Award Duration Format Audience Application Deadline Start Date
Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety 18 months / 4 semesters Online Clinical and administrative healthcare professionals March 1 May

Individuals who have completed UAB’s Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality and Safety can apply their 15 graduate credit hours directly to UAB’s Master’s program to continue to build their competence in designing and implementing healthcare quality and safety initiatives.

The Master’s program is designed for leaders at all levels, from system executives to emerging leaders. Learners receive applied instruction that facilitates the development of competencies associated with patient safety and quality improvement. Courses focus on developing students as change agents, effective communicators, and team leaders. In the Master’s program, individuals also receive tailored professional and leadership development guidance.


With the application of the 15-credits from the Graduate Certificate program, learners will complete 7 courses (21-credit hours) to receive the Master’s degree. Participants take two online courses per semester over the three terms. In the fourth semester, learners focus their full attention on a real-world capstone project.

  • Summer (Year 1)

    HCS 640: Project Management: Leading Successful Healthcare Initiatives (3 hours)
    Techniques for planning, scheduling, controlling, resource allocation, and performance measurement activities required for successfully completing a project.

    HQS 655: Population Health for Healthcare Quality Leaders (3 hours)
    Focuses on the foundational skills needed to work in teams to effectively collaborate in the development and implementation of population health programs aimed at improving health outcomes. Special emphasis will be on evidence-based care and patient and community engagement.

  • Fall (Year 1)

    HQS 613: Advanced Data Use in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (3 hours)
    Applying quantitative techniques to clinical and administrative data to inform and improve healthcare quality and patient safety outcomes.

    HQS 635: Healthcare Policy and Regulation (3 hours)
    External drivers for quality and safety improvement in healthcare organizations, particularly policies and regulations affecting reimbursement. Discussion and analysis of key federal legislation and regulations promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission.

  • Spring (Year 1)

    HCS 660: Financial Management for Healthcare Quality Leaders (3 hours)
    Designed to introduce health care leaders (primarily those working in the areas of simulation and quality improvement) to basic concepts in financial management. Topics covered include an introduction to financial accounting, an introduction to management accounting and a particular emphasis on evaluating the financial impact of new programs.

    HQS 675: Evaluating and Designing Quality Improvement Models (3 hours)
    Application of analytical and decision tools to determine appropriate enterprise models for quality improvement, including problem identification, selection of metrics, analytical approaches, prioritization criteria, and post-implementation evaluation.

  • Summer (Year 2)

    HQS 698: Integrative Capstone Experience / Non-thesis Project (3 hours)
    Investigation of a process or safety improvement opportunity in a healthcare organization to propose a solution; application of the concepts and tools presented in the program courses. A written project report is required.


The Master’s program culminates in a capstone project where knowledge and lessons learned are applied. Each student identifies a quality, process, or safety improvement initiative in their organization and partners with a faculty mentor who guides them through the development and completion of their capstone project.

Recent capstone projects include:

  • Reducing Repeat Echocardiograms in CHF Patients
  • Improving the Reliability of Measuring Pediatric Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Factors
  • Establishing a High Reliability Culture in a Healthcare IT Company
  • Maximizing Radiation Therapy Simulation Scheduling
  • Reducing 30 Day Readmission Rates for Patients with a Mental Health Disorder Diagnosis

Tuition & Fees

UAB’s tuition and fees are priced competitively. Learners in the Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety pay the same tuition whether they reside in or outside of the state of Alabama. For general UAB tuition and fees, visit the UAB Student Financial Aid website.