Boost your skills in a vital area of engineering.

  • Study the key concepts in risk and reliability modelling, including uncertainty quantification and probability theory.
  • Explore risk assessment principles and train in a range of risk assessment techniques.
  • Study online, part-time and develop focused skills as a graduate engineer or industry professional.

This short course fits around full-time work and is a core part of many of our engineering Masters degrees.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards any of these MSc qualifications.

What you’ll study

You’ll study three main topic areas.

An introduction to general risk assessment principles

  • Here you’ll focus on a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques.
  • You’ll train in the application of probabilistic modelling schemes.

Reliability computations

  • You’ll focus on reliability computations based on the ‘physics of failure’ approach.
  • You’ll explore problem formulation and the use of structural reliability methods, including first-order reliability method (FORM) and Monte Carlo simulations.

An introduction to safety management

  • This final part of the course looks at safety management systems and human reliability.

Across the course, you’ll also cover:

  • revision of elementary risk and reliability concepts
  • engineering quantities as random variables
  • risk assessment techniques
  • structural reliability – background and applications.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to...

  • Explain the significance of technical safety principles.
  • Describe a range of risk assessment schemes.
  • Analyse problems in which many of the parameters are non-deterministic in nature.
  • Formulate a range of reliability problems.
  • Explain the types of uncertainty that affect the reliability of engineering systems and components, and the model these using appropriate probability distributions.
  • Compute reliability using a variety of methods, including FORM and Monte Carlo simulation.

Why study Engineering online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning engineering course is delivered flexibly online.

You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos
  • video lectures to stream
  • projects
  • quizzes
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from a team of internationally experienced engineers and academics from our School of Engineering.

Industry input

Your course content is developed and reviewed by an Industry Advisory Board. This group of experienced professionals ensures your learning is always in line with the latest industry trends, technology and career opportunities.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Build your learning

We offer a range of specialist online Engineering and technology courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


Completing this course will give you an advantage in technical safety-related careers.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

This course includes many of the same learning outcomes as our online short course in Safety and Risk Management. We do not recommend that you study this course alongside Safety and Risk Management.

Entry requirements

The minimum requirements for this course are:

  • an Engineering honours degree with a 2:1 or above.

We’re also happy to consider other relevant qualifications, for example in Mathematics and Physics, or professional experience with supportive references.

This course includes significant mathematical content. Please review our mathematical skills document, which we’ve prepared to give you an indication of the level of mathematics you’ll require.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 January 2023
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