Short courses


Risk, Reliability and Resilience in Engineering Management

  • 35 hours + plus independent study for assessment (if applicable)
  • 5 days


This short course will help you identify and understand the aspects of systems and technology development which affect the ultimate dependability of the product or service.

To produce systems that deliver value to their stakeholders, you need to understand the ways in which projects or technology may fail to perform as required.

On this course you'll learn how to:

  • identify and manage risks that might affect the cost, schedule or technical performance of a system under development
  • anticipate failure by understanding the technological and human factors which can cause failure
  • analyse failures and reliability using techniques such as fault trees and event trees

The course is run by staff from the UCL Centre for Systems Engineering (UCLse) within UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL)).

Course content

Topics covered will include:

  • Defining failure
  • Causes of failure
  • Anticipating failure
  • Reliability analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk and margin management
  • Decision making under uncertainty
  • Human factors
  • Fault and event tree analysis
  • Failure modes, effects and criticality analysis
  • Understanding the state of a system
  • Resilience and recovering from failure
  • Quality
  • Lean and value engineering

Who the course is for

This course is relevant to anyone involved in the specification, procurement or development of complex systems. You may be working on systems projects, managing systems projects or managing engineering project staff.

It's suitable a wide range of professionals including:

  • engineers from all disciplines including systems engineers and system specialists
  • project managers and project management professionals

Teaching, structure and assessment

This is a blended course involving both in-person and remote teaching.

It's delivered as a combination of interactive taught sessions and group exercises. 

This course is an optional module within UCLse's Master's degree programmes. You can take this course as either:

  • a standalone short course
  • a 'taster module' that allows you to earn UCL credits towards a Master's degree

To earn UCL credits you'll need to complete an assessment. For more details on this option, please contact the course administrator. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you'll be able to:

  • understand the meaning of key concepts such as risk, failure, robustness, reliability, resilience, quality and integrity
  • identify systems that are robust/resilient, and those that are prone to failure (including catastrophic failure)
  • identify root causes of failure, and quantify the overall probability of failure by building Fault Trees
  • conduct failure analysis using failure modes, effects and criticality analysis
  • understand how to respond to failing systems
  • identify possible risks in a project, and assess their probability and impact
  • manage overall risk exposure against dimensions of technical performance, schedule and cost
  • manage the margin of a project taking into account risk exposure
  • perform effective risk management for a project
  • identify sources of human error including psychological barriers to effective decision making
  • understanding the effectiveness of groups in decision making


The fee for the short course is £1,450.

To take as a taster module and earn UCL credits, the fee is:

  • £1,681 for UK/EU 
  • £2,512 for overseas

Discounts may be available for the short course. Contact uclse.courses@ucl.ac.uk for more information.

Course team

Ian Raper

Ian Raper

Ian is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Technology Management Group in the Department of Space and Climate Physics at UCL. He's Programme Director for the MSc in Systems Engineering Management. Ian has 22 years of industrial experience working on all aspects of the systems design lifecycle, from user requirements to integration, acceptance and deployment. Part of Ian's career was in the defence sector, within Vickers Shipbuilding and BAE SYSTEMS. Following this, he worked in the space sector covering mission and system level activities at EADS Astrium. He's a chartered engineer and a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering. He has an MSc in Systems Engineering from UCL and a PGCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education.

Giles Poulsom

Giles Poulsom

Giles is a Senior Teaching Fellow in UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics. Since graduating with a master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Giles has gained broad experience within the aerospace, defence, marine and rail industries, and has held various senior technical and management roles. He's a chartered engineer and a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

Course information last modified: 1 Nov 2021, 13:46