigation, aeronautical technology and space technology. Meanwhile, the Plasmas and Space Propulsion Team[21] explores a range of fields including magnetic nozzles and thrust vector control, active space debris removal, electrodynamic tethers and micropropulsion and space systems engineering.

Since its launch in 1983, UC3M has successfully produced engineers and scientists of a high calibre, delivering on its mission to remain a relatively small, public university that provides students with a high-quality education while remaining focused on innovative research.

If you dream of a career in the aeronautics or aerospace industry, why not speak to us about applying for a course at one of the universities on your shortlist. We’ll do our best to provide some helpful advice. ACS also provides aviation and flying scholarships for many of the best aviation universities in Spain and around the world. Find out more on our Aviation Scholarships and Student Grants page.

University of Salamanca in partnership with Adventia European College of Aeronautics offers one aviation degree

Outside view of the 15th century building of the University of Salamanca
Outside view of the 15th century building of the University of Salamanca

The University of Salamanca (USAL) offers a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Aviation Pilot and Air Operations[22] in conjunction with Adventia European College of Aeronautics.

The four-year degree gives students a solid aeronautical education based on scientific-mathematical foundations, with studies in social and legal sciences added at a later stage. Graduates achieve a professional license issued by the Ministry of Development and can take up professional positions in the air transport industry.

The Commercial Aviation Pilot and Air Operations degree begins at the Adventia Aeronautical School (AAS)[23], which is affiliated to USAL and has been training Spanish and international airline pilots for over 40 years. According to the university’s website, 90% of graduates find work as a pilot within one year[24] of successfully completing their studies.

USAL has a number of specialised laboratories involved in research[25]. The Teaching Laboratories building on the Campus Miguel de Unamuno gives students, faculty and graduates the opportunity to learn research practices and take part in a variety of projects in nine well-equipped and efficiently-run laboratories.

The university has a history[26] dating back to 1218, when it was first established by Alfonso IX of León as the 'Salamanticae Scholas'. Today, it attracts about 30,000 students from around the world to its nine campuses located at Salamanca, Ávila, Zamora, Béjar and Villamayor.

If you believe you have what it takes to study towards a degree aviation, then speak to us about applying for a course at one of our featured universities and we’ll do our best to provide some helpful advice. ACS also provides aviation and flying scholarships for many of the best aviation universities in Spain and around the world. Find out more on our Aviation Scholarships and Student Grants page.

University of Salamanca in partnership with Adventia European College of Aeronautics offers one aviation degree

Outside view of two of the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalunya) buildings
Outside view of two of the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalunya) buildings

The UPC Polytechnic University of Catalunya (UPC) is ranked 122 in the top engineering universities in the world[27] and is placed in the top 100 universities in the world in the subjects of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Civil Engineering and Computer Science.

The university offers four undergraduate degrees in Aerospace Systems Engineering, Aerospace Systems Engineering and Telecommunications, Aerospace Technology Engineering, and Aerospace Vehicle Engineering.

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Systems Engineering[28] gives students extensive knowledge of aerospace science and technology – particularly airport and air navigation infrastructure, and air transport and air traffic management systems. Majors include air navigation and airports.

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Systems Engineering and Telecommunications or Network Engineering[29] is the only course of its kind in Spain. Taught at the Castelldefels School of Telecommunications and Aerospace Engineering, the double degree provides multidisciplinary training in aerospace systems engineering and telecommunications systems engineering.

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Technology Engineering[30] trains students to adapt to new situations and assimilate future technological developments in the aerospace industry. After graduation, individuals can work in a number of fields related to aircraft and space vehicles, including design, construction, operation and maintenance, and the infrastructure they need to operate. Graduates are also qualified to work in airport planning and construction projects, aeronautical company management, environmental and renewable energy projects, and aeronautics and space research.

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Vehicle Engineering[31] offers training in aeronautical engineering, with an emphasis on aspects specifically related to aircraft and space vehicles including their design, construction, operation and maintenance and the infrastructure they need to operate.

Part of the graduate programme at UPC, the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering[32] gives graduates the opportunity to further their learning with specialisations in aerospace vehicles, airports, propulsion and space; while the Master of Science in Aerospace Science and Technology[33] provides advanced training in aeronautics and space exploration sciences and technologies.

The Master of Science in Applications and Technologies for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)[34] was added to the graduate programme in the 2017-2018 academic year. It offers graduates specialist knowledge in the applications of drones, as well as the technical, legal and economic aspects. The Master of Science in Space and Aeronautical Engineering[35] has a scientific, technical and practical approach, allowing students to work towards a professional or research career in the aerospace industry.

Students taking part in aerospace studies are based at either the Superior School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering of Terrassa (ESEIAAT)[36] on the Terrassa Campus or the award-winning School of Telecommunications and Aerospace Engineering of Castelldefels (EETAC)[37] on the Castelldefels Campus, whose students and graduates are involved in internships or placements across 180 companies.

UPC runs several impressive research programmes and contributes articles to high-impact scientific journals[38]. The university’s budget stood at €283 million in 2018, with a research and development income of €61.5 million, and it filed 52 patents last year alone[39].

If you dream of a top quality aerospace education, why not speak to us about applying for a course at a university of your choice. We’ll do our best to provide some helpful advice. ACS also provides aviation and flying scholarships for many of the best aviation universities in Spain and around the world. Find out more on our Aviation Scholarships and Student Grants page.

Summary and thoughts about the future of aviation studies

Aerospace engineering student’s hands on the control pad training in a fixed flight simulator
Aerospace engineering student’s hands on the control pad training in a fixed flight simulator

There are several key factors that will continue to affect Spain’s aviation industry for at least the next decade:

Spain is likely to retain its leader-status in the areas of composite aerostructures, low pressure turbine engines, air traffic management systems (three out of five flights in the world use Spanish software for landing) and military transport aircraft. The country is also set to continue as a power-player in the European and global space programme[40].

Spain’s aerospace employment structure is as follows: 47% are highly qualified technicians, 40% are engineers and university graduates, and 13% comprise other technical profiles.[41]

With the sector’s rapid technological advances set to continue for the foreseeable future, global aerospace and defence revenue was predicted to increase[42] by 4.1% for 2018 – almost double the previous year’s 2.1%. The outlook is similar in the defence sector, with increased global security threats along with increased defence spending from regional powers like India, China and Japan.

The demand on Spain to increase its highly qualified talent pool[43] (several universities rank among the best in Aerospace Engineering Studies, with Seville and Madrid at the top) will continue to drive collaboration between Spain's aerospace industry, universities, administrations and corporations.

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