With initial funding provided by industry in the wake of the Piper Alpha disaster, the University of Aberdeen’s Chair in Safety Engineering was established in 1990 and its associated Masters Degree in Safety & Reliability Engineering for Oil & Gas was launched in 1994. The MSc has enabled graduates to gain specialist skills in safety engineering, with a high proportion progressing to senior positions as safety specialists working with consultants, oil companies and regulatory authorities in the UK and overseas.
Many of our graduates apply their expertise in the oil and gas sector and are at the heart of the industry's imperative to ensure safer installations and practices in ever more challenging environments of greater complexity. The MSc has attracted students from many parts of the world, including China, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Korea, Nigeria, Australia and Saudi-Arabia, as well as most areas of the UK and Europe. Additionally, universities in Canada and Australia have developed taught course modules in Safety and Reliability Engineering that are based directly on Aberdeen courses. Details of the Masters programme are available here. Teaching in safety and reliability engineering is also well integrated within the School of Engineering’s undergraduate programmes, reflecting the University’s recognition of the importance of safety and reliability issues across the engineering disciplines
Major companies such as BP, Atkins and AMEC contribute regularly to teaching within core modules of the MSc programme and this is enhanced by additional lectures on specialist topics delivered by experts from an even wider range of companies including Lloyd’s Register, DNV, Total, Shell and Aker Solutions. This level of industry support and contribution is evidence of the industrial relevance and importance of the MSc programme. An important feature is the commitment to ensure that as many students as possible undertake their dissertation work within an industrial placement. As might be expected, placements in oil and gas-related companies are common, but students have also been placed in companies such as Rolls Royce, Network Rail and Diageo, reflecting the breadth of industry application for knowledge and skills gained from the programme. Reports from students’ industrial supervisors have highlighted the students’ level of specialist knowledge, enabling some to take lead roles in overhauling safety procedures during their placement.
The MSc programme is a vital element of the Centre’s activities. The aim is to maintain a supply of talented and knowledgeable postgraduates who become agents for substantial improvement of safety culture and practices in a range of industries worldwide.