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Course summary

The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (November 2022). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via As a healthcare professional taking the Postgraduate Certificate in Patient Safety, you will gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing patient safety, how these factors interact with each other and how to investigate safety problems. You will learn about quality improvement approaches and how to work with complex systems so as to improve care for patients. The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Patient Safety is a part-time course for healthcare professionals, offered by the Department for Continuing Education in collaboration with the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences. It can be completed in one year (though two years is possible), and consists of three modules, each a week long and taught in Oxford. The department provides online support and e-Library access for distance learning on either side of the Oxford-based weeks. The PGCert in Patient Safety is designed to give you an understanding of:

  • the basic science behind quality improvement methods including technical, psychological and organisational factors
  • techniques for implementing, sustaining and measuring systems change
  • techniques for improving safety in healthcare including human factors, design and ergonomics
  • There is a growing evidence base that quality improvement and human factors-based projects in healthcare have real impact on clinical outcomes for patients.
The University of Oxford has a strong research base in patient safety, and this course benefits from the researchers’ intensive collaboration with clinicians. The course will appeal to doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, managers and others who have an interest in patient safety and quality improvement. You will attend two core modules and one optional module. The core modules are:
  • Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis
  • Human Factors, Teamwork and Communication.
Your optional module is chosen from:
  • Leadership and Management in Health Care
  • Becoming a Clinical Educator
  • Healthcare Innovation and Technology.
Each module includes a period of preparatory study and one week of full time, face-to-face teaching in Oxford, which is then followed by a period for assignment work. The modules can be studied in any order and each module normally takes place once a year giving you the opportunity to individualise your patterns of study. The taught week is an intensive week of seminar-style teaching, class discussions, guest lectures, interaction with tutors and lecturers, workshops and practical sessions. In the four weeks running up to each taught week you should expect to dedicate 4-6 hours per week to preparatory reading. In the six weeks following each taught week you should expect to dedicate 10-15 hours per week to researching and writing your module assignment.

Entry requirements

For complete and up to date information about this course please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

For complete and up-to-date information about fees and funding for this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via
Patient Safety at University of Oxford - UCAS