Aeronautical Principles Certificate

Program Overview

This 7-credit certificate program, which represents a partnership between Valparaiso University and Eagle Aircraft (located at Porter County Airport), consists of three separate ground instruction courses, each of which prepares students for a specific FAA rating/certificate level. Coursework is provided for the following ratings:

Private Pilot License: 2 credits

Instrumental Rating: 3 credits

Commercial Pilot License: 2 credits

These courses incorporate principles of physics, mechanics, and flight, as well as principles of navigation, radio, and weather. They also introduce students to FAA flight regulations and requirements.

Students may take one, two, or all three courses, with each serving as the prerequisite for the next, but in order to earn the certificate, all three must be successfully completed, including earning the respective FAA rating.

The program may be of particular interest to a variety of degree seeking graduate students at Valparaiso University, but it is open to any student meeting the admission requirement for the Graduate School. International students typically require special Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) approval in order to complete the flight training component of the program, which is part of the requirement for actual certifications. Thus, before enrolling in this program, international students should check their eligibility and procedures for obtaining the appropriate visa with both the Office of International Programs at Valparaiso University and Eagle Aircraft.

Earning Pilot Ratings

The Aeronautical Principles certificate is limited to ground school training, with each ground school course requiring the passing of a final written exam. Satisfactory passing of this exam leads to the instructor's required endorsement to allow the student to sit for the FAA written exam. Thus, a student does not earn a rating simply by passing the course; the student must also pass the FAA test. However, passing the course exam provides a strong indication that the student can pass the FAA exam.

The rating earned through the written exam allows the student two years to complete the required flight training and pass the flight exam, although students are strongly encouraged to begin their flight training during or shortly after they complete the ground school course. Flight training is offered separately by Eagle Aircraft and, while part of the necessary procedure to earn a pilot rating, is not part of the academic cousework offered through Valparaiso University, Thus, in addition to passing the FAA written exam based on ground school course, the student  must complete a specified number of flight training hours, recieve the endorsement of the flight instructor, and pass the FAA test.

Tuition & Fees

Students pay the regular graduate tuition for the ground instruction courses. Textbook and course materials are extra. Flight training is not included in the graduate tuition and represents a separate expense. The requirement for the private pilot's license is typically a minimum of 35 hours of flight time (about $6,800); another 40 hours of flight time (about $7,000) is required for an instrumentation rating. To obtain a commercial pilot's license, an estimated total of about $20,000 - $24,000 is required (this includes the private pilot's license and instrumentation rating flight fees of $6,800 and $7,000). For more information, students may contact Eagle Aircraft at 219-464-0132 or This program does not qualify for tuition remission.

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