Executive Master’s Courses

Students are required to complete 32 credits, including 20 credits of required courses, 8 credits of elective courses and 4 credits of capstone courses.

After completion of course CQSL503- Quality Improvement Methods you will be able to take your education a step further by sitting for NAHQ’s coveted Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) certification examination. The only accredited certification in healthcare quality, the CPHQ designation is recognized by the industry as the gold standard and is increasingly preferred or required by employers.

Two unique track opportunities within the Master’s program

Georgetown University’s Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety, and Leadership offer two track options for all students.  Both courses will require courses CQSL501-505 and all capstone courses CQSL601-607. 

Quality & Safety Track

The Quality & Safety track will focus on healthcare policies, regulations, and economics, along with how leaders are creating and leading sustainable change within healthcare.

Quality & Safety Electives

  • CQSL506-Policy, Regulation, and Economics 
  • CQSL507- Creating and Leading Sustainable Change.

Human Factors Track

The Human Factors track will instruct on prominent human factors engineering principles and methods and apply them to real-world patient safety and quality issues and examples.

Human Factors Electives

  • CQSL508- Human Factors Core Principles  
  • CQSL509- Human Factors Core Methodology and Applications.

During each semester, learners will take 2 courses along with 1 week of capstone work. The only exception is the summer semester where learners will take 1 course along with 1 week of the capstone

Required Courses

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course will focus on the historical concepts and current quality care and patient safety issues. Through this course, learners will be introduced to relevant theory, content, tools, and methods as they relate to patient safety and health care quality. In fact, the learner will begin exploring basic principles of human factors engineering, high reliability, and error science to gain a better understanding into the causes of errors.

Learners will also begin the development of their capstone project during the last week of this course.

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

Leading national patient safety experts and patient advocates will introduce learners to relevant theory, content, tools, and methods in the field of patient safety. Learners will be introduced to patient safety problems and high-risk contexts for error occurrence and will become fluent with shared decision-making and the role of patient advocates. Effective methods for error disclosure will be introduced. Learners will develop skills to be able to conduct a patient safety risk assessment using principles of safe system design, all within the context of a just culture. The course readings, presentations, hands-on exercises, and discussions are designed to develop learners as they become the next leaders in the field of patient safety.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course. 

4 credits | Spring & Summer Semester

The Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership and the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) believe a coordinated, quality-competent healthcare workforce begins in the classroom and has teamed up to provide impactful content rooted in principles of patient safety and waste reduction.

Through sessions focused on fundamental concepts of systems-thinking, improvement science, and data collection, organization, and analyses, students will learn to create and use data to answer empirical questions. 

By leveraging NAHQ’s twice-validated industry-standard competency framework, you will receive a set of practical tools, a common vocabulary to enhance your knowledge and provide grounding in healthcare quality precepts. 

After completion of this course, you will be able to take your education a step further by leveraging NAHQ’s coveted Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) certification. The only accredited certification in healthcare quality, the CPHQ designation is recognized by the industry as the gold standard and is increasingly preferred or required by employers. 

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course. 

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course introduces learners to organization theory, culture, and leadership specifically related to the health care system in the current safety and quality environment. Historical and contemporary leadership theories will be explored and applied. Exercises and discussions will engage learners in critical and creative thinking about current and potential challenges in healthcare, and the impact that leadership has on the creation of a just culture. Learners will delve into ethics and values, negative behaviors, passion, and role reward and recognition play. Upon completion of this course, learners will be prepared to incorporate the values of effective leadership methods into their personal leadership plan specific to safety and quality management.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course. 

4 credits | Summer & Fall Semester

This course includes the onsite residency, led by national safety and quality leaders, and provides rigorous simulation exercises in practical, professional decision-making. This course provides an introduction to advanced communication strategies. Topics include enhanced communication skills, individual and group design/presentation techniques, error disclosure, hand-off, chain of command, stress and time management, and learning team dynamics. Throughout the course, learners will demonstrate characteristics of creative and critical thinking in individual and collaborative situations, as well as within process challenging and error-ridden situations. Learners will also be challenged to consider the roles of varied healthcare stakeholders in building a safer healthcare system.

The three-day onsite residency will be held at Georgetown University and taught by Georgetown faculty. The onsite will provide the opportunity for learners to practice and apply the tools and principles introduced in the preceding online courses, and to participate in active learning with cohort members in a face-to-face format.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course. 

Elective Courses

Quality & Safety Track

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

Major topics of this course include organizational accreditation and regulatory issues, federal and state constituents and laws, and institutional and individual legal issues in relation to the safety and quality movement. The principles and theories of economics will be examined as learners continue to evolve with a heightened focus on safety and quality outcomes. Principles, models, and practical methods for the economic evaluation of health care services and the role that federal, state, and local governments play in the economics of health care are explored in-depth. Key topics include pay for performance models, public reporting, patient experience, and the rising cost of health care. The learner will synthesize and integrate safety science and quality theory and practice for the purpose of developing high-reliability solutions. Learners will be directed toward advancing public policy, understanding pay for performance models, and implementing quality improvement strategies and medical delivery models that improve and sustain quality health care.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course. 

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course examines the concept of change, both personal and within health care systems. Learners will be expected to use higher-level critical thinking skills to assess contemporary challenges and create effective change strategies. Content includes the dynamics of change and how change influences institutional strategic planning. Learners will be required to synthesize and utilize information to demonstrate an understanding of how to implement major safety/quality improvement strategies. Learners are required to utilize proven methodologies for effective teamwork, process and measurement, negotiation, and achieve improved and sustained outcomes. How to manage and lead change, counteract resistance to change, and the politics and economics of change are of special focus.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course and will present their capstone at the close of this course.

Human Factors Track

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

Many patient safety events are related to the lack of attention to human factors and ergonomics in the design and implementation of technologies, processes, workflows, jobs, teams, and socio technical systems. Human factors and ergonomics programs in healthcare and patient safety have demonstrated significant success. Human factors and systems safety apply principles of cognitive science, industrial and biomedical engineering, patient safety, bioinformatics, and other disciplines to evaluate and design environments, processes, tools, and technologies to support clinical care and prioritize the need for ease of use and patient safety. Principles are applied across many areas including medical devices, health information technology, incident investigation and risk analysis, physician environment design and construction, usability standards and evidence-based practices, and systemwide education and cultural change. The Human Factors Core Principles course will provide foundational training for unique human factors capabilities in support of improved healthcare.  This course intends to train the next generation of healthcare professionals to tackle complex health system challenges in research and operations through understanding and application of industrial engineering, cognitive psychology, clinical medicine, and safety science to facilitate and support the spread of human factors knowledge and skills.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course and will present their capstone at the close of this course.

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

Human factors and systems safety focus on re-designing work as opposed to redesigning the human who does the work. Incorporating a human factors and systems safety approach allows for developing and integrating knowledge, skills, and attitudes that facilitate successful performance at the front lines of care. The application of innovative human factors approaches supports the much-needed transformation of healthcare from reactive and less effective or non-sustainable solutions to proactive, evidence-based, effective, and sustainable person-centered safety mitigations. Effective solutions must satisfy a number of constraints arising from clinical needs, social interactions, cognitive limitations, and healthcare policy. Such solutions require multidisciplinary teams to accelerate discovery, address the complexity of challenging health problems, improve patient outcomes, and decrease costs. Specific benefits of human factors applied to healthcare include efficient care processes in medical care; effective communication between medical care providers; implementation of effective and sustainable root cause analysis solutions; reduced risk of medical device use error; easier to use (or more intuitive) devices; reduced risk of health IT-related use error; easier to use (or more intuitive) health IT; reduced need for training; cost savings through prevention and mitigation of adverse events; safer working conditions in medicine; reduced costs for medical malpractice and workers compensation; improved patient outcomes. The Human Factors Methodology and Applications course will provide foundational training in the application of human factors methods in support of improved healthcare.  The intent of this course is to enhance foundation training to identify, design, develop, deploy, and evaluate solutions with appropriate consideration of the actual work environment in addition to known human abilities, limitations, and baseline human error rates while considering the demands of the complex healthcare environment.

Learners will continue the development of their capstone project during this course and will present their capstone at the close of this course.

Capstone Courses (Required)

0.5 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

The content for this longitudinal course begins in the first course and is embedded in all seven courses. Learners will be assigned a capstone mentor during the first course based on the learning domain of the individuals’ choice and interest. Throughout the program, the seventh week of each course will be formally dedicated to content including use of the relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, ethics, application in developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners will utilize this content during their capstone project design, completion, and presentation.

0.5 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

This is the second course out of seven courses. Learners will be assigned a capstone mentor during the first course based on the learning domain of the individuals’ choice and interest. Throughout the program, the seventh week of each course will be formally dedicated to content including use of the relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, ethics, application in developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners will utilize this content during their capstone project design, completion, and presentation.

0.5 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

This is the third course out of seven courses. Learners will be assigned a capstone mentor during the first course based on the learning domain of the individuals’ choice and interest. Throughout the program, the seventh week of each course will be formally dedicated to content including use of the relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, ethics, application in developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners will utilize this content during their capstone project design, completion, and presentation.

0.5 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

This is the fourth course out of seven courses. Learners will be assigned a capstone mentor during the first course based on the learning domain of the individuals’ choice and interest. Throughout the program, the seventh week of each course will be formally dedicated to content including use of the relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, ethics, application in developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners will utilize this content during their capstone project design, completion, and presentation.

0.5 credit | Fall & Summer Semester

This is the fifth course out of seven courses. Learners will be assigned a capstone mentor during the first course based on the learning domain of the individuals’ choice and interest. Throughout the program, the seventh week of each course will be formally dedicated to content including use of the relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, ethics, application in developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners will utilize this content during their capstone project design, completion, and presentation.

0.5 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

This is the sixth course out of seven courses. Learners will be assigned a capstone mentor during the first course based on the learning domain of the individuals’ choice and interest. Throughout the program, the seventh week of each course will be formally dedicated to content including use of the relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, ethics, application in developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners will utilize this content during their capstone project design, completion, and presentation.

1 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

This is the final course out of seven courses. Learners will finalize their capstone project during this course and will present their capstone at the close of this course.