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PGDip Safety Critical Systems Engineering

Understand how complex products and services undertake tasks that pose a risk to human lives, and become a practitioner in keeping people safe.

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

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This course will provide you with the educational background required to become a leader in the field of safety critical systems engineering, whether you are currently a practising - or aspiring - professional in this area.

This course starts on Monday 19 September 2022.

There are also start dates in the 2021/22 academic year: January 2022.

Products and services are taking on more authority over activities that have the capability to pose a risk to human lives. System safety professionals address a web of interlinked contributing factors to assess the safety of these products or services.

This course will provide you with the opportunity to become a practitioner in safety-critical systems engineering, or to enhance your existing practice, and to reflect on the implications of your work both for your current role and for society as a whole. Three strands of work will develop your skills: safety-critical system safety thinking, skills as a safety engineer and professionalism.

The course will ensure you are better equipped to make a contribution to your organisation. You will gain a thorough grounding and practical experience in the use of techniques for the development, operation and assurance of the safety characteristics of systems or services that have safety implications. We will explore the principles behind these techniques to ensure that sound safety engineering judgments can be made. You will investigate the latest research and focus on advanced practice in a number of areas. 

The course employs the extensive research and industrial experience of the developers of the work packages you will address. It brings together safety professionals from many different domains (aerospace, military, automotive, railway, nuclear) to ensure your learning is as varied and as comprehensive as possible.

This course is also available as an MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering, or a PGCert in Systems Safety Engineering.

Accreditation

This course is recognised by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) as partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

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The Institute of Safe Autonomy

This dedicated new facility on the University's Campus East will provide workspace for up to 100 people, a rooftop lab, and specialist robotics design and testing equipment. Building work has begun and the facility will open towards the end of 2021.

Teaching

Our staff are at the cutting edge of their fields and we maintain strong links with industry.

Research excellence

In the Times Higher Education's assessment of the 2014 REF, our research ranked 7th overall in the UK, 5th for impact and 6th for environment.

Course content

The course can be taken on a full or part time basis, meaning it is very flexible and can easily fit in around work commitments.

Each module has a set teaching week. You'll be required to attend campus for some face-to-face teaching during this week. You'll undertake intensive teaching sessions based on lectures, case-studies and exercises.

Find out the dates the modules are running.

Modules

You will undertake a total of 120 credits during this course. In addition to taught modules, you will also undertake a critical evaluation module.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Option modules

You will take a selection of option modules, examples of which may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Research project

The critical evaluation gives you an opportunity to explore an aspect of system safety engineering in detail. You will examine the academic literature and industrial guidance relating to this area, and identify opportunities for future development to take the existing knowledge forward. You will also outline a proposal for how at least one of these opportunities could be addressed, by developing a new process or technique.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Employ system safety thinking throughout the lifecycle of a system or service using a broad, systematic imaginative anticipation of safety risks, causes and consequences.
  • Contribute to the development and assessment of safe systems and services by ensuring that proper consideration is given to safety issues as part of the systems engineering process.
  • Assure the safety of systems and services by organising and presenting information in a robust way that is amenable to critical evaluation, making appropriate choices from established assurance approaches. 
  • Design, execute and monitor an organisations safety management processes to address relevant regulations, legislation and operational context by considering individual human factors, team competence and organisational structures.
  • Effectively communicate with technical and non-technical stakeholders about system safety problems and their solutions in a clear and organised manner.
  • Operate as a leading safety-critical system safety professional, by maintaining awareness of key legal and ethical issues relating to system safety, appreciating how safety critical systems can affect society, and by continuing to expand and deepen knowledge through critical engagement with the discipline.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2022/23

Study modeUK (home) / International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £14,790
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£7,395

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).

Additional costs

Text books and resources will be available to you through the University of York library and electronic copies of all course materials are provided. You will need to arrange and pay for your own accommodation and travel to York for face-to-face teaching. Costs associated with this will vary depending on your location and the standard of accommodation you book.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

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Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

The course has nine modules, chosen from the course content, each of which represents 100 hours of work, plus the independent projects. Each module has an intensive, York-based taught element (some 35 hours), which is taught through a variety of lectures and seminars, interspersed with case study exercises which take place in groups of 6-8 students. For some modules, pre-recorded materials for private study will also be provided. After the York-based taught element, students are expected to complete an open assessment.

Teaching location

The Department of Computer Science is based on Campus East. Teaching takes place in a range of locations on Campus East.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Each module has an associated open assessment. 

This means that you undertake the assessment in your own time away from the University of around 65 hours over 6-7 weeks following the taught element of the module. This open assessment, and any associated work packages, is designed to consolidate and further deepen your knowledge, skills and approaches to the subject matter covered in the module. Of course, it is also designed to assess your progress.

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Careers and skills

The vast majority of people who undertake this course are already working in industrial fields such as aeronautical engineering, marine engineering, naval and military fields, automotive applications, gas and electric services engineers. Undertaking this course will equip you to progress within these fields.

Career opportunities

  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Safety manager
  • Naval engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • Gas or electrical services engineer
  • Software safety consultant

Transferable skills

  • Information-retrieval
  • Numeracy
  • Time management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:2 or equivalent in a numerate, technical discipline. This course is specifically directed at those with several years of industrial experience.
Other qualifications and experience If you do not have a first degree but instead have relevant industrial experience, your application will be considered on a case by case basis.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
Duolingo 110, minimum 100 in all other components
LanguageCert B2 Communicator High Pass with 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Siyuan Ji (Course Leader)

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Department of Computer Science

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