Although there are currently no online doctorate degree programs that focus solely on safety engineering, students can pursue graduate studies in a variety of related online programs. Some institutions offer distance learning master's degrees in homeland security and safety engineering; others offer online doctoral programs in systems and engineering management or interdisciplinary engineering that include courses in safety engineering. These programs are available at four-year colleges and universities and can be found in both fully online and blended formats.
Typically designed for engineering professionals, these online programs usually do not have any internship or practicum requirements. However, some doctoral programs have hybrid classes or required short on-campus residencies. Admission requirements vary, but students interested in a master's degree program must have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for enrollment. Online doctoral programs in areas like systems engineering require applicants to have a related master's degree and acceptable GRE scores.
Homeland Security and Safety Engineering
Distance learning students who are interested in studying safety engineering as a discipline of national security can pursue an online master's degree in homeland security and safety engineering. This program takes an interdisciplinary approach, applying research from all fields of engineering to the theory and practice of protecting people and assets. The master's degree is typically a terminal degree in this field. Common course topics in this online safety engineering program include:
- Safety program evaluation
- Security fundamentals
- Emergency management
- Information security management
- Fire engineering
- Explosion engineering
Graduates of distance learning homeland security and safety engineering programs may go on to become Certified Safety Professionals (CSP) or Certified Protection Professionals (CPP). The CSP is a national professional standard administered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, whereas the CPP is the product of the American Society for Industrial Security.
Systems and Engineering Management
Prospective online students may also approach safety engineering as an aspect of industrial engineering. This type of safety engineering typically focuses on how to integrate safety concerns into engineering projects in order to avoid hazards and prevent accidents. Industrial safety engineering can also be applied to many other sub-disciplines of engineering, such as petroleum engineering or food engineering.
Distance learning students can earn an online Ph.D. in Systems and Engineering Management or Systems and Industrial Engineering. As with most graduate programs at this level, students are required to complete a dissertation. Course topics may include:
- Engineering management
- Safety engineering
- Human factors in engineering and design
- Risk modeling and assessment
- Industrial systems design and management
- Productivity assessment
Online graduate programs related to safety engineering usually have the same coursework as those available on campus. Virtual classrooms house interactive multimedia content, lectures, assignments and discussion boards for distance learners to access any time. Some online classes have synchronous components, which means that students attend online meetings with their instructors and peers.
Students seeking online doctoral programs related to safety engineering can consider programs in homeland security and safety engineering, systems and engineering management, or interdisciplinary engineering. These programs cover different aspects of safety engineering as well as prepare students for industry certifications.