We have been a centre of excellence in the field of accident investigation for almost 40 years. Designed specifically for aircraft accident investigators and those working in related fields, this course will provide you with an academically recognised, high standard qualification.

At a glance

  • Start dateJanuary or May
  • DurationPart-time PgCert - one year, Part-time PgDip - 2 years, Part-time MSc - 3 years
  • DeliveryTaught modules 50%, Individual research project 50%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typePart-time

Who is it for?

The MSc in Safety and Accident Investigation (Air Transport) allows you to receive an internationally recognised qualification in the field of accident investigation. The majority of students join this course with the intention of receiving a qualification that will allow them to further their career development in accident investigation or other safety related areas of the air transport industry.

Why this course?

We have been a centre of excellence for aircraft accident investigation for almost 40 years. In 2011, we were awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our world leading work in aviation safety through research and training in air accident investigation.

An important aspect of this course is the use of hands-on workshops and simulations to develop the practical skills required as an investigator. This is complemented by sessions and modules that enable you to conduct rigorous research and scientific analysis, along with technical writing, investigation and interviewing techniques.

The course format is suitable for professionals based all over the world, as teaching is in modules, and research and assessments can be completed remotely if necessary. Cranfield University is very well located for visiting part-time students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies. This enables students from all over the world to complete this qualification whilst balancing work/life commitments.

Informed by Industry

The Industry Advisory Board for this course is made up of representatives from several organisations who have an interest in safety and accident investigation. The board meets annually to ensure the course content remains relevant and up-to-date. Current members include:

  • Chief Inspector, Air Accidents Investigation Branch
  • Head of Corporate Safety, Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Board Member, Civil Aviation Authority
  • Executive Vice President Safety, Emirates
  • Manager, Air Safety Investigations, Rolls-Royce
  • Director of Flight Safety, Airbus.

Your teaching team

You will be taught by a wide range of experts from across Cranfield University, including members of the Cranfield Safety and Accident Investigation Centre. Teaching staff on this course include Professor Graham Braithwaite who heads the Centre. 

In addition, the course draws upon a wide range of external presenters from investigation agencies including the UK Air, Rail and Marine Accident Investigation Branches, the military and investigation agencies abroad.

Course details

The programme commences with attendance on the Aircraft Accident Investigation module, which may be completed as two three-week modules in Fundamentals of Investigation and Applied Aircraft Accident Investigation. 

Upon completion of these core modules, you can then select four optional modules (15 options are currently offered, covering core skills, management, engineering, human factors and specialist techniques). Most optional modules are one week and many are offered as standalone short courses.

Individual project

During year three, you will undertake a supervised research project on a subject of your choice within the aircraft accident investigation field. Building on pioneering work in the area of medical imaging, one of our recent MSc graduates has developed a state-of-the-art technique with his research project ‘Using 3D Computed Tomography in Aircraft Accident Investigation.’

Further examples of recent titles include:

  • Why is it (still) doing that? An exploratory analysis of automation-related aircraft incidents experienced by airline pilots
  • Estimating touchdown descent rate of the CL-605 using FDR data and empirical correlations derived from flight test
  • Risk assessment process for in-service structural related issues: delivering a practical solution.

Assessment

Taught modules 50%, Individual research project 50%

University Disclaimer

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the core modules and some optional modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2017–2018. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2018 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Fundamentals of Investigation

Module Leader
  • Professor Graham Braithwaite
Aim

    To provide accident investigators with the fundamental knowledge and skills to conduct a general transport accident investigation.

Syllabus

    Response

    • The purpose of investigation
    • Notification processes
    • Getting started
    • Group system of investigation
    • Health and safety at the accident site
    • Initial appraisal of land and sea based sites
    • Disaster response
    • Disaster management
    • Competing interests, criminal investigations
    • Recovery of wreckage
    • Wreckage photography

    Evidence

    • Collecting evidence
    • Site survey techniques
    • Systems, engineering and operations investigations
    • High profile investigations
    • Organisational accidents
    • Investigative interviewing
    • Interview techniques
    • Analysis of statements
    • Physical evidence
    • Crashworthiness
    • Structures
    • Material failures and composites
    • Look and record
    • Remote site survey
    • Investigation site simulation

    Human factors

    • The human factor
    • Physiology
    • Psychology
    • Ergonomics
    • Passenger behaviour
    • Investigation support
    • Test capabilities
    • The role of the media
    • Witnesses
    • Accident pathology
    • Recovery and identification of bodies
    • Court procedures for investigators
    • The Coroner’s court

    Analysis

    • Recorders
    • Data recorders (voice/flight data)
    • Analysis of recorders
    • Non-volatile memory
    • Fundamentals of analysis
    • Analytical approaches
    • Applying analysis tools
    • Traps in analysis

    Recommendations

    • A major event
    • Management of large investigations
    • Liaising with victims / families
    • Relatives’ perspective
    • Report writing
    • Relations with the regulator
    • Managing recommendations
    • Multimodal investigations
    • Follow-up actions
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Describe the accident investigation process for a transport accident including elements of preparation, emergency response, evidence collection, analysis and presentation of findings.
  • Work safely under supervision at an accident site.
  • Conduct witness interviews and collect material evidence from a variety of relevant sources.
  • Conduct an analysis of evidence to develop a no-blame report of what occurred and recommendations for future prevention.
  • Work successfully alongside relevant agencies including the police, coroner, media and regulator.

Applied Aircraft Accident Investigation

Module Leader
  • Alan Parmenter
Aim

    This module builds on the Fundamentals of Accident Investigation to develop specialist skills for the investigation of aircraft accidents.

Syllabus
    Aviation specific investigation techniques (contact: 40/private study: 70)

    Less complex fixed wing aircraft

    • Impact and flight path assessment
    • The operations investigator’s approach
    • The engineering investigator’s approach
    • Sources of evidence
    • Conduct of the investigation

    More complex fixed wing aircraft

    • Impact and flight path assessment
    • Aircraft structures (metal/composites)
    • The operations investigator’s approach
    • Aircraft performance
    • Crew performance
    • The engineering investigator’s approach
    • Hydraulic systems
    • Electrical systems
    • Landing gear
    • Flight Data Recorders
    • Cockpit Voice Recorders
    • Alternative recorded data
    • Fuel
    • Major case study – B777 BA38 at Heathrow, 2008

    Rotary wing accidents
    • Principles of helicopter flight
    • Investigation approach
    • Human factors in rotary wing accidents
    • Recorder analysis
    • Offshore helicopter accidents

    Air Traffic Control

    • Principles of ATC
    • Use of radio telephony transcripts/recordings
    • Major case study – Mid air collision at Überlingen

    Technical site visits to:

    • Air Accidents Investigation Branch
    • Military Air Accidents Investigation Branch

    Powerplants and propulsion
    • Piston engine operations
    • Turbine engine operations
    • Role of manufacturer in investigation
    • Engine teardown on site/at base
    • Birdstrikes/FOD
    • Case studies

    Major Investigation simulation (contact: 35/private study: 90)
    • Health and safety at the accident site
    • Risk assessment of the accident site
    • Physical examination of wreckage
    • Accident site photography
    • Accident site management
    • Wreckage plotting
    • Witness interviewing
    • Analysis techniques
    • Preparation of recommendations
    • Formal report writing
    • Debriefing

    Investigation management (contact: 25/private study: 40)
    • Dealing with other agencies
    • Accredited representatives/technical advisors
    • Participating in an overseas investigation
    • Managing an investigation
    • Managing the politics
    • Managing the news media
    • Cultural aspects
    • Preparing to release an investigation report
    • Ongoing litigation
    • The role of the Investigator in Charge
    • The role of the Chief Inspector
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:


1. Work safely without supervision at an accident site.
2. Describe common failure types and their symptoms in terms of structures, powerplants and propulsion, aircraft systems and human factors.
3. Describe and contrast the differences between the investigation of civil and military; less complex and more complex aircraft, and between fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft accidents.
4. Describe the role of accredited representatives, technical advisors and other interested parties in the accident investigation process.
5. Successfully manage an accident investigation, both on-site and through to the publication and acceptance of recommendations.
6. Collect information / evidence from a variety of electronic, hard copy and witness sources to support investigations and research;
7. Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists;
8. Communicate effectively, in written form, research work and investigations produced;
9. Take responsibility for research and investigations produced, including, efficient time management, working to set deadlines and targets, demonstrating self-discipline, creative thinking and critical reflections of their own performance;
10. Collaborate and contribute effectively to group workshops, simulations and assignments, appreciating the contributions made by other team members, especially from different disciplines, national and cultural backgrounds.



Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Aviation Safety Management

Module Leader
  • David Barry
Aim
    To provide students with the fundamental skills required to manage operational safety within the aviation industry.


Syllabus
    • The fundamentals of a Safety Management System, and introduction to associated guidance material provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other State safety regulatory bodies;
    • Safety data, safety information and analyses; including reporting systems, investigation and Flight Data Monitoring (FDM);
    • Hazard identification and risk management, including an introduction to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM);
    • Safety performance and safety health; including guidance on audits and safety promotion;
    • Safety organisations, including guidance on effective management of safety teams.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• Describe the fundamental concepts behind Safety Management Systems (SMS), as defined by ICAO, UK CAA, CASA and Transport Canada;
• Select and implement techniques for the identification, quantification and management of hazards and risks;
• Critically assess strategies for developing and enhancing safety culture including the role of leadership, structure and reporting systems;
• Identify techniques for measuring safety performance;
• Collect information from a variety of electronic (internet) and hard copy sources to support research;
• Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists;
• Communicate effectively, in written form, research work produced;
• Complete work assignments to set deadlines.

Failure Analysis of Components

Module Leader
  • Painter, Dr Jonathan J.D.
Aim

    To examine modes of failure in engineering components and to develop the ability to deduce causes of failure from post-failure component examination.

Syllabus
    • Failure modes-ductile, brittle, fatigue, excessive deflection, creep rupture, corrosion, instability etc, loading type, material properties, environmental factors and structural properties governing onset of failure
    • Experimental analysis of failed components - surface inspection, crack inspection techniques, deformation measurement, and residual stress management.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Identify potential failure modes for an engineering component and deduce the loading types, material, environmental and structural properties, which govern the onset of failure
  • Predict brittle, ductile, fatigue and buckling failure loads for a range of engineering components
  • Recognise indicative facets of a failed component from which can be inferred the source of failure
  • Understand examination of failed components, suggest likely causes of failure and suggest strategies for testing out the failure mode hypothesis.

Fires, Explosions and their Investigation

Module Leader
Aim

    The course covers fire dynamics and the characteristics of explosives, their effects on buildings and people and the physical effects that would be looked for in their investigation

Syllabus
    • Fire initiation.
    • Fire spread.
    • Gas, vapour and dust explosions.
    • Fire spread in solids.
    • Effects of fire on the human.
    • Condensed phase explosives and pyrotechnics
    • Explosive Effects
    • Forensic examination of fires and explosions using visiting speakers from the Fire Service and commercial investigators
    • Vehicle Fires
    • Explosives range demonstration and fire demonstration (weather permitting)
    • Laboratory Practical
    • Laboratory Practical
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. understand the fundamental principles of fire science theory and fire modelling and demonstrate a critical awareness of the limitations of current theories and modelling processes
2. identify the various physical and mechanical processes and mechanisms leading to the initiation of fires and explosives
3. analyse the mechanisms involved in the spread of fire and the development of gas, vapour, and dust explosions
4. demonstrate an understanding of the forensic techniques used in the examination of fire and explosions.


Flight Data Monitoring

Module Leader
  • David Barry
Aim

    To provide an understanding of Flight Data Monitoring within a commercial organisation and to detail the uses, processes and responsibilities of a successful FDM programme.


Syllabus
    • The history of FDM and an overview of its objectives
    • CAP739, EASA and ICAO regulatory frameworks
    • Integration of FDM within a safety system
    • FDM technology
    • Setting analysis targets
    • Data recovery and analysis tools
    • Principles of data validation and assessment
    • Trace interpretation, with both theoretical and practical sessions
    • Database management
    • The use of statistics in data analysis
    • Animations and visualisation in data presentation
    • FDM in accident and incident investigation
    • The interface between the analyst and crews
    • Legal aspects of FDM data collection, retention and use
    • The use of FDM to justify operational and technical change
    • The potential of FDM within maintenance programmes.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Describe the key elements of an FDM programme and appraise the security and anonymity safeguards of a given FDM programme.
2. Critically analyse an FDM event, including evaluating data integrity and present the analysis in an appropriate format.
3. Propose and defend an FDM regime for application in their own company.

Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance

Module Leader
Aim

    The module aims to provide a broad overview of the nature and management of human error in the aviation maintenance domain. Key theories and frameworks for investigating maintenance human error, contributing factors and effects on operations are introduced. The challenges associated with practical application of currently available safety tools are examined together with the latest strategies to enhance understanding and management of maintenance error. This module does not require previous background in aviation maintenance and engineering.


Syllabus
    The nature of the maintenance environment:This includes both civil and military environments. 

    Maintenance management: Organisation, line and base maintenance, planning, maintenance control, error management systems, shift handover, blame cycle, communication in the workplace, workplace environment, work/job design. Regulatory framework: Legal requirements. EASA/Part 145 Maintenance Human factors.
    • Designing for human factors: What can be done by the designer to reduce and mitigate human error. Design philosophies and human-centred design.
    • Human error management in maintenance: The benefits and challenges associated with the use and application of reporting systems and safety tools.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. describe the regulatory background and the environment within which aviation maintenance takes place Describe the regulatory background and the environment within which aviation maintenance takes place
2. evaluate current methods for maintenance error management (reactive, proactive and predictive)
3. appraise the links between aircraft maintenance and safety
4. analyse ways in which maintenance errors can be reduced at the design stage.

Investigation and Evidence Collection

Module Leader
  • Dr Karl Harrison
Aim

    To understand the core responsibilities of evidence recording and collection at the crime scene, both in general and specifically related to operational constraints of a UK investigative context. To understand the operation of forensic and police investigators within the context of a major investigation.

Syllabus
    • construction of the forensic strategy
    • evidence selection and collection
    • scene photography
    • digital photography
    • sample integrity and contamination issues
    • assessment of evidence
    • packaging and transportation
    • scene reporting
    • handling intelligence – assessment and communication.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. analyse and evaluate various different strategies of major scene investigation to consider the various effects of different approaches
2. appraise the range of evidence collection and investigation techniques available to the crime scene investigator
3. describe and evaluate the relative merits of the range of systematic crime scene procedures vital to successful investigations
4. evaluate which of these procedures are appropriate to a particular crime scene and apply these procedures appropriately during a crime scene exercise
5. generate a crime scene report which objectively critiques the methodologies used and draws justified conclusions appropriate for the evidence
6. transfer theoretical and practical knowledge of evidence identification, recording and retrieval into the various roles of forensic specialists.


Legal Skills for Accident Investigators

Module Leader
  • Yani Asmayawati
Aim

    The module will allow the delegate to have an understanding of the relevant regulations, legislation and legal processes, to be able to conduct their evidence collection according to methods of best practice, and to be confident and proficient in giving evidence in court. At the end of the module the students will undertake a mock courtroom exercise and be able to receive feedback on their performance from their peers.


Syllabus

    • Standards, Recommended Practices, Legislation and Regulation with respect to Transport Accident Investigation.
    • Role and Legal Responsibilities of the Accident Investigator.
    • Note Taking and Statement Writing.
    • The Coroner’s Court.
    • Fatal Accident Inquiries.
    • Military Legal Processes.
    • Public Inquiries.
    • Civil Litigation Processes.
    • Presentation of Evidence in Court by Investigator.
    • Protection of Witnesses / Evidence.
    • Civil Litigation in Europe, the UK and the USA.
    • Criminal Litigation Processes.
    • Civil and Criminal Litigation Processes.
    • The Procedures, Order of Events and Roles of Participants.
    • How to Give Clear, Honest and Objective Evidence.
    • How to make Appropriate use of Supporting Evidence, Documents and Notes when Giving Evidence
    • How to Prepare for Giving Evidence
    • Techniques used by Lawyers in Cross-examination
    • Role Play of Cross-examination

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Evaluate the role of the accident investigator within the international and national legal frameworks and prepare strategies for managing their interaction with Coronial, Fatal Accident Inquiry, Public Inquiry and other relevant legal processes.
2. Define the role and responsibilities of the accident investigator as expert witness and demonstrate the ability to assess the best ways to execute this role.
3. Compose accident reports which can be used appropriately by parallel investigation processes.
4. Present oral evidence in court effectively and critically evaluate the experience.
5. Respond effectively to cross-examination and critically evaluate the experience.

Mass Fatality Incidents

Module Leader
  • Dr Sophie Beckett
Aim

    This course provides an introduction to mass fatality incidents (MFI); their definition, categorisation, mitigation and management. It has a strong focus on disaster victim identification (DVI) but also covers more general effects, challenges, lessons learnt, management developments and, the return to normality following an MFI. In particular, the course considers the roles and responsibilities of the personnel involved in the DVI process, practical application of Interpol guidelines and DVI forms, planning and evaluation of temporary mortuary facilities and, DVI humanitarian assistance aspects of mass fatality incident response.

    The course may be of interest to a wide range of professionals including; emergency planners, emergency response personnel (police, fire and ambulance), family liaison officers, accident investigators, NGO workers, forensic scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, and those involved in the investigation of missing persons.

Syllabus
    • Introduction to mass fatality incidents (MFI); definitions, categorisations and history
    • MFI mitigation, response planning and management
    • Disaster victim identification (DVI) process and challenges
    • Roles and responsibilities of DVI personnel
    • Role of INTERPOL with respect to MFI
    • Needs of the bereaved and humanitarian assistance
    • Potential personal impact of MFI on responders
    • Case study examples
    • Lessons learnt and management developments
    • UK and International perspectives
    • Mock MFI scenarios
    • Media involvement with, and impact on MFI
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of key aspects of mass fatality incidents with respect to definitions, categorisations, mitigation and management
2. Apply knowledge of previous mass fatality incidents to critically evaluate general effects, challenges, lessons learnt, management developments and the return to normality following a mass fatality incident.
3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of; current best practice guidance for disaster victim identification (DVI), logistical and scientific challenges and, the roles and responsibilities of the personnel involved in the DVI process.
4. Recognise and explain the needs of the bereaved, best practice for humanitarian assistance and the potential impact of mass fatality incidents on responders.
5. Demonstrate effective communication, application of reasoning and, collaboration, through participation in a range of mock MFI scenarios

Research Methods and Statistics

Module Leader
  • Nixon, Dr Jim
Aim

    To facilitate the use of basic research methods techniques and fundamentals of statistical analysis.

Syllabus

    Research Methods

    • Qualitative interviewing - approaches, structure, basic qualitative analysis
    • Questionnaire design - including content, phrasing, response formats
    • Survey administration - self completion, interviewer administered, practical considerations
    • Introduction to experimental design - basic designs, maximising experimental variance, experimental control, and minimising error variance
    • Reliability and validity - fundamental to psychological measurements
    • Sampling - including probability and non-probability methods.

    Statistics

    • Descriptive statistics – central tendency and dispersion; levels of measurement
    • Distributions – sampling distributions, sample distribution, normal distribution; Z scores
    • Probability and confidence - Type I and Type II errors; confidence intervals and limits
    • The principles of statistical tests - the power of statistical tests;
    • Parametric statistics - the independent and related t-tests
    • Analysis of variance - partitioning variance; one way and two way independent and repeated ANOVA, mixed and random models
    • Simple correlation
    • Simple and basic multiple regression.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Appraise and select various research methods and statistical techniques in application to different research needs
  • Critically evaluate research from any methodological domain in terms of its suitability and effectiveness
  • Formulate and demonstrate practical application of research methods in the theoretical design of a study
  • Propose and apply analysis and interpretation skills appropriately to a substantial dataset.

Safety Assessment of Aircraft Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Simon Place
Aim

    To familiarise Course Members with the various approaches to the problems of assessing the safety of increasingly complex aircraft systems.

Syllabus
    Introduction and Background
    Outline of relevant accidents and system design philosophy. Discussion of acceptable accident rates and recent advances in systems. Introduction to probability methods.

    Regulatory background
    The development of requirements for safety assessment, FAR / EASA CS25--1309.

    Methods and Techniques
    Introduction to the more common safety analysis techniques. Influence of human factors. Common mode failures, traps and pitfalls of using safety assessment and examples of mechanical systems and power plants.

    Use of safety assessment techniques
    Determination of correct architecture of safety critical systems. Fault Tree Analysis, Dependence Diagrams and Boolean algebra for quantification of system reliability. Zonal safety analysis (ZSA), Particular Risk Analysis (PRA) and Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) of aircraft systems.

    Practical examples of the application of safety assessment techniques
    Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL), Safety and Certification of digital systems and safety critical software. Application of Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) 4761. Typical safety assessment for a stall warning and identification system.

    Current and future issues
    Integrated and modular systems and their certification. Certification maintenance requirements. Flight-deck ergonomics.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the regulatory background behind the Safety Assessment of Aircraft Systems.
2. Evaluate and apply the technique(s) which is most appropriate for the system under consideration.
3. Explain the theory behind each technique, including the strengths and weaknesses of each one, and be aware of possible pitfalls.
4. Appreciate the role of safety assessment in the overall context of aircraft certification.
5. Illustrate the issues to be faced for the certification of new systems and aircraft.

Investigating Human Performance

Module Leader
  • Peter McCarthy
Aim

    The Investigating Human Performance Module encourages students to look critically at the contribution humans make in High reliability Organisations (HRO’s). Using psychological theory and analysis, the human contribution (positive and sometimes negative) is addressed. Theories and approaches of human performance explored on this module, help the investigator understand the human factors not only affecting those involved with accidents or incidents, but also the factors affecting the investigator.

Syllabus

    • Introduction to Human Factors
    o The role of human performance in accidents
    o Objectives of the course
    o Assignment briefing

    • Individual Factors
    o Human error
       Slips
       Lapses
       Mistakes
       Violations
       Skill-based errors
       Rule-based errors
       Knowledge-based errors
    o Human cognition
       Human performance and limitations
       Perception
       Memory
       Attention and vigilance
       Information processing
       Decision making
       Situational awareness
    o Medical factors
       Physiology and its effect on performance
       The role of the pathologist
       The role of the General Practitioner
       Ethics of accessing medical information
    o Workload, fatigue and tiredness
       Tiredness versus fatigue
       Effects of fatigue
       Things that look like fatigue but aren’t
       Building up a valid history
       Using fatigue assessment tools

    • Job / Workplace Factors

    o Evaluating ergonomics
    o Assessing task / workload
    o Interpreting error prediction tools
    o Environmental factors
    o Team Factors
    o teamwork
       communications
       leadership / followership
       cultural factors

    • Organisational and Management Factors

    o The role of culture in causation
    o The role of management in causation
    o Measuring safety culture
    o Assessing responses to previous events
    o Case study investigations

    • Human Performance evidence collection tools
    o Checklists
       Commonly used checklists and tools
       Benefits and limitations
       Case studies of use

    • Analysis of human factors
    o Biases and heuristics
    o Ethical issues
    o Interpretation of recorded data
    o Interpretation of witness / interview data

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the key areas of consideration for an accident investigator in terms of human performance in transport operations;
2. Identify suitable techniques for the collection of accurate evidence relating to human performance;
3. Critically assess the effectiveness of contemporary human factors evidence collection and analysis tools;
4. Identify at what point an expert should be approached about the collection or analysis of human performance evidence.
5. Evaluate the human performance aspects of contemporary accident investigations

Crisis Management and Business Continuity

Module Leader
  • David Barry
Aim

    Crisis management is a topic area relevant to airlines, airports and other organisations involved with delivering air transport. These organisations typically have dedicated personnel and departments to emergency response and crisis planning. The aim of this course is to provide students with an overview of how to plan for crises, what to expect when they happen, and how to deal with practicalities such as dealing with media, survivors and in the longer term, insurers.


Syllabus
    • Crisis management planning
    • Crisis communications
    • Critical function and risk analysis
    • Business continuity development and strategy
    • Crisis management exercise
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Describe the key elements of a crisis
2. Analyse the importance of effective crisis management
3. Critically evaluate past aviation crisis management
4. Facilitate business continuity planning.

Interviewing Techniques for Accident Investigators

Module Leader
  • Professor Graham Braithwaite
Aim
    The Interviewing for Accident Investigators module is designed to provide delegates with an enhanced level of theoretical and practical skills to effectively interview various types of witness to gather evidence in support of successful safety accident investigations.

    The module adopts a balanced curriculum of theoretical learning and practical sessions involving interviews of live witnesses, with video debriefing, to deliver a practical learning experience supported by the latest academic thinking in investigative interviewing.

    The module is intended to build on the interviewing skills developed during the Fundamentals of Accident Investigation, Applied Aircraft Accident Investigation, Applied Marine Accident Investigation and Applied Rail Accident Investigation modules. However, it can also be attended as a standalone module for delegates who wish to gain an enhanced qualification in investigative interviewing, and would be particularly suited to delegates with previous experience of conducting investigative interviews.

    The module will have an emphasis on interviews forming part of safety (no blame/just culture) investigations of generic transport accidents. However, its content will be equally applicable to accident investigators from other safety critical domains and high reliability organisations, such as healthcare, process industries, and energy utilities.
Syllabus
    Refresher of the fundamentals of investigative interviewing
    • Basic principles of investigative interviewing
    • Basic interviewing models:-
      -Conversation Management
      -Conducting a PEACE interview
    • Use of different questioning techniques – Open v. Closed, Directed, Confirmatory, etc
    • Fundamentals of cognitive interviewing
    • Basic theory of memory and recall.

    Enhanced theory of investigative interviewing
    • Enhanced theory of memory and psychology applied during investigative interviewing.
    • SE3R methodology for managing and recording interviews.
    • Introduction to concept of enhanced cognitive interview techniques, including free recall.
    • Biases and heuristics – investigator and witnesses.
    • Introduction to non-cognitive interview techniques for interviewees who have not directly witnessed the accident.

    Preparation for the interview
    • Assessment of the emotional and psychological state of witnesses
    • Awareness of the characteristics of potentially vulnerable witnesses and the challenges faced when interviewing them
    • Consideration of cultural, religious, social factors that may have an effect on the witness interview
    • Strategies for planning and structuring different types of interviews
    • Identification of the most appropriate interview technique to apply.

    Conducting the interview
    • Management of the initial phases of the interview to build rapport and ensure that all legal and ethical aspects have been considered
    • Implementation of the appropriate interviewing model in accordance with the interview strategy/plan
    • Adopting a meaningful, effective and consistent strategy for summarising and recording witness evidence
    • Introduction to strategies for dealing with challenging/difficult witnesses, including obstructive and inappropriate behaviour
    • Identifying and employing appropriate challenge techniques for any inconsistencies/omissions during an interview.
    • Dealing with other third party attendees at the interview, e.g. legal representatives, trade union representatives, friends/family.
    • Effective interview closure strategies.

    Post-interview phase
    • Recording and summarising of the interview information
    • Strategies for conducting an effective self-critique of the interview process to ensure continuous performance improvement.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying interviewing theories, including memory theory and psychological factors affecting witness recall, and biases and heuristics of both witnesses and investigators
  • Describe and critically assess the most appropriate interview technique(s) to be adopted during an accident safety investigation to ensure the effective gathering of witness evidence, including cognitive/non-cognitive interview techniques
  • Develop an appropriate and effective interview strategy and plan to ensure the efficacy of the interview and optimise the gathering of the available information
  • Conduct an effective witness interview with regard to the selection of the most appropriate interview methodology, the welfare of the witness, the quality of the evidence collected and the accuracy of note taking
  • Develop an awareness of the characteristics of potentially vulnerable witnesses and the challenges faced when interviewing them
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct an effective self-critique of the interview process to ensure continuous performance improvement.

Fundamentals of Material Failures for Accident Investigators

Module Leader
  • Yani Asmayawati
Aim
    The module will allow the delegate to have an understanding of the relevant failure modes, be able to inspect wreckage to understand the most likely failure scenarios, and to be proficient in obtaining and evaluate the work supplied by material forensic specialists. At the end of the module the students will undertake simulated materials investigations and present their findings to their peers.


Syllabus
    • Fundamentals: The student will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of material behaviour, mode specific design philosophies, and principles related to material failures.
    • Failure modes of metallic materials: Fracture mechanisms and the resultant visual characteristics will be presented.
    • Failure modes of non-metallic materials: Fracture mechanisms and the resultant visual characteristics will be presented.
    • The process of structural investigations: Subject areas presented include the material investigation process; from the wreckage examination in the field to the laboratory investigation, sample removal and transportation, and the use of specialist laboratory equipment.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the failure modes and visual characteristics associated with material failures
2. Inspect a fracture surface to make a judgement on the failure scenario.
3. Evaluate the information supplied from a forensic specialist on a failure scenario.
4. Plan the different aspects of a structural investigation

Introduction to Aircraft Structural Crashworthiness

Module Leader
Aim
    The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the design of crashworthy aircraft structures and the considerations necessary when designing safe and crashworthy aircraft. The main purpose of crashworthy design is to eliminate injuries and fatalities in mild impacts and minimise them in severe but survivable impacts.
Syllabus
    Overview of Aircraft Crashworthiness
    • Objectives and Approach
    • Regulations
    • Human Tolerance
    Crash Energy Management
    • Structural Collapse
    • Collapse of metallic and composite structural components
    • Component collapse vs. structural collapse
    Introduction to methods for crash analysis
    • Hand calculations
    • Hybrid analysis methods
    • Detailed analysis methods
    Role and capability of testing and simulation in the crashworthiness field
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Outline the main priorities and fundamentals of crashworthiness in aircraft in the context of protection in crash events
  • Define the requirements for structural components used for impact energy absorption and structural collapse in aircraft
  • Describe crashworthiness requirements on major equipment and systems
  • Identify relevant regulations for aircraft crashworthy design
  • Discuss human tolerance in the context of crashworthiness
  • Identify the main experimental and analytical techniques used in design for crashworthiness
  • Apply the systems approach in impact energy management to aircraft design
  • Use simple approximate calculations on the performance of energy absorption components and structures to assess the crashworthiness of an aircraft structure.


Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year and the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

MSc Part-time £21,000 *
PgDip Part-time £17,200 *
PgCert Part-time £10,350 *
  • * Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments, up to a maximum of two payments per year; first payment on or before registration and the second payment six months after the course start date. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable £2,000 deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee. 
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.


MSc Part-time £22,500 *
PgDip Part-time £17,200 *
PgCert Part-time £10,350 *
  • * Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments, up to a maximum of two payments per year; first payment on or before registration and the second payment six months after the course start date. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable £2,000 deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee. 
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.


Funding Opportunities

To help students find and secure appropriate funding, we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England
A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship
The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)
The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries
Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans
Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Erasmus+ Student Loans
This new loan scheme for EU students is offered by Future Finance and European Investment Fund and provides smart, flexible loans of up to £9,300.

Entry requirements

The course is primarily aimed at those involved in aircraft accident investigation and other safety related industries. Applicants should have a good UK honours degree (or equivalent) in any discipline, or a recognised lower qualification plus relevant work experience in aviation/safety related areas.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. Our minimum requirements are as follows:

IELTS Academic – 6.5 overall
TOEFL – 92
Pearson PTE Academic – 65
Cambridge English Scale – 180
Cambridge English: Advanced – C
Cambridge English: Proficiency – C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.

Applicants who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.


Your career

The MSc in Safety and Accident Investigation (Air Transport) allows you to receive an internationally recognised qualification in the field of accident investigation. The majority of students join this course with the intention of receiving a qualification that will allow them to further their career development in accident investigation or other safety related areas of the air transport industry.

Previous students have been employed by dedicated government investigation agencies, airframe and power plant manufacturers, air traffic services, safety regulation, insurers, and the military.

Applying

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.


Apply Now