Railway Safety and Control Systems

University of Birmingham

Master On Campus
14 months
20770 GBP/year
16000 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Railway Safety and Control Systems programme at University of Birmingham is the first of its kind in the UK and is jointly delivered by the Universities of Birmingham and York.


Railway safety and control systems are both vitally important worldwide, for not only the ongoing operation of existing railways, but also for the design and the development of new systems. Much work is being done by companies involved in both mainline and urban transportation systems to design safe systems, for the public, their passengers and their workforce.  

The Railway Safety and Control Systems programme at University of Birmingham focuses on risk and safety systems design; risk and safety systems operation; and communication and control systems (including signalling). Efficient communication and control of operations, together with the prevention of the loss of life and livelihood associated with railway crashes and incidents, are high priorities for all organisations involved.

This programme will give you a deep and robust understanding of the approaches to managing safety and associated issues in transport systems and related projects. The programme has three possible pathways for:

  • Railway risk and safety systems: this pathway emphasises systems engineering and safety in critical systems, for designing new safety systems.
  • Railway risk and safety operations and organisation: this pathway emphasises management and safety throughout the system's lifecycle, for engineers and managers who will be responsible for the safe operation of a railway system.
  • Railway communications and control (include signalling): completion of this pathway, to PG Diploma or MSc level, is aimed at exemption from the institution of Railway Signalling Engineers' (IRSE's) examination to Professional Railway Signalling Engineer recognition. It includes theory and practice in railway control systems; one module is a practice-based in signalling and control systems. 


This postgraduate programme is intended for those who wish to establish or enhance their career in the safe operation of transport systems. Companies employing graduates include mainline railways, metros, tram systems and automated people movers. Safety is high on the agenda of transport operators around the world and our graduates are in high demand.

The introduction of the Digital Railway means a greater emphasis on train communications and control over traditional signalling technologies, meaning graduates of the Communication and Control pathway will be highly sought-after around the world.

Furthermore, the Communication and Control pathway is designed to provide partial/full exemption from the IRSE professional examination for signalling engineers: the PG Cert is designed to exempt candidates from Examination module 1 and the PG Diploma, the full examination.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Railway Operations and Control Systems
  • Rolling Stock and Infrastructure Interactions
  • Strategic Business Management for Railways
  • Practical Ergonomics for Railway Systems
  • Railway Traction and Electrification Systems
  • Research Skills
  • Research Project

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 14 months
  • Part-time
    • 24 months
    • Flexible

Start dates & application deadlines




60 alternative credits
  • PG Certificate the core modules are required and compromise 60 academic credits 
  • Completion of 120 credits (all of taught modules) is required for the PG Diploma and all 180 credits for the MSc


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA Your GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a number that indicates how well or how high you scored in your courses on average. Usually a GPA scales between 1.0 and 4.0, however different countries and universities can have different grading systems.
Upper Second Class

English requirements

TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at designated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).
PTE Academic admission requirements PTE Academic PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic) is a language test that enables students to demonstrate their writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills when applying to study in English. The score refers to a total score which ranges between 10 and 90.
More about PTE Academic

Other requirements

General requirements

  • A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Engineering, Physics, Economics or Mathematics)
  • Practical experience will also be taken into account. If you have no or limited industry experience you will be required to attend the introductory course

Tuition Fee

  • International

    20770 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 20770 GBP per year and a duration of 14 months.
  • EU/EEA

    16000 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 16000 GBP per year and a duration of 14 months.


  • In the summer of 2016, the UK Government introduced a new loan of up to £10,000 per student for postgraduate Masters study, this increased to £10,609 for academic year 2018-19 onwards
  • PGL will be a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at your own discretion
  • The new Postgraduate Loan (PGL) for Masters degrees in the UK is available for students normally residing in England. However, there are separate loans for students domiciled in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Due for update

Updated over a year ago

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

Railway Safety and Control Systems
University of Birmingham


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