Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Fire Engineering Science MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time


Funding opportunities

Our one-year MSc in Fire Engineering Science will provide you with a deep understanding of the fundamental physical processes of fire behaviour, and their application in engineering.

New technologies and climate change are increasingly introducing new and complex fire hazards into environments that were previously considered low risk. As such a knowledge of fire science and its engineering application is critical for societies across the globe to manage, control and prevent the causes of fire.

The MSc in Fire Engineering Science will teach you how fires burn (fire dynamics), how regulators control fire risks, and how our environment can be changed to mitigate fire risks. You will also benefit from many practical opportunities to learn about how to measure and study fire phenomena through our fire laboratory class.

As part of the dissertation, you will investigate a real-world fire engineering problem. This gives you the opportunity to contribute to enhancing fire prevention and mitigation methods of the future.

Students learn as part of a wider group of domestic and international masters students, all studying different aspects of fire safety science and engineering. Classes consist of lectures with academic staff, tutorials where you can deepen your problem-solving ability by directly interacting with staff and researchers at the Edinburgh Fire Research Centre. In addition, the laboratory classes offer the opportunity to get hands-on with fire science diagnostics equipment and learn from leading researchers in fire safety science.

You will deepen your knowledge through opportunities to:

  • learn from leading experts who are at the forefront of Fire Engineering and whose research informs your teaching
  • benefit from the wide-ranging backgrounds of our staff and students, from Engineering, Chemistry to Applied Physics
  • gain experience in using industry-standard resources and equipment in our dedicated fire lab and software packages
  • Interact with industry through extra-curricular activities.


The degree is accredited as an MSc programme for Further Learning by the Joint Board of Moderators.

Semester 1

All students take the following courses in semester 1:

  • Fire Science and Fire Dynamics
  • Fire Safety Engineering
  • Structural Design for Fire
  • Principles of the fire laboratory
  • Research methods for Engineers
  • Heat, Mass, and Momentum Transfer

Semester 2

All students will take the following courses in semester 2:

  • Design Project
  • Fire Science
  • Fire Science Laboratory
  • Models for Fire Safety
  • Heat, Mass, and Momentum Transfer

Courses can change from year to year. Those listed provide a representation of courses previously offered. Courses for the forthcoming year will be published on the Degree Programme Table in the Spring.

Semester 3

  • Dissertation

You will undertake the dissertation during semester 3 under the supervision of a member of our academic staff. For this individual research project, you will be able to further your own interests and select from a wide range of topics, which reflects the breadth and depth of our expertise in the field of fire engineering.

Some recent topics include: fire safety of timber buildings, analysis of smoke in large atria, heat transfer processes during flame spread, modelling of burning timber, and flammability of different fuels in wildfire.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScFire Engineering Science1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:

  • Create, identify and evaluate possible fire safety engineering options in order to solve complex (multiparameter) problems.
  • Analyse experimental evidence and design situations and apply creative thinking to develop the appropriate solutions within the context of fire safety.
  • Conduct research and enquiry into fire safety science and engineering issues through research design, the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, synthesising and reporting.
  • Have an understanding of the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of many fire safety challenges and handle the complexity associated with ambiguity.
  • Evaluate fire safety information thoroughly; identifying assumptions, detecting false logic or reasoning and defining terms accurately in order to make an informed judgement about appropriate actions.

Internationally, there is great demand for graduates in this field. Expertise in fire safety engineering is particularly relevant as new technologies continue to change the fire hazards presented to people and the environment.

Our previous graduates are in relevant employment, with the majority working in fire teams at engineering consultancies, and others working at research institutions, or pursuing further study.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, safety engineering, building engineering, or applied physics.

We may also consider your application if your background is in another field; please contact us to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:


If you receive an offer of admission you will need to pay a deposit to secure your place.

  • £1,500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. (If there is no information on your offer about the deposit, then you are not required to pay.)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Student living costs

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScFire Engineering Science1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

Drysdale Scholarships

To support the pipeline of graduates into this field, the University of Edinburgh is offering five full scholarships for home fees students, and two full scholarships for international students.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB