Developed in close collaboration with the rail accident investigation community, this course offers a unique combination of research based learning and learning from real-world experiences, ensuring that students gain the skills and knowledge from the best of both academia and industry.

Overview

  • Start dateJanuary or May
  • DurationPart-time PgCert - one year
  • DeliveryTaught modules 100%
  • QualificationPgCert
  • Study typePart-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

The course is primarily aimed at those involved, or about to become involved, in rail accident investigation and other safety related industries.

The course is suitable for those with a technical or operational background in rail or safety engineering and management, accident investigators, and those employed by national investigation agencies, operator, infrastructure providers, regulators, and manufacturers.

Why this course?

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 Industrial Advisory Board.

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.

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. This PgCert programme benefits from a wide range of cultural backgrounds which significantly enhances the learning experience for both staff and students.



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. As this is a new course it is expected that the Board will meet annually to ensure the course content remains relevant and up-to-date. 

Teaching team

Course details

The course is delivered on a modular basis and consists of a combination of conventional learning tools and hands-on experience through field exercises and simulations.

The programme commences with attendance on the three-week module in Fundamentals of Investigation followed by a three-week module in Applied Rail Accident Investigation. The two compulsory modules have input from a significant number of external presenters from the Safety and Accident Investigation field. 

Assessment

Taught modules 100%

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 compulsory modules and (where applicable) some elective 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

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 Rail Accident Investigation

Module Leader
  • Yani Asmayawati
Aim
    This module builds on the Fundamentals of Accident Investigation to develop specialist skills for the investigation of rail accidents.


Syllabus
    The module builds on the Fundamentals of Accident Investigation module to develop specialist skills for the investigation of rail accidents.

    Advanced investigative skills
    • Rail accident site management and dealing with other agencies
    • Rail accident site risk management
    • Advanced interviewing skills
    • Advanced investigative photography
    • Advanced analysis methods
    • Rail crashworthiness and passenger survivability
    • Investigating Safety Management System


    Investigating collisions, level crossing accidents, and Signals Passed at Danger

    • Overview of factors contributing to Signals Passed at Danger, collision/level crossing accidents and case studies
    • Basic principles of signalling
    • Relevant safety systems in train control
    • Relevant human factors aspects


    Investigating derailment accidents

    • Overview of factors contributing to derailment accidents and case studies
    • Collecting, inspecting and interpreting evidence (on site)
    • Dynamic modelling of wheel/rail interface response
    • Relevant human factors aspects


    Accident investigation simulation

    A five-day practical exercise in a simulated accident investigation scenario where delegates can apply the skills and knowledge acquired in the Fundamentals of Accident Investigation course and other workshops in the Applied Rail Accident Investigation series. The simulation takes the delegate through the entire investigation process from notification, site investigation, interviews, analysis, report writing and formulating recommendations.
    • Team and investigation management.
    • Securing the accident site.
    • Managing news media
    • Health and safety at the accident site.
    • Risk assessment of the accident site.
    • Physical examination of wreckage/track.
    • Documentation investigation (procedures, manuals, logs, etc).
    • Accident site photography.
    • Accident site management.
    • Witness interviewing.
    • Application of analysis techniques.
    • Developing recommendations.
    • Formal report writing.

Intended learning outcomes

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


1. Identify potential hazards at a rail accident site and assess the risks and mitigation methods in order to work safely whilst conducting an investigation.
2. Identify and evaluate common failure types and their symptoms in terms of structures, rolling stock, fire, railway systems and human factors.
3. Describe and contrast the differences between the investigation of the different types of rail operations and technology.
4. Describe the role of the different parties in the accident investigation process and manage the relationships between these parties.
5. Successfully manage an accident investigation, both on-site and through to the publication and acceptance of recommendations.
6. Compose an accident report and develop feasible safety recommendations.
7. Identify, collect and analyse information/evidence from a variety of electronic, hard copy and witness sources to support investigations and research.
8. Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists.
9. Communicate effectively, in written form, research work and investigations produced.
10. 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.
11. 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.




Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in 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.


PgCert Part-time £10,350 *
  • * Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments. 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 2019 and 31 July 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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.

PgCert Part-time £10,350 *
  • * Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments. 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 2019 and 31 July 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a good UK honours degree (or equivalent) in any discipline, or a recognised lower qualification plus relevant work experience in rail/safety related areas.

Applicants without a good UK honours degree (or equivalent) are encouraged to attend one or two modules (such as Fundamentals of Accident Investigation and Applied Rail Accident Investigation) as an Associate Student on a Continuing Professional Development course rather than applying as an MSc student. Please go to the Fundamentals of Accident Investigation CPD webpage.





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 PgCert in Safety and Accident Investigation (Rail Transport) allows you to receive an internationally recognised qualification in the field of rail 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 rail transport industry.


How to apply

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.