Executive master’s students are required to complete 32 credits, including 20 credits of required courses, 8 credits of elective courses and 4 credits of capstone courses.

During each semester, learners will take two courses along with one week of capstone work. The only exception is the Summer semester, in which learners take one course along with one week of the capstone.

After completion of course CQSL 6503 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.

Required Courses

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course introduces learners to relevant theory, content, tools, and methods in the field of patient safety and health care quality. During the six weeks learners will begin exploring techniques for effective improvement science, defining patient safety and quality, and selecting/developing meaningful metrics reflecting patient safety and clinical quality for an organization. The course is a high-level overview of the following topics: patient engagement, psychological safety, human factors, high-reliability organizations and the evolving healthcare environment. 

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

 Learners are introduced to patient safety issues and high-risk contexts for error occurrence along with safety tools. This course is designed with a longitudinal case study applying patient safety and implementation science skills. Students learn the importance of reporting, just culture, event reviews, health information technology, transparency, and communicating after harm. Learners develop proficiency with patient safety risk assessment, principles of safe system design, apology, and related patient safety priorities.

4 credits | Spring & Summer Semester

Learners gain working knowledge of basic quality improvement tools, data collection, analytical methods, project and change management techniques that are common in quality improvement. Through empirical questions, students utilize statistical tools for data analyses, interpretation, and presentation to critically evaluate quality improvement policies, reports, and meaningful metrics and measures. During the course, relevant discussions focus on regulatory requirements, accreditation, payment methodologies and how they impact quality improvement. NAHQ’s industry-standard curriculum is woven into this course. After completion, students have the skills and knowledge to sit for NAHQ’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) certification.

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course explores theory, culture, and change as it relates to healthcare organizational leadership. By examining various leadership styles, influence techniques, teamwork, and ethics, learners develop their individual leadership identities. Based upon best practices, learners develop the values of effective leadership and design a leadership model of their own. Exercises and discussions promote critical thinking about challenges in healthcare and the impact of leadership on creating a safety culture.

4 credits | Summer & Fall Semester

This course introduces advanced communication strategies for patient safety and quality improvement success in healthcare. Topics include difficult conversations, feedback, emotions, team dynamics, and bias in healthcare. Throughout the course, learners apply characteristics of critical thinking in individual and collaborative scenarios. Learners are challenged to consider the roles of various healthcare stakeholders in building a safer healthcare system. This course includes the three-day onsite residency, led by safety and quality leaders, and provides rigorous exercises in practical communication and decision-making.

CQSL 6601-6606: 0.5 credits each (3 credits total) | all semesters
CQSL 6607: 1 credit | Fall & Spring Semester

The longitudinal capstone project serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students at the end of the program. The content includes use of relevant literature, abstract completion, basic quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, quality improvement, and ethics. Application of the project will involve developing, analyzing, and reporting behavioral and/or organizational measures specific to safety and quality care outcomes. Learners are required to present their final capstone project during their last capstone course. 

Track Elective Courses

Our program offers two track options for all students. Both courses will require courses CQSL 6501-6505 and capstone courses CQSL 6601-6607. 

Quality & Safety Track

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

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

In this course, students learn about accreditation, regulation, payment models, and reputation platforms. Learners study the impact of federal and state strategies and legislation in the healthcare environment. The learner synthesizes and integrates safety and quality practices to advance public policy, develop performance improvement strategies, and evaluate payment models that improve and sustain quality healthcare.

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course examines the concept of change, both personally and in the healthcare setting, through established change management models. Learners utilize proven techniques for creating a climate for change, developing a resilient healthcare system, and achieving improved and sustained outcomes. Learners are expected to use higher-level critical thinking skills to assess contemporary challenges and create effective change strategies.

Human Factors Track

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

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

This course provides foundational training in human factors engineering to improve healthcare and reduce safety hazards. During the course topics covered are situational awareness, cognition and decision-making, usability and design, and their impact on the socio-technical system. Learners develop how to apply a systems approach to identify areas of risk, sustainability of solutions, and safety integration. 

4 credits | Fall & Spring Semester

The curriculum in this course builds upon the core principles learned in CQSL6508, by applying human factors methodology and skills to improve healthcare. Learners utilize techniques focused on usability evaluations, information visualization, Health IT safety surveillance and related hazards, and implementing technology to prevent errors.The course is designed to enhance learners ability to identify, design, develop, deploy, and evaluate solutions of the actual work environment. Considerations are taken to include known human abilities, limitations, and baseline human error rates while considering the demands of the complex healthcare environment.

Degree Plans

Browse full-time and part-time course schedules.


Get information about program eligibility and the application process.