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Course content

What is the Master of Safety Engineering about? 

 The Master of Safety Engineering will prepare you to improve and realise safety in many different areas. The programme trains you in prevention policy and safety management systems, the safety of products, processes, and installations, qualitative risk analysis techniques, and fire and explosion safety. You’ll obtain detailed knowledge of technical and managerial process safety concepts with regard to the whole life cycle of a production plant, and risk evaluations based on qualitative and quantitative methods. 


The Master of Safety Engineering comprises a total of 60 credits. The programme consists of a group of common compulsory courses (23 credits) that are taken up by every student. This party contains courses with themes that are of interest to every safety professional, irrespective of the specialisation option. All courses in this part are taught in English. This relatively large core part ensures that every student is given the same broad basic education about the specialised field of safety.

After a general introduction to safety engineering, prevention policy and safety management systems are treated. Safety of products, processes and installations are discussed next and qualitative risk analysis techniques, fire and explosion safety complete this section.

Furthermore, students choose between one of two available options (22 credits each): Option Process Safety or Option Prevention. In turn, each option contains a number of compulsory courses (16 credits) and elective courses (6 credits). 

The Option Prevention focuses on occupational safety and health-related issues. The compulsory courses in this option also discuss non-technical aspects concerning safety. This option is mainly of interest to candidates who want to obtain the Certificaat Preventieadviseur Niveau 1.

The Option Process Safety provides students with a detailed knowledge of technical and managerial process safety concepts with regard to the whole life cycle of a production plant from concept to design, construction and operation to decommissioning. Safety concepts of representative operational units are presented in a series of case studies. Examples of required safety oriented competences in industrial operations are also discussed. It is shown how risk evaluations and estimates based on qualitative and quantitative methods are performed.

Each student also needs to choose elective courses either from a short indicative list, or from any Master’s programme within the Group of Science, Engineering and Technology. 

Finally, students have to complete a Master’s thesis of 15 credits, which represents an effort that is consistent with a programme of 60 credits in total.

The programme can be completed normally in one-year on a full-time basis. However, to facilitate the participation of working professionals, it can also be followed on a two year part-time basis.


After finishing this advanced Master's programme, the student should:

  • have a broadly based knowledge of the different scientific disciplines that are needed to study and analyse the diverse technical and non-technical issues related to safety technology, risk management and loss prevention.
  • have acquired the capabilities and competences to perform or co-ordinate a scientifically sound analysis of safety related problems and their solutions within the governing boundary conditions (legal, organisational, technical, environmental, etc.).

To carry out the programme's objectives, teaching activities consist of a combination of classroom lectures, practically oriented seminars and site visits. The instructors themselves come from the academic world both inside and outside K.U.Leuven, or have been recruited from reputable industrial companies because of their long-standing expertise and willingness to contribute to teaching and training.

Career perspectives

In many countries, there is a permanent and growing need for scientists and engineers who are knowledgeable and trained at the academic level in the field of safety engineering and safety management. This is due to the increasing complexity of industrial production processes and the growing number of rules and regulations both in Europe and internationally.

Graduates of the Master of Science in Safety Engineering programme find employment in small national and large multinational industrial companies at home and abroad or are employed in private and/or governmental organisations. Such organisations need experts with the ability to conduct research, carry out analyses, and perform inspections, monitoring and certification in the broad field of safety.

Moreover, in some countries (including Belgium), companies beyond a certain size dealing with specific risks are required by law to hire or even employ a certified prevention advisor. This certification can be acquired through the Prevention option of the Master of Science in Safety Engineering (Certificaat Preventieadviseur Niveau 1).

It is also possible for graduates to begin a career as an independent consultant with expertise in safety and environmental areas.

Visit the Safety Engineering MSc page on the KU Leuven website for more details!





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