This course focuses on the fundamental skills required by an accident investigator, and draws upon the experiences of the air, marine and rail transport industries to give a balanced view of the accident investigation process.

The course structure has been developed in close collaboration with the accident investigation community and with the endorsement of the Cranfield Safety and Accident Investigation Centre's Industry Advisory Board.

This practical course benefits from significant participation by members of the UK Air, Marine and Rail Accident Investigation Branches, and brings together the considerable expertise and experience of investigators, operators and researchers to deliver a level of training that is second to none.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 15 Jan - 02 Feb 2024
    • 13 - 31 May 2024
  • Duration3 weeks
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£6,600
    The course fee includes refreshments and lunch during the day. Accommodation is not included and must be booked separately. Concessions available

Course structure

The course features lectures, tutorials and practical training, including a 3-day simulation of a transport accident investigation. The theory is brought to life through case study investigations and hands-on exercises. All delegates will complete a series of assessment tasks throughout the course and receive feedback.

What you will learn

On successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the accident investigation process for a transport accident, including elements of preparation, emergency response, evidence collection and analysis, report writing and safety recommendations.
  • Work safely under supervision at an accident site.
  • Conduct witness interviews and collect material evidence from a variety of relevant sources.
  • Perform an analysis of evidence to develop a no-blame report of what occurred and recommendations for future preventions.
  • Critically assess strategies for working alongside interested parties including emergency services, legal services, pathologist, scientific support, news media, families and regulatory authorities.

Core content

  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Appraisal of the Accident Site
  • Disaster Response
  • Recovery of Wreckage
  •     Collection of Evidence
  •     Accident Photography
  •     Hazards Management On Site
  •     Wreckage Recovery
  •     Interviewing Techniques
  •     Structures and Crashworthiness
  •     Human Factors for Investigators
  •     Media Management
  •     Accident Pathology
  •     Data recorders and their Analysis
  •     Analytical Techniques
  •     Systemic Approach to Investigation
  •     Managing Investigations
  •     Liaising with Victims and their Families
  •     Relations with the Regulator / Interested Parties
  •     Developing and Managing Recommendations
  •     Report Writing
  •     Follow-up Actions
  •     Court Procedures for Investigators

Upgrade to a professional qualification

All of the short courses within the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre are available as standalone courses. Our postgraduate programme in Safety and Accident Investigation allows you to combine many of our courses towards a part-time postgraduate qualification.

Structure of accident investication course

Who should attend

The course is designed for those who may have to conduct, or participate in, an accident investigation. This may be in the role of official state investigator, or as a representative of a manufacturer, operator or service provider. Although the main focus of the course is the civil transport industry, there is also considerable value for military personnel and there is always a significant military presence on the course.

All lectures and workshops will be in English and due to the intensity of the course those without a thorough knowledge of English would be at a severe disadvantage. There are no formal qualifications for entry, but course numbers are limited and courses are usually oversubscribed.


One of the strengths of Cranfield is that we bring together a world-class group of experts to share their experiences. The course contains contributions from representatives of the UK Air, Marine and Rail Accident Investigation Branches, together with experts from a range of areas vital to the process of accident investigation. These include specialists in emergency response and management, photography, evidence collection, witness interviewing, human performance, handling the news media, dealing with relatives and working with the legal community.


Group discount. Where three delegates or more are booking from within one site or one organisation, a discount of 10% will apply to the invoice for the course tuition fee. Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis Monday to Fridays and on a full-board basis on a Saturday and Sunday during the course. The cost of this package is £2,255

If you would like to book our accommodation package for this short course*, please indicate this on your registration form.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

*Subject to availability.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.