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Fire Science

To the civilian, fighting fires means turning the hose on them.  But vanquishing the raging beast that is a fire involves much more than that.  It takes considerable strategy, expert technique, an understanding of the science that governs it, plus a firm handle on how to prevent the beast from roaring forth in the first place.  Battling fire is a science, requiring a special breed of soldier — compassionate, fast thinking, calm under pressure, and of great physical stamina.  If you are that soldier, you can do no better than to get your degree at UNH, home of one of the largest, most comprehensive fire programs in the country.

Identify your career path

There are many career paths you can take with a degree in fire science.   Our programs prepare students for a number of positions in the fields of fire prevention, fire engineering, fire suppression, and more in both the public and private sectors.  Here are a few you can aspire to:

  • Fire Investigation. An analysis of fire investigations from the viewpoint of the field investigator. An in-depth study of determining the cause and origin of fires. Proper protection and collection of evidence is also covered.
  • Fire Service Personnel.  You’ll be a member of a fire department, providing fire suppression, emergency medical services, fire prevention, and life safety education services.
  • Fire Protection Engineering.  As a fire protection engineer, you’ll identify risks and design safeguards that help prevent, control, and mitigate the effects of fires.  Architects collaborate with FPEs in evaluating a building’s life safety and property protection goals.  You may also act as a fire investigator — FPEs helped analyze the collapse of the World Trade Center, for example.  NASA also uses fire protection engineers.
  • Fire Protection Technology.  Apply science and engineering principles to protect people and their environments from the destructive effects of fire and smoke.  If you already have an engineering degree, this degree will add another skill set to offer employers.
  • Code Development and Evaluation.  Research current trends in fire losses and craft codes and standards to reduce future losses for private and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Loss Prevention.  Usually a private-sector position, this career involves investigating losses for an insurance company in an effort to reduce future losses.  You’ll identify potential hazards in the workplace and correct them before an accident or loss occurs.
  • Forest Fire Inspector and Prevention Specialist.  Patrol our forests and parks to ensure that travelers and campers comply with fire regulations.  When fires break out, crews of firefighters come in to fight the blaze.  You’ll need specialized training in the Incident Management System for this career.
  • Industrial Fire Protection.  You would be an employee of an industrial, institutional, or commercial enterprise who is actively engaged in formulating or implementing policies and procedures for fire protection, fire prevention, and employee safety education.

Practice in state-of-the-art facilities

You’ll test your knowledge and skills in laboratory experiences that are dress rehearsals for real-world events.  Our cutting-edge facilities include:

  • A new state-of-the-art fire/arson investigation lab.  One of the few arson investigation labs on a college campus in the country, it comprises three arson investigation rooms that produce live fires to investigate.
  • Fire alarm/detection lab.  Featuring the latest technology in alarm systems used throughout the fire protection industry, it will give you hands-on experience with today’s continually changing software and alarm panels. 
  • Automatic sprinkler lab.  This lab allows you, the student, to actually experience the types of systems and the various sprinkler heads used in the industry.  
  • Fire dynamics lab.  Modern fires can involve a plethora of chemicals. In this lab you will not only talk about flash and fire points but experiment with them.

Field trips and internships will add more depth and immediacy to the hands-on learning you acquire on campus.   Many local combination and/or volunteer fire departments in the area allow UNH students to enroll in their department and serve as volunteer firefighters.

Learn from faculty who are battle-tested

All of our faculty members have seen action in the field and are either current or former chief officers within a fire department.   Together, they represent a combined history of over 150 years of service in the field of fire protection.  Each instructor brings to the classroom a wealth of experience in a specific area.

Our adjunct instructors who are professionals — fire protection engineers, fire marshals, fire chiefs, and federal and state investigators in the public and private sectors — interact with firefighters on a daily basis.  This gives them the inside track on the latest in modern fire safety and engineering technology, which they then pass on to you.

Choose your desired concentration

This is the time to get your degree in fire science, as the demand for professionals in the field has never been greater.  The United States still ranks among those countries that suffer the highest degrees of destruction to life and property from fire.  Arson- and fraud-related fire problems continue to rise at an alarming rate. 

We offer you a choice of three concentrations so that you can specialize in the area that interests you most:

  • Fire Administration
  • Fire Investigation/Arson
  • Fire Technology

Whichever concentration you choose, you’ll learn in exceptional facilities and have the kinds of opportunities you won’t find at most other universities.  Your hands-on experience will cover a lot of territory — in the class, in our top-notch labs, and out in the field.