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    Department of Computer Science Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    13 December 2019

This course will provide you with the educational background required to become a leader in the field of safety critical systems engineering, whether you are currently a practising - or aspiring - professional in this area.

Products and services are taking on more authority over activities that have the capability to pose a risk to human lives. System safety professionals address a web of interlinked contributing factors to assess the safety of these products or services.

This course will provide you with the opportunity to become a practitioner in safety-critical systems engineering, or to enhance your existing practice, and to reflect on the implications of your work both for your current role and for society as a whole. Three strands of work will develop your skills: safety-critical system safety thinking, skills as a safety engineer and professionalism.

The course will ensure you are better equipped to make a contribution to your organisation. You will gain a thorough grounding and practical experience in the use of techniques for the development, operation and assurance of the safety characteristics of systems or services that have safety implications. We will explore the principles behind these techniques to ensure that sound safety engineering judgments can be made. You will investigate the latest research and focus on advanced practice in a number of areas. 

The course employs the extensive research and industrial experience of the developers of the work packages you will address. It brings together safety professionals from many different domains (aerospace, military, automotive, railway, nuclear) to ensure your learning is as varied and as comprehensive as possible.

This course is also available as an MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering, or a PGCert in Systems Safety Engineering.


This course is recognised by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) as partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Course content

The course can be taken on a full or part time basis, meaning it is very flexible and can easily fit in around work commitments.

Each 10 credit module will require you to attend University for five days. You will undertake intensive teaching sessions based on lectures, case-studies and exercises.  


You will undertake a total of 120 modules during this course. There are 90 credits of taught modules in total throughout the course (both full and part time options). Seven of these modules are core, and two are optional. You will also undertake a 30 credit critical evaluation module.

Core modules

  • Foundations of System Safety Engineering (10 credits)
  • Systems Engineering for Safety (10 credits)
  • Hazard and Risk Assessment  (10 credits)
  • System Safety Assessment  (10 credits)
  • Safety Management Systems  (10 credits)
  • Safety Case Development & Review (10 credits)
  • Computers & Safety (10 credits)

Option modules

Choose two from:

  • Software Requirements (10 credits)
  • Human Factors for Safety (10 credits)
  • Through Life Safety (10 credits)
  • Security for Safety Critical Systems (10 credits)

Research project

  • Critical evaluation module (30 credits)

The critical evaluation considers the state of the art relating to one aspect of systems safety engineering. You will determine the gaps in this state of the art through a literature review. You'll also outline a proposal for the design and evaluation elements required to address at least one of these gaps in the knowledge.

Careers and skills

The vast majority of people who undertake this course are already working in industrial fields such as aeronautical engineering, marine engineering, naval and military fields, automotive applications, gas and electric services engineers. Undertaking this course will equip you to progress within these fields.

Career opportunities

  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Safety manager
  • Naval engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • Gas or electrical services engineer

 Transferable skills

  • Information-retrieval
  • Numeracy
  • Time management

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

The course is taught through a variety of lectures, seminars and case study exercises undertaken in small groups of around six.

Teaching location

The Department of Computer Science is based on Campus East. Teaching takes place in the specialist CPD suite in the Ron Cooke Hub, also on Campus East. This includes a large seminar room and break out rooms, seating area and refreshment facilities.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Each module has an open assessment associated. This means that you undertake the assessment in your own time away from the University. This open assessment, and any associated work packages, is designed to consolidate and further deepen your knowledge, skills and approaches to the subject matter covered in the module. Of course, it is also designed to assess your progress.

Visit the Safety Critical Systems Engineering - PgDip page on the University of York website for more details!




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