M.S. in Safety Science

The Master of Science in Safety Science (MS-SFS) degree program is designed to provide students with a practical course of study in aviation safety as well as occupational health and safety. The degree program produces safety professionals who are skilled in providing safety management expertise in a variety of industries. Graduates will be able to provide leadership, training, and guidance in safety implementation and compliance issues involving EPA, OSHA, DOD, FAA, DOE, NTSB, and state health and workplace standards, and will be prepared for service in aviation/aerospace, military, and numerous other industries.

The MS-SFS degree prepares graduates for professional safety positions in a variety of organizational settings, including aviation. Students will qualify for jobs such as aircraft accident investigator, aviation or general safety manager, operations safety coordinator, and safety designer. The degree offers the opportunity for students to explore both the theoretical and pragmatic discipline that occupational health and safety has become. Particularly in light of extensive interest by the private sector and by government entities, this degree offers occupational health and safety professionals, as well as aviation safety professionals,  the advanced education and credentials necessary to succeed in the practice of safety.

The MS-SFS is a 36 credit hour program of study. Elective coursework must be selected from the elective list below. All elective courses may not be offered every year. Check with an advisor for a schedule of course offerings.

Preference will be given to applicants with an undergraduate background that includes college-level mathematics, social, behavioral and physical sciences, aviation, engineering or other related disciplines.

Degree Requirements

Occupational Safety Core

MSF 580Ind Hygiene & Envrnmntl Prtctn3
MSF 600Quantitative Methods3
MSF 601Ergonomics3
MSF 602Human Factors3
Total Credits12

Aviation Safety Core

MSF 613Aviation Safety3
MSF 695GAviation Human Factors3
MSF 695HResearch in Aviation Safety3
Total Credits9

Safety Science Research Core (Required for Both Areas of Concentration)

MSF 603Occupational Safety3
MSF 612Research Methods3
MSF 616Safety Training & Leadership3
Select one of the following options:
Option I
Thesis ** 6 credits
Option II
Graduate Capstone Course ** 3 credits
Total Credits12-15


Select three to five of the following:9-15
The Air Transportation System
Airport Operations Safety
Arcrft Accident Investigation
Industrial Hygiene Measurement
Cntrl Mthds Occptnl Sfty Hlth
Epidemiology † *
System Safety † *
Industrial Security
Case Studies in Safety ‡ *
Safety Ethics
Aircraft Accident Analysis
Adv Aircraft Survivability ‡ ****
Airline & Ops Safety Mgmnt
Aviation Maintenance Safety
Integrated Safety Ops Capstone
Aviation Security
Emergency Preparedness
Internship in Safety Science
Spec Topics in Safety Science
Total Credits9-15

Opportunities for Graduate Students

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are academic appointments that are reserved for qualified graduate students. Graduate assistants are involved in research activities under the direction of a faculty member. To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, a student must have full graduate status in a degree program, must have maintained a CGPA of 3.00 out of a possible 4.00 or above through the end of the semester (graduate or undergraduate) preceding the appointment, and must demonstrate adequate communication and technical skills.

Each department has the responsibility to post the availability of its graduate assistantships. Current students submit an application form, resume, and a 500-word essay directly to the Department of Safety Sciences. Newly admitted students submit their application materials via the Graduate Admissions Office. Please note that any student who is eligible to receive VA benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program is not eligible to apply for a graduate assistantship.

Graduate assistantships carry a stipend set by the University and a partial tuition waiver; in addition, limited hourly graduate employment opportunities within a department may be available. Graduate assistants with such appointments are expected to devote up to 20 hours each week to effectively carry out their assignments. Under some circumstances, partial assistantships providing either tuition or a stipend may be granted. Expected time to be devoted is set by the assigning department. Graduate assistants are permitted to accept other University employment; however, University policies limit all students to a total of 25 hours of work per week, including the graduate assistantship. All graduate research assistantships, both full and partial, require that the recipient be registered for at least three graduate credits at Embry-Riddle for any semester of their appointment.

Graduate Internships

Graduate internships are temporary professional or industrial work opportunities available to graduate students. There are two types of internships: resident and nonresident. Resident internships are professional work activities supported by a partnership between the University and industry and conducted on campus under the supervision of a faculty/staff sponsor. Nonresident internships are professional work activities conducted off campus at the supporting organization facility. Full-time employees of the offering organization are not eligible for an internship appointment and cannot receive elective credit for their professional work service.

Graduate students who have full graduate status, are in good standing, with a minimum of six completed graduate credit hours, and who earn a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 basis, are eligible to apply for graduate internships. Students must demonstrate adequate communication and technical skills.

Students selected for an internship must register for the approved number of credit hours in the departmental internship course and pay all fees. Graduate academic credit is awarded at a rate of one credit hour for every 200 clock hours of work completed, up to a maximum of three credit hours in one semester. Three internship credit hours may be applied as an elective toward degree requirements. Students are advised to consult with the Safety Science internship coordinator for approval to use internship credits toward their degree program.

Guidelines for Graduate Capstone Projects and Theses

The graduate program in the Department of Safety Sciences offers the degree of Master of Science in Safety Science (MS-SFS), which is a 36 credit-hour program. In addition to course work, this degree requires the completion of a research project, either a 3 hour Graduate Capstone, with 33 hours of course work, or a 6 hour Master’s Thesis (with 30 hours of course work). Those students who are planning to do a Capstone should have registered for a total of three hours of MSF 691 before graduation. Those planning to do a thesis should register for six hours of MSF 700 before graduation. The detailed information in this section is intended to assist graduate students in the completion of this research requirement.

The Difference between a Capstone and a Thesis

If the student has any aspirations to later pursue a doctorate, a thesis is strongly recommended, since this is good preparation for writing a dissertation. A thesis is a project that requires the collection and analysis of data in an original fashion. This work should be suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal for publication, and takes multiple semesters to complete successfully.

In contrast, a capstone project may consist of a selection from a number of possible options: for example, documenting results of an internship in which the student designed a safety program or conducted hazard analyses, or replicating previously-published research to validate findings. The capstone project is completed over the course of one semester and provides students an opportunity to create and document significant evidence of mastery of the safety science core body of knowledge, and provides the student evidence of experience to show to current and prospective employers.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.