Edinburgh Surgery Online

MSc Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors

This three-year part-time online MSc programme in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors aims to support any graduate health care professionals (ranging from nurses to surgeons and anaesthetists) in using evidence-based tools and techniques to improve the reliability and safety of everyday health care systems and processes.

Applicants for this masters degree will be looking to distinguish themselves as being experienced in patient safety and, in some way, looking to move towards specialising or taking a management lead in this field. The programme will draw on teaching materials from a global network of enthusiasts.

Year 1 will give a broad introduction into the current state of safety in health care, how harm comes to patients and a detailed understanding of clinical human factors, ergonomics.

Year 2 will then go from the state of healthcare to look at how we can improve safety in healthcare. This involves examining how good teamwork influences patient outcomes, as well as improving healthcare and medicine management. We will also focus on quality improvement research and methodologies.

Year 3 will follow the highly successful iterative module used by the Masters in Surgical Sciences, involving submission of a project outline, abstract submission with poster preparation, and completion of a dissertation.

Due to the unique completely online nature of the pedagogy, the programme would be an attractive option for those professionals wishing to secure academic credit or a higher degree in patient safety and who are unable to commit to attend on-campus teaching.


Programme Structure

The programme has two elements: the taught element and the dissertation element (in Year 3). The taught element of the programme is divided into six 20 credit courses (3 are needed to complete certificate, 6 needed to complete diploma) and each academic year consists of 3 teaching blocks, each running over a period of 11 weeks. During the dissertation element of the programme students will have the opportunity to further develop their developing skills and design and conduct their own quality improvement projects in their workplace. This dissertation year consists of a phased assessment:

  Course Name Compulsory or Elective      Credits
Year 1: 60 credit = Cert Introduction to healthcare delivery and what leads to harm        Compulsory 20
Clinical Human Factors and ergonomics in Healthcare Compulsory 20
Non-technical skills and team performance in healthcare Compulsory 20
Year 2: 120 credit = PgDip Learning from current practice and governance Compulsory 20
Training for safety Compulsory 20
Quality improvement for safer practice Compulsory 20
Year 3: 180 credit = MSc                           Dissertation and independent improvement project Compulsory 60


Dissertation year

Overall e-Dissertation (100%), comprised of the following phased learning:

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
Project Outline deadline      10% Project Detailed Summary deadline     20% Project ePoster deadline       20% Masters Project eReport deadline 50%


Fee Information

Students on full-time and part-time programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that annual tuition fees are subject to revision and are typically increased by approximately 5% per annum. This annual increase should be taken into account when you are applying for a programme.

Online learning fees 2024-2025 | The University of Edinburgh

Please see the scholarships page for full information on the range of Edinburgh Surgery Online scholarships available