Institutional Accreditation 

University of Newcastle is accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission (DETC), Since , University of Newcastle has been continually accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor.

Railway Safety and Control Systems MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Course Level:

Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Taught




CODE P1197

How long it takes:

55 weeks full-time, or on a part-time basis, typically over 24–36 months

Study Mode:

Distance learning/ Campus

Course cost

Price: US$22,500

Entry requirements

Find out more about


Newcastle Law School

This modular programme allows you to study each topic in depth and apply your knowledge across the programme content. You will be encouraged to enrich your classroom learning by taking part in extra-curricular seminars and activities, and to take part in the BCRRE community of staff and students.

For the PG Certificate the core modules (marked*below) 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. Two PG Certificates are available: PG Cert Railway Safety and Control Systems.


Railway Safety and Control Systems (Risk and Safety Pathway)
Compulsory modules  Credits  Taught at
LH Terminology and Communication for Railways 0 Newcastle
Induction Weekend 0 Newcastle
Foundations of System Safety Thinking* 10 York
Hazard and Risk Assessment* 10 York
System Safety Assessment* 10 York
Railway Operations and Control Systems* 10 Newcastle
Rolling Stock and Infrastructure Interactions* 10 Newcastle
Strategic Business Management for Railways* 10 Newcastle
Practical Ergonomics for Railway Systems 10 Newcastle
Railway Traction and Electrification Systems  10 Newcastle
Research Skills  20 Newcastle
Research Project 60  Newcastle/York 
Risk and Safety Systems Pathway:   
Systems Engineering for Safety 10 York
Computers and Safety in Critical Systems 10  York 
Risk and Safety Operations and Organisation Pathway:   
 Safety Management Systems 10  York
 Through Life Safety 10 York 

Modules marked* comprise the PG Certificate in Railway Safety and Control Systems

Railway Safety and Control Systems (Communications and Control pathway)
Compulsory modules Credits Taught at
LH Terminology and Communications   0 Newcastle
Induction Weekend   0 Newcastle
Foundations of System Safety Thinking*  10  York 
Hazard and Risk Assessment*  10  York 
Railway Operations and Control Systems*  10  Newcastle
Strategic Business Management for Railways*  10 Newcastle
Principles of Railway Control Systems*  20  Newcastle
Practical Ergonomics for Railway Systems  10  Newcastle
Rolling Stock and Infrastructure Interactions   10  Newcastle
Safety Management Systems  10  York 
Applications of Railway Control Systems  20  Newcastle
Systems Engineering and Integration for Dependability  10  Newcastle
 Research Project 60  Newcastle/York 

Modules marked* comprise the PG Certificate in Railway Communication and Control Systems

All modules are taught between late September and late March each year; after which there is a period of exams.


About the introductory Terminology and Communication for Railways course:

This 3-week course will provide broad-based supplementary learning on railway technical vocabulary and specialist communications and is aimed at students with no or limited knowledge or experience of the railway industry. It will familiarise you with the components of the railway system and its terminology and will enhance your technical communication skills. Completion of the introductory course will ensure you are well-prepared for the technical content of this demanding programme and help you gain the most out of your year of study.

Topics covered include railway components and subsystems, railway-specific terminology and concepts of railway safety and risk. This introduction is given context with site visits and group exercises. This course will not count towards the MSc but there will be an informal assessment at the end of the course, which indicates your relative strengths and weaknesses in each of the technical areas and which, in turn, enables tailored tutorial support throughout your study.

Your experience and familiarity with railway systems will be assessed during the application stage. If you possess sufficient knowledge it is possible that you will not need to attend this element of the programme. 


Induction Weekend

The Induction Weekend takes place at the very start of the academic year along with students from other BCRRE programmes. It prepares you for the challenge of postgraduate study and provides a team activity, and talks on the railway industry, its legislative and financial background and the structure of today’s British and European railway industry.


Applications of Railway Control Systems module (Communications and Control Pathway)

This 20-credit module is a practice-based module and will usually be carried out in an industrial setting. It builds on the theory-based Principles of Railway Control Systems and students will undertake a project to apply railway signalling and control systems relevant to a selected jurisdiction e.g. the UK, Europe or your home country. You will design or work with an existing design, as appropriate to the setting, of a railway signalling and control system. Typical activities will include performing relevant calculations, reflecting on the impact of systems engineering, and applying problem-solving tools and techniques. All projects will include elements of Health & Safety, reliability, availability, maintainability, environmental matters and cost-effectiveness.

If you are studying on the distance-learning mode you will be expected to complete this module in the workplace usually during the summer between the first and second years of study. Full-time students will undertake the module in an intensive block of time after completing the Principles of Railway Control Systems module, and in conjunction with industrial supporters.


European Study Tour

You will have the option to join a study tour for 7-10 days in Europe, experiencing a range of railways and railway systems in a European country. This experience brings application to your learning prior to embarking on your research project. The study tour may attract a nominal additional fee to cover costs.


Individual Research Project

This is completed during the summer period, usually starting in May/June and submitting the dissertation in August. For part-time and distance-learning study, the project often takes place in your workplace. 

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.


Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Considering postgraduate study, but unsure whether you meet the entry requirements for a Masters-level degree? Postgraduate admissions guidelines vary by course and university, but can be quite flexible.

Your existing qualifications will be important, but you don’t necessarily need a great Bachelors degree to apply for a Masters. Your personal circumstances and experience may also be considered during the admissions process.

This guide explains the typical entry requirements for a Masters, which include:

      • An undergraduate degree in a relevant subject – Depending on the programme and institution, you may need a 2.1 in your Bachelors, but this isn’t always the case
      • Language proficiency – If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to display a certain ability level, usually through a language test
      • Professional experience – Some postgraduate programmes may require you to have some professional experience (this is usually the case for PGCEs and Masters in Social Work)
      • Entrance exams – These are only required in certain subject areas and qualifications, including some MBAs

Tuition fees for UK/EU students 2020/21

MSc:  Full-time £9,900. Part-time £4,950
Postgraduate Diploma:  Full-time £6,660. Part-time £3,300


Tuition fees for International students 2020/21

MSc: Full time £23,310
Postgraduate Diploma: Full-time £15,540


You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.

All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.

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.


University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Newcastle degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.