The Civil Safety and Security Unit (CSSU)

The CSSU has a well-established international reputation for its work. The Unit offers distance learning MSc courses in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management, short courses in Disaster Risk Reduction, provides PhD supervision and offers consultancy services to government and industry.

Staff research interests include contingency planning, disaster risk reduction, international security, public unrest, policing, local and central government policies, aviation safety and security, and business continuity management.

The Unit adopts a flexible approach to part-time distance learning with excellent support for students.

Our Credentials and Rankings

  • We are ranked top after Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the 2011 National Student Survey amongst 120 mainstream public universities in the UK. Our levels of student satisfaction have been consistently in the top 10 since the annual survey commenced in 2005..
  • The Guardian University Guide 2014 has placed Leicester in 13th position out of 119 institutions.
  • We are the only university to win seven consecutive Times Higher Awards . The Times Higher Education applauded Leicester’s very different approach, describing us as “elite without being elitist”.
  • We were named Times Higher Education University of the Year for 2008/9.

What our graduates say

“On my first visit to Leicester I can recall my initial feelings of excitement tinged with trepidation: a reborn schoolboy 25 years on! My fears were quickly overcome. Over the ensuing months my confidence increased, and aided by a fantastically supportive Civil Safety and Security Unit, who helped me overcome a couple of hiccups, a Master of Science degree was in the bag. In 2008 I duly graduated.

Although I am much more a practitioner than an academic, having been bitten by the ‘learning bug’, and armed with my brand new MSc, I enrolled on the Queens University, Belfast, Doctorate in Governance (DGov) law degree programme. Everything I learned at Leicester I used on this course. The robust platform, rigorous academic standards and support structure, together with the acquired discipline and skill of academic writing, have meant that five years on I am Dr Kevin Street, enjoying my work ... making a difference ... and fulfilling a schoolboy dream!”

Dr Kevin Street
May 2014


"The MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management gave me the confidence to present my experience and knowledge to a broader audience in the private sector and was the single most significant factor behind my decision to start a business."

Kevin O’Leary, Director, Risk Angels, United Kingdom (Law Society Excellence Award for Learning and Development 2011)

"I have benefitted greatly from this course. I believe it is directly responsible for me being appointed as the Principal Risk Consultant to a National Infrastructure Authority."

G. Irvine, Graduate, June 2010



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One of our students in Salta, Argentina

One of our students in Salta, Argentina


Professor Elizabeth Anderson and Dr Simon Bennett have secured a Teaching Enhancement Project Fund grant of £15,000. The twelve-month research project, titled 'Building our pedagogical understandings of interprofessional undergraduate simulation with students, patients and faculty' will draw on Dr Bennett's knowledge of aviation human factors methods and eighteen year career with the aviation industry.

Staff and graduates from Civil Safety and Security Unit publish latest thinking on disaster management and resilience. Find out more

Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett from the Civil Safety and Security Unit has been invited by the ESRC to join 25 of the UK’s top social scientists working in risk management, to attend the UK-China Scoping Workshop on ‘Developing Collaborations in the Natural and Social Sciences in the Areas of Geohazards, Palaeontology and Geofluids’. Find out more

Drs Tony Masys and Nibedita Ray-Bennett presented their paper ‘High Impact/Low Frequency extreme events: Enabling Reflection and Resilience in a Hyper-Connected World’ in the 4th International Conference on Building Resilience at the University of Salford on 9 September 2014. The paper proposes ‘reflective response’ as an approach to tackle naturally triggered technological disasters (NATECHs) and promote network mind set. 

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Gerald Midgley from the University of Hull will be giving us a talk on ‘Introduction to Systems Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems’ in our September Study School. Venue for this event: 4th Floor, Charles Wilson Building, Main Campus.Time: 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm. If you would like to attend this talk please email Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett  or Shilpa Mehta in order to reserve a place.

Samuel Akera recipient of the Learning for Work Award and Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett appear in the Norwegian Capacity Newsletter. Click here to read the article.

Samuel Akera (January 2014 graduate) has been selected for a prestigious 'Learning for Work' Award based on his academic success after overcoming social and financial adversity.  Samuel was nominated for this award by Dr Nibedita S Ray-Bennett from the University’s Civil Safety and Security Unit. Dr Ray-Bennett and Samuel Akera will be attending the East Midlands Regional Award Ceremony

Dr Simon Bennett, CSSU Director, comments on the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, in New York Times, Click here to read the article

Dr Simon Bennett, Director of the Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester, has published a book about the pilot lifestyle entitled 'How Pilots Live: An Examination of the Lifestyle of Commercial Pilots.' Click here for finer details

Dr Tony Masys, CSSU Associate Tutor, has published a new book about networks and network analysis for defence and security. Click here for finer details

Dr Peter Wilkinson, CSSU Associate Tutor, was shortlisted for the prestigious London Science of Risk Research Prize by Lloyds

Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett, Dr Tony Masys, Dr Hideyuki Shiroshita and Prof Peter Jackson have been selected to make an Input Paper for the Thematic Review of Hyogo Framework for Action Core Indicators of GAR15, UNISDR.

Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett has been awarded the Research Development Fund by the College of Social Sciences to conduct her research: ‘Gender Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction: Integrating Theory and Practice’.

CSSU Study Event dates set for 2014, (29 & 30th September).

Dr Tony Masys, Associate Tutor, has recently been invited to be an affiliate researcher with the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation

Dr Simon Bennett, CSSU Director, contributes to a recent UK Channel Four Dispatches documentary titled: ‘Ryanair: Secrets from the cockpit.'

Dr Simon Bennett, CSSU Director, on the Liverpool Care Pathway:

Dr Tony Masys, a CSSU Associate Tutor, has been appointed an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa Telfer School of Management.

Dr Lucy Easthope, one of our Associate Tutors, has had her work referenced by the BBC at:

Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett has written an article on house: ‘‘Pansi Ghor’: A classic object of human resilience to environmental disasters’ as part of the College of ‘Social Sciences of 100 objects’