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Last modified: 05 Jun 2017 12:30

Course Overview

The world is full of uncertainties and there is a level of risk in every human activity, including engineering.  Many industries require an engineer to manage significant risks and design for high reliability, such as oil and gas, subsea, nuclear, aviation and large civil projects (e.g. bridges and dams).  To  meet these engineering challenges and make rational decisions in the presence of uncertainty, this course will introduce students to methods and tools used by engineers to analysis risk and reliability.

Course Details

Study Type Both Undergraduate & Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Peter Dunning

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course introduces students to the engineering definitions of risk and reliability and the principles of risk based decision making.  A review of relevant probability and statistics theory required for the course follows, then it focuses on widely used methods and tools for engineering risk and reliability analysis:

• Failure Modes Effects and Criticality Analysis
• Reliability Block Diagrams
• Fault Tree Analysis
• Event Tree Analysis
• Classic Reliability Theory
• Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) Analysis
• Structural Reliability Analysis, including:
• Monte Carlo Methods
• First Order Reliability Method (FORM)

And finally an introduction to human reliability and safety management, including safety management systems.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • MSc Subsea Engineering
  • Master Of Science In Advanced Mechanical Engineering
  • Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering with Management
  • Master of Engineering in Mech Eng with Euro Studs
  • Master of Engineering in Mechanical & Electrical Eng
  • Master of Engineering in Mechanical Eng with Management
  • Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering

Contact Teaching Time

43 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: Continuous assessment (20%) and one 3-hour written examination (80%). Continuous assessment will be an individual report on a fault tree analysis of  a real accident.

Resit: 3 hour written examination (80%)
Continuous assessment (20%) mark is to be taken from the first attempt

Formative Assessment



Students can receive feedback on their progress on request using email, discussion boards and at weekly tutorial sessions.

Students will get individual feedback on their continuous assessment via MyAberdeen.

Exam feedback will be in the form of the solutions (posted on MyAberdeen) and a summary of the common mistakes made on each question.

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