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This three-year part-time online MSc programme in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors aims to support any graduate health care professionals (ranging from nurses to surgeons and anaesthetists) in using evidence-based tools and techniques to improve the reliability and safety of everyday health care systems and processes.

Applicants for this masters degree will be looking to distinguish themselves as being experienced in patient safety and, in some way, looking to move towards specialising or taking a management lead in this field. The programme will draw on teaching materials from a global network of enthusiasts.

Year 1 will give a broad introduction into the current state of safety in health care, how harm comes to patients and a detailed understanding of clinical human factors, ergonomics.

Year 2 will then go from the state of healthcare to look at how we can improve safety in healthcare. This involves examining how good teamwork influences patient outcomes, as well as improving healthcare and medicine management. We will also focus on quality improvement research and methodologies.

Year 3 will follow the highly successful iterative module used by the Masters in Surgical Sciences, involving submission of a project outline, abstract submission with poster preparation, and completion of a dissertation.

Due to the unique completely online nature of the pedagogy, the programme would be an attractive option for those professionals wishing to secure academic credit or a higher degree in patient safety and who are unable to commit to attend on-campus teaching.



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Eligibility Criteria

This masters programme is suitable for all healthcare graduates, including nurses, pharmacists, anaesthetists, surgeons, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals.

A UK 2:1 honours degree in healthcare is the minimum requirement, although if you have extensive experience of working in healthcare and have evidence of Postgraduate or Undergraduate study with subject areas including medicine, biomedical science or pharmacology/pharmacy, nursing, psychology your application will also be considered. Candidates with a relevant background and alternative qualifications should contact us for further details.


Ready to apply?

Find out how to apply and submit your application.

Programme Structure

The programme has two elements: the taught element and the dissertation element (in Year 3). The taught element of the programme is divided into six 20 credit courses (3 are needed to complete certificate, 6 needed to complete diploma) and each academic year consists of 3 teaching blocks, each running over a period of 11 weeks. During the dissertation element of the programme students will have the opportunity to further develop their developing skills and design and conduct their own quality improvement projects in their workplace. This dissertation year consists of a phased assessment:

  Course Name Compulsory or Elective Credits
Year 1:
60 credit = Cert
Introduction to healthcare delivery and what leads to harm Compulsory 20
Clinical Human Factors and ergonomics in Healthcare Compulsory 20
Non-technical skills and team performance in healthcare Compulsory 20
Year 2:
120 credit = PgDip
Learning from current practice and governance Compulsory 20
Training for safety Compulsory 20
Quality improvement for safer practice Compulsory 20
Year 3:
180 credit = MSc
Dissertation and independent improvement project Compulsory 60


Dissertation year

Overall e-Dissertation (100%), comprised of the following phased learning:

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
Project Outline deadline
Project Detailed Summary deadline
Project ePoster deadline
Masters Project eReport deadline


Fee information

Masters in Patient Safety & Clinical Human Factors Fees for academic year 2023/24

Students on full-time and part-time programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that annual tuition fees are subject to revision and are typically increased by approximately 5% per annum. This annual increase should be taken into account when you are applying for a programme.

Please see the scholarships page for full information on the range of Edinburgh Surgery Online Scholarships available. 

Programme team

Professor Steven Yule, MA MSc (Eng.) PhD CPsychol FRCSEd 
Programme Director and Year 3 Director, MSc in Patient Safety & Clinical Human Factors. 

Professor and Chair of Behavioural Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Director of Non-Technical Skills, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.


Professor Steven Yule is the Chair of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, Associate Professor at Harvard, and Director of Non-Technical Skills at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is a Human Factors scientist and organizational psychologist, having trained in Aberdeen and Birmingham. He is internationally recognized for his research on non-technical skills, patient safety, and simulation in surgery. His interests are in peer and computer assessments of surgical performance from video, safety in low and middle income contexts, surgical coaching, sabermetrics, and astronaut training for long duration spaceflight. Current funding includes grants from National Institutes for Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Canadian Department of National Defence. He recently returned to Scotland after eight years in Boston USA, where he served as Director of Research and Innovation at the STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Web: and Twitter: @NOTSS_Lab 

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Mr Richard Skipworth
Year 1 Director, Patient Safety & Clinical Human Factors 

Richard is a Consultant in General and Upper GI Surgery at NHS Lothian, Honorary Reader at University of Edinburgh, NRS Clinician.

Jamie Robertson, PhD, MPH, CHSE-A
Year 2 Director, MSc in Patient Safety & Clinical Human Factors  

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; Director of Innovation in Surgical Education, Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Jamie Robertson is the Director of Innovation in Surgical Education in the Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. She is an education scientist with a focus on creating faculty development programs to promote the use of innovative teaching methodologies to improve learning and feedback for students and residents. Her funded research focuses on communication and team behaviour during high-acuity, low-frequency events for teams in acute care settings in hospitals and on long-duration space exploration missions.

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Interested in this programme?

To find out more about the MSc in Patient Safety & Clinical Human Factors [at] (Email us today)


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