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Universities with Aviation Disciplines

Research and development (R&D) in Canadian aerospace manufacturing is estimated to be five times greater than Canada’s total manufacturing average. The industry invests $1.9 billion in R&D annually according to the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC). Increasingly, Canada’s aerospace companies are relying on the university sector to help maintain the industry’s position as a global aerospace leader. 

January 5, 2018  By Stacy Bradshaw

A university degree is also regarded as a valuable asset by the airline industry when hiring pilots with the potential to transition from the flight deck to executive management. Many excellent Canadian universities have aerospace engineering and other programs at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels to support the aerospace and aviation sectors. 


University of Fraser Valley | Fraser Valley, B.C.

University of Fraser Valley (UFV), in partnership with Coastal Pacific Aviation, a renowned flight training company located at Abbotsford International Airport, offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (Aviation) degree to provide the flight and business skills needed to succeed in the aviation industry. Graduates not only have the potential to become outstanding fixed-wing captains, they can also assume management responsibilities for an airline or airport. Graduates leave with a university degree, as well as private and commercial pilot licences. In the fourth year, students have the option to specialize in either heavy jet transport operations or professional flight instruction. As part of the aviation degree, students experience 200 hours of flight training in Cessna single engine and Piper multi-engine aircraft, as well as up to 175 hours of simulator training. In the classroom, students gain all the knowledge necessary to pass Transport Canada examinations, cover human factors affecting pilot decision-making and learn how to be a valuable member of an airline crew.

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Mount Royal University | Calgary, Alta.
Mount Royal University’s Aviation Diploma program combines flight training with an academic diploma, preparing students to handle the role of a pilot both in the air and on the ground. Students receive more than 420 hours of aviation education and will have a foundation in aviation-related studies including aviation economics and management, safety management systems, aircraft systems, advanced meteorology and GPS and crew management. Practical flying experience is accumulated on Mount Royal’s fleet of four, single-engine aircraft and three multi-engine aircraft. The fleet is equipped with the latest GPS avionics and is located at the Mount Royal Hanger at Springbank Airport just west of Calgary. While making flights across Western Canada, students earn more than 200 hours of total flying experience. In addition to the Commercial Aviation Diploma, Mount Royal also offers Private Pilot Licence training

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Carleton University | Ottawa, Ont.
Carleton Aerospace is an organized research group concentrating many researchers at Carleton University to encompass the full breadth and depth of aerospace and aeronautics. It features one of the largest groups of professors conducting aerospace research in the country. Aerospace engineering students at Carleton actively participate in design projects. Carleton is a long-time leader in aerospace and has chalked up a number of impressive firsts, including introducing the first Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering program in Canada, in 1988, and first undergraduate course on rotorcraft in Canada. The university has one of the largest undergraduate aerospace programs in Canada and one of the largest graduate aerospace populations. The university’s aerospace engineering program emphasis the development of analytical, computational and hands-on engineering and design skills related to the aerospace field. The broad range of topics and applications included in this discipline are covered in four main streams: Aerodynamics (aerospace propulsion and atmospheric flight); Aerospace Structures (lightweight vehicles for flight and space travel); Aerospace Electronics and Systems (aircraft control, communication and navigation systems) and Space Systems Design (astronautics and space/satellite technology). All four streams emphasize the development of practical and problem-solving skills based on hands-on laboratory and design work.

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Ryerson University | Toronto, Ont.
The mission of Ryerson University’s Aerospace Engineering graduate program is a combination of several interconnected objectives: to provide an excellent academic experience for graduate students within the realm of aerospace engineering that will better enable them to realize their potential upon graduation; to bring relevance to the program through strong interaction with the aerospace industry as it related to both education and research; and to conduct innovative, internationally recognized research across a spectrum of key areas that are of significant to the Canadian and global aerospace industries. This program focuses on the intellectual development of graduate students within the field of aerospace engineering. Students further develop critical and independent thinking throughout the wide spectrum of graduate courses offered. Located in the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre, a state-of-the-art building in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Department of Aerospace Engineering has garnered an esteemed reputation, due in part to its partnerships with industry and its contribution to the development of strategic plans for promoting the growth of the aerospace industry on provincial, national and international levels.

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University of Toronto (UTIAS) | Toronto, Ont.
The University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) offers many exciting research activities for prospective undergraduate and graduate students. The undergraduate program is offered through the Engineering Science program. At the graduate level, UTIAS offers research-intensive programs leading to MASc and PhD degrees and a professionally-oriented program leading to the MEng degree. The scope of research includes aeronautical engineering (aircraft flight systems, propulsion, aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics and structural mechanics) and space systems engineering (spacecraft dynamics and control, space robotics and mechatronics and microsatellite technology). 

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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ont.
The University of Waterloo’s Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) programs have been designed to provide a strong base for careers in a diverse array of aviation and aerospace industries. Through a strong partnership with the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC), students complete a Professional Pilot program where courses are offered over a period of six academic terms, beginning in second semester. Overall, the flight-training component is offered concurrently with the courses. These programs provide students with a solid and comprehensive grounding in aviation-related subjects such as geomatics, climatology, cartography and remote sensing. The BSc degree additionally provides candidates with a strong science and technology base while the BES provides expertise in areas such as tourism and geomatics. For students interested in combining a passion for flying with a love for the environment, Waterloo’s Geography and Aviation program takes a different approach to aviation studies. Instead of looking at the industry as a business, students explore it from the perspective of a geographer and pilot. In the Faculty of Environment classes, students will learn to interpret weather patterns, identify land formations, read multi-layer maps and use tools such as geographic information systems and remote sensing.

Learn more: www.uwaterloo/aviation

Western University | London, Ont.
The Commercial Aviation Management (CAM) program at Western University is a stepping-stone to a career in aviation. CAM students graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Studies (BMOS), with specialized courses in aviation management. Western is the first Canadian university to offer an aviation management program and the only university to offer a four-year university degree in Aviation Management. The CAM program was developed in response to the changing Canadian aviation industry, which is increasingly requiring a university degree. Small aviation management class sizes (usually around 35) allow students to receive individual attention from distinguished aviation professors. Those in the flight option, with flight training provided by neighbouring Diamond Flight Centre, will additionally be licenced to commercially fly aircraft.

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University of Windsor | Windsor, Ont.
The University of Windsor’s Aeronautics Leadership program provides students with a unique opportunity to combine a university education with flight training. Students take classes on the University of Windsor campus in areas of arts, humanities, social sciences, business, science and engineering. The Aeronautics Leadership curriculum is diverse and flexible, giving students the chance to explore various areas of study. This education is coupled with commercial flight training, which is run by Journey Air at the Windsor International Airport.

Journey Air’s Professional Pilot Training program accepts students with little or no flight experience and provides them with the knowledge and training required to become a licenced commercial pilot with a multi-engine instrument rating within the first three years of study. Aeronautics Leadership students have 24-hour, seven day a week access to Journey Air’s modern facilities at the Windsor International Airport. This hands-on program and curriculum are fully integrated and ensure that each student receives the training required in a logical and efficient manner.

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Concordia University | Montreal, Que.
For graduates with longer-term executive career ambitions in aviation and aerospace, the Aviation Management Institute (AMI) at Concordia University offers courses in aviation management and leadership development. Part of Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, AMI has established partnerships with leading universities and international aviation organizations. It has developed e-learning programs for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Airports Council International (ACI).

AMI offers online programs such as the Aviation Security (AVSEC) Professional Management Certificate (PMC). Created in partnership with ICAO, this is the first and only certificate of its kind in the world, designed to provide specialized training focused on the evolving and critical area of aviation security. AMI’s Airport Executive Leadership program helps to develop airport industry leaders and advance the professionalism of airport management practices. 

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McGill University | Montreal, Que.
Since 1951, McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) has been devoted to the highest level of education, public service and scholarship in the field of air and space law. The ISAL’s educational program is unique in the world as it covers both the breadth and depth of air and space law governing the ever-expanding range of aviation and space activities at both national and international levels. Students are encouraged to actively engage in international and national, public and private, legal and regulatory challenges related to the conduct of aviation and space operations. The ISAL’s courses are taught by some of the world’s most accomplished experts mostly holding doctoral degrees in law and having extensive practical experience. In recognition of the Institute’s ground-breaking achievements in air law education and research, the IASL is the only institution to have been awarded the prestigious Edward Warner Award by ICAO.




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