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.
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.
- 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?
Flexible hours and 24/7 access, so you can study when it suits you.
Led by industry
Your course content is developed and reviewed by an Industry Advisory Board, so your training is always cutting edge and industry-relevant.
20% alumni discount
University of Aberdeen alumni get 20% off this online course.
How you’ll study
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.
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:
- video lectures to stream
- reading materials
- discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
- the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.
You’ll learn from a team of internationally experienced engineers and academics from our School of Engineering.
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.
This course usually combines online assessment with a written exam that you attend in person at the end of term.
However, as a result of Covid-19, in-person exams will not take place until the September 2023 term at the earliest.
Until then, we’ll use alternative online assessments.
Online assessment will take place throughout the teaching term.
Types of assessment for this course may include:
- online quizzes
- timed online open-book assessments.
Your assessments will have submission deadlines, either during or at the end of the course. Your course coordinator will let you know when your assessment deadlines are, so you can plan your study time accordingly.
From September 2023 - Return of exams
We may reintroduce in-person exams for this course from the September 2023 term onwards.
If exams are reintroduced, you’ll be assessed via a mix of online assessments and a final, in-person exam. We can help you find an exam centre in your area for this exam if you are not able to attend exams on-campus in Aberdeen.
There may be a fee for sitting an exam at an external examination centre.
We’ll keep you updated as to assessment methods well in advance of any changes.
The course totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.
This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes.
You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.
Activities with deadlines
There will be some activities scheduled for fixed times, such as assessments with deadlines or meetings with your tutor. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.
Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.
We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:
- Careers and Employability Service – including one-to-one advice sessions
- Disability support
- IT support
- Library support
- Student Support Service – help with finances, stress, wellbeing and non-academic issues
- Student Learning Service – study support, with advice sessions available via phone or Skype
- Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) – run by students for students
- Toolkit – clever apps and free training that can make your study life easier
Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.
Your course coordinator
Dr Peter Dunning
Peter joined us as a Lecturer in 2015. He is a Chartered Engineer with the IMechE who holds an MEng in Aerospace Engineering and PhD, both from the University of Bath. Peter’s industrial experience includes work with Airbus, NASA and an engineering consultancy.View Peter’s profile
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:
Masters in Decommissioning
Join the world’s first and only accredited online Masters degree in decommissioning oil rigs, platforms and offshore structures.View MSc Decommissioning
Masters in Offshore Engineering
Join our accredited online MSc and gain the skills you need to work in a wide variety of roles in the offshore engineering sector, including marine renewables.View MSc Offshore Engineering
Masters in Subsea Engineering
Become a subsea engineer with our accredited online MSc. Train in the fundamental skills and technical knowledge demanded by the subsea sector today.View MSc Subsea Engineering
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.
We welcome students from all over the world.
See the minimum entry requirements above. If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check equivalent qualifications from your country.
You do not need a visa to study online with us.
English language requirements
Teaching is delivered in English.
If English is not your first language, use our English requirements checklist to see if you need to provide evidence of your English language skills when you apply.
English language tests and scores
If you do need to provide English language test scores, these are the tests and minimum scores we accept for this course or degree.
These are our Postgraduate Standard requirements.
IELTS Academic and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)
- 6.5 overall
- 5.5 for listening, reading and speaking
- 6.0 for writing
TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition
- 90 overall
- 17 for listening
- 18 for reading
- 20 for speaking
- 21 for writing
- TOEFL DI code is 0818
Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency
- 176 overall
- 162 for listening, reading and speaking
- 169 for writing
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken)
- Overall High Pass
- 33 for listening, reading and speaking
- 38 for writing
PTE Academic (online test not accepted)
- 62 overall
- 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing
For full information about language requirements, see our English Language Requirements page.
For this course, you’ll apply through our Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents. Our admissions team will then review these and contact you.
Documents you’ll need to apply for this course
- Degree transcript
- Personal statement
Start with our step-by-step guide. It explains degree transcripts, what to write in your personal statement and how to use the Applicant Portal.
Apply as early as you can. This is so we have time to review your application and get a decision to you. We also want to ensure you have time to enrol before teaching starts.
January 2024 intake
For our January 2024 intake, the application deadline is 4 December 2023.
You will need to accept your offer and provide any outstanding documents to meet the conditions of your offer by 18 December 2023.
Teaching starts on 22 January 2024.
When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.
But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.
Your most important commitment to your course will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.
Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your course each week:
- Be realistic
- Create a weekly schedule as a guide
If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.
Your course fee needs to be paid in full before you start your course.
We accept payment via Visa Debit, Visa Credit and Mastercard.
If your course features an in-person exam, you may have to pay a fee depending on where you sit your exam.
It’s free to sit exams on campus at the University of Aberdeen.
If you sit an exam at another university, exam centre or a British Council Office, they may charge you for this service. This is a fee that you pay directly to the service provider when booking your exam with them. It is not a fee that you pay to us.
Ways to save
You may be able to get help funding this course via:
- discounts – if any discounts are available for this course, they’ll appear in the section below
- employer sponsorship – we accept full and partial fee payments from sponsors.
All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.
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.
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.