Jul 14, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 Previous Edition

Fire Protection and Safety Management, M.S.

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The Master of Science in Fire Protection and Safety Management program provides an advanced technical background for safety professionals involved with fire protection / administration in areas such as fire protection analysis and design, fire service, and fire safety and security, as well as safety management, occupational safety, industrial hazards and safety, industrial hygiene, and related areas.  The Fire Protection and Safety Management program is designed to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to begin work in many areas of the fire protection and occupational health and safety fields, and to solve safety problems in a complex technical society.

The program consists of a common core addressing basics of fire protection and safety management with the balance of coursework allowing students to specialize in fire protection, administration or safety management.  Fire Protection coursework prepares fire protection professionals to use modern fire protection methodologies, techniques, and tools for fire protection design, fire investigation, industrial fire safety, key infrastructure security, safety assessment, and other fire safety related matters.  Fire Administration coursework prepares those who are engaged in occupations in the fire, emergency services, and safety fields to effectively manage the administrative decision making requirements of both public and private entities.  Safety Management coursework prepares professionals to evaluate industrial hazards, assess risk and develop safety management plans while addressing industrial hygiene, environmental pollution control, ergonomics, and human factors. 

Admission Requirements

The minimum admission requirements for the program are:

  1. An earned undergraduate degree in engineering, engineering technology, emergency management, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, safety management or a related technical or scientific discipline
  2. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  3. Acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE
  4. Positive recommendations
  5. A combined TOEFL score of 220 (computer-based) or 557 (paper-based) is required if the previous degree was from a country where English is not the common language
  6. Statistics (STAT 1220 or STAT 3128 at UNC Charlotte or equivalent) preferred; students without a background in statistics may remediate during the first semester after admission to the program
  7. Other credentials as required by the Graduate School

Documents to be Submitted for Admission

  1. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  2. Official GRE scores
  3. Official TOEFL scores
  4. UNC Charlotte application for graduate admission online
  5. An essay detailing the applicant’s motivation and career goals, along with any specific research and training interests
  6. Three professional recommendations
  7. Others as required by the Graduate School

GRE Waiver

The GRE requirement will be waived for the following applicants:

  • UNC Charlotte students currently enrolled in engineering technology, construction management, or engineering
  • Applicants having earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, engineering technology, fire safety engineering technology or a closely related field from an ABET-accredited program
  • Applicants having earned a graduate degree

Application Deadline

Applications can be received by the Graduate Admission Office any time prior to their published deadlines.  In order to be considered for assistantships and tuition grants for the following academic year, students should apply by March 1 for priority consideration.  The first round of award decisions typically occur by March 15.  However, the Department of Engineering Technology and Construction Management will evaluate admission applications at any time complete applications are received by the Graduate School.

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.

Degree Requirements

The minimum requirement for the M.S. in Fire Protection and Safety Management degree is 30 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree.  This includes a minimum of 24 credit hours of formal coursework.  Students enrolled will:  1) take a common core of 15 credit hours which includes study in both fire protection and safety management.; and 2) select 15 credit hours of directed electives.  Students who elect the thesis option must complete 6 credit hours of MFPA 6900  as part of the directed electives.  Students who select the non-thesis option will complete 30 credit hours of coursework and complete a comprehensive exam. The 30 credit hour degree program is outlined below:


Additional new major elective courses may be created based on industry needs and faculty research interest. In addition, appropriate existing graduate level courses from other programs may be approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Capstone Experience

Students pursuing the M.S. in Fire Protection and Safety Management have two options to complete the 30 credit hour program as follows:

  1. 24 credit hours of coursework plus 6 credit hours of thesis project (MFPA 6900 )
  2. 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive examination

Both options require the formation of a program committee.  The thesis option is reserved for students who are attending the on-campus program and are performing research under formal graduate research or teaching assistantships.  Students receiving such assistantships may be required to pursue the thesis option.  The thesis option requires students to submit a written thesis and orally defend their work before their program committee.

All non-thesis students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework and successfully complete a formal comprehensive examination.  A student’s exam is scheduled when they have at least 24 credit hours of course credit completed or in progress.  The student’s graduate advisor and the examining committee coordinates the examination (to be offered once in the Fall and once in the Spring semesters), preparing the exam with the assistance of members of the student’s program committee.  The exam measures the student’s mastery of theories and applications in the selected area of specialization within the discipline.  Students have only two opportunities to receive passing marks on the examination.

Other Requirements

The program has both a thesis and non-thesis track. After admission to candidacy, thesis students will complete a comprehensive oral exam while non-thesis students will complete a comprehensive written exam.  Residence will be per Graduate School rules.  There is no language requirement.  While full-time students will typically take three semesters to complete the program, part-time students are expected to take no more than seven years to complete the program as per Graduate School rules.

Degree Total = 30 Credit Hours

Grade Requirements

All candidates must earn an overall 3.0 GPA to graduate. Accumulation of one U grade will result in the suspension of the student’s enrollment in the program.


Each student is supervised by their graduate advisor and a program committee.

Application for Degree

Each student should submit an Application for Degree prior to graduation. If a student does not graduate in the semester identified on the Application, the student must complete a new form and repay the application fee to be considered for graduation in a subsequent semester.

Plan of Study Requirements

Each student is required to submit a Plan of Study to the Department’s Graduate Director before completing 18 credit hours of graduate credits.

Transfer Credit

The department, at its discretion, may accept transfer of graduate courses (6 credit hours maximum) taken at another institution or from another program prior to admission to the M.S. in Fire Protection and Safety Management program.  Only courses in which the student earned a grade of B or above may be transferred.


Research and teaching assistantships are available from the Department on a competitive basis to highly qualified applicants/students.

Tuition Grants

Tuition grants, including out-of-state tuition differential waivers and in-state tuition support, are available on a competitive basis for both out-of-state and in-state students, respectively.

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