Master of Science In Fire Protection

What is fire protection engineering? "It's an interdisciplinary field that has arisen from the challenges of new fire hazards," says Associate Professor Jing Li. “Our unique program offers training in engineering as well as in various areas of fire and safety protection through the Henry C. Lee College.

Engineer the defeat of a destructive force of nature

Fire’s mindless fury destroys lives, homes, businesses, the environment, and even history when it ravages irreplaceable items such as records and artifacts. Another force of nature, water, is its downfall, but there’s a more studied method of attack — the application of scientific and engineering principles that prevent, suppress, or mitigate fire. That’s where Fire Protection Engineers come in.

Our M.S. in Fire Protection Engineering program immerses you in the scientific application of chemistry, physics, and principles of civil and mechanical engineering to prevent and suppress fires. It also will give you an extensive understanding of fire science and fire dynamics — how fires get started and the ways they behave and spread. By understanding the behavior of fire, you can analyze potential risks and design solutions that will prevent a blaze from igniting in the first place.

Because saving lives is paramount, you will learn about the human dynamics that come into play as well — how people behave in fire events and how to keep smoke and heat at a survivable level while firefighters carry out evacuations.

At the end of the program, you will be qualified to work as a Fire Protection Engineer, a critical member of a multi-disciplinary team of other engineers. You also will be the go-to person for architects, building owners, and developers during the planning and designing stages, helping to determine what materials and fire protection systems to use. After a major fire event, you will be the investigator/analyst who determines what went wrong and why — and how to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The program also helps prepare you to take the Fundamental of Engineering Exam ( FE exam) to earn your engineering-in-training ( EIT) license — a prerequisite for becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) . If you further qualify as a P.E., the breadth of your career opportunities and your earning power will increase dramatically.

Outsmart “smart” buildings

The Internet of Things streamlined and simplified operations for buildings. All the systems that make a building function — heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security, fire safety systems, and more — can be digitally connected and controlled. For fire protection engineers the IoT can assist them through early detection and transmitting other critical information — or it can collapse into an epic failure. Think cyber attacks. Add such combustion-prone items as lithium-ion batteries to the mix, along with the plethora of new building codes and safety regulations, and you now have fire safety professionals facing their biggest challenges in history.

Our program’s emphasis on designing, analyzing, and modeling fire protection systems and performing risk analysis for rapidly evolving situations such as smart buildings, manufacturing plants, data centers, laboratories, and energy storage facilities will equip you with the skills to stay one step ahead of the technology that makes buildings hum with efficiency while presenting a potential perfect storm of safety failures.

Learn Fire Protection Engineering the hardcore way. Practice it.

There’s no substitute for rigorous, first-hand experience. Practice is the ultimate teacher, so it’s embedded into the program.

We specifically designed the courses to be experiential and collaborative. For example, you will learn to conduct real fire phenomenon measurements, such as temperature, flame height, smoke density, plume velocity, flame spread, and heat release rate.

A research project, internship, or thesis is the pinnacle of the program and will prepare you to be the leader that employers are looking for, whether your career leads you to the industry or academia.

What makes you a perfect fit for this program

This is a STEM program, and we designed it with three types of graduates in mind:

  • those who earned an engineering bachelor’s degree from a college of engineering
  • those who earned their bachelor’s degree in fire protection engineering from the Henry C. Lee College
  • those with strong math, physics and chemistry skills who earned their bachelor’s in a field such as forensic science or physics

Envision Your Future

According to a 2019 survey by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), the average full-time fire protection engineering salary is $118,800. Here are some other positions, with their salaries.


Senior Fire Research Engineer*


Fire Protection Engineer (entry-level)**


Fire Sprinkler Designer/Engineer*


Selected Courses and Programs
  • This course presents a detailed analysis of the factors and physical processes that govern the growth and spread of fire and its products within a structure. Includes a review and an evaluation of national, state, and local fire loss data leading to the development of fire prevention strategies.

  • Students will examine the basic organic chemistry, combustion, and explosive properties of flammable materials. They will investigate the chemical principles underlying fires and explosions and the chemical properties of various synthetic materials and the products of their combustion. Fire retardant materials and chemicals used in fire extinguishment will be explored as well.

  • This course introduces students to different experimental measurement techniques to quantitatively understand the analytical methods to address problems of basic fire phenomena. Topics include the understanding and measurements of temperature, flame, CO/CO2, oxygen consumption calorimetry, heat flux, limiting oxygen index, optical thermometry, and ignition parameters.

  • Designed for students with basic to intermediate level CAD software experience, this course will take their skill to the next level. Drawing exercises are used extensively to demonstrate the use of advanced drawing tools and to provide hands-on experience in topic-specific drawings. Topics include 2D and 3D drawing, perspective and axonometric views, rendering, natural and artificial lighting, dynamic blocks, layouts and viewports, title blocks, plot styles, layout grids, and fixing problematic drawing files.

  • This course covers the application of systems analysis, probability, engineering economy, and risk management techniques to the problem of fire. The basic principles of fire growth and spread in a building are also studied. Timelines will be established from the time of ignition to that of extinguishing. Students will also explore various methods of modifying the timeline.

  • This course introduces students to computer-based fire modeling — zone modeling and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) by conducting a series of case studies with documentation of input data, validation, and verification tests. Fire scene reconstruction will be emphasized. Basic programming knowledge is recommended but not required.

  • The University of New Haven offers a wide variety of in-depth courses that create a transformational educational experience for our students. To view the complete list of courses you'll take while pursuing a Masters of Science in Fire Protection Engineering, check out the Academic Catalog:

    Fire Protection Engineering, M.S.

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From career assessments, networking, and job shadowing to on-campus interviews and salary negotiation, the Career Development Center provides the skills and connections to identify a meaningful career and an opportunity to pursue your passion.

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