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    MSc(Eng) PG Diploma
    2024 start September 

    Process Safety and Loss Prevention

    School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

    Enhance your skills in process safety, loss prevention and risk assessment to prepare you for a career in the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear and pharmaceutical industries.
    Process safety researchers

    Course description

    Whether you’re already working in the field or just starting out, this course will deepen your understanding and equip you with skills and expertise in process safety, loss prevention and risk assessment. You'll be ready for a career in the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear and pharmaceutical industries or with any of the consultancies that service them.

    Reducing risks to employees, the public and the environment from exposure to major hazard events is a high priority for industry. This unique MSc was established over 25 years ago jointly by us, the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Health and Safety Executive.

    We've brought together leading experts with years of experience in oil and gas, chemical, nuclear and pharmaceutical sectors. Many of the course tutors are from industry, with decades of experience and from specialist consultancies, as well as former industry process safety professionals now based at the University.


    We are accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Introduction to Process Safety and Loss Prevention

    This module provides the background to understanding the importance of Process Safety. It sets out the structure and describes the elements of a modern approach to Process Safety. It provides the basis of how Process Safety should be approached and implemented across the lifecycle of a project, illustrated with practical examples and workshops.

    15 credits
    Leadership and Management of Process Safety

    This module provides an overview of Process Safety Management systems. As an exemplar, the twenty element CCPS Process Safety Management model is used as a framework to explore important aspects of process safety such as the commitment to process safety (via leadership and culture), understanding and managing risks and learning from experience. Beyond this, topics such as corrosion and mechanical failure will be introduced to inform decisions around asset integrity.

    15 credits
    Hazards & Protections

    The theme of this module is hazard and risk. The interaction between process design and hazard identification is explored. A number of hazard study techniques are introduced and the concepts underlying risk and risk criteria are analysed. Protective systems such as pressure relief and fire protection are reviewed.

    15 credits
    Human Behaviour and Human Error

    The theoretical background and practical skills are given for assessing and reducing human error. Features considered include human factors and psychological mechanisms. Human reliability is considered in industry and its impact on major hazard systems and quality assurance. Human-machine interfaces are examined. Approaches are given for improving human reliability and error reduction. Key features include task analysis and its application, the quantification of human error for risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis and the use of data collection systems. Studies identify the underlying reasons for human caused accidents and quality lapses. The module aims to give: an understanding of the importance of humans in the chain of actions leading to accidents in chemical plants, an understanding of the ways in which human error can be described in the operation of a task sequence, an appreciation of the ways in which data can be collected and used in incident investigation and an understanding of the numerical representation of human behaviour in the assessment of risk.

    15 credits
    Process Safety in the Chemical, Pharma and Fine Chemicals Industry

    This module addresses process safety in the chemical, pharma and fine chemical industry. It is one of a series of modules which address hazards and risks in specific industries. A wide range of chemical hazards are examined including flammability, toxicity, chemical reactivity and environmental impact. Tools and techniques for identifying hazards and reducing risk are described and practical experience in their use is provided in the form of workshop activities. The module will describe how to prepare a 'basis for safety' for a process.

    15 credits
    Process Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry

    The module describes how techniques covered on the rest of the course are applied to process safety issues specific to the oil and gas industry. Within the oil industry it will cover process safety in exploration, production, refining, distribution, marketing and retail operations. Within the gas industry it will address areas such as production, storage, liquefaction and transportation. It will provide the above through the use of a number of discrete case studies.

    15 credits
    Major Hazards and Emergency Planning

    The module sets out to provide the methodology for the quantification of the effects of major chemical plant incidents and includes hands-on experience with consequence modelling software. This includes a first principles look at different events and models used to describe events. These range from models of the source of any loss of containment, dispersion of chemicals, fires and explosions. Furthermore, through the use of probits, the effects and consequences of any incidents can be estimated. The module also includes hands-on experience with consequence modelling software. This methodology is placed in the context of the legal requirements for the preparation of safety cases by plant operators. The preparation of Emergency Response Plans is also introduced.

    15 credits
    Instrumented Systems and Functional Safety

    The use of computers in control process has resulted in some serious problems in the design and maintenance of safe process systems. An introduction is given to computer architecture. Requirements analysis and systems analysis with supporting tools are described followed by software concepts and tools. Training is given in software and system testing and validation, software maintenance and redesign and the development of fault tolerant systems. The standards required for safety critical instrument systems are examined. Other topics include design, operation and maintenance and safety critical systems. The above material is amplified by appropriate case studies.

    15 credits
    Research Project

    The application of scientific and engineering principles to a solution of practical problems of engineering systems and processes is developed throughout the course and demonstrated in particular by the research project. Each student registered for the Masters degree in Process Safety and Loss Prevention is required to complete a research based portfolio. The research project is worth 60 credits. This is the most important individual module in the course, assessing the student's ability to conduct research on an individual level, also including group aspects when applicable. The topic for study is selected in consultation with appropriate members of the teaching staff, from a list of projects offered alongside the research interests of academic supervisors in the department. You will choose a research project which best fits your own interests and conduct unique and original research in that area. Projects vary from industrially-based problem solving to laboratory- or computational-based research and development of new processes or ideas. The research portfolio is a major part of the degree and you will be allocated an academic supervisor who provides advice and guidance throughout the period of study. Opportunities exist for research studies to be carried out in collaboration with other university research centres as well as industrial organisations. Furthermore, you will have the chance to conduct your research project as part of a team of other students on your course, where each student will focus on different aspects of the project. You will present your project as a portfolio consisting of a Technical Review (submitted individually or as a team if working on a team project) and a Dissertation (submitted individually in every case). The dissertation will include a lay summary to communicate to a variety of audiences. You will also be required to present your research work as a poster presentation during the academic year.

    60 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    • MSc(Eng): 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
    • Diploma: 9 months full-time


    Learning is through a mixture of lectures and discussions, real-life case studies, participative workshops and hands-on computer sessions that will equip you with in-depth knowledge of current best practice in industry.


    Continuous assessment is based on assignments for each module, and a dissertation.


    School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering

    Chemical engineers conceive and design processes to produce, transform and transport materials. Our courses help prepare you for a career in the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear and pharmaceutical industries.

    Our first-class facilities include cutting-edge laboratories such as the Analytics Lab, Thermodynamics Lab and the Pilot Plant.

    The Pilot Plant is the cornerstone to educate our students and it features a continuous powder processing plant – the first of its kind in any UK University.

    We also have key relationships with major international companies involved with food, fuels, medicines, plastics, energy and high-technology industries.  Some of these include: Siemens, Petronas, Pfizer, Nestle, Lonza, Astrazeneca, Syngenta and Unilever. 

    Here at Sheffield you’ll become an innovative product developer, forward looking, a risk taker and a trail blazer. You’ll be proud of the manufacturing heritage of our university and of our city.

    Our intensive teaching, combined with practical experience in most of our courses, produces the kind of graduates employers want. 

    We’ll equip you with everything you need to deliver sustainable solutions to support an ever growing, global population – study at Sheffield and you could literally change millions of lives.

    Student profiles

    Group of Chemical and Biological Engineering postgraduates at a table with laptop

    What I like most about my course is that it’s totally applied to industry: it’s very practical and the lecturers have a lot of industry experience. I love that with my work I can avoid big accidents occurring and save lives and the environment.

    Sandra Catalina Prieto Marin

    MSc(Eng) Process Safety and Loss Prevention

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:2 undergraduate honours degree in a science, technology or engineering subject.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    Contact us for current information on available scholarships.


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 7500

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.