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Systems Engineering for Safety (SEFS)

Course details

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This course aims to:

  • introduce you to the technical and organisational aspects of systems engineering, focusing on early lifecycle systems analysis and modelling (i.e. systems concepts, requirements and architectures);
  • present you with systems engineering principles which are applicable to a range of critical engineering systems (e.g. control systems, platforms, systems of systems and autonomous and configurable systems);
  • focus on the early consideration of, and tradeoffs between, technical as well as economic attributes such as safety, maintainability, cost and time-to-market in the context of key organisational challenges related to technology readiness and process maturity.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • explain the scope and nature of systems engineering in the context of high safety risk industries;
  • identify and assess the interaction between systems engineering and economics;
  • describe the role and importance of organisational aspects of systems engineering in the development life-cycle in the context of high safety risk industries;
  • describe the principles of, and issues concerning, systems requirements, architectures, modelling, trade-offs, design rationale and product lines as well as emerging concepts in systems engineering related to adaptive systems;
  • participate in requirements definition, architecture design, trade-off analysis and system modelling.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for:

  • practitioners across all domains including aerospace, military, railway, automotive, civil nuclear, civil maritime, medical devices, healthcare, and so on;
  • developers of equipment safety cases during design for software, hardware, procedures, systems and/or platforms;
  • developers of safety cases for operational safety and disposal;
  • reviewers of safety cases within an organisation or as an independent activity;
  • developers and reviewers of changes to existing safety-critical / safety-related equipment and operations;
  • project managers where development of a safety case is a significant element of projects they manage;
  • regulators of safety critical domains.


A basic understanding of system safety terminology and lifecycle via prior learning or industrial experience. It is useful for you to have taken our Foundations of System Safety Engineering course, but if you have not, please email us with your details so we can assess your suitability for taking this course.

How is the course taught?

The course takes place over one week at the University of York. This week consists of a mixture of lectures and practicals, but we expect you to put in around 30 hours of private study.

Over the week, there will be a series of lectures and a number of case studies. The case studies give you the chance to work through an example to reinforce your learning from the lectures. This is also a chance to gain other insights from the experience and knowledge of other delegates. You will also be able to call on the experience and knowledge of our specialised teaching staff during these sessions.  

The module ends with an assessed exercise, which you have the option of completing. It takes approximately 35 hours in addition to the scheduled teaching time and can be completed on or off site. All assessed exercises are open (so you won't take an exam in supervised conditions), and comprise a report, case study, or documented piece of software.

If you choose to take and pass your assessment, your results can count towards the completion of the MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering. Our MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering is an accredited course, recognised by both the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for the purposes of partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for CEng registration. 


 Find out more about what this professional accreditation means.

Recommended reading

G Pahl, W Beitz, K Wallace, L Blessing, F Bauert Engineering Design a Systematic Approach Springer Verlag 1995
Sanford Friedenthal A Practical Guide to SysML: The Systems Modeling Language Morgan Kaufmann 2011 Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge INCOSE publications  
L Cohen Quality Functional Deployment Addison Wesley 1995
M A Jackson Problem Frames Addison Wesley 2001


Book your place

Book your place

The next instance of SEFS will take place in the 2021/22 academic year, course dates will be added to this page once they have been confirmed.
Before booking, please read our Booking Conditions (PDF , 104kb).

To book your place, please complete the booking form and payment form below and return to our Admissions Team at Payment can be made online via credit/debit card

CPD Booking Form 2020/21 (MS Word , 70kb)

CPD Payment Form 2020-21 (MS Word , 65kb)

If you have any queries, please contact our Admissions Team at

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