International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering
The master prepares the students for professional activities within the evolving field of fire safety engineering. They will obtain a broad high level knowledge thanks to the joint expertise of three partners with al leading role in FSE research and education in Europe. You have the possibility to change your study location each semester.
The Master of Science is an ideal specialisation programme for holders of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in (electro-)mechanical or civil engineering. There is a strong European tendency to move from prescriptive towards performance-based fire safety designs. This goes hand in hand with a strong need for advanced knowledge in the multidisciplinary field of Fire Safety Engineering (FSE). The students will be well prepared for professional activities within this evolving field of FSE, as they will obtain a broad high level knowledge as a benefit from the joint expertise of three partners all of which have a leading role in FSE research and education in Europe. The IMFSE students will learn how to:
- master the scientific knowledge to understand, critically evaluate and analyse the phenomenon fire and its consequences;
- critically evaluate and judge risk with respect to fire and explosions,
- compute and design different types of fire protection concerning structures, passive fire protection, detection and suppression;
- judge the human behaviour in case of fire;
- communicate and collaborate with colleagues within the multidisciplinary domain of Fire Safety Engineering.
The admission requirements vary. Depending on your preliminary training, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.
The two-year course consists of four semesters of 30 credits each. The mobility structure, with possible change in study location after each semester, gives the students the opportunity to gain from the strengths and expertise of each of the three universities.
The first semester, covering basic topics in fire safety engineering, is taught in Ghent or Edinburgh. All students spend the second semester in Lund, with emphasis on enclosure fire dynamics, risk analysis and human behaviour. The third semester is again taught in Ghent (for general FSE) or Edinburgh (with focus on fire and structures engineering in the context of FSE). The fourth semester is devoted to the master’s dissertation, hosted by one or more of the seven universities (the three full partners and the four associated partners).
The master’s dissertation is a requirement for every candidate to obtain a master’s degree and is supervised by at least one of the three partner universities. It consists of a critical analysis of the topic, formulated into an original piece of research work. It aims to develop and strengthen the research capacity skills of the students. The student defines his/her own topic or selects one from a topic list.
The masters can find a job as fire safety engineer:
- in fire protection consultancy companies;
- in design bureaus for structural stability and/or technical equipment of buildings;
- in architect bureaus;
- in fire prevention services of larger cities;
- as responsible person for fire prevention in industry;
- in prevention departments of fire brigades;
- in fire protection equipment industry;
- as fire experts in insurance companies;
- as fire experts in governmental agencies;
- in standard testing laboratories;
- in environmental impact assessment consultancies;
- in health and safety organisations;
- in research and education institutes.
At Ghent University, we strive to educate people who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow. For that purpose, we provide education that is embedded in six strategic objectives: Think Broadly, Keep Researching, Cultivate Talent, Contribute, Extend Horizons, Opt for Quality.
Ghent University continuously focuses on quality assurance and quality culture. The Ghent University's quality assurance system offers information on each study programme’s unique selling points, and on its strengths and weaknesses with regard to quality assurance.
Ghent University's Education Objectives
Unique Selling Points
- Relevance:In their official quality report, the European Commission (EACEA - Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency) praises the relevance of the Fire Safety Engeneering program. This is confirmed by the very high employment rate of our graduates immediately after completion of the IMFSE program. This is the result of the fact that the students learn theoretical knowledge from international top academics in combination with learning state-of-the-art technological aspects from guest professors from the professional FSE (Fire Safety Engineering) world. The general commitment by industry is a strong asset for the IMFSE education. A graduate from our program is thereby a flexible engineer with profound specialization in FSE.
- Multi-perspectivism:We educate our students to become reflective professionals who can work in teams and who occupy leading positions in the FSE professional and academic research world. We value creativity and problem solving skills very highly. Moreover, the strongly international and intercultural character of the student population – the result of the spreading of scholarships in the Erasmus+ framework – ensures that students learn to appreciate both national and international codes of practice in the field of fire safety engineering. The multi-disciplinary character of FSE is also reflected in the program.
- Unique program and degree: The IMFSE program is one of the very few MSc FSE programs in the world of the size of 120 ECTS credits, i.e., the equivalent of 2 full-time academic years. Moreover it is offered by 7 top institutions: The University of Edinburgh (UK), Lund University (Sweden) and Ghent University (coordinator) as core partners and The University of Queensland (Australia), ETH Zürich (Switzerland), University of Maryland (USA) and University of Science and Technology of China (China) as associate partners. The students obtain a degree that is jointly issued by The University of Edinburgh, Lund University and Ghent University. From a contents point of view, we work within the context of ‘Performance-Based Design’, which is common practice and reality of FSE worldwide.
- International talent development: As mentioned, the student population in this program is very international and intercultural. As a student you get freedom in composing your study program in line with your own fields of interest, developing your talents. Thereby you are continuously challenged by worldwide relevant real-life projects. You are offered several options within the mobility scheme to determine at which of the IMFSE institutes you complete your degree.
- Creation of knowledge, skills and competences: Throughout the program there is a step-wise build-up of knowledge, skills and competences, whereby our students are continuously stimulated to critical self-reflection. Starting from theoretical fundamental principles, the problem solving thinking of our students is developed towards both research and practically relevant and realistic projects.
- Student appreciation: The official student survey reveals a very strong appreciation of the IMFSE program. This is the result of what was described in the program key points, but it is also due to the strong involvement of the students in the Program Steering Committee, as this participation ensures that their feedback is heard and leads to adjustments in the program where and when feasible.
- Motivated team of lecturers: The education is delivered by very committed lecturers from different disciplines. Our academic lecturers combine their research expertise with a passion for teaching and dedication to providing a dynamic learning environment in their courses. The guest lecturers bring a strong added value with their input from the professional world.
- Room for practical experience: This is a strong asset of the IMFSE program, as practical experience is guaranteed through the inclusion of the mentioned guest lecturers. Additionally, company visits are organized on a yearly basis and the professional world is involved still more closely in the IMFSE program through their participation in the Advisory Board of the Program Steering Committee, through internships and master thesis topics offered by companies and through their active participation at the annually organized Fire Safety Day.
- Evaluations: Our students appreciate being well-informed on the type and contents of evaluations so that they clearly know what to expect while studying. Also, the variety in types of assessment, depending on the topic and the skills to be tested, is strongly appreciated. Moreover, all exams are screened on relevance and correctness by an independent External Examiner.
- Approachability: Our MSc program focuses on direct and intensive personal contact between lecturers and students. On top of that, there are IMFSE specific administrators at each of the partner institutions, so that our students are assisted in a very good and personal manner when it comes to potential practical problems.
- Study time measurements: Although student feedback does not indicate there is a problem, it is for the time being difficult to assess the total work load, as well as its spreading over the two academic years, on the basis of reliable objective study time measurements This will be followed up more closely in the coming years.
- Follow-up of the master thesis process: The master thesis research and writing takes place in the fourth semester. Students are stimulated more intensely to perform already as much preparatory work as possible during the third semester, in order to avoid problems during the relatively short period of work execution in the fourth semester. Also, the elaboration of the master thesis topics will be carried out more carefully, so that the students have a clear image of what is expected, at an earlier stage.
- Feedback: Since the students reported that they received insufficient feedback on their assignments, the lecturers have been asked to provide more detailed and timely feedback to the students on every submitted piece of work.
From 8 to 9 November 2018, the Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering of Ghent University has been evaluated in the framework of an educational assessment by a peer review panel of independent experts. In this summary which describes a snapshot, the main findings of the panel are listed.
This study programme is accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (in Dutch: NVAO). Accreditation was extended following the positive outcome of the institutional review in 2017.
This information was last updated on 03/02/2023.
In case of questions or suggestions with regard to the publicly available information, please contact the study programme.