Public Health

Certificate of Graduate Study in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety

Healthcare quality and patient safety are priorities for consumers, as well as clinicians and managers of hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, and other health care facilities. With the introduction of value-based contracting and accountable care agreements, providers are under growing pressure to achieve better patient outcomes. Recent research suggests that medical error may be considered the third leading cause of death in the United States. A fundamental strategy for improving patient experience and care quality is the introduction of quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and greater attention to health literacy and communication skills of all personnel. In addition to patient care improvements, these initiatives are requisite management strategies for avoiding financial penalties imposed by insurers.

This 12-credit Certificate of Graduate Study in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety (HQPS) provides healthcare professionals and administrators with the skills to develop and manage such initiatives. These practical skills are important to mid-career professionals, pre-career students and individuals who aspire to quality improvement roles in healthcare delivery, as well as students of quality improvement who work or plan to work in other settings such as community or population health.

This certificate provides individuals from diverse backgrounds with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills in health literacy and communication, quality improvement, and patient safety; as well as offers students the opportunity to pursue interests in health systems, basic public health sciences, and data analysis and translation.

Certificate students who apply for, and are admitted to, the master of public health degree, may transfer up to 12 credits from their certificate coursework.

The three required certificate courses and some electives are offered using weekly, asynchronous online technology. Classroom courses are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening for the convenience of working students. Fall and Spring courses meet once a week and are held in the Wishcamper Center on the USM Portland campus.  Electives may be accessible live-at-a-distance via two-way audio/video through PolyCom connection to other UMaine campuses.

For more information, please contact:
Judy Tupper, DHEd, CHES, CPPS
Muskie School
Phone: (207) 228-8407
Email: judy.tupper@maine.edu

The certificate is designed to permit enrollment in any semester, with one of the three required courses offered each semester.

Required Courses (nine credits):

  • MPH 580 Health Literacy – Fall (3 credits)
  • MPH 670 Quality Improvement - Spring (3 credits), and
  • MPH 683 Patient Safety – Summer (3 credits)

Elective Courses (select 3 credits)

  • MPH 525 American Health Systems – Fall (3 credits)
  • MPH 535 Introduction to Epidemiologic Research - Fall (3 credits)
  • MPH 545 Applied Biostatistical Analysis – Spring (3 credits)
  • MPH 676 Data Management and Analytics – Fall (3 credits),
  • MPH 678 Information Visualization* - Spring (3 credits).

*Prerequisite: MPH 676 Data Management and Analytics or permission of instructor.

Applicant Qualifications

Applicants must have completed their bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, or have permission of the Certificate Coordinator to apply.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $65.00 paid through the online application.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
    Essay: A brief (300 words or less) summary describing why you wish to obtain a graduate cerfiticate.
    TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program. 

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to: 

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412 

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

Course Sequence

Students beginning in the fall start with MPH 590.
Students beginning in the spring start with MPH 670.
Students beginning in the summer start with MPH 683.