Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis


​​​​This module introduces the principles and practical applications of Quality Improvement (QI). In healthcare settings, QI is always in the context of multiple overlapping and nested systems. How to think about and analyse complex systems is introduced and illustrated with examples from hospital care systems. Making change stick in the long run is a recurring challenge for QI in clinical settings. The module will address resistance to change, and the factors that increase the chances of change being accepted and sustained over time.

Topics covered include:

  • QI principles & methods
  • Analysing and understanding care systems, pathways & processes (including value stream/ process mapping)
  • Psychological, social and organisational aspects of change
  • Measurement for improvement
  • Patient and staff experience and engagement
  • Principles for optimising productive systems (including lean production and optimising flow)
  • How to set up and organise QI projects (e.g. PDSA cycles, Method for Improvement)
  • Change that sticks

Offered by Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and the Department for Continuing Education, the taught week is led by Mr Tom Revington, Departmental Lecturer at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford.

Class sizes are kept small to allow interaction with tutors and exchange of experience among students. Study before and after the course is supported by a rich virtual learning environment.

Tutors and guest speakers have recently included:

  • Dr Steve New, Lecturer in Operations Management, Said Business School, University of Oxford
  • Anna Burhouse, Director of Quality Development, Northumbria Healthcare
  • Dr Paul Walley, formerly Associate Professor in Operations Management at Warwick University
  • Dr Susie Shapiro, consultant haematologist, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
  • Dr Sasha Karakusevic, NHS Horizons (transformational change in health and care)
  • Dr Nathan Proudlove, Senior Lecturer in Operational Research, Manchester Business School
  • Ms Caroline Witney-Lagen, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, University Hospitals Sussex

Programme details

This course can be taken:


This course will be held at the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford.


Short course participants who do not wish to undertake the assessed work required for academic credit but who do satisfy the course attendance requirements will receive a certificate of attendance.

Those successfully completing the course for credit can request a CATS point transcript.


Description Costs
22-23 & earlier enrolled - MSc in Surgical Science and Practice £2475.00
22-23 & earlier enrolled - PG Cert in Patient Safety £2475.00
Short course in Surgical Science and Practice £3175.00
Students enrolled on the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice £2570.00
Students enrolled on the PG Cert in Patient Safety £2570.00


Details of funding opportunities including grants, bursaries and scholarships are available on our sources of funding page.


The course fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials
  • Refreshments and a three-course lunch on each day of the course
  • Access to the following University of Oxford libraries and services:
    • Radcliffe Science Library
    • Rewley House Continuing Education Library
    • Bodleian Libraries e-Resources
  • Access to facilities from the Department for Continuing Education, including:
    • The Graduate School
    • Canvas virtual learning environment
    • Wi-fi access through Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL).

Stand Alone fees for October 2024 have not yet been confirmed. 


Tom Revington

Module Lead

Tom Revington obtained first class honours in Biochemistry at Oxford University before serving in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office engaged in policy development, conflict resolution and inter-governmental negotiations. After a period as deputy head of political office in Istanbul he led a team producing financial, economic and political analysis of EU countries responding to needs of senior officials and ministers at Treasury, Bank of England, Financial Services Authority and the Prime Ministers Office.  He was responsible for the Prime Minister’s personal briefing service at quarterly European Council meetings of EU leaders and the Chancellor’s personal briefing service at monthly meetings of European Finance ministers. 

A change of career led him to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Economics (distinction) at Birkbeck College, University of London and later to a MSc (distinction) in Psychology at the University of East London.  From 2004-2012 he was a consultant at McKinsey & Company where his work included support for quality improvement programmes in hospitals and community healthcare providers, as well as designing and delivering leadership programmes for NHS Chief Executives and for clinical leadership teams. Other work included a strategic review of a children’s charity in Saudi Arabia to identify options for improving the life chances for 20 million children. He now runs a successful management consulting and leadership development practice working with clients in healthcare, education and professional services. He is currently senior associate tutor for the Leadership and Management in Health Care module and co-lead for the Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis module.

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a set written assignment, not exceeding 4,000 words. The assessment is only undertaken by those taking the course for academic credit.

Academic credit

Those wishing to may apply to take the course with accreditation. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for the course. Participants attending at least 75% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS-equivalent points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.


Application deadline: four weeks before the commencement of the course.

This course requires you to complete the online application form (please press the 'Apply' button) and include a copy of your CV as an attachment.

If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also need to complete section two of the reference form and forward it to your referee for completion, who will then need to email it to ssp@conted.ox.ac.uk. Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

This course is part of the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice. If you would like to apply for the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice please visit the programme page.

Selection criteria

To apply for this course you should:

  • be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • have at least two years' professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field
  • be able to combine intensive classroom learning with the application of the principles and practices within the work place
  • demonstrate a suitable level of English (if this is not your first language).


Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system and online courseware. In order to participate in the course, and to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.