The PGDip/MSc Fire Safety Engineering offered at the University of Ulster is the only such course in the UK, and one of a small number worldwide. It gives graduates the opportunity to specialise in this important and developing field. The course includes modules in interrelated aspects of fire safety engineering including heat transfer and thermofluids, fire dynamics, structural fire engineering, active fire protection systems, people and fire and quantitative risk analysis together with a laboratory based module and fire engineering design project. The resources of the Institute of Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology (FireSERT), (an internationally recognised research group) and the expertise of two professional (previous course graduates) charted fire engineers (involved in teaching the fire engineering design project), are exploited to the full in delivering the course benefiting from the state-of-the-art experimental facilities.
Duration and Mode of Attendance
PgDip - one academic year
MSc - one calendar year
PgDip - two academic years
MSc- two academic years plus one additional year (dissertation)
To facilitate the busy professional, this course is also offered in part-time block release mode, requiring attendance for two 2-week blocks in each academic year for two years followed by research dissertation (1 year). This course currently runs on a biennial basis.
What is Fire Safety Engineering?
Fire safety engineering is the application of scientific, technological and behavioural principles and techniques in the process of achieving a fire safe environment. With the advent of performance based regulation, the demand for professionals having knowledge and skills appropriate to the practice of fire safety engineering has increased dramatically. In addressing this niche market, this course aims to provide students not only with a comprehensive understanding of the scientific and technological principles and techniques but the skills and expertise to enable them to develop and apply appropriate techniques in building design.
Who would be interested in this course?
Since its inception in 1991, the course has attracted students from many different educational and cultural backgrounds who on completion of their studies have progressed to interesting and diverse careers in fields related to fire safety across the globe. The course enables those with a background in engineering or science to specialise in this relatively new and exciting area. Although the focus of the course is on fire safety engineering design, the course has proved useful to those involved in many aspects related to fire safety generally such as fire brigade personnel, architects, regulators, code officials, and managers of complex buildings and facilities, i.e. all those for whom a knowledge and understanding of issues related to fire and its impact on the environment is paramount to the execution of their duties.
Why the University of Ulster? The PGDip/MSc Fire Safety Engineering course offered at the University of Ulster is the only such course in the United Kingdom and one of only a small number of courses worldwide which provides the opportunity for graduates in engineering or science to specialise in this important field.
The course is offered by the Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology Centre (Fire SERT), a centre which is internationally recognized for its research in the fields of fire dynamics, structural fire engineering, human behaviour in fire, and more recently fire modelling. The course draws on the expertise and resources of the Centre in terms of teaching staff (with core teaching staff all actively involved in research), the contributions of 2 professional charted fire engineers and the experimental facilities. The new, state-of-the-art experimental facilities are unrivalled within the University sector anywhere in the world. Students on the MSc course will have the opportunity to use these facilities both within the taught course and to progress experimental research projects.
The course graduates are usually employed as fire safety engineering design consultants, while others have embarked upon careers as regulators, code officials, fire safety officers in both the public and private sector, researchers in research and testing facilities, and ranking officers in fire brigades both in the UK and Europe. Specific examples include one student who, with a background in Construction Engineering and Management, now manages a fire engineering course of sponsored research for a Building Codes Board in Australasia, another, a structural engineer, is responsible for tunnel fire safety in new and existing tunnel networks in New South Wales, another is employed as an engineer for the American Bureau of Shipping and is involved in fire safety engineering aspects related to offshore oil exploration, production and storage.
The course is a linked course of awards leading to either a PgDip (comprising eight taught modules) or MSc (eight taught modules plus research dissertation) in Fire Safety Engineering. Diploma students who perform to a required standard in the taught modules will be invited to transfer to MSc course and dissertation in a chosen research topic. The current taught course comprises modules in:
· Heat Transfer and Thermo-fluids
· Fire Dynamics
· Structural Fire Engineering
· Fire Engineering Laboratory Explorations
· Active Fire Control Systems
· Quantitative Risk Analysis
· Fire Safety Engineering Design
· People and Fire
A unique aspect of this course, which stems from FireSERT's international recognition in the field of human behaviour in fire, is a module People and Fire, dedicated to the evacuation behaviour and movement of people during fire and the significance of this in the overall context of fire safety engineering design and management.