MSc Process Safety and Loss Prevention (CPET04)

Course overview 

The process industries handle and process a range of hazardous materials which can give rise to fires, explosions and toxic releases.  Such events can result in loss of life, damage to the environment and threaten the very survival of a business.  It is vital that companies understand and manage the risk of such accidents.

Process safety deals with how to identify, prevent, control and mitigate the effects of major accidents.  Loss Prevention addresses the broader area of minimising all accidental losses (including for example by improving plant reliability and availability).   This course provides you with the knowledge, skills and tools to pursue a career in process safety and loss prevention.  The course is delivered by process safety practitioners with extensive current industry experience in their areas of specialisation.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has brought together leading experts from industry, regulators, consultancies and the University of Sheffield to run the courses.  The course has been offered for over 25 years and more than one thousand students have graduated. Graduates from the course are much sought-after by major companies in the oil & gas, nuclear, chemical and pharmaceuticals sectors.

The course is accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is available as a full-time or part-time Masters course, as a Postgraduate Diploma, or as short courses for industry

The MSc (Eng) consists of:

  • Twelve modules, eight need to be completed of which three are compulsory
  • Written assignments for each module
  • A dissertation of 15,000 - 25,000 words on an industry-focussed project

The course is flexible and modular and can be completed either in one year full-time or in two to three years of part-time study. Each module is four days in length (usually Monday through Thursday) which means that part-time students have the opportunity to integrate the knowledge learned and experience gained into their daily working careers.


MSc: 12 months full-time or 2-3 years part time
Diploma: 9 months for full-time or 18 months for part-time
The modules can also be taken as short courses

Programme codes: 

CPET03 - MSc full-time
CPET04 - MSc part-time
CPET05 - Diploma full-time
CPET06 - Diploma part-time
Watch Professor Considine 

Download the full module description list 

Semester 1 

Hazards in Process Plant Design and Operation (core) 
Introduction to Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment (core)
Process Safety Management and Loss Prevention (core)
Process Plant Reliability and Maintainability (optional)
Human Behaviour and Human (optional)

Semester 2

Safety in Nuclear Operations 
Process Safety in the Chemical Industry (optional)
Major Hazards and Emergency Planning (optional)
Applied Hazard and Operability Studies (optional)
Instrumented Systems and Functional Safety (optional) 
Process Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry (optional)
Process Safety in the Pharmaceutical, Food and Consumer Products Industries (optional) 

Any Semester

Dissertation Project GRAD YR 60 credits

A candidate who has been awarded sixty credits in respect of units listed at 1A, 1B above shall be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Certificate in Process Safety and Loss Prevention.

Learning Diploma

 A Diploma is awarded for satisfactory completion of eight modules. The same taught material is studied as in the MSc course, but you do not do a dissertation project.
The diploma course is flexible and modular and can be completed either in one year full-time or in two to three years of part-time study.


Our graduates will have expertise designed to improve their employability within a wide-ranging field of interest, graduates have secured positions in a range of public and private sector organisations from major international petrochemical companies to world leading research institutes.

Read graduate Stephen O'Sullivan's story. 

Our gradutes go on to work for prestigious companies such as 
BP, GlaxoSmithKline, Npower, Petrobras, Proctor & Gamble, Rolls Royce and Shell.

Application and entry requirements 
  • A good degree (at least a 2.2) in a relevant engineering or science discipline or deemed qualified as a result of a lower qualification accompanied by wide work experience which is directly relevant to the course
  • IELTS with an average of 6.5 or above with at least 5.5 in each component or equivalent
  • It should be noted that for entrants without a first degree at classification 2.2 or above, initial entrance must be to the Diploma course, with the opportunity to transfer to the MSc on satisfactory completion of half of the taught course material.

International equivalences

E: m.soto@sheffield.ac.uk | T: +44 (0)114 222 7500.

Apply now

Graduate Emily

eeGraduate Emily talks about why she chose the PSLP course here at Sheffield.

Why did you choose Sheffield?

I mainly chose Sheffield because it had the unique Masters course in Process Safety and Loss Prevention. Bonus points for being a great city to live in and on the doorstep to the Peaks.

Why did you decide to do the PSLP course and what did you enjoy about it?

My background is in mathematics. I chose the PSLP course because I wanted to gain technical/engineering experience so that I could get a job in industry. The PSLP interested me because it teaches a combination of safety engineering and safety management, as well as loss prevention techniques. I really enjoyed being taught by industry experts, felt confident applying what I was learning to real life situations, and meeting people from all over the world and learning about their experiences.

How did the Department support you?

Before I applied for the course, I had expressed an interest in doing it. The Department invited me along for a day to sit in on the lectures so I could gain an understanding of the structure and type of work we’d be doing. While a lot of students on the course came from an engineering background, myself and some other students did not. The Department helped us all by running a day before the course started which taught us about Chemical Engineering basics, run by the Course Director and Deputy Course Directors.
The Department frequently emailed out job applications from various different companies – one which I was offered the job.

Tell us about your current job

I currently work in a process safety role at a sweet manufacturing plant for an international organisation. The work is focused on dust explosion and fire hazards and I am enjoying seeing and working across all areas of the plant. I work with the engineering, safety and maintenance teams, to manage and improve the process risks across the site.

Did your degree help you in what you are doing now?

Absolutely the degree helped me in what I’m doing now. One of the modules, Process Safety in the Pharmaceuticals, Food and Consumer Products Industries gave me the grounding I needed to succeed at interview and in the job I am doing now. The course only piloted this module last year, and it was a fantastic eye opener into the types of niche hazards these industries face. I have since applied this and also continued to learn so much, in what I am doing now.


Ms Maria Soto
T: +44 (0)114 222 7500
E: m.soto@sheffield.ac.uk