City scape

Human Factors in Patient Safety

Patient safety and quality of care are at the heart of healthcare delivery. At RCSI, we recognise the importance of human factors to safe and effective care. We are committed to delivering Human Factors training to support healthcare professionals to meet the demands of today's complex healthcare environment. We offer a new Masters in Human Factors in Patient Safety to healthcare professionals involved in the care of surgical patients.

What is human factors?
Human factors is concerned with the relationship between human beings and the systems within which they work. Human factors training focuses on teamwork, decision-making, leadership and enhancing efficiency with the goal of minimising errors and improving patient safety. In the context of healthcare, human factors incorporates interactions with patients and relatives and also interprofessional communication and collaboration.

Why choose RCSI?

RCSI is a multidisciplinary healthcare education provider

The programme is delivered by experts in human factors in healthcare

There is a strong focus on interprofessional practice

Students will improve their personal effectiveness

The programme emphasises skills enhancement

The programme offers flexible access and participation through blended learning modalities

Entry requirements

The course is open to healthcare professionals involved in the care of surgical patients. This includes medical, nursing and allied healthcare professionals. Candidates must hold either:

An MB and be registered with the Irish Medical Council or

a primary degree in a health sciences field with a qualification achieved at the level of 2.2 Honours. All candidates must have evidence of four years' work experience in acute hospital care and must be currently working in the Irish acute hospital setting and involved in the care of surgical patients.


Course length: Two years, part-time
Mode of attendance: Blended learning – online and face-to-face

Number of credits

NFQ level: Level 9
ECT: 90 credits

Subjects taught

The Masters in Human Factors in Patient Safety is a two-year part-time programme of study. There are seven modules of study including a research dissertation. Students will complete 3x12 week modules in year one and 3x12 week modules in year two. In addition students will undertake a Research Methods module and submit a research proposal for approval before commencing their research dissertation, which will consist of a submission-ready journal article for a suitable journal. The MSc. can be completed in two years but must be completed within five years of commencement.

Students may opt for the following exits:

The Postgraduate Certificate: 30 ECTS credits

Students may exit following successful completion of year one modules with a RCSI/NUI Certificate in Human Factors in Patient Safety.

The Postgraduate Diploma: 60 ECTS credits

Students may exit following the successful completion of six modules with a RCSI/NUI Postgraduate Diploma in Human Factors in Patient Safety.

Mode of study

The course is part-time and is delivered via face-to-face and online teaching modalities. The course is structured into 3x12 week terms, one module is taught per term. Students will attend RCSI for face-to-face teaching for three days per module structured as one full day per month. This will be supplemented with online content and individual and group based learning activities. Students undertaking the Masters programme are required to undertake a research methods module involving face-to-face and online instruction.

How is the programme assessed?

Formative assessment will include participation in classroom activities and group work. Summative assessment will involve

A 2,000 word written assignment per module.

Participation in a group project and presentation, per module.

A 300 word submission to a weekly discussion forum.

For those progressing to the Masters programme a research protocol and a research thesis will be submitted for assessment.


Accredited by: Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI), National University of Ireland (NUI), Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

Application date

Applications for the MSc in Human Factors in Patient Safety, must be made through the online application link.

Please note that candidates must have four years of experience caring for surgical patients in acute hospital settings and be currently employed in the Irish hospital system.

Please ensure to attach the following supporting documents with your application:

A recent passport-sized photograph

A scanned copy of the award certificates for all relevant third level qualifications listed in the online application.

A scanned copy of the award certificates for all other relevant professional qualifications listed in the online application.

A scanned copy of your curriculum vitae or résumé.

A personal statement (between 800 to 1,000 words in length) outlining your reasons for applying to this course and your knowledge and interest in Human Factors in Healthcare.

Proof of your current employment. Please upload a scanned copy of a letter signed by your current employer or with a recognised stamp from the HR department in your hospital on headed paper stating your current employment status, your job title and the date of commencement of your employment. If you have worked in more than one hospital in the last four years you will require multiple letters or if you have been on a training programme, which meant that you worked in different hospitals, please upload a stamped letter on headed paper from the training body to indicate this.

Before accessing the online application system it is important that you read the instruction guide for users, privacy statement and terms of use.

Please direct any enquiries about online applications to:

Course fee

The current fee is €12,500 for the Masters programme. This equates to €5,000 per annum for year one and two plus €2,500 to complete the Masters (MSc.) programme. The balance of the annual fee may be paid in two installments. The first installment of fees must be paid prior to registration. A non-refundable deposit of €500 is required within two weeks of acceptance of a place on the programme. This deposit will be deducted from the overall fee.

Students who are being sponsored or part funded by their employer should complete a sponsorship form and submit it to the administration office.

Students with outstanding fees at the end of the year will not have grades brought forward to the Examination Board and will not be permitted to progress or graduate.

Year 1 Postgraduate Certificate €5,000
Year 2 Postgraduate Diploma €5,000
Masters (MSc.) €2,500

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!