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MSc Ergonomics and Safety at Work

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  • Objectives
    Ergonomics is not simply about avoiding accidents, preventing back pain or making products more ‘usable’. By taking a system-wide view ergonomists can make a positive contribution to working life. Ergonomics now provides the opportunity simultaneously to enhance the efficiency of workers while also making working life more satisfying. There is an increasing demand for ergonomists as noted by Miles Brignall, writing in The Guardian who stated: ‘there is currently a Europe-wide shortage of qualified ergonomists, so job prospects are extremely bright’. Cranfield University’s unique MSc in Ergonomics and Safety at Work is designed to prepare you for a successful career as a professional ergonomist with a particular focus on high risk and safety critical industries.
  • Entry requirements
    Typically a 1st or 2nd class UK honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology, physiology/anatomy, engineering, design, biology or a related discipline.
  • Course description
    Focus on your career

    The course content can be applied to a number of sectors including defence, aviation and transport. It enables you to persue a future career working as an ergonomist in high risk sectors such as defence, aviation, road or rail. And with 94% of Cranfield graduates securing relevant employment within six months of graduation, you can sure that your qualification will be valued and respected by employers.

    Benefit from our expertise

    Cranfield University is a leader in human factors and ergonomics applied to safety-critical sectors. Our staff are practitioners as well as tutors, with clients including Airbus, Ministry of Defence, Royal Air Force, Arriva and the Railway Standards and Safety Board.  Knowledge gained working with our clients is continually fed back into the teaching programme, to ensure that you benefit from the very latest knowledge and techniques.

     Access unique facilities

    As a Cranfield student you will have access to our range of outstanding research facilities for research work. These includes two aircraft cabin simulators, used to investigate passenger behaviour; a driving simulator, access to two flight deck simulators; various eye tracking and physiological monitoring equipment and a growing library of psychometric test and assessment materials.

    Study full or part-time

    This course is also available on a part-time basis enabling you to combine studying alongside full-time employment. This is enhanced by a three-stage programme from a Postgraduate Certificate to Postgraduate Diploma through to an MSc.

    Course content


    The MSc in Ergonomics and Safety at Work comprises 12 compulsory modules, covering the core areas of ergonomics as a professional discipline plus an individual research thesis.  The low student-to-academic ratio promotes an interactive approach to delivery. Teaching includes lectures, seminars, case studies, group work, individual projects, business games, visits and guest lectures.


    The taught modules are:

        * Introduction to Human Factors
        * Research Methods and Statistics
        * Safety, Risk and Reliability Engineering
        * Design of Environments and Work
        * Human Machine Interaction
        * Management for Technology
        * Organisational Change and Development
        * Human Performance and Error
        * Training and Simulation
        * Accident Investigation
        * Occupational Health (Industrial Stream)
        * Inclusive Ergonomics.

    Research thesis

    MSc students must undertake a research thesis, in which they select an area of ergonomics and examine a key issue in detail.  This helps promote useful links with industry for a future career path.

    Examples of recent research projects undertaken in the Department include:

        * Risk perception of construction site dumper drivers: a mental models approach
        * A study into the visual inspection of composite aircraft structures
        * Understanding How Professional Engineers Make Subjective Engineering Judgements in System Safety Assessment
        * Design and Evaluation of an Energy Management Decision Aid Display


    The course is assessed through coursework assignments, examination, and individual research project (thesis and presentation).

    Part-time study

    This course is also available on a part-time basis for individuals who wish to study whilst remaining in full-time employment. A three-stage programme from a Postgraduate Certificate to Postgraduate Diploma through to a Master of Science enables you to take a flexible approach to your study commitments.

    Cranfield is very well located for visiting part-time students from across the UK and Europe and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies.

    Career opportunities

    Miles Brignall, writing in The Guardian stated ‘there is currently a Europe-wide shortage of qualified ergonomists, so job prospects are extremely bright’. To add to this, the Human Factors National Advisory Committee for Defence and Aerospace commented in its annual report (2002) that ‘there is a growing shortage of experienced Human Factors professionals in the UK’.

    Graduates from Ergonomics MSc programmes can be found in most high technology and safety critical industries, for example defence, aerospace, road and rail transportation, the offshore oil and gas industry and nuclear power. Many also find employment in the IT and computing industry.

    With 93% of Cranfield students securing a relevant position within six months of graduation, so you can be confident that you will find appropriate employment by the end of the course.

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