Safety Engineering (Industry-Based): MSc/PGDip


Safety is a prominent and crucial area of engineering but is rarely taught as a discipline in its own right. This is perhaps because it combines many aspects of management with specific technical knowledge that engineers only acquire once they have embarked upon their careers. The Safety Engineer must embrace the complex associations of the legal, management, cultural and engineering issues. In response to this we offer a course which arms experienced engineers with the knowledge to tackle technical or managerial roles in safety-critical industries with confidence.

The course is taught on a part-time basis and is particularly aimed at mature students holding responsible positions in industry, such as senior engineers and managers but it is also recent to a wide range of industries. The environment within which professional engineers have to operate changes rapidly as both legislation and societal concern evolve. For this reason the content of the courses is constantly being revised to reflect those changes.

The overall aim of this course is to provide an innovative, high-quality learning opportunity. Another aim is to allow students to learn from each other and from shared activities. Many modules include a site visit and/or an evening function, usually including a speaker relevant to the course content.

Academic support for students is arranged by the allocation of a primary and secondary tutor; frequently the primary tutor is also the student's group tutor. It is the responsibility of the primary tutor to provide academic guidance to the individual student about his/her dissertation and technical paper. The role of the secondary tutor is to replace the primary tutor in cases of absence and to act as moderator for the assessment of the dissertation and technical paper.

Please note that due to UKBA restrictions on part-time study, international students cannot obtain a study visa for this course. Therefore this course is open to UK / EU students only.

Course Structure

The MSc in Safety Engineering takes 2 years, part-time and comprises two individual parts: taught material and individual dissertation.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Safety Engineering takes 18 months, part-time and comprises purely of taught material. No individual dissertation is required.

To achieve either award, students will have studied 8 modules in total; four per academic year. Each module includes one week of full-time intensive lectures and group work followed by a period during which students work on a group or individual coursework project. The modules are designed in such a way that they are self-contained and, with a few exceptions, can be sat in any order.*


Some modules include a site visit and/or an evening function. These are considered part of the course and are not optional extras.

* exceptions are ENGR523: Engineering Research Methods, which is taken at the start of the first year, and ENGR529: Risk Analysis which is taken by second year students.


MSc students must submit an individual dissertation consisting on a substantial piece of literature-based research work in the area of study.

Individual Dissertation (MSc students only)

The individual dissertation normally consists of a substantial piece of literature-based research work in the area of study. Ideally, the literature-based work is supplemented by practical research undertaken specifically for the course (for example, a safety culture survey of a workplace or the measurement of radiographic spectra of particular materials). Most topics are linked to industry, either directly or indirectly and are often related to the student's specialisation and employment.

Choice of Project Topic

Students must agree the choice of topic with his or her tutor. Where a student's dissertation is company based, it is desirable that there should be an industrial advisor to ensure the brief is agreed and any issues are addressed. The project should normally be related to the subjects covered on the MSc course. By the end of November in the second year, students must produce a 600-word summary describing the objectives and content of his or her dissertation.

Writing and Submission

Students are allocated a tutor who will provide academic guidance. Students should ensure that their tutor receives a summary of the dissertation topic sufficiently early for it to be given proper consideration before writing commences. Having agreed the topic, students should submit a draft of the chapter contents list and the introduction to their tutors. As writing progresses, students are also advised to send their tutor sections of the final dissertation for comment. Students should arrange to meet their tutor once a term to discuss progress.

Guidance on writing the dissertation is also available online and from the course administrator.

Dissertations are judged on quality, not quantity and students should aim for around 10,000 words. Dissertations exceeding 13,000 words may be returned for modification before being marked.

The deadline for receipt of the dissertation is 31st of August in the student's final year

How to Apply

The minimum requirement for acceptance onto this course is an Honours degree, class 2:2 in a related technological subject. In exceptional circumstances, applicants with substantial industrial experience in a senior position may be accepted without these requirements.

Students who do not have a first degree can be admitted onto the PGDip course and transfer to the MSc after a successful first year.

Please visit our online application portal MyLancaster to apply. Please note, you will need to supply certificates and transcripts from your previous qualifications, academic and/or professional references from two referees and a copy of your CV.

For the latest course fees please see Lancaster University's website.

Please contact our admissions team if you have any queries.