Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

The International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE) is a two-year educational programme in the Erasmus+ framework.

By providing you with a world-leading educational experience with advanced knowledge, skills and competences, the IMFSE programme shapes the next generation of fire safety engineering experts capable of tackling the global fire safety challenges in the built environment and beyond.

This masters programme is jointly offered by the following four full partner universities:

  • The University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Ghent University, Belgium (coordinator)
  • Lund University, Sweden
  • Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain

Additionally, there are four associated partners where you can perform thesis research:

  • The University of Queensland, Australia
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • The University of Maryland, United States of America
  • The University of Science and Technology of China, China

Classes in Edinburgh focus on fire science and dynamics including laboratory classes, fire safety engineering and structural design for fire.

Classes in Ghent have a more general fire safety engineering focus.

Classes in Lund emphasise enclosure fire dynamics, risk analysis and human behaviour.

The IMFSE programme offers scholarships co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union every year.

In addition, IMFSE is pleased to offer full and partial scholarships enabled by the financial contribution from companies and associations

So far, 30 IMFSE students have benefited from this mechanism.

The programme consists of four semesters each worth 30 ECTS points.

Changing study location after each semester lets you benefit from the expertise of each university.

Often students undertake a voluntary internship between years 1 and 2 of the programme.

Year 1

Semester 1

You can choose to study in either Edinburgh or Ghent.

At the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), you will study:

  • Fire Science Laboratory (10 ECTS)
  • Fire Science and Fire Dynamics (5 ECTS)
  • Fire Safety Engineering (5 ECTS)
  • Structural Design for Fire (5 ECTS)
  • Research Methods for Engineers (5 ECTS)

At Ghent University (Belgium), you will study:

General courses (24 ECTS)

  • Explosions and Industrial Fire Safety (6 ECTS)
  • Fire Dynamics (6 ECTS)
  • Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer (6 ECTS)
  • Fire Research Seminar (3 ECTS)
  • Material Behaviour at Ambient and Elevated Temperatures (3 ECTS)
Structural Fire Engineering Elective Courses (3 to 6 ECTS).

You will subscribe to no fewer than 3 and no more than 6 credit units from the following list (subject to approval by the faculty):

  • Analysis of Structures (3 ECTS)
  • Design for Structural Fire Resistance (3 ECTS)
Broadening Elective Courses (0 to 3 ECTS).

You will subscribe to no more than 3 credit units from the following list. (subject to approval by the faculty):

  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship (3 ECTS)
  • Modelling of Turbulence and Combustion (3 ECTS)
  • CFD for Fire Safety Engineering (3 ECTS)
  • FSE Based Firefighting (3 ECTS)
  • Data-Driven Management of Fire Incidents (3 ECTS)

Semester 2

At Lund University (Sweden), you will study:

  • Risk Assessment (8 credits)
  • Advanced Fire Dynamics (9 credits)
  • Human Behaviour in Fire (8 credits)
  • Simulation of Fires in Enclosures (5 credits)

Year 2

Semester 3

You can choose to study in either Ghent or Barcelona.

At Ghent University (Belgium), you will study:

General courses (24 ECTS)

  • Active Fire Protection I: Detection and Suppression (6 ECTS)
  • Active Fire Protection II: Smoke and Heat Control (6 ECTS)
  • Fire Safety and Legislation (3 ECTS)
  • Passive Fire Protection (3 ECTS)
  • Performance-Based Design (6 ECTS)
Structural Fire Engineering Elective Courses (3 to 6 ECTS)

You will subscribe to no less than 3 and no more than 6 credit units from the following list (subject to approval by the faculty):

  • Design for Structural Fire Resistance (3ECTS)
  • Applications of Advanced Structural Fire Engineering (3 ECTS)
Broadening Elective Courses (0 to 3 ECTS)

You will subscribe to no more than 3 credit units from the following list (subject to approval by the faculty):

  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship (3 ECTS)
  • Modelling of Turbulence and Combustion (3 ECTS)
  • CFD for Fire Safety Engineering (3 ECTS)
  • FSE Based Firefighting (3 ECTS)
  • Data-Driven Management of Fire Incidents (3 ECTS)

At the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain), you will study:

Core courses comprising (24 ECTS):

  • Wildland Fire Behaviour and Modelling (6 ECTS)
  • Risk and Vulnerability at the Wildland-Urban Interface (6 ECTS)
  • Advanced Fire Safety Engineering (6 ECTS)
  • Risk and Safety at the Chemical Industry (6 ECTS)

Elective courses (6 ECTS from the below):

  • Data Analysis and Pattern Recognition (6 ECTS)
  • Computer Vision (6 ECTS)
  • Technology Innovation (6 ECTS)

Semester 4

The MSc thesis research is supervised in either:

  • Edinburgh, Ghent, Lund or Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (full partner institutions)
  • ETH Zürich (Switzerland), The University of Queensland (Australia), The University of Maryland (USA), The University of Science and Technology of China (China) (associated partner institutions)
  • with one of the contributing companies or organisations

The course contents and learning outcomes of IMFSE have been jointly developed, taking into account the specialties and experience of each of the three IMFSE universities.

All three partners have extensive experience in teaching the different courses and integrating them into different degree requirements.

Competences

In undertaking this programme, you will develop the following professional and personal competences.

Competences in one/more scientific discipline(s):

  • master and apply advanced knowledge in the engineering discipline in solving complex problems
  • apply Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools and advanced communication instruments in a creative and purposeful way
  • master and apply knowledge of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer to critically analyse and evaluate the development of fires in enclosed spaces
  • master and apply knowledge of element methods and dynamics of structures to critically analyse and evaluate the behaviour of simple structures in case of fire
  • master and apply knowledge of explosions to critically analyse and evaluate the associated risk
  • master and apply advanced knowledge of fire dynamics, risk assessment and human behaviour, and integrate this to develop a performance based fire safety design

Scientific competences:

  • analyse complex problems and translate them into concrete research questions
  • consult the scientific literature as part of the research process
  • select and apply the appropriate models, methods and techniques
  • develop and validate mathematical models and methods
  • interpret research findings in an objective and critical manner
  • elaborate problems of fire risk assessment in a critical, autonomous and flexible manner with a limited amount of data
  • perform valid computer simulations of development and consequences of enclosure fires

Intellectual competence:

  • independently form an opinion on complex situations and problems, and defend your point of view
  • apply knowledge in a creative, purposeful and innovative way to research, conceptual design and production
  • critically reflect on your own way of thinking and acting, and understand the limits of your competences
  • stay up‐to‐date with advancements in the discipline to elevate your competences to expert level
  • readily adapt to changing professional circumstances
  • develop scientifically sound arguments to optimize passive and active fire protection measures

Competence in cooperation and communication:

  • communicate in English about the your field of specialisation
  • project management: have the ability to formulate objectives, report efficiently, keep track of targets, follow the progress of the project
  • work as a member of a team in a multi‐disciplinary working‐environment, as well as being capable of taking on supervisory responsibilities
  • report on technical or scientific subjects verbally, in writing and using graphics
  • function in an international environment (students, PhD students, scientific co-workers, scholars)

Societal competence:

  • act in an ethical, professional and social way
  • recognize the most important business and legal aspects of the engineering discipline
  • understand the historical evolution of the engineering discipline and its social relevance
  • master and apply critical insight in existing fire safety legislation and regulations in the development of a fire safety design
  • act in an ethical, professional and social way when developing and presenting a performance based fire safety design

Profession-specific competence:

  • master the complexity of technical systems by using system and process models
  • reconcile conflicting specifications and prior conditions in a high‐quality and innovative concept or process
  • synthesize incomplete, contradictory or redundant data into useful information
  • possess sufficient knowledge and understanding to evaluate the results of complex calculations, or make approximate estimates
  • pay attention to entire life cycles of systems, machines, and processes
  • pay attention to sustainability, energy‐efficiency, environmental cost, use of raw materials and labour costs
  • pay attention to all aspects of reliability, safety, and ergonomics
  • have insight into and understanding of the importance of entrepreneurship
  • show perseverance, innovation, and an aptitude for creating added value

We aim to train the next generation of leaders in the fields of fire science and fire safety engineering.

There is currently great demand for fire safety engineering graduates worldwide and graduates from the IMFSE benefit from excellent employability and enhanced career opportunities.

A fire safety engineer fulfils a broad range of duties, in various ways related to fire. This can range from designing safe high-rise buildings and other important urban infrastructure to designing fire protection for a space station or working in very complex environments such as world class science facilities.

Fire safety engineers are in great demand by corporations, educational institutions, consulting firms, and government bodies around the world. You may find career opportunities in the following fields:

  • consulting engineering firms
  • fire departments
  • fire equipment and systems manufacturers
  • government policy and regulation
  • hospitals and health care facilities
  • insurance
  • research and testing laboratories
  • educational institutions
  • entertainment industry
  • forensic fire investigations

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 Bachelors (or Masters) degree or recognised equivalent from an accredited institution (minimum 3 years full-time study or 180 ECTS credits) in civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, chemical, or industrial engineering; material sciences; chemistry; physics; applied physics; architecture; urbanism and spatial planning, or a related discipline.

Applicants with another degree but with extensive professional experience or knowledge in the field of Fire Safety Engineering may also be eligible. 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

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • IMFSE Administrator, Lies Decroos
  • Phone: +32 (9)264 984 7
  • Contact: IMFSE@ugent.be
  • IMFSE, Ghent University
  • Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials
  • EA14 St. Pietersnieuwstraat 41
  • Ghent, Belgium
  • B-9000

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.

Further information

  • IMFSE Administrator, Lies Decroos
  • Phone: +32 (9)264 984 7
  • Contact: IMFSE@ugent.be
  • IMFSE, Ghent University
  • Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials
  • EA14 St. Pietersnieuwstraat 41
  • Ghent, Belgium
  • B-9000