Purdue Introduces “Degree In 3” Program


Getting an aviation degree in three years instead of four could save students $20K to $30K under Purdue University’s new “Degree in 3” program. But it would also more quickly help fill the pilot and technician pipeline that Purdue, among others, feels is essential to countering an expected shortage of talent in the coming years.

Rather than stick to the traditional academic year, students in the Degree in 3 program will attend classes and fly during the summer. “The three-year program leverages better flying weather during Indiana’s summers and improves our aircraft utilization,” according to Brian Dillman, associate professor in aviation and transportation technology at Purdue.

Central to Purdue’s slicing 25 percent from the traditional four-year scheme is “new flight simulator technology that provides better training and preparation for professional flight students.” This includes Purdue’s new Hawker 900XP full-motion simulator.

“There is a global shortage of pilots, and we are part of the solution,” said Manoj Patankar, the Raisbeck Engineering Professor of Aviation Technology and head of the school. “Purdue is certainly leading the pack in terms of being able to graduate students who are job-ready, allowing them to enter the job market sooner.”

Not all students will qualify. It’s required that the students “earn their private pilot certificate no later than June 1 and begin classes during the summer semester of their first year.” And, according to the school, it will send “invitations to admitted students who are most likely to qualify for the program.”

KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. Purdue has been firing all cylinders for years now. If I were hiring people again, I’d hire their graduates. Gotta say I’d likely have a long list of schools whose grads would be met with much skepticism (I’m looking at you, Ivy League).