Railway Systems Safety and Risk MSc 2017-18This course also available for 2018-19 entry
About the course
Safety is a deeply held value in the railway industry around the globe, but assuring safe rail transport is challenging. Railways are large, complex systems often operating across national boundaries with differing regulatory requirements.
The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) has been established at the University of Huddersfield to conduct research and develop training to support the rail industry around the world.In particular, the IRR has brought together experienced professionals who have wide experience of safety and risk in the rail industry, and the underlying scientific methods.
The course is a joint effort of the University of Huddersfield and internationally recognized rail safety experts which ensures added value for you and the industry as a whole. The content knowledge is delivered in a clear programme for teaching academic skills that are relevant for prospective railway safety experts. Guest-speakers may vary from year to year.
Using this experience, we have developed aMaster's course designed that provides you with the toolbox to develop into inspirational safety experts and leaders for the railway industry. The content and structure of the course allows you to undertake the course full-time or on a part-time basis, whilst still working.
25 / 09 / 2017
2 years part-time
The normal entry requirement for the course is an Honours degree (2:1 or above) or an equivalent professional qualification recognised as being equivalent to an honours degree in the following subjects or a closely related appropriate science subject area:
• Engineering/technical sciences
• Social sciences and psychology
Other qualifications or experience, which demonstrate that a candidate possesses appropriate knowledge and skills at honours degree level may be acceptable and will be considered on an individual basis.
Prospective applicants with qualifications which are not considered to be technical or numerate will be given an interview to assess their ability to understand and apply key mathematical concepts.
In addition you are required to write a supporting letter which explains:
• Your personal motivation for working in safety and risk for the railways
• Any prior experience you have working on safety and risk topics either inside or outside the railway industry or any experience of working in the railway industry.
• Your personal learning objectives
For applicants whose first language or language of instruction is not English you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum of IELTS 6.5 overall with no element lower than 6.0, will be considered acceptable, or equivalent.
Visa and other requirements for international students are the responsibility of the students themselves.
The academic qualifications and supporting letter will be used to decide on suitability for the course.
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The course is structured in block mode to enable efficient multi-disciplinary learning and efficient use of contact time.
Systematic Safety for RSSR
Safety and risk often introduce fierce debates about what is true, what is good, what is possible, what is justified, what is viable and what is sustainable. This module investigates those fundamental questions by focussing on the systems approach to safety. The model treats the principles and philosophy safety, safety systems, system engineering and safety management in general terms and their application to railways in the past, the present and the future.
Learning from Accidents
The hallmark of modern safety analysis is that we learn from accidents to prevent them from happening again and that the correct mitigations are in place. We have gone from a reactive approach to safety in the early days of rail to this proactive mind-set. This module aims to provide the student with a critical understanding of the lessons from history regarding railway safety and how we learn to avoid accidents in the future based upon these events.
Safety Decision Making
In a regulated industry it is important that the developers, operators and regulators of rail systems have a shared view of the acceptable level of risk. This module focuses on the question: How safe is safe enough? The module treats moral and ethical dimensions of safety decision-making, established techniques for decision making and the practical implications of this in science, and under different legal and regulatory regimes.
This module focuses on a risk analyst’s toolbox. This module aims to provide you with a broad understanding of the tools and techniques used to identify and prioritise hazards/risks, and then assess how effective additional risk controls would be. The module has a high mathematical content and a dedicated session will be used to teach safety-relevant mathematical and statistical techniques.
Engineering Safety Management
This module examines how Engineering Safety Management (ESM) is used to ensure that new engineering designs are introduced safely onto railway systems. The module focuses on the international standards EN50126, EN50128 and EN50129 for railway safety and reliability, and provides a means of synthesizing the lessons learnt throughout the railway safety domain.
Human Factors, Culture and Competency
In any safety-critical environment, people are both a major strength and a major weakness. The railway system is a complex interaction of humans and technology so problems are bound to arise. This module aims to give students an overview of how human factors affect the safety and the complexity of the system.
Safety Regulation and Approvals
This module addresses safety approval of new systems and ongoing regulation of operational systems, with a particular focus on the regulatory regime and economic constraints that apply. This takes into account regulatory best practice and the legal basis for regulation, focussing on safety law.
Safety Leadership and Communication
To be effective, safety managers and engineers need to be able to convince others to follow their lead in improving safety or, where safety performance is already good, agree that additional interventions are not justified. This requires strong analytical skills, subject mastery and the ability to communicate messages effectively. This module will focus on combining the content of all prior modules in the MSc RSSR and managerial skills to provide students with the building blocks to become inspirational safety leaders.
The project provides the opportunity required within an MSc to undertake a major programme of advanced independent work. Where possible the project is carried out in collaboration with industry.
Our part time Master's course normally takes two to three years to complete. We recognise the pressures on busy part-time students and professionals, so we offer interim awards of Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma - this means that you can usually exit with a qualification after one or two years.
We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.
We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.
We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.
Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.
When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.
Safety is required by law in all governmental bodies, infrastructure managers, railway operators and other industry partners. The course transfers skills required for safety experts and managers on an academic level. The course combines academic knowledge about safety and risk on the railways with the operational implementation of current safety regulation. The course also transfers skills for operational safety research based on sound academic risk knowledge.
The railway commercial industry partners comprises train operating companies, rail infrastructure managers, train manufacturers, building and maintenance contractors for railways and stations, consultancy firms and various supply industries.
Careers may be found in governmental and semi-governmental organisations rail regulatory bodies, accident investigation bodies the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland and potentially the British Transport Police.Commercial industries include train operating companies, rail infrastructure managers, train manufacturers, building and maintenance contractors for railways and stations, consultancy firms and various supply industries.
Beyond the UK, projects in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Far East are creating significant demand for safety practitioners in the rail industry supply chain, clients, local regulators and consultancies offering support to all of these. UK consultancies and suppliers are playing an important role supporting this growth and recognize that specialists in systems safety are in high demand around the globe.
For part time students, this course can provide you with the right stepping stone for advancement in the safety department.
Teaching and assessment
Experts from across the railway industry, will deliver key lectures and share their experiences of applying safety and risk methods. The contributions of industry partners ensure that you will benefit from relevant industry experience.
The delivery of the course is by block mode and is centred round intensive training during a full contact week. University lecturers and guest speakers aim to convey content knowledge through lectures and exercises. The week is preceded by a two week period of preparation where you are expected to prepare for the contact week.
After the contact week, you will perform graded exercises which may include a graded block-test, a graded block-assignment or both.
18% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, tutorials etc.
Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.
Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results.
Huddersfield is the UK's only university where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*
*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.
How much will it cost me?
Course fees for full-time study are £9,500 for Home/EU students and £17,800 for overseas students.
Course fees for a single module are £2,300 for Home/EU students and £3,560 for overseas. Conditions apply for students taking single modules.
Our research courses involve in-depth study of a specific field across the engineering discipline. If you wish to undertake longer term, highly focussed research, we offer a number of flexible routes to PhD. For more information see http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/
How to apply
We hope you are interested in what you have seen and want to apply to join us.
If you are planning to study part-time, please get in touch with the contact in the 'At a glance' section above.
Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry.
For more information see the Research section of our website.