Award Duration Format Audience Application Deadline Start Date
Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety 24 months / 6 semesters Online Clinical and administrative healthcare professionals July 1 August

UAB’s Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety is a 11-course 36-credit hour program that empowers individuals with a toolbox to improve patient delivery systems. The 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.


In the 36-credit hour, 11-course program, learners take two online courses per semester over the first five terms. In the last semester, participants focus their full attention on a real-world capstone project. Learners who complete UAB’s Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality and Safety can apply those 15 graduate credit hours to the Master’s program. Teaching and assessment modalities include synchronous and asynchronous lectures, simulations, case-studies, and group presentations.

  • Fall (Year 1)

    HQS 600: Introduction to Clinical Quality Improvement (4 hours)
    Clinical quality improvement theory; classes of outcomes; process management; management tools and modeling techniques for improvement of clinical processes and decision-making.

    HQS 610: Quantitative Methods, Measurement, and Tools for Quality Improvement (4 hours)
    Statistical process control techniques applied to clinical and patient service processes, including Lean and Six Sigma methodologies; data system design concepts applied to clinical and financial data for managing health care business processes.

  • Spring (Year 1)

    HQS 625: Fundamentals of Patient Safety (4 hours)
    Nature and science of patient error; strategies for design of safety-critical systems; hazard analysis and risk assessment in health care organizations; design elements of safety program and high reliability systems.

    HQS 630: Leadership of High Reliability Healthcare Organizations (3 hours)
    Applying concepts of high reliability organizations to create an organizational culture that supports strong, functional, and safe patient care environments resulting in quality clinical care and patient satisfaction.

  • 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 2)

    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 2)

    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 Office of Student Financial Aid website.

Projected student expenses for the 2018-2019 academic year: