Peninsula Medical School

MSc Simulation and Patient Safety

Do you train healthcare providers or organise systems to improve patient safety? This one year masters programme will enable you to apply innovative educational methods and processes to improve patient outcomes. Explore an in-depth range of simulation-based learning techniques and be equipped with the skills required to plan and conduct your dissertation. Be primed with the advanced knowledge and understanding to confidently lead improvements in the quality of patient safety in your workplace.

Thumb medicinecampaignbanner

First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning.


Key features

  • Explore a range of simulation-based learning methods that can improve quality of patient care. Recent national reports have emphasised the need for widened access to simulation training and the recognition of person-level and system-level human factors in improving patient safety. 
  • Develop an understanding of the factors involved in quality improvement strategies and their evaluation using outcomes related to patient safety. 
  • Undertake a critical study of education and expert practice, change management and innovation.
  • Equip yourself with the skills to plan and conduct a full masters dissertation.
  • Get a variety of hands-on experience – the Simulation and Enhanced Learning module will be delivered at the Horizon Centre, a new innovation, education and research facility at Torbay Hospital. The remaining taught modules will be delivered in the John Bull Building, Plymouth Science Park. Find out more about your teaching locations
  • Advance your knowledge, understanding and skills in patient safety and quality improvement and have the opportunities to apply these skills in the clinical environment. 
  • Take advantage of our experienced teaching staff drawn from experts in the Plymouth and Torbay NHS trusts and the University, as well as from the higher education sector in the South West region and beyond.
  • Benefit from flexible learning – there are a number of continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities relating to this programme where a single module or specific days within a module may be taken independently.
  • Graduate with the skills required to implement simulation effectively into educational programmes, and develop and evaluate evidence-based patient safety strategies in organisations.
  • You’ll be supported by a PUPSMD staff member and can attend seminars of the medical education research group CAMERA
  • Choose to study full-time – this is particularly suitable if you are undertaking an intercalated degree from medicine or dentistry. Taught modules will be delivered in the autumn and spring terms, and your MSc will be completed over the course of one year.
  • Join the programme if you're an intercalating medical student and have successfully completed your fourth year, or have already completed an undergraduate course.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • You’ll explore a range of simulation-based learning methods that can improve patient safety and quality of care through enhanced learning. Advance your knowledge, understanding and skills in patient safety and the application of these to your own workplace. You’ll be introduced to the role of human factors and develop a critical understanding of the current state of patient safety within healthcare and examine strategies to improve it.  You’ll be provided with the knowledge and skills associated with the project design, development and knowledge transfer process. You’ll also explore the physical and psychological links between organisations, employees and their work environment and how the concept of human factors influences the way we work. The use of simulation for training and assessment of human factors will be integral to the module.

    Core modules
    • DIS731 Dissertation

      This module is the dissertation associated with the Masters programme and is designed to enable students to produce a project dissertation under supervision, and to demonstrate project design, development, evaluation and synthesis skills.

    • PDD721 Project Design, Development and Knowledge Transfer

      This module will provide students with the knowledge and skills associated with the project design, development and knowledge transfer process. Students will gain practical experience of multi-disciplinary team working through problem identification and problem solving to encourage innovation and creativity in project design, development and knowledge transfer.

    • SIM711 Simulation and Enhanced Learning

      An in-depth exploration of the range of simulation-based learning modalities that can improve patient safety and quality of care through Enhanced Learning. This module will incorporate critical study of the underpinning theory from education and expert practice, change management and innovation.

    • SIM714 Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

      The aim of this module is to advance knowledge, understanding and skills in patient safety and the application of these to the participant's workplace in order to effect improvements in quality of care. It will develop a critical understanding of the principles underlying patient safety, the role of systems analysis in this and examine strategies to improve patient safety.

    • SIM715 Human Factors in Healthcare

      The science of human factors has long been employed in industry to develop safer, efficient and more productive work models. This module focuses on the physical and psychological links between organisations, employees and their work environment and how the concept of human factors influences the way that we work in healthcare. The use of simulation for training and assessment of human factors will be integral to the module.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Simulation and Patient Safety programme specification 4636

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Please note that the deadline for those wishing to apply for this programme as an intercalating masters student starting in September 2018, is 31 March 2018. 

Normally a recognised first degree or equivalent will be required. Entrants who have acquired experience through work or other means that enables staff responsible for admissions to be confident of the candidate’s ability to succeed in the programme may also be considered, in line with QAA guidance. 

If your first language is not English you will be required to provide evidence of competence in English language:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7 or above with no less than 7.0 in each category (speaking, listening, reading, & writing) will be required. Students with a first degree from the UK may still be required to take IELTS.

Accreditation of prior certificated learning (APCL) and accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) refer to the process by which previous formal certificated learning and informal non-certificated learning can be awarded credit towards modules within the sphere of Higher Education. Credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential, may count towards the requirements for the named award. The maximum amount of credit for prior learning (certificated or experiential) claimed towards the award is 120 credits. To qualify for the award of a masters degree, your dissertation must be completed at the University of Plymouth. If you are seeking credit (whether certificated or experiential), you will normally be required to apply for such credit on receipt of an offer of a place on the programme. Requests for APCL if you are already on a programme will be considered, provided that you submit the request in the session before you would normally begin the module/stage for which you are seeking credit. In the case of requests for APEL, this would be at least six months prior to the beginning of the session before you would normally begin the module(s)/stage against which you are seeking credit.

The University of Plymouth is committed to providing equality for all irrespective of age, disability, ethnicity (including race, colour and nationality), gender, gender reassignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity and will work to ensure that all students, employees and visitors, as well as those who apply or seek to apply to work or study at the University, are treated fairly and are not subjected to discrimination by the University on any of these grounds (University Equality and Diversity Policy, Revised April 2011).

The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry welcomes applications from people with disabilities who will be considered on the same academic grounds as other potential students. Considerations about individual needs arising from disability will be made separately, and we will strive to meet an individual disabled student's needs wherever possible and in consultation with Disability Services.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU To be confirmed To be confirmed
International N/A N/A
Part time (Home/EU) N/A N/A
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 60 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Find out about funding your postgraduate studies with this helpful list of sources.

Intercalated students on this course are able to apply for the John Snow Anaesthesia Intercalated Awards 2018. Up to £2000 per student is available for living costs during an intercalated degree. For information on deadlines and applications 2018 please visit

How to apply

Make sure you meet the entry requirements for this programme.

Before you apply

Make sure you have all your supporting documents. Documents required usually include:
  • Evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • Personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in this course and outlining the nature of previous and current teaching experience. You can write this into the online application form, or send it as a separate attachment.
  • Two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course 
  • Two passport photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • Proof of sponsorship, if applicable

When to apply

Applications for postgraduate programmes of study can usually be made throughout the year. When applying for a taught postgraduate programme, please check for any submission deadlines with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Admissions team (contact details below). For full-time programmes, you may be invited for interview.

Check the closing date and apply as early as possible as our programmes are popular.

Apply for this course

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our online admissions policy for taught programmes. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

What happens after I apply?

For more information contact the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Admissions team.

If you would like to speak to one of our course information advisors, please contact us:

University of Plymouth

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The John Bull Building
Research Way
Plymouth Science Park

Tel: +44 (0)1752 437333
Fax: +44 (0)1752 517842

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information, to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) or you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Information team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. The Doctoral College is also available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office.

Dr Thomas Gale named Principal Fellow of Higher Education Academy 

Dr Thomas Gale, Associate Professor in Clinical Skills and Simulation at the Peninsula Medical School, has been named a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). 

Thomas received the Fellowship thanks to a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and academic development, and providing a key contribution to high quality student learning at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA)

We seek to inform assessment across medical education through funded collaborative research that impacts on the international literature, educational theory, practice and policy at Plymouth, nationally and internationally.

CAMERA brings together a research group dedicated to the improvement of healthcare through evidence based education.

Learn more about CAMERA's research

Intercalated degrees in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Visit our faculty intercalation page - intercalated degrees with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry - to find out more about our wide range of masters and undergraduate intercalation opportunities.

Take a year out from your core degree to obtain a further qualification at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Find out more about intercalated degrees