Important notice – campus change Students will complete the next two years on the Jordanstown campus (academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21). Thereafter, from 2021, they may transition campuses. Precise timings will be communicated as we progress through the final stages of the build of the enhanced Belfast campus. Find out more
If you want to save lives and make a meaningful difference in the world then this is the course for you.
This course prepares you for a leadership role in the design of highly creative technological solutions for the delivery of complex engineering projects and humanitarian relief responses.
The two key focal points of the course, safety engineering and disaster management, intertwine perfectly to educate and prepare you for roles within industry. The safety engineering strand will concentrate upon intelligent design of systems and processes to create more efficient organisations and industries with a highly attuned emphasis on environmental sustainability and inherently safe design for all concerned. The complementary disaster management focus then explores the macro issues to prepare you to lead and manage disaster response teams in a truly international context.
This course prepares you to be in a position to respond to man-made and natural disasters. You will come to develop your technical, scientific and creative skills to help people and communities most in need and most specifically in the face of adversity, such as post-disaster or extreme emergencies. Through this course you will develop a full understanding of your ethical role in terms of designing critical solutions to highly sophisticated problems with the primary aim of preserving or improving human life.
Sign up for course updates
Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.
We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.
About this course
In this section
Are you a motivated individual with real potential?
Do you possess a natural talent for problem solving through creativity and innovation? Have you a passion for compassion and are you seeking to make a difference in people’s lives?
The safety engineer, with high level skills, creativity, innovation and professional competences will play a central management engineering role in humanitarian relief and in the development of inherently safe design solutions.
“There is no such thing as a ’natural’ disaster, only natural hazards” (UNISDR). When natural hazards affect human lives, the widely used term ‘natural disaster’ surfaces, although it is the impact that the realisation of those natural hazards (earthquakes, flood and droughts) has that creates the disaster. Impacts on food, welfare and sanitation; impacts on shelter, environment and infrastructure and impacts on government and governance are the outworking of a post-disaster situation. The global targets coming out of the SENDAI Framework aim to substantially reduce global disaster mortality; the number of affected people, direct disaster economic loss, damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services as well as substantially increasing the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies and the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems.
As an MEng graduate in Safety Engineering and Disaster Management you will have the educational base required by the UK Engineering Council (UKEC) to apply for Chartered Engineer status, following a period of appropriate professional work experience. UKEC defines Chartered Engineers as someone who “develop solutions to engineering problems using new or existing technologies, through innovation creativity and change and /or they may have technical accountability for complex systems with significant levels of risk.”
The MEng degree extends the learning experience beyond the BEng level to enable the graduate to potentially gain Chartered Engineer status subsequently in their career without the necessity for further post graduate study. It is this distinction that sets the MEng graduate apart from the BEng graduate.
As a part time student it is in the 5th year of study where the enhanced expectations of the MEng stream become apparent. At this point those studying the MEng degree undertake a comprehensive and challenging engineering design project, targeted towards the delivery of a product or process, which is potentially market ready and suitable to make a relevant and impactful contribution to the global community.
At this same stage a much deeper appreciation is gained of the impact global economics, politics and international law has on your role as the management engineer.
The higher expectations and professional commitment of the student at this level is brought to the fore through immersive study in the fields of fire and water engineering, design and modelling, sustainable technologies, project management and a fundamentally critical appraisal and application of the behavioural and organisational aspects of leading emergency response teams.
If you undertake this programme of study you should be someone who is creative; desires to travel; aspires to manage and lead diverse teams; demands to make a real difference to people’s lives around the world; and who is aiming to truly lead a career worth living.
Attendance is part time, typically one day per week.
Semesters are divided into 18 week blocks, which includes 12 weeks of teaching with an exam period towards the end of each semester. You will have to attend two semesters, the first starting mid-September, running until the near the end of January. The second semester commences at the end of January and ends in May.
Each semester of each year is different in terms of attendance at timetabled classes. You will also be expected to undertake independent study outside of the classroom/ laboratory environment, which will involve in depth reading into the subject area, research and discussion with colleagues, coursework preparation and general study.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The course has been designed to provide you with a creative, innovative challenging and rewarding learning experience.
Once you have commenced this course you can expect to experience a vast mix of exciting and engaging creative learning experiences. The design of the course is very much focussed on ensuring that you have the most positive of student experiences that ultimately will be preparing you for life as a graduate working in a high paced, critical and engaging working environment.
To reflect this the learning and teaching on this course occurs through creative and innovative approaches that includes simulation workshops, real life scenario briefings, and discussions around critical problems to find solutions. There will be practical hands on laboratory based tutorials, all underpinned by critically engaging seminars and lectures where necessary. There will also be numerous opportunities to learn from experts already working in the field and to attend site and factory visits where you will experience the topic for real. You will be supported on your learning journey throughout this degree by your personal academic mentor or studies advisor who will be there to guide and advise you on all aspects of your studies.
The creativity in the subjects while brought to life in the lecture theatres, tutorial rooms, and laboratories go well beyond the campus walls to the world you will inhabit as a graduate from this course. You will be challenged individually and through group activities to address real life, real time problems in a safe and stimulating environment.
In terms of assessment you will experience a wide variety of assessment opportunities across a contrasting and complementary range of coursework designed to assess the different competency levels and learning outcomes of the course. These approaches will also be supported by use of examinations in some of the modules where this is considered necessary. All the forms of assessment are designed with the overriding principle that they will allow you to showcase your ability to do that task in real life and that you understand the critical significance inherent in your decision making whilst working as a professional in this environment. Appropriate feedback on how well you are performing and how well you are developing is available throughout your time on the course. Consequently everything you will do is based on real life scenarios or simulating the experience, all with the aim of enabling you to graduate as one of the best graduates in this field in the world.
As a graduate of the MEng Safety Engineering and Disaster Management you will have the knowledge, skills and confidence to make a genuine difference in this world.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
An understanding of fundamental behaviour of materials used in civil engineering is essential for their correct specification, design and construction. This module introduces structure and properties of commonly used construction materials and examines their uses and limitations. It also investigates the basic properties and classification of soils. Practical classes help to underpin main principles covered in lectures.
Mathematics - BEng
This module covers those mathematics topics which graduates in the engineering discipline will require for professional practice. For certain engineering courses this module also provides a platform for the further study of mathematics.
The module starts with refresher topics, includes basic algebra, mathematical functions, polynomial equations, logarithms and exponentials, trigonometry, complex numbers, matrices and determinants, vectors, differentiation and integration, and finishes with subject of sequences and series.
Science for Engineers
Engineering is a rapidly evolving field requiring enhanced levels of competency in underpinning sciences. Physics and chemistry play a critical role in a number of engineering areas and energy applications. This module will provide a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the chemical and physical principles relevant to engineers.
Introducing Humanitarian Engineering
In humanitarian engineering human benefit is the primary concern. This module introduces you to both the principles of safety engineering and the humanitarian skills and practices needed to give you an understanding of the characteristics of disasters, emanating from natural or technological failures, conflicts and/ or complex emergencies. It will challenge you, inspire you and work to help you determine your personal motivation for humanitarian relief work and conceive the difficulties associated with delivering accurate real time design decisions in complex critical multi-criteria decision arenas. Case studies of disasters will be studied to help you to understand the impacts, lessons learned and your role as a humanitarian engineer.
Civil, Safety, and Energy engineering design and construction activities require knowledge of the forces due to the statical and dynamical behaviour of water and the statical behaviour of structures. Methods of determining forces arising from analyses using simple hydrostatics and hydrodynamics are given and applied to practical hydraulics problems. Common analysis methods for simple structures are introduced. Practical classes illustrate the use of these analysis methods at laboratory scale.
Project and Communication
The modern day built environment professional is required to communicate effectively utilising electronic tools with the rest of the project team. This has been mandated by the UK Cabinet Office Construction Strategy, by European Commission procurement regulations and is being followed across the world. This module develops an understanding of the key drivers and barriers to fully implementing Level 2 BIM and points towards the development of level 3 BIM working in the near future. The module develops the foundational skills for internationally recognised BIM Level 2 for the contemporary and future built environment professionals.
Mathematics for Engineers
This level 5 mathematics module is for engineering students on Built Environment programmes. It covers a variety of mathematical methods appropriate for the solution of problems in safety, civil, and architectural engineering. Emphasis is placed on applications in engineering contexts and problem solving tools, rather than on a rigorous exposition of their theoretical basis.
Safety: An International and Ethical Perspective
Examining health and safety from a global and an ethics reasoning perspective, this module addresses the various international protocols, demonstrating how they impact upon local regulation and professional practice. In the process students develop an understanding of the concept that designs must be such that they can be built, used, maintained and eventually demolished in a safe and healthy manner and through problem-based learning put the concept into practice.
Introduction to Combustion for Fire and Explosion Dynamics
This module will introduce the fundamental physical principles underlying fire and explosion development. Particular attention is given to the chemical and physical processes associated with fire as a combustion system, fire chemistry and toxicity, fire initiation, growth and spread in open and enclosed spaces, deflagrations and detonations, blast waves and combustion in closed vessel. Introduction is also given to mathematical methods of fire modelling.
Hazards and Risk Analysis
This module will introduce different hazards involved in a variety of aspects of engineering design and also various analysis and modelling tools based on fundamental principles of probability and statistics for risk assessment
Structural Engineering Design 2
This module considers durability, deformation characteristics, design and quality control of structural materials; philosophy and concepts of key design codes of practice; design methodology and procedures for reinforced concrete, structural steel, timber and brickwork elements, use of proprietary design and detailing computer packages for reinforced concrete and structural steel.
Human Factors and Behaviours
This module will develop the students' understanding and appreciation of the complexities of human factors and behaviours relevant to safety management and design. An understanding of human factors and behaviours is essential to ensuring the safety of occupants in buildings and the extended built environment. This module will address human factors relevant to the safety environment and behaviour in emergencies. In particular, it will focus on the psychological and behavioural responses of individuals, groups and wider society relative to emergency situations and the impact thereon.
Heat and mass transfer
The theory and applications covered in this module advance the knowledge of the student in the fundamental theory of fluid mechanics, heat transfer and thermodynamics. The emphasis is on more subject specific applications, particularly relevant to safety engineers.
Structural analysis and design 4
This module seeks to prepare students for participation in structural design and to introduce them to the basis for the use of structural design tools. The module stresses the benefits of the use of sketches in structural analysis and design and the appropriate applications of equilibrium, compatibility, material response relationships. Design is presented as following a rational methodology. Students participate in a design exercise which follows the major activities involved in producing a structural design.
Leading and Managing Emergency Response Teams
This module has been designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of modern methods of leading and managing emergency response projects which are by their very nature complex and highly demanding, involving a number of different and well-coordinated courses of action. Ultimately this module addresses the challenges of leading and managing people and resources in complex, challenging and demanding situations post disaster. Practical applications and case studies of relevant practice are used to enhance the learning experience.
Prevention through Design
UK SPEC requires professional engineers to "…implement design solutions, taking account of critical constraints, including due concern for safety…". The prevention through design initiative, gaining influence in international design circles, addresses the need to develop safe design thinking among engineering undergraduates. This programme helps students to enhance their knowledge and understanding of safe design while developing their PtD analytical skills.
Disaster Safety and Resilience
The module aims to develop the following skills; To retrieve and identify the principal man-made and natural hazards that a location is subject to. The identification of the assessment and mitigation measures to facilitate the measures of vulnerability, robustness and resilience for infrastructure, utilities and built environment. The ability to prioritise mitigation methods by cost, human safety and consequential effects. The assessment, management and recovery from extreme and hazardous incidents.
Occupational Health and Safety Management
The focus of this module is on the policies and strategies which influence health & safety management and the relevant procedures to deal with the control of serious and imminent danger and major accidents. The importance of the social, political and economic influences on health and safety, is also emphasized.
Humanitarian Politics, Law and Economics for Engineers
This module is designed to highlight that engineers don't work abstractly from the world, they are inherently immersed in designing, creating or managing solutions to problems that sustain, improve or save lives on a universal scale. Consequently engineers must have a critical appreciation of the economics, politics and legal issues that impinge on their professional role and equally importantly that are affected by their interventions. All of these aspects are dealt with in this module focused through a truly humanitarian lens.
Safety Engineering and Disaster Management Design Project
In this module students undertake an individual safety engineering and disaster management design project under the supervision of a member of the course team. The project topics will reflect industry needs or ongoing research in relevant fields.
The module is designed to provide a postgraduate multi disciplinary learning experience on the subject of Project Management. It introduces the concepts of Project Management, examines the recognised practices and accepted principles involved in the project management function, and combines these with an understanding of the increasingly demanding multi-dimensional aspects of the discipline. It provides an overall project orientated management framework (theoretical tempered with world best practice) with local, national and international dimensions within which you can develop your knowledge / understanding and key professional competencies.
Structural Fire Engineering
This module considers durability, building code requirements, structural fire testing, material properties at elevated temperatures, thermally induced structural behaviour, in the context of structural design against fire.
Computer Modelling in Fire Engineering
With recent advent in computer technology and better understanding of the underlying theory relating to the fire phenomenon, computer modelling plays an increasingly important role in fire research, particularly for applications where full-scale experiments are too expensive or dangerous. The increased interest in computer modelling has led to the rapid development of various computer programmes, most of which have been used in practical designs. An understanding of the fundamental theory and practical techniques is essential in order to conduct meaningful computer modelling and more importantly to analyse and critically evaluate the simulation results. This module provides such an understanding through lecturing as well as hands-on practice.
Behavioural and Organisational Aspects of Leading Emergency Response Teams
Humanitarian aid at its best makes people its goal, protecting their autonomy as decision-making human beings. As a humanitarian engineer, working at the highest level you will promote, plan, design, construct, maintain or manage important safety engineering work, directed towards the alleviation of suffering and recovery from natural and technological crises, disasters and catastrophes in post-event adjustment, recovery and reconstruction. This module, focusses on the behavioural and organisational aspects of leading emergency response teams towards the aim of achieving sustainable humanitarian outcomes for people affected by disasters and crises.
Utilities and Water Engineering
This module describes and develops a broad range of water engineering and utilities services covering legislation, construction, remediation and decommissioning. Hydraulic analysis and performance of key elements of water supply and distribution systems will be given detailed attention; this will all be set in the context of water supply resilience.
Safety of Sustainable Technologies
Safety considerations of sustainable technologies and alternative fuels are considered in this module. An emphasis is put on the state of the art and current bottlenecks. Whilst the module is safety focused, the student is provided with background knowledge on new energy applications, including alternative fuels. Consideration is given to the use of sustainable technologies in a post disaster scenario.
Research and Dissertation
This module enables the student to undertake an independent in-depth study of a particular aspect of Safety Engineering and Disaster Management. It facilitates development of skills in problem solving and decision making whilst also refining other skills including investigative and evaluative skills. Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject researched, skills in critical analysis and use of investigative methods. Students are required to display these skills in written and oral format that will clearly display analysis of the principal arguments and conclusions of their work.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
The A Level requirement for this course is BBB to include Mathematics and one from: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, ICT, Technology or Engineering.
Other STEM subjects may be accepted after interview.
Applicants can satisfy the requirement for one of the A level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.
Applied General Qualifications
Overall BTEC award with DDM profile to include 9 Distinctions. Specific BTECs required for entry include Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Engineering to include Applied Maths, Maths for Engineering Technicians or Maths.
Irish Leaving Certificate
Overall Irish Leaving Certificate profile with H3, H3, H3, H3, H3 to include 2 technological/scientific subjects and Mathematics at Grade O4 and English at O4.
The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is BBBCC to include Maths and one from Physics, Technology, Chemistry, Geography, ICT, Biology or Engineering.
Scottish Advanced Highers
The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CCC to include Maths and one from Physics, Technology, Chemistry, Geography, ICT, Biology or Engineering.
Access to Higher Education (HE)
Overall Access profile with 70% in BioScience, Science and Technology, in Level 3 modules for Year 1 Entry.
GCSE Profile to include Grade C in English and Mathematics.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
There may be opportunities for students to transfer into the course from other courses in the school or the university on condition that the entry requirements of the course are met and the student is in good academic standing. Due to the unique nature of the programme students will most likely need to transfer into the course at Level 4 unless their academic record shows that they have already taken the pre-requisite modules.
There are also options for postgraduate study with courses such as our MSc Fire Safety Engineering.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
This course prepares you to use the intelligent design of systems and processes to provide innovate solutions and create more efficient organisations and industries. As a graduate from this course you will possess the highly desirable engineering skills that equip you to offer creative design and management solutions in the operation of complex engineering industries and delivery of humanitarian relief in the face of natural or man-made disasters. Some examples of the likely career options include:
Safety Engineer in industries such as chemical processing, aeronautics/ aerospace, pharmaceuticals, nuclear new build, energy transmission and supply and engineering design practices.
Humanitarian Aid/ Relief for national or international aid agencies, local and national government emergency planning departments, health and safety regulators and fire and rescue services.
The University is currently seeking UK's Engineering Council accreditation for the course, giving you the opportunity to pursue professional registration.
Ulster University has a career development centre with dedicated career development consultants whose responsibility it is to provide you with specific career development learning and guidance. This normally includes offering you one-to-one or small group career guidance sessions, open employability seminars and workshops as well as tailored career development learning programmes. Additionally relationships are built with relevant graduate recruiters and professional bodies to help you to select and develop career opportunities most suited to you.
Accredited by the Energy Institute (EI) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course team contacts:
Dr Sile Brennan
Dr Ciaran McAleenan
Mr Robert Weatherup
For more information visit
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.