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Course content

Upgrade is possible to the Diploma SCSE and MSc SCSE courses.

This modular postgraduate Certificate course is designed to prepare students for work in the demanding field of Systems Safety Engineering (SSE) by exposing them to the latest science and technology within this field. The discipline of SSE has developed over the last half of the twentieth century. It can be viewed as a process of systematically analysing systems to evaluate risks, with the aim of influencing design in order to reduce risks, i.e. to produce safer products. In mature industries, such as aerospace and nuclear power, the discipline has been remarkably successful, although there have been notable exceptions to the generally good safety record, e.g. Fukushima, Buncefield and the Heathrow 777 accident.

Various trends pose challenges for traditional approaches to SSE. For example, classical hazard and safety analysis techniques deal poorly with computers and software where the dominant failure causes are errors and oversights in requirements or design. Thus these techniques need extending and revising in order to deal effectively with modern systems. Also, in our experience, investigation of issues to do with safety of computer systems have given some useful insights into traditional system safety engineering, e.g. into the meaning of important concepts such as the term hazard. The optional module allows students to investigate such areas as the contribution of software, human factors or operational factors to SSE in more depth.

Learning Outcomes

The course aims to provide participants with a preliminary grounding and practical experience in the use of state-of-the-art techniques for development of safety critical systems, together with an understanding of the principles behind these techniques so that they can make sound engineering judgements during the design and deployment of such a system. Graduates completing the course will be equipped to participate and in safety-critical systems engineering related aspects of industry and commerce.

New areas of teaching will be developed in response to new advances in the field as well as the requirements of the organisations that employ our graduates.

The course aims to equip students with knowledge, understanding and practical application of the essential components of System Engineering, to complement previously gained knowledge and skills. A York System Safety Engineering graduate will have a preliminary knowledge and understanding of the essential areas, as represented by the core modules.

Transferable Skills

Information-retrieval skills are an integrated part of many modules; students are expected to independently acquire information from on-line and traditional sources. These skills are required within nearly all modules.

Numeracy is required and developed in some modules. Time management is an essential skill for any student in the course. The formal timetable has a substantial load of lectures and labs. Students must fit their private study in around these fixed points. In addition, Open Assessments are set with rigid deadlines which gives students experience of balancing their time between the different commitments.

All students in the University are eligible to take part in the York Award in which they can gain certified transferable skills. This includes the Languages for All programme which allows students to improve their language skills.

Visit the System Safety Engineering - PGCert page on the University of York website for more details!

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