Certificate in Healthcare Quality and Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, and other personnel who are involved in leading improvements in the healthcare delivery system and who desire more formal skills in the field of quality improvement and patient safety.

Applicants do not need prior formal quality improvement and patient safety training or experience. 

Applicants must have at least a Bachelors degree and be working in a healthcare setting. 

Visit our Who Should Apply? page

No, students can come into the program without formal or informal training or workplace experiences in quality improvement or patient safety. 

Can I work full time and complete the program?

Yes, almost all students work full-time in a healthcare setting. The capstone project requires that students work on a QIPS project in their workplace setting. Students must be working in healthcare to apply to the Certificate program. 

How do I manage the course load? 

Our students find the course work manageable. Let us know if you’d like to connect with a current student or alumni. 

Here are what some of our students say:

“The time in classes was spent thoughtfully. The amount of outside work was manageable.”

“Managing going back to school has been very achievable. I think the work is very manageable outside of the course, and it is enjoyable so it does not feel like it is a lot of work.”

“The program is very flexible, and they will work with you as long as you have the support from your department. There is not a ton of homework to do afterwards so it is completely manageable.”

“The hybrid model of classes is great. I think it is great to have the mix of in-person to meet and connect and also have some flexibility with online courses. I really found that the structure of this program allows me to make progress on goals at work. What has been helpful for me has been to not think about class and work as completely separate, but to consider this program as professional development and as an opportunity to make progress at work.”

“School doesn’t always feel like schoolwork. It feels like work-work as well! All of the faculty and professors in the program do a great job at giving you theory but not giving you busy work.”

Please refer to the Certificate Admissions page for updated application requirements and how to apply online.

HQS courses are typically held on Thursdays or in a weeklong intensive format. Electives will vary. Below is the current 2023-2024 schedule for HQS required courses and select electives. NOTE: Beginning in fall 2025, all courses will be delivered in an executive style format and schedule. 

CoursesCourse TypeSemesterDay of WeekTime

HQS6120 Principles and Practice of QI I



HQS6130 Principles and Practice of QI II


HQS6500 Systems Thinking & Patient Safety


Note that course times and locations are subject to change and will be updated.

*Some online and hybrid courses will not meet every week and have both synchronous and asynchronous components. Contact us for exact dates for the current year.

The Certificate in Healthcare Quality & Safety program runs on the University’s Academic Calendar during the summer, fall, and spring semesters. 

Academic calendars for each term are available here.

Costs listed below reflect the 2023-2024 academic year for HQS courses per CU. The Certificate in Healthcare Quality & Safety is 4CUs total over the course of two academic years.
 0.5 CU1 CU
General Fee$237$474
Technology Fee$101$202

These numbers are subject to change and will be updated on the Penn SRFS website.

Depending on your employment status, you may be eligible for tuition benefits. You can view our Tuition Benefits Tip Sheet here.

UPenn Full Time Faculty and Staff

CHOP Staff
CHOP Education Assistance FAQ

Penn Medicine Staff
Tuition Assistance Guide

Other applicants can apply for financial aid through the Penn SRFS website.

Applicants are notified of their admissions decision via the online application system in mid spring.

Fellows who apply during the fall will be notified by December 15.

Prospective students should contact Karen Shala with questions at kshala@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Courses from the Certificate program may be applied to the Master’s degree. Please see the visual below for the differences between the two.