American University of Sharjah introduces new minor in safety and fire protection engineering


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Responding to industry needs, the American University of Sharjah (AUS) College of Engineering is set to launch a Minor in Safety and Fire Protection Engineering.

This initiative, starting in Fall 2024, aims to bolster students’ knowledge in this critical field, marking a strategic expansion in the university’s academic offerings.

Industry demand drives new academic program

Recent feedback from industrial advisory boards, students, alumni, and the Sharjah Civil Defence Authority highlighted a growing need for safety and fire engineering experts.

The new minor, open to all undergraduate students at AUS, can be completed alongside their major degree program.

This curriculum is designed to provide a thorough understanding of fire protection principles, including fire behaviour, combustion mechanisms, and heat transfer.

It will also focus on the mastery of modern tools and strategies for enhanced safety and fire protection.

Dr. Fadi Aloul, Dean of CEN at AUS, commented on the program’s inception: “We are launching this minor in response to the industry’s call, and specifically to one of our strategic partners, Sharjah Civil Defence Authority.

“Safety and fire engineers hold important roles across various sectors.

“With this initiative, we will not only align with industry requirements but also contribute to societal welfare and open new career paths for our students both within and beyond our borders.”

Brigadier Sami Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Civil Defence Authority, also expressed his support: “We commend the Emirate of Sharjah and AUS for pioneering the accreditation of the Minor in Safety and Fire Protection Engineering, marking a notable stride in academic excellence in the East, aligning with top-tier global universities.

“This program, designed collaboratively by experts from AUS and Sharjah Civil Defence Authority, offers specialised courses in fire sciences, dynamics and behaviour; firefighting equipment and chemicals.

“Primarily targeting the AUS College of Engineering’s students across all disciplines, we anticipate future expansions, including postgraduate opportunities.

“This initiative is poised to elevate fire safety standards, leveraging both the theoretical and practical facets of the curriculum.

“Moreover, the educational prowess of AUS enriches the program, making it a valuable asset for both public and private sectors.”

Expanding career opportunities and enhancing societal safety

The program’s impact will extend beyond academic enrichment.

Graduates with this minor are expected to find placements across various sectors such as large industrial establishments, civil defence units, consulting agencies, fire equipment manufacturers, testing labs, the insurance sector, forensic departments, and healthcare establishments.

This minor is projected to not only fulfil industry and societal needs but also to considerably boost job prospects for students across the UAE, GCC, and further fields.

Dr. Sameer Al-Asheh, Professor, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at AUS, further explained: “The domain of safety and fire protection engineering is expansive, encompassing the analysis, design and safeguarding of various infrastructure facets.

“There is an evident need for specialised expertise in the field and we are proud to launch this minor in response.”

AUS is among the top 25 percent of universities in the world, according to QS World University Rankings (2024), and has ranked third in the UAE in the category of engineering and technology, according to QS World University Rankings by Broad Subjects (2023).

For more information about the new Minor in Safety and Fire Protection Engineering at AUS, please visit their website.

IFSJ Comment

The introduction of the Minor in Safety and Fire Protection Engineering at the American University of Sharjah is a timely response to the emerging demands of the industry.

The program’s comprehensive curriculum, focusing on both theoretical and practical aspects of safety and fire protection, is set to prepare a new generation of engineers equipped to address complex safety challenges.

This move also reflects a broader trend in higher education, where institutions are increasingly aligning their offerings with industry demands, thereby enhancing the employability of graduates.

The collaboration with Sharjah Civil Defence Authority further enriches the program, ensuring that it remains relevant and up-to-date with current industry standards and practices.

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