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System Safety Engineering Short Courses

We offer professionals working in the field of System Safety the opportunity to attend a number of our postgraduate modules 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.

A principled approach

System safety engineering (SSE) 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.

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Our short courses provide a comprehensive grounding in the principles of system safety engineering. These principles are put into context using real-world examples from our extensive collaboration with industry in the UK and worldwide.

Our courses are well respected by systems safety engineering professionals. We have provided training for delegates from many different domains including military, automotive and railway, civil aerospace, nuclear, marine, energy and medical industries.

Our courses in system safety engineering are accredited by both the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the BCS (the Chartered Institute for IT), and can count towards the educational component for chartering. These professional bodies also partially accredit our MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering.

Our CPD modules meet the IET Position Statement on Safety-Critical Systems.

Find out what professional accreditation means

Upgrade your short course study into a postgraduate award

Develop your understanding in a specific area by attending one or more of our short courses on a stand-alone basis.

Alternatively, attend multiple modules as part of your wider professional development. You can then choose to register for one of the following postgraduate courses:

You should apply for your Masters, Diploma or Certificate awards after taking no more than 40 credits of modules. All components of your chosen postgraduate award, including modules taken as CPD short courses, must be taken within a five year time period.

Upcoming courses and start dates

We offer ten short course modules in System Safety Engineering. Teaching for each module is delivered during a five day teaching week, enabling you to learn alongside your work as you bring your skills fully up to date.

Modules 2022/23 MSc / Diploma PG Certificate
Foundations of System Safety Engineering (FSSE)

Registration closes: 12/09/2022

Preparatory materials released: 26/09/2022

Teaching week: 03/10/2022

Core Core
Systems Engineering for Safety (SEFS)

Registration closes: 26/09/2022

Preparatory materials released: 17/10/2022

Teaching week: 24/10/2022

Core  Optional
Human Factors for Safety (HUFS)

Registration closes: 24/10/2022

Preparatory materials released: 07/11/2022

Teaching week: 14/11/2022

Optional Optional
Hazard and Risk Assessment (HRAS)

Registration closes: 14/11/2022

Preparatory materials released: 28/11/2022

Teaching week: 05/12/2022

 Core  Core
System Safety Assessment (SSAS)

Registration closes: 12/12/2022

Preparatory materials released: 03/01/2023

Teaching week: 09/01/2023

Core Core

Computers and Safety (CASA)

Registration closes: 16/01/2023


Preparatory materials released: 30/01/2023


Teaching week: 06/02/2023

Core  Optional 

Safety Case Development and Review (SCDR)

 Registration closes: 30/01/2023


Preparatory materials released: 13/02/2023


Teaching week: 20/02/2023

Core Core
Through Life Safety (TLSA)

Registration closes: 20/02/2023

Preparatory materials released: 06/03/2023

Teaching week: 13/03/2023

Optional  Optional 
Safety Management Systems (SMSY)

Registration closes: 06/03/2023

Preparatory materials released: 20/03/2023

Teaching week: 27/03/2023

Core Core
Advanced Topics in Safety (ADTS)

Registration closes: 03/04/2023

Preparatory materials released: 17/04/2023

Teaching week: 24/04/2023

Optional  Optional

These short courses also form the core or optional modules on our MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Safety Critical Systems Engineering and Postgraduate Certificate in System Safety Engineering.

If you think that you may wish to enrol for one of these postgraduate awards, then you will need to ensure that you have taken - or plan to take - the requisite 'core' modules, as shown in the table above. You will also need to choose one of more of the optional modules as indicated in the 'Course Content' section of each course page.


During the 2022/23 academic year modules will be taught in a blended format. There will be three days of face-to-face teaching in York, taking place on Tuesday to Thursday of the teaching week. In addition students will be provided with self-study materials totalling some 10 - 15 hours of study time. These will be split between work to be completed before the in-York sessions and materials to be studied afterwards.

Following the taught element, students have an opportunity to complete an assessment. The assessment is compulsory for students who require the module to be credited towards a degree award. The mode of teaching delivery is subject to change according to government guidance relating to Covid-19.

The dates for each course may be subject to change. For confirmation, please contact our Admissions Team at

Please note that modules may be cancelled if there are insufficient numbers registered on the course.


Our short courses are suitable for safety engineers wishing to renew, refresh and extend their knowledge in the area of system safety and embedded control systems.

The courses present many of the ideas of classical safety engineering, as well as explicitly dealing with new issues raised by the widespread use of computers in safety related applications.

Our 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 and assessment

We aim to equip students with knowledge, understanding and practical application of the essential components of safety critical systems engineering, which will complement previously gained knowledge and skills in Computer Science.

We focus on the understanding of the principles behind these techniques so that professionals can make sound engineering judgements during the design and deployment of safety systems, particularly when software is involved.

Each course ends with an optional assessed exercise that is undertaken away from the University over 6-7 weeks following the taught element of the module. Each assessment takes approximately 65 hours in addition to the scheduled teaching time, of which we estimate students spend 30 hours undertaking private study plus 35 hours writing up the assessment. 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. The assessed exercises can be completed on or off site.

If students choose to take and pass the assessment, their results can count towards the completion of the MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Safety Critical Systems Engineering, or a Postgraduate Certificate in System Safety Engineering. Students should apply for a postgraduate award after taking no more than 40 credits of modules. All components of the postgraduate award, including modules taken as a CPD short course, must be taken within a five year time period.

IET principles

The IET position statement issued in October 2009 sets forward ten principles and two recommendations for safety-critical software-based systems in safety-related applications.

The following table shows how our short courses 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. Foundations of System Safety Engineering, 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 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. 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. Foundations of System Safety Engineering, Human Factors for Safety
Principle 5: Every SCS must have a documented safety analysis 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 Foundations of System Safety Engineering, 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. Foundations of System Safety Engineering, 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 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 Foundations of System Safety Engineering, 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 Through Life Safety, Hazard and Risk Management, Safety Critical Project Management
IET principleCPD short courses

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


For courses in the 2022/23 academic year (starting September 2022), the fee for each short course is £1,790.

Fees are payable in advance and include all relevant course materials, tuition and assessments. For short courses where the teaching takes place on campus, students must organise and pay for their own accommodation and travel. These costs are not included in the course fee. 

Students who attend any short course(s), and subsequently choose to undertake a full MScCertificate or Diploma, will be entitled to a credit of 90% of the fees already paid, which can be used towards the cost of the full award. 

You should apply for the MSc, Diploma or Certificate after taking no more than 40 credits of modules. All components of your chosen postgraduate award, including modules taken as a CPD short course, must be taken within a five year time period.

Booking conditions

Booking Conditions

  • Acceptance onto a short course is at the agreement of the course leader. They will want to assure themselves that you have the relevant level of background knowledge. You may therefore be asked to provide a CV detailing your knowledge / experience in particular areas.
  • Course fees quoted include all relevant course materials, tuition and examinations, lunch and refreshments.
  • A completed booking form with Purchase Order or payment is required no later than one month before the course starts, or immediately for bookings made within one month of the beginning of the course.
  • Fees are payable to The University of York. Cheques should be drawn on a UK bank in pounds sterling and made payable to The University of York. Payment may also be made by Visa or Mastercard.


We regret that a fee must be charged when confirmed bookings are cancelled or transferred to future dates. In the event of a cancellation, you may nominate a substitute
(acceptance of this substitution is subject to academic and availability conditions). If a suitable substitute cannot be found the following scale of charges will apply:

  • 56 days or more before the programme starts ‐ full refund
  • 55 days or less ‐ 50% refund
  • 28 days or less ‐ 25% refund
  • 14 days or less ‐ no refund

Transfers to a degree bearing course

If you subsequently register for a postgraduate award (Masters, Diploma or Certificate), and wish to use your attendance and completion of the assessment of a short course as part of this, then 90% of the short course fees already paid will be transferred towards the cost of the degree. 

You should apply for your chosen postgraduate award after taking no more than 40 credits of modules. All components, including modules taken as CPD short courses, must be taken within a five year time period.


We reserve the right to amend published information.

Book your place

Before you make your booking, please ensure that you have read our Booking Conditions.

Enrolling on your course

Please complete the CPD Booking Form and return it to Once this form has been processed, you will be able to use  to access your student record. Please include your name in the 'subject' of your email.

Paying for your course

If your employer will be paying for your training and you would like us to raise an invoice, please complete the CPD Payment Form and return it to Please include your name in the 'subject' of your email.

If you wish to pay by credit or debit card, click the 'pay online' button and select your course from the list of those that are currently open for booking:

Pay online

Contact us

For an informal discussion about our courses, contact Dr Katrina Attwood (Course Leader)

+44 (0)1904 325412