Taught course

Advancing Human Factors in Health and Social Care

Teesside University · School of Health and Social Care

Entry requirements

Applicants should: be working in a health or social care setting or associated agencies have an honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent work-based experience. Applicants with other qualifications may be considered if they can provide evidence of being able to study at master's level.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

Delivering excellence in health and social care at an individual, team and organisational level is not just desirable but achievable. The philosophy of this programme is that for high quality, safer care to flourish, not only must every member of staff must be committed to, and play their part in, an integrated approach to care, but that the application of a human factors approach is crucial if real progress is to be made. A human factors approach involves applying theory, data and design methods about how humans interact with their environment to make it easier for work to be done in the right way. The programme develops and equips critical advocates/leaders of change who can use a human factors approach to enhance the quality, safety and governance of person-centred outcomes in health and social care. This includes the leadership of a change project in the workplace that requires the application of comprehensive knowledge, understanding, expertise and advanced skills in a health and social care setting.

The programme is suitable for individuals from the public, independent and voluntary sectors, from any professional background, including clinical and support services. You may already be educated to master’s level and are now seeking a specific human factors qualification, or wishing to embark on specialist human factors master’s level study with the potential to complete a full master’s programme in Quality Safety and Governance in Health and Social Care.

To maximise your success on this programme you need a viable project in line with your departmental or organisational priorities and agreed by your relevant organisational representative and programme leader. You will be asked to complete a brief human factors-based quality improvement project overview form to support your application.

We also expect that you will have prior knowledge and/or experience of change management, leadership and quality improvement science or a willingness to independently increase your knowledge in these areas before beginning the course.

You develop in-depth, specialist knowledge of human factors and gain experience in using this to enhance the quality, safety and governance of care. You also study improvement science, leading change and a multi-perspective approach to determining and measuring performance and the impact of change. This includes planning an evaluation study based on the change you have implemented.

How you learn

The programme is taught in short study blocks spread across the academic year and comprising a total of 14 contact days. We use a range of teaching methods including lectures and workshops, student-led seminars, action learning, interactive and online learning activities, directed and self-directed study activities. You are supported by module tutors with extensive experience in this subject area and the programme leader who is a member of the founding cohort for the NHS England and Health Foundation Q Initiative.

How you are assessed

We use a range of assessment modes throughout the programme. These include written assessments such as an essay analysing a quality, safety and governance issue using a human factors approach and a project-based evaluation research proposal, as well as a poster presentation and oral defence of a change project. Formative processes include an informal presentation on the improvement project plan and initial implementation. Your presentation is made to a small panel drawn from the Critical Friends Stakeholder Support Forum which consists of service users and carers, employer representatives and academic staff who support the programme. This is an opportunity for you to receive early developmental feedback on your work. It ensures a person-centred approach extends to all aspects of the programme, maximising employer/organisational benefit.

Career opportunities

Graduates from this programme are equipped with specialist human factors knowledge, expertise and experience as well as a range of more generic attributes such as advanced reasoning and decision-making skills. They are able to work collaboratively, present, research and have strong ICT skills that are highly sought after by employers today.

The programme is relevant for staff working in, or aspiring to undertake, specialist quality, safety or governance roles as well as those dealing with human factors as part of a wider role.

Fees and funding

Please note that due to current anticipated changes to NHS education and HE funding, information will be updated on Teesside University website. Please check this prior to application.

Qualification and course duration


part time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment50
Poster presentation and defence50

Course contact details

School of Health & Social Care
+44 (0) 1642 384176