Postgraduate study

International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

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

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

  • The University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Ghent University, Belgium (coordinator)
  • Lund University, Sweden

Additionally, there are three associated partners where students can perform thesis research:

  • The University of Queensland, Australia
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • The University of Maryland, United States of America

Classes in Edinburgh focus on fire dynamics, 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.

Our Building Research Establishment (BRE) Centre for Fire Safety Engineering hosts bespoke equipment to support groundbreaking research and teaching, with combined thermal and mechanical loading and use of the latest image analysis techniques.

IMFSE is very pleased to involved seven industrial partners as official sponsors. With their annual financial contributions, it has been made possible to create the IMFSE Sponsorship Consortium, which awards IMFSE students with full or partial scholarships. The current sponsors are:

  • Arup
  • IFIC Forensics
  • UL
  • Promat
  • FPC
  • BRE
  • Fire Engineered Solutions Ghent

The programme consists of four semesters each worth 30 ECTS credits. Changing study location after each semester lets you benefit from the expertise of each university.

Year 1

Semester 1

Students choose to study at either Ghent or Edinburgh.

Ghent University (Belgium):

  • Fire Dynamics
  • Basics of Structural Engineering
  • Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer
  • Explosions and Industrial Fire Safety

And 9 ECTS credits from the following elective courses (subject to approval by the faculty):

  • FSE Based Firefighting (3 credits)
  • Modelling of Turbulence and Combustion (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Turbomachines (6 credits)
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (3 credits)

The University of Edinburgh (Scotland):*

  • Fire Science and Fire Dynamics
  • Fire Safety, Engineering and Society
  • Fire Safety Engineering
  • Structural Mathematics

Semester 2

Lund University (Sweden):

  • Risk Assessment
  • Advanced Fire Dynamics
  • Human Behaviour in Fire
  • Simulation of Fires in Enclosures

Between Year 1 and Year 2 you can opt to do an industrial internship.*

Year 2

Semester 3

Students choose to study at either Ghent or Edinburgh.

Ghent University (Belgium):

  • Passive Fire Protection
  • Active Fire Protection I: Detection and Suppression
  • Active Fire Protection II: Smoke and Heat Control
  • Fire Safety and Legislation
  • Performance-Based Design

And 6 ECTS credits from the following elective courses (subject to approval by the faculty):

  • FSE Based Firefighting (3 credits)
  • Modelling of Turbulence and Combustion (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Turbomachines (6 credits)
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (3 credits)

The University of Edinburgh (Scotland):

  • Fire Science Laboratory
  • Fire Investigation and Failure Analysis
  • Finite Element Analysis for Solids
  • Structural Design for Fire

Semester 4

The Master thesis research is supervised in either Ghent, Lund or Edinburgh (full partners), in an associated partner (ETH Z├╝rich - Switzerland, The University of Queensland - Australia, The University of Maryland - USA) or an industrial company.

*(Revised 20 November 2018 to update the list of courses available at Edinburgh, and the option for an internship.)

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.

Competence in one/more scientific discipline(s)

For a masters degree (two years), students must be able to:

  • master and apply advanced knowledge in the field of engineering in case of complex problems
  • apply Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools and sophisticated calculation and communication instruments in a creative and target-oriented approach
  • master and apply knowledge of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer to critically analyse and evaluate the development of fires in enclosures
  • 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 associated risks
  • master and apply the advanced knowledge of fire dynamics, risk assessment, human behaviour and integrate this in a performance-based fire safety design

Skills and abilities

For a masters degree (two years), students must be able to:

  • analyse complex problems and convert them into scientific questions.
  • perform research by making use of scientific literature.
  • select and apply appropriate models, methods and techniques in different circumstances
  • develop and validate mathematical models and methods
  • analyse own results and results of others in an objective manner
  • critically elaborate problems of fire risk assessment with autonomy and flexibility, using a limited amount of data
  • perform valid computer simulations of development and consequences of enclosure fires

Intellectual competence

For a masters degree (two years), students must be able to:

  • take independent positions on complex situations and be able to defend the point of view
  • use own knowledge in a creative, target-oriented and innovative way regarding research, conceptual design and production
  • reflect on the own way of thinking and acting and be conscious of the own expertise
  • be aware of ongoing evolutions in the field of interest and maintain competence on the expert level
  • flexibly adapt to changing professional circumstances.
  • develop scientifically sound arguments to optimise passive and active fire protection measures

Competence in cooperation and communication

  • discuss field of specialisation in English
  • project planning: formulate objectives, report efficiently, keep track of end-goals and progress of the project
  • cooperate and take the lead in a team in a multi-disciplinary working-environment
  • report on technical or scientific subjects orally, in writing and in graphics
  • function in an international environment (students, PhD students, scientific co-workers, scholars)

Societal competence

  • Act in an ethical, professional and social manner.
  • Be aware of the most important corporate and legal aspects in their field of engineering.
  • Interpret the historical evolution of the own field of engineering 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 use of system and process models.
  • Reconcile conflicting specifications and boundary conditions and transform them into high-quality, innovative concepts and processes.
  • Transform incomplete, contradictory or redundant data into useful information.
  • Select enough knowledge and comprehension to control the results of complex calculations or make approximate estimates.
  • Pay attention to entire life-cycles of systems, machines and processes.
  • Pay attention to energy-efficiency, environmental pressure, use of raw materials and labour costs.
  • Pay attention to all aspects of reliability, safety and ergonomics.
  • Be aware and insightful of the importance of entrepreneurship in society.
  • Show perseverance, drive for innovation and a sense for the creation of added value.

We aim to train the next generation of leaders in this field; there is currently great demand for fire safety engineering graduates worldwide and graduates have gained relevant employment or enhanced career opportunities.

A fire safety engineer fulfils a broad range of duties, in various ways related to fire. This can range from designing fire protection for a space station, to protecting treasures such as the US Constitution, to safely securing the occupants of a high-rise building from fire hazards.

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 industries:

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

A bachelors 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.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE(A): total 62 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections and at least 61 for writing)

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

  • IMFSE, Ghent University
  • Department of Flow, Heat and Combustion Mechanics
  • EA03 St. Pietersnieuwstraat 41
  • Ghent, Belgium
  • B-9000

Further information

  • IMFSE, Ghent University
  • Department of Flow, Heat and Combustion Mechanics
  • EA03 St. Pietersnieuwstraat 41
  • Ghent, Belgium
  • B-9000