Railway Safety and Control Systems Masters

MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Start date
September
Duration
55 weeks full-time, or on a part-time basis, typically over 24–36 months
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Taught
Fees
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21:
£16,980 (UK/EU students)
£23,280 (International Students)
Includes Integrated Presessional Programme.
Further fee information is available.

Our programme in Railway Safety and Control provides an all-round level of knowledge and education and equips the next generation of industry leaders. It provides you with the opportunity to delve deeper into risk/safety management or railway communications including the digital railway.

Railway safety and control systems are both vitally important worldwide, for not only the ongoing operation of existing railways, but also for the design and the development of new systems. Much work is being done by companies involved in both mainline and urban transportation systems to design safe systems, for the public, their passengers and their workforce. 

This Railway Safety and Control Systems programme focuses on risk and safety systems design; risk and safety systems operation; and communication and control systems (including signalling). Efficient communication and control of operations, together with the prevention of the loss of life and livelihood associated with railway crashes and incidents, are high priorities for all organisations involved.

We recognise that each transport sector and mode has its own specific features but seek to ensure that a common approach is taken to the generic issues involved in ensuring dependable operations. As a result, you will develop a deep and robust understanding of approaches to manage safety and control in transport systems and projects, taking advantage of expertise from two leading UK universities.

The Railway Safety and Control Systems programme is delivered jointly by the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at the University of Birmingham and the High Integrity Systems Engineering (HISE) Group at the University of York. The York modules are highly structured around the general topics of risk and safety management, while the Birmingham portion of the programme focuses on railway systems communications and control, and the application of risk management principles. As a result, this course will give you a thorough education and knowledge which can take you into many areas of engineering and business management, as well as in signalling, communications or safety-specific functions of railway or transportation organisations.

This programme will give you a deep and robust understanding of the approaches to managing safety and associated issues in transport systems and related projects. The programme has three possible pathways for:

  • Railway risk and safety systems: this pathway emphasises systems engineering and safety in critical systems, for designing new safety systems.
  • Railway risk and safety operations and organisation: this pathway emphasises management and safety throughout the system's lifecycle, for engineers and managers who will be responsible for the safe operation of a railway system.
  • Railway communications and control (include signalling): completion of this pathway, to PG Diploma or MSc level, is aimed at exemption from the institution of Railway Signalling Engineers' (IRSE's) examination to Professional Railway Signalling Engineer recognition. It includes theory and practice in railway control systems; one module is a practice-based in signalling and control systems. 

Why study Railway Safety and Control Systems MSc/Diploma/Certificate at Birmingham?

  • The Railway Safety and  Control Systems one does this as well as giving the opportunity to delve deeper into risk/safety management or railway communications, including the digital railway.
  • A major benefit of this course is that it enables you to consider the broader aspects of railway systems and how they interact.  Many major projects fail at the interdisciplinary interfaces, and this is precisely the area where the MSc course can assist.
  • It allows you to work at a more senior level, on major projects, and to understand when the ‘technical experts' were not fully appreciative of the interfaces with other disciplines and the latent problems that were developing.
  • We’re Europe’s largest and most diverse railway research & education group with extensive links into industry. What this means is that students benefit from learning about rail and rail systems from the fundamentals which everyone needs to know, through to the latest research and industrial applications.
  • We have extensive laboratories and facilities both on and off our campus for carrying out research in railway engineering. Facilities include railway system simulators, wind tunnel, electronics laboratories, pantograph testing rig, robotic arms, a railway track foundation rig, plus other equipment.  We also have an aerodynamic moving-model testing facility for high-speed trains.

Lloyd's Register Foundation logoThe development of the original pathways of this programme was sponsored by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation.


"We are a charitable foundation, helping to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. We do this because………Life matters”.

Modules

This modular programme allows you to study each topic in depth and apply your knowledge across the programme content. You will be encouraged to enrich your classroom learning by taking part in extra-curricular seminars and activities, and to take part in the BCRRE community of staff and students.

The programme consists of a series of taught modules which cover the topics of safety and risk management, safety systems, railway control systems, railway technologies, railway systems and operation, ergonomics and business management for the railway industry. Each module offered within this programme is also available as a one-off Continuing Professional Development (CPD) option, allowing you to study according to your specific needs. If you take a CPD module and successfully complete the assessment, you will be awarded with academic credit which will allow you to be exempt from taking the same module again within a formal programme of study (subject to the programme requirements and current university regulations).

These are supported by learning about research skills and then followed by an individual research project, supervised by academic experts in the specific field of the project. Part-time and distance-learning students follow the same syllabus as full-time students but complete the taught modules in a sequence that suits their work-commitments.

 - For the PG Certificate the core modules (marked*below) are required and compromise 60 academic credits.
 - Completion of 120 credits (all of taught modules) is required for the PG Diploma.
 - 180 credits for the MSc. 
 - Two PG Certificates are available: PG Cert Railway Safety and Control Systems.

Railway Safety and Control Systems (Risk and Safety Pathway)

Core modules

Risk and Safety Systems Pathway

Risk and Safety Operations and Organisation Pathway

Modules marked* comprise the PG Certificate in Railway Safety and Control Systems

Railway Safety and Control Systems (Communications and Control pathway)

Modules marked* comprise the PG Certificate in Railway Communication and Control Systems

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21:

UK and EU

Fees with Integrated Presessional Programme

  • MSc full-time £16,980
  • MSc distance learning £16,980
  • Diploma full-time (120 credits) £11,880

Fees without Integrated Presessional Programme

  • MSc full-time £15,300
  • MSc distance learning £7,650
  • Diploma full-time (120 credits) £10,200
  • Postgraduate Certificate full-time (60 credits) £5,100
  • Postgraduate Certificate full-time, distance learning (60 credits) £5,100

International

Fees with Integrated Presessional Programme

  • MSc full-time £23,280
  • MSc distance learning £23,280
  • Postgraduate Diploma full-time  £17,220

Fees without Integrated Presessional Programme

  • MSc full-time £21,600
  • MSc distance learning £11,655
  • Postgraduate Diploma full-time  £14,400
  • Postgraduate Diploma distance learning  £7,700
  • Postgraduate Certificate: full-time £7,200
  • Postgraduate Certificate distance learning: £7,700

Learn more about fees and funding.

 

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

 

For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

How To Apply

  • Application deadline for full time study is 31 May
  • Application deadline for part time study is 30 June

International applicants requiring visas

Applications to this programme from students who are international for fees will close 01 July 2020, the exact date will be confirmed when available. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

UK/EU and non-Tier 4 applicants

Applications will close in 10 September 2020, the exact date will be confirmed when available. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Engineering, Physics, Economics or Mathematics).

Practical experience will also be taken into account. If you have no or limited industry experience you will be required to attend the introductory course. Please contact Joy Grey to discuss which programme most suits you. 

Learn more about entry requirements

International Requirements



International Students

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:

 

IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 51 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

Your studies start with an induction weekend at the very start of the academic year, along with students from other BCRRE programmes.

It prepares you for the challenge of postgraduate study, allows you to meet other BCRRE students in a relaxed setting and provides a team activity and background information on the structure of today's British and European railway industry.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education and the High Integrity Systems Engineering Group at York boast experts in railway engineering, systems and risk, meaning you will be taught by lectures at the leading edge of their subjects.

Each taught module takes place over intensive week-long blocks and comprises of classroom lectures, tutorials, team exercises, visits and assignments to embed and draw each element of the subject together. Travel and accommodation in York are arranged for you and a several-day European study tour, which brings application to your learning, is also available as part of the MSc programme.

BCRRE is privileged to work with many colleagues from the railway industry who regularly contribute seminars and talks. Not only do these enrich and embed your learning, they provide excellent opportunities for networking with others in the industry. Several lectures are given by industrial speakers. Further learning is achieved through individual literature review, as part of assignments, or in group exercises.

The programme structure is set up to facilitate attendance-based distance learning, which means you attend in Birmingham or York for the taught modules only. This is ideal if you are studying alongside your work or career, and we design the timetable to enable you to complete your studies within a two or three-year period.

Related staff

This postgraduate programme is intended for those who wish to establish or enhance their career in the safe operation of transport systems.

Companies employing graduates include mainline railways, metros, tram systems and automated people movers. Safety is high on the agenda of transport operators around the world and our graduates are in high demand.

The introduction of the Digital Railway means a greater emphasis on train communications and control over traditional signalling technologies, meaning graduates of the Communication and Control pathway will be highly sought-after around the world.

Furthermore, the Communication and Control pathway is designed to provide partial/full exemption from the IRSE professional examination for signalling engineers: the PG Cert is designed to exempt candidates from Examination module 1 and the PG Diploma, the full examination.

Lucy O'Grady shares the value of a MSc Railway Safety and Control Systems for Amey:

N.B. This video was prepared under the programme's original title, of Railway Risk and Safety Management

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the  wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

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