Accessibility statement

System Safety Engineering short courses


Contact us

For an informal discussion contact Dr Katrina Attwood, Course Leader.

For general enquiries contact
Heather Taylor, CPD & Postgraduate Programmes Administrator
Telephone: +44 (0)1904 325536 

The Centre for High Integrity Systems Engineering offers students the ability to attend certain modules in the area of System Safety Engineering as individual short courses.

The aim is to allow individuals to renew, refresh and extend their understanding within specific fields, particularly the discipline of system safety engineering.

The discipline of System Safety Engineering (SSE) developed over the last half of the twentieth century and can be viewed as a process of systematically analysing systems to evaluate risks, with the aim of influencing design in order to reduce risks, i.e. to produce safer products.

Dealing with computers and software

In mature industries, such as civil aerospace and nuclear power, the discipline has been remarkably successful, although there have been notable exceptions, e.g. the Buncefield and Fukushima accidents. System safety engineering is now employed by domains as diverse as automotive, civil maritime and medicine.

Classical hazard and safety analysis techniques have dealt poorly with computers and software, where the dominant failure causes are errors and oversights in requirements or design. Emphasis has thus been placed on extending and revising techniques to deal effectively with software based systems. Modern systems are highly integrated and often networked to form “systems of systems”, posing a continuing challenge. Addressing these issues is the sub-discipline of safety critical systems engineering for computer based systems.

A principled approach

Our short courses provide a comprehensive grounding in the principles of system safety engineering, such as hazard identification and analysis, risk assessment and management, system safety justification and certification, through life safety and safety management systems.

These principles are put into an industrial context through examples from our extensive portfolio of industrial collaboration. We provide system safety education for Jaguar Land Rover and are developing system safety education for the railway industry in China. We also have extensive experience in the military and civil aerospace.

Download our latest brochure

Professional Development and Training Brochure (PDF , 839kb)

The short courses may be used as part of a Continuing Professional Development programme for The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) or British Computer Society (BCS) members. Our CPD modules meet the IET Position Statement on Safety-Critical Systems, released in October 2009. Find out how we address these principles through our courses.

Upgrade your short course study into a postgraduate award

You can attend courses on a one-off basis so you can further develop an understanding in a specific area, or attend multiple modules as part of professional development and education activity. Alternatively, you can attend a number of short courses and then choose to register for an MSc or Posgraduate Diploma in Safety Critical Systems Engineering or a Postgraduate Certificate in System Safety Engineering. You should apply for the MSc/Dip/Cert after taking no more than 40 credits of modules. 


These courses are suitable for Safety Engineers wishing to renew, refresh and extend their knowledge in the area of system safety and embedded control systems.

To this end, we present many of the ideas of classical safety engineering as well as dealing explicitly with the new issues raised by the widespread use of computers in safety related applications. Thus, the courses aim to provide participants with:

  • A thorough grounding, and practical experience, in the use of state-of-the-art techniques for design and development, verification and validation of safety critical systems, with an emphasis on the software used in such systems;
  • Understanding of the principles behind these techniques so that they can make sound judgements during the design and deployment of such a system;
  • A flexible course structure which is suitable both for full-time and part-time students and for industrial clients who wish to attend a short, intensive course on a particular aspect of safety critical system technology.

Learning Outcomes

The short courses aim to provide participants with a thorough grounding and practical experience in the use of state-of-the-art techniques for development of safety critical systems, emphasising their software; together with an understanding of the principles behind these techniques so that they can make sound engineering judgements during the design and deployment of such a system, particularly when software is involved.

The short courses aim to equip students with knowledge, understanding and practical application of the essential components of Safety Critical Systems Engineering, to complement previously gained knowledge and skills in Computer Science.

Application & Fees

Contact us

For an informal discussion contact Dr Katrina Attwood, CPD Course Organiser.

For general enquiries contact 
Heather Taylor, CPD & Postgraduate Programmes Administrator
Telephone: +44 (0)1904 325536 

For short courses in the 2020/21 academic year (starting September 2020) the fee is £1,790.

Fees include all relevant course materials, tuition, assessments, lunches and refreshments, and are payable in advance. Please note that students must organise their own accommodation and travel, this is not included in the course fee. 

Students who attend any short course(s), and subsequently choose to undertake a full MSc, Certificate or Diploma, will be entitled to a credit of 90% of the fees already paid, towards the cost of the full award. You should apply for the MSc/Dip/Cert after taking no more than 40 credits of modules. 

To book your place, please complete the booking form: CPD Booking Form 2020/21 (MS Word , 70kb) and the accompanying payment form: CPD Payment Form 2020-21 (MS Word , 65kb) and return to Heather Taylor, our CPD & Postgraduate Programmes Administrator.

Payment for your place can be made online via credit/debit card.

For more information, please contact Heather Taylor.

IET Principles

The IET position statement issued in October 2009 sets forward 10 principles and two recommendations for Safety-Critical Software-based systems in safety-related applications. Here we show how each CPD module can be used to address one or more of the aspects of the position statement.

Principle 1: The fundamental starting point for the development of any SCS is the creation of a rigorous and and consistent statement of user requirements.
Addressed by:
Foundations of System Safety, Hazard and Risk Assessment and Safety Critical Project Management, System Engineering 1, Software requirements, software testing

Principle 2: Every SCS must have a comprehensive hazard analysis carried out
Addressed by:
Hazard and Risk Assessment, Hazard and Risk Management, System Safety Assessment, Computers and Safety, Through-Life Safety

Principle 3: The architecture of the SCS should avoid major hazards wherever possible.
Addressed by:
Hazard and Risk Assessment, System Safety Assessment, Hazard and Risk Management, Computers and Safety, Systems Engineering 1, Software Requirements, Sensors and Effectors, Electronic System Design

Principle 4: Where overall safety depends on correct actions taken by human operators, the human-computer interface and the training of operators should be considered.
Addressed by:
Foundations of System Safety, Human Factors for Safety

Principle 5: Every SCS must have a documented safety analysis
Addressed by:
System Safety Assessment, Computers and Safety, Software Testing

Principle 6: Showing that a particular set of development processes have been followed is never sufficient to demonstrate that the resulting system meets its safety target
Addressed by:
Foundations of System Safety, Hazard and Risk Assessment, Hazard and Risk Management, Computers and Safety, Software Implementation, Software Testing

Principle 7: Developer's competencies should be appropriate to their project roles and kept current.
Addressed by:
Foundations of System Safety, Safety Critical Project Management

Principle 8: Software systems are mathematically formal objects and it is possible to reason about their behavior and to prove that they have certain properties
Addressed by:
Software Requirements, Software implementation, software testing

Principle 9: It is generally impractical to rely on test based evidence in advance of putting a system into widespread service
Addressed by:
Foundations of System Safety, Hazard Risk Management, Software Requirements, Software implementation, software testing, Computers and Safety

Principle 10: There should be regular reviews of systems in service to assess whether the threat profile has changed and whether risks are still as low as reasonably practicable
Addressed by:
Through life safety, hazard and risk management, safety critical project management

The IET Recommends:

  • Use of tools and approaches that are industry best practice
    Addressed by:  all courses as appropriate to the topic
  • Research and development effort and financing directed towards extending the scale and range of system properties that can be proven through analysis
    Addressed by:  Assessments attached to the CPD courses


Courses we offer

Our current fees and how to book your place can be found here

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the University of York has revised the teaching arrangements for taught modules. As such, modules in the 2020/21 academic year will be delivered online with a mixture of pre-recorded lectures and live exercises.   

For dates and further details, please see the module table below. If you have any queries, please contact Heather Taylor.  

Timescales, module and project descriptions:

Foundations of System Safety Engineering (FSSE)

Module commences: 07/09/2020

Live exercises week: 14/09/2020

Core Core
Systems Engineering for Safety (SEFS)

Module commences: 28/09/2020

Live exercises week: 12/10/2020

Core  Optional
Hazard and Risk Assessment (HRAS)

Module commences:  19/10/2020

 Live exercises week:  02/11/2020

 Core  Core
System Safety Assessment (SSAS)

Module commences: 30/11/2020

Live exercises week: 14/12/2020

Core Core

Safety Case Development and Review (SCDR)

Module commences: 04/01/2021

Live exercises week: 18/01/2021

Core Core
Through Life Safety (TLSA)

Module commences: 08/02/2021

Live exercises week: 01/03/2021

Optional  Optional 
Computers and Safety (CASA)

Module commences: 08/03/2021

Live exercises week: 22/03/2021

Core  Optional 
Safety Management Systems (SMSY)

Module commences: 26/04/2021

Live exercises week: 10/05/2021

 Core Core 
Human Factors for Safety (HUFS) Not running  Optional  Optional

Advanced Topics in Safety (ADTS)

Module commences: 05/04/2021

Live exercises week: 19/04/2021

Optional  Optional 

Security for Safety-Critical Systems (SESA)

Module commences: 03/05/2021

Live exercises week: 17/05/2021

Optional Optional

Book your place

All modules occupy 5 days, starting on Monday. The following abbreviations are used in the tables above:

If the voluntary assessment is taken and passed, students can normally count the module towards the MSc if they register within two years.

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