Safety Engineering Master's Degree

Safety engineering graduate programs explore the methods of identifying, eliminating and preventing hazards in the workplace. Learn about master's degrees, areas of study, coursework and professional certificates.

What Can I Expect from a Master's Degree Program?

If you want to study safety engineering at the master's level, you can pursue a degree in health and safety engineering or environmental safety engineering. Some courses of study may combine safety engineering with other fields, such as homeland security. You can find these programs on traditional college campuses as well as in distance-learning formats, and you can usually graduate in 2-3 years.

Program Format Usually 2-3 years long, online programs available
Job Duties Designing safe products, developing safety protocols, implementing prevention measures
Common Courses System safety, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, statistics, hazard analysis
Certification Options The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) certification
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9% (Health and Safety Engineers)
Median Salary (2018) $89,130 per year (Health and Safety Engineers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Safety Engineering?

Safety engineering, sometimes called health and safety engineering or environmental safety engineering, is the practice of monitoring environments and equipment for potential safety hazards. This could require expertise in many disciplines, including chemistry, fire safety, mechanical engineering, systems engineering or human performance. Someone working in this field might be responsible for developing safety protocols or prevention measures. Other professionals may help during the design process for new products to minimize the risk of injury, damage, illness or other harm.

What Classes Can I Take?

Coursework in master's degree programs in safety engineering combines mathematics, engineering and business. You can expect a research-based curriculum that addresses issues like how to handle hazardous materials in workplaces and how technology can influence and improve safety. The following are examples of courses you might find in the curriculum:

  • Systems safety
  • Hazard analysis techniques
  • Occupational health principles
  • Legal issues in health safety
  • Safety engineering methods
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Ergonomics
  • Applied statistics

What Are Some Other Professional and Educational Options?

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is the professional organization for this field, and they offer professional certificate programs as well as professional development seminars. To be eligible for these certificate programs, you must be an engineer, have a bachelor's degree in the field with five years of experience, be a member of ASSE or have completed the ASSE certificate program in safety management.