Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis

Course details

From £1925.00
20 CATS points

Mon 18 Nov 2019 - Fri 22 Nov 2019

Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis


The Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis course introduces the principles and core methodology of industrial quality improvement methods with special reference to those which may be applicable to surgical services in hospitals. The aim is to equip students to understand how they may be able to improve the quality, reliability and safety of services and then sustain excellence of performance in their own practice through the application of tried and tested methods to achieve system change and the engagement of staff.

The Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis course provides the opportunity for students to learn more about:

  • the history and principles of industrial quality improvement
  • systems theory
  • the measurement of process and outcome
  • process mapping and visibility
  • the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle
  • workforce engagement
  • "lean thinking"
  • the diffusion of innovations
  • continuous performance monitoring methods
  • Six Sigma
  • human/technology interactions
  • predictive and analytical methods for identifying risk in systems
  • incident reporting systems.

Offered by Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and the Department for Continuing Education, the taught week is led by Dr Lauren Morgan, Human Factors Research Associate and Departmental Lecturer at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford.

It features face-to-face lectures and tutorials in small groups.

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

Previous guest speakers have included:

  • Alastair Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Operations and Technology Management, London Business School
  • Steve New, Lecturer in Operations Management, Said Business School, University of Oxford
  • Jaideep Pandit, Supernumerary Fellow in Physiological Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Eleanor Robertson, Clinical Research Fellow, University of Oxford
  • Stephen Todd, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
  • Paul Walley, Senior Lecturer, Department of Business and Management, Oxford Brookes University


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.


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.


Stand-alone students: £2330.00
Students enrolled on the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice: £1925.00
Students enrolled on the PG Cert in Patient Safety: £1925.00


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 of Continuing Education, including:
    • The Graduate School
    • WebLearn virtual learning environment
    • Wi-fi access through Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL).


Dr Lauren Morgan

Deputy Course Director and Tutor

Deputy Course Director, Surgical Science and Practice Programme
Human Factors Research Fellow, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford

Dr Lauren Morgan. Human Factors Research Fellow and Departmental Lecturer at the University of Oxford. Lauren, leads the Human Factors research within the Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit at the University of Oxford where work is focussed on patient safety. Lauren's research area is in Quality Improvement in Healthcare, and has run a variety of quality improvement projects across various trusts in the UK, focussing from ward rounds to safety systems for boards. In collaboration with clinical colleagues Lauren has led the design and evaluation of an electronic vital signs data capture application. The project has been very successful using tools and techniques to ensure the system is fit for purpose and has a high degree of user satisfaction in use. This application is currently across 3 inpatient wards in the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and will be rolled out throughout the Trust in 2014/15. Lauren is also currently designing an application for electronic referral of patients into specialist centres, and is translating systems analysis and design methodologies to this, and other, projects. Alongside her work at the University of Oxford, Lauren provides the Human Factors input on behalf of the Clinical Human Factors Group to the Confidential Reporting System in Surgery (CORESS).

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).