Safety and Risk Management (distance learning only) MSc/Diploma
- Delivery: Distance Learning
- Programme type: Taught Programme
- Study location:
- Entry date:
- January, September
Public awareness of hazards and risks has enhanced the importance of safety assessment and management in today’s increasingly litigious society. Worldwide the burden of responsibility for health and safety is shifting towards those who own, manage and work in industrial and commercial organisations. Legal reform is tending to replace detailed industry specific legislation with a modern approach in which, where possible, goals and general principles are set and the onus is on organisations to show how they manage to achieve these goals.
The management of safety and risk needs to be integrated into the overall management of the organisation. It should be appropriate and cost-effective without dampening the innovative entrepreneurial spirit of employees with inflexible bureaucratic rules and procedures. An organisation’s exposure to potential hazards needs to be managed so as to reduce the chance of loss and mitigate any effects. Risk and safety issues need to be evaluated in a structured and calculated manner but in the light of an overall organisational strategy.
The MSc/PG Diploma programme in Safety and Risk Management aims to provide students with advanced knowledge of risk assessment techniques, the public and individual perception of risk, and how decisions are made in competitive business markets. The focus is on practical applications of safety methodologies, ergonomics and human factors, and safety and risk management techniques.
All of these skills will be drawn together to undertake complex qualitative and quantitative risk assessments. The core of the programme is the management of safety, but it is set within a broader remit where safety issues are part of a general risk management system with a balance of financial, quality and environmental concerns. The overall aim of the programme is to develop students’ skills and personal qualities to be able to undertake safety studies and manage safety and risk to the best national and international standards.
This MSc degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng (Hons) undergraduate first degree. See the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) for further information.
The MSc and PgDip degrees have also been accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Graduates are eligible to join IOSH as Graduate members and then undertake an initial professional development process that leads to Chartered membership.
This programme and the associate programme Safety, Risk and Reliability Engineering, have been developed with the assistance of staff and ex-graduates working in relevant companies.
We are also developing links with a wide range of companies in the risk management fields.
There is an increasing demand for personnel to be able to cross the divide between the technical expertise of safety engineering and the management of an organisation and its employees.
To be effective in this role requires a good understanding of many complex safety issues whilst appreciating the wider picture. In addition the contribution of safety related losses in a business strategy is often overlooked. For example, minor slips, trips and manual handling operations account for the largest proportion of staff time lost to work-related ill-health and injury.
It is thus important that a safety and risk manager should have a good understanding of the major safety issues likely to affect the function of the organisation.
The MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Safety, Risk and Reliability Engineering is only available by attendance-free distance learning. The programme comprises eight courses. All courses have written examinations and some have compulsory coursework elements. MSc students are also required to complete an individual project (dissertation).
Risk Assessment and Safety ManagementSemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
This courses aims to give students an appreciation of risk from individual and societal perspectives as well as understanding the basic principles of risk assessment and modelling and how safety management works in practice. Subjects include:
The concept and perceptions of hazards and risk. Risk attitudes and impact on decision-making; Interpretations of probability; Quantitative and qualitative aspects of risk; Modelling of decision making under conditions of risk; Inherent Safety; HAZOP; Safety management systems such as BS EN ISO 14000 series and other standards; Application of Safety Management Systems to failed systems and as a preventative tool.
Human Factors MethodsSemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
This course will equip students from academic and/or industrial backgrounds with knowledge on, and the means to deploy, a wide range of specialist human factors techniques. The emphasis is on method selection, application, combination and integration within existing business practices. Students will develop a critical awareness of what methods exist, how to apply them in practice and their principle benefits and limitations. The syllabus includes:
Introduction to human factors problems and human factors methods; Task analysis; Cognitive task analysis; Human error identification; Situation awareness assessment; Mental workload assessment; Team assessment; Interface analysis; Design methods; Performance time prediction; Method integration; Human factors integration
Human Factors in the Design and Evaluation of Control RoomsSemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
The course will equip students from academic and/or industrial backgrounds with in-depth knowledge on, insights into, and the means to deploy a wide range of specialist techniques relevant to the ergonomic design and evaluation of control rooms. The emphasis is on key areas of control room operations and on actionable ways to deploy theory on human capabilities and limitations in order to improve performance, safety, efficiency and overall operator well being. The course covers the following key areas:
Introduction to humans and control rooms; Competencies; Training; Procedures; Communication processes; Manning and workload; Automation; Supervision; Shift patterns; Control room layout; Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA); Alarms; The control room environment.
Fire Safety, Explosions and Process SafetySemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
Introduces students to the basic principles of fire safety science and engineering, and develops skills in associated modelling leading to an understanding of principal fire/explosion related issues in process safety. Subjects include:
Objectives of fire safety science and engineering; Fire chemistry: stoichiometric burning, ignition, flammability limits; Mechanisms of heat transfer; The burning process; flashpoint, firepoint, flame spread; Fires in enclosures; computer-based models of fire development. Flashover & backdraught; Life threat, human behaviour, evacuation; Fire severity & fire resistance. Probabilistic modelling; Explosions: deflagrations, detonations, fire-balls; Fire related aspects of process safety. Piper Alpha disaster.
Environmental Impact AssessmentSemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
Provides the candidate with the knowledge and understanding of the principles and processes of the Environmental Impact Assessment. By the end of the course, the student should be familiar with the European EIA legislation and its translation into the Scottish planning system, and be able to demonstrate an understanding of the EIA process, the tools and the agents involved in an EIA and the possible problems with using EIA as a decision making tool. . It is also intended that the student will be able to appreciate the purpose of the EIA process from a number of perspectives; that of a developer, an EIA practitioner and a policy maker. The course plan includes:
Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment; European EIA Legislation; Screening and Scoping; Baseline Studies, Analysis and Prediction of Impact; Consultation, Review and Monitoring; Beyond EIA: Strategic and Social Impact Assessment
Learning from DisastersSemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
Gives students an in depth understanding of some of the classic disasters and their consequences by using a range of practical accident investigation techniques. Students will learn to analyse complex histories in order to find the underlying root cause. Topics covered:
Accident models; Root cause and accident analysis techniques concentrating on events and causal factors analysis, barrier analysis, change analysis and the management oversight and risk tree; Review a number of famous disasters including Piper Alpha, Herald of Free Enterprise, Bhopal, Clapham Junction etc.; Identify lessons learned from these disasters; Review some of the major safety lessons from historical disasters; Analyse a real disaster in detail using a number of practical techniques
Project Management, Theory & PracticeSemesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
Provides students with an understanding of the concepts and practices of construction project management used to provide value added services to clients within the constraints of time, cost, quality sustainability and health and safety management.
Value & Risk Management (M)Semesters 1 & 2 (mandatory)
Aims to introduce the concepts of value and risk management, apply them to strategic and tactical problems and illustrate their tools and techniques through case study.
Topics covered: VRM and the procurement process; an introduction to value management; value engineering - function analysis and other VE tools; risk, uncertainty and the construction industry; risk and procurement of PPP Projects; the risk management framework; sources; events and effects of project risk; tools and techniques of risk management; risk response and mitigation; client briefing; a review of North American practice.
For the project component of the programme distance learners are likely to develop something based in their country of residence with advice and supervision from staff in the School. This may well include work with a local company or may involve independent study. Individual arrangements will be set up with each student.
Pauline Thompson has been working on our safety MScs since 2002. She teaches three of the courses on each of the two safety programmes, has contributed to most of the other courses within the two programmes and supervises many of the student dissertations on these programmes. Her research includes many aspects of risk analysis and sustainability with applications in civil engineering.
For MSc level entry applicants must have:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area. For PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.
For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:
- Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
- Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation.
- Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted.
There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.
Non-graduating study at masters level:
- Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above.
Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
Distance learning students
Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.
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|Fee||Full-time||Part-time||Distance learning**||Full-time||Part-time||Distance learning**|
* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.
** Fee per course
Scholarships & bursaries
Alumni Scholarship Scheme
Architectural Engineering Scholarships
Scottish applicants or applicants resident in Scotland to the Architectural Engineering MSc programme
British Chamber of Commerce in Germany Foundation Scholarship (German students)
Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries
Applicants must be Scottish by birth, have at least one parent born in Scotland or have been continuously resident in Scotland for a period of three years for the purpose of secondary or tertiary education.
Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
International (Commonwealth citizens)
Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
International (Commonwealth citizens)
East Lothian Educational Trust
Applicants must be a resident of the old county of East Lothian (ie excluding Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig.)
Entente Cordiale Scholarships
French nationals aged 35 or under.
Students who have applied via the Heriot-Watt India office. Please note that this award is available for study at our Edinburgh campus only.
Japan Scotland Association Scholarship
Japanese nationals planning to enter a postgraduate course at Masters level at a Scottish University.
Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust
Restricted to residents of the UK who are a son, daughter, spouse, widow or widower of a commercial traveller, chemist or grocer.
Local Education Authority Awards
Panasonic Trust Fellowships
Specified courses only
Part-time Fee Grant (SAAS)
See SAAS residence conditions.
Postgraduate Student Allowance Scheme (SAAS)
EU and UK applicants who meet the SAAS criteria on eligible courses
Remission of Fees (families of staff)
Spouses/civil partners and children of members of staff, also retired members of staff of the University
Royal Caledonian Schools Trust
Applicants must be of Scots parentage (conditions apply - see below)
SAAS (Postgraduate Students Allowances Scheme) Tuition Fee Loan
EU and UK applicants who meet the SAAS criteria on PSAS nominated courses and who have accepted an offer to study from the School of the Built Environment
SFC Key Skills Funded Places (SBE)
Applicants resident in Scotland to the Civil Engineering and Construction Management MSc programme who have accepted an offer to study from the School of the Built Environment
Scotland's Saltire Scholarships
Citizens of Canada, the People's Republic of China, India or USA (2 awards for each country)
Employees of Heriot-Watt University
West Lothian Educational Trust
Individuals must have originated in West Lothian or have lived there for the last 3 years.