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Frequently Asked Questions

 Are the programs available online?

No, the graduate programs are not able to be completed entirely online. Students attend 2 in-person, classroom-based immersion sessions over the course of both the Master’s and Certificate programs in addition to distance-learning components. While much of the program can be completed virtually, this is not a strictly online degree or certificate. 

 When are applications due?

The Healthcare Quality & Patient Safety program is not accepting applications for Summer 2024. Please check back in the spring for information about the cohort beginning Summer 2025. 

 How is the expected workload?

This is a comprehensive program with pre-class readings, written deliverables, and exams for each course. Each 1.0 credit graduate-level course typically involves 30 hours of class time plus approximately 60 to 90 hours of individual study. 

 What is the difference between the programs?

The certificate is a 13-month, non-degree program that provides an in-depth overview of the fields of healthcare quality and patient safety as well as training in leadership and policy. The master's degree program lasts 2 years and includes a mentored capstone practicum to design, implement, and measure a quality or safety intervention. 

 Is healthcare experience required to apply?

Master’s program applicants must have at least 3 years of clinical or non-clinical experience in a healthcare setting. Certificate students are not subject to the same requirement. 

 How much is tuition?

Per The Graduate School part-time rate, tuition for 2023-2024 is $7,667 per course. With the 9 courses required for the Master of Science, tuition is approximately $69,000. The Certificate program consists of 5 courses, with an estimated tuition of $38,000. 

Physicians in fellowship training at Northwestern have a set tuition rate of $3,200 per course. 

 Am I eligible to receive a scholarship?

We offer a tuition discount for the first year of the master’s program to nurses, allied health professionals, physicians in residency training and clinicians caring for underserved, low-income patients. Scholarships are renewable for the second year of study contingent upon academic standing. 

 I am an employee at Northwestern University. Can I receive a tuition benefit?

Yes. Northwestern University’s employee reduced tuition benefit provides a 90 percent tuition discount, up to $12,000 per calendar year. 

Benefits over $5,250 per calendar year are considered taxable income as "non-cash compensation" and included in the total taxable wages of the W2. For employees who hold an unpaid faculty appointment at Northwestern, benefits over $5,250 will be represented in a 1099-MISC form as “nonemployee compensation." 

 I hold an MD. Which program code should I use on my application?

Applicants with an MD should apply using the H02MS (Master of Science) program code. 

Please note that the H03MS (MD/MS Combined) program code is reserved for prospective medical students applying for the MD/MS Combined Program.