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Safety Engineering

Course Description

The Master in 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 is an advanced academic programme comprising a total of 60 ECTS. The programme consists of a group of common compulsory courses (23 ECTS) and a group of option-based courses (22 ECTS each).

The participant selects one of two options:
- Process Safety
- Prevention.

Each option contains a number of compulsory courses (16 ECTS) and elective courses (6 ECTS). In addition, students complete a Master's thesis (15 ECTS).

The entire programme can be completed in one year of full-time study. However, to facilitate the participation of active professionals, the programme can also be followed on a two-year, part-time basis. To accommodate these participants, lectures are held during the academic year on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning.

Participants interested in the mainly technical aspects of safety are encouraged to select the Process Safety option, which is geared towards the study of safe and reliable plant operation. Courses for this option are taught exclusively in English, opening it up to an international audience.

The Prevention option includes non-technical aspects and routinely refers to the local Belgian context. This option leads to the "Certificaat Preventieadviseur Niveau 1" as defined by Belgian law. Part of the teaching for this option will be in Dutch.


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 paths]]
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.

Entry Requirements

Holders of an academic Master degree in Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry), a Master degree in Engineering (including Architecture) or in Bioscience Engineering, or a Master degree in Nautical Sciences are admitted to the programme. Others may be admitted based on a review of their academic curriculum and professional experience. Candidates should have a good oral and written command of English, and (except for native speakers) are required to demonstrate their proficiency when applying to the programme. Candidates choosing the option 'Prevention' are required to have a good knowledge of oral and written Dutch. More information: www.kuleuven.be/admissions

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