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Patient Safety

Patient Safety

Postgraduate Certificate

ECTS: 30 credits
Duration: 8 months part-time
(standalone course)

Postgraduate Diploma

ECTS: 60 credits
Duration: 16 months part-time
(including PG Cert)

Master’s degree

ECTS: 90 credits
Duration: 2 years part-time
(including PG Cert and PG Dip)



Our degrees in Patient Safety are designed for healthcare professionals, both medical and managerial, to provide a basis for the fundamentals of patient safety practices. This course is designed to help students become leaders in patient safety and quality.

You will gain a deep understanding of the factors influencing safety and quality, practical knowledge and training in academically-rigorous approaches to design and the ability to evaluate solutions. An emphasis is placed on translation and leadership, bringing together theoretical understanding and practical knowledge of how to make sustainable changes.

The programmes offer access to a world-class faculty, including expert teaching staff from renowned international organisations such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the US and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in the USA. Additionally, this MSc is delivered by the Institute of Global Health Innovation.

Through exposure to internationally-renowned teaching staff and blended-learning methods, students are equipped with the tools to tackle challenges and evaluate solutions arising from healthcare’s ever-changing landscape.


Study programme


This course is made up of three progressional levels (PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc), and and you can apply to any level in the first instance. 

Having successfully completed the PG Cert, you can return in later years to complete either the PG Diploma or MSc as long as the PG Diploma is completed within four years of registering for the PG Certificate and the MSc is completed within five years of registering for the PG Certificate.

  • The Postgraduate Certificate focuses on quality improvement, how safety is contextualised in the health and health policy ecosystem, its social impact and the role of human factors.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma expands on knowledge and skills instilled in the Postgraduate Certificate by further introducing topics such as the innovation lifecycle and managing innovation, decision-making, the system engineering approach to improve safety, and leadership.
  • Lastly, the MSc will be a distillation of all taught concepts with the development of a research project based in one of the many areas of patient safety.

MSc students may be able to carry out their research project in their own place of work. This will allow them to embed the knowledge and skills they have learned into their own area of practice.


Is this programme for you?


The programme is designed to provide a solid foundation for those who work in patient safety and quality. You gain a theoretical understanding, practical know-how and training in academically rigorous approaches to solving patient safety and quality challenges.



We expect graduates of the programme to be well-placed to advance in a range of directions. Safety and quality are becoming increasingly important topics in the national dialogue of health systems, including the NHS.

This is further compounded by tightening national budgets. As such, individuals who can demonstrate an understanding of the factors that contribute to patient safety lapses and the know-how of how to address them are increasingly valued by employers.


Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this course is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

You take all of the core modules below.

  • Module 1: Improvement in Practice
  • Module 2: Health Systems and Policy in Developed and Developing Countries
  • Module 3: Social Impact of Patient Safety
  • Module 4: Human Factors in Organisations

Module 1 has been designed and is delivered by expert staff from the National Institute for Health Research and Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

You take all of the core modules below.

  • Module 5: Innovation
  • Module 6: Decision Making
  • Module 7: Safer Systems
  • Module 8: Leadership

You must have completed the PG Cert modules in addition to the modules above in order to complete the PG Dip.

If you progress to the MSc you will undertake an independent research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff. You will benefit from one-to-one meetings with your supervisor.

  • Research project

You can complete your research project in your place of work, where appropriate.

You must have completed the PG Cert and Dip modules in addition to the research project in order to complete with an MSc.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching methods


  • Group discussions
  • Lectures
  • Practical workshops
  • Seminars
  • Site visits


Assessment methods


  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Research project report

Self-directed learning will be required to build on the week of face-to-face teaching to develop a full understanding of the intricacies of the subjects involved. To do this, material will be provided as a basis for further learning.

There are a number of case studies and group work throughout the programme, which are not formally assessed, but which will allow you to receive feedback from group leaders and your peers.


Part-time study


Teaching is delivered on a part-time basis in four blocks of two-week, face-to-face sessions. You have access to module handbooks, outlining any necessary pre-work or pre-reading prior to teaching, and will be expected to complete module assignments after teaching.

In addition to the above modules, all students will have access to a self-taught on-line introductory module, which aims to build a basic background in patient safety.

Lastly, interwoven throughout teaching are instructions related to research methods, which provides ongoing support for students in undertaking an academic research project.

Entry requirements


We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in a healthcare related subject, or a policy/management related subject, or anMBBS medical degree.

Applicants with professional healthcare experience may also be considered.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a USA qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply


You can submit one application form per year of entry, and usually choose up to two courses.


Choosing your course

This course is divided into three progressional levels of study:

  • PG Certificate (PG Cert)
  • PG Diploma (PG Dip)
  • MSc

Each level of study has its own separate entry point; you can apply to any level in the first instance.

Making an application

All applicants to our Master’s courses must apply online.