International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. Every students gets the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programs compare the goals they have set themselves to the achieved results and adjust the policy accordingly. The portfolios constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp.

A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).


Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:


Assets of the study programme

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 6 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) and University of Maryland (USA) 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Quality assurance: strengths

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.