University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Patient Safety Certificate

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To increase student knowledge about how systems engineering and systems design can be used to identify, analyze and solve patient safety research and applied problems.



It has been estimated that at least 98,000 US adults die each year from medical errors; fewer people die from breast cancer, AIDS or auto accidents. The costs associated with preventable medical errors exceed $17 billion. To help train scientists and practitioners to effectively reduce the likelihood of preventable patient harm, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering this Graduate Certificate in Patient Safety. The Certificate is supported by the School of Medicine and Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, and College of Engineering.


For more information on the program, please see the curriculum section.


Prerequisites and Completion Requirements 



1.Accepted into a graduate or professional degree program

2.Full- or part-time graduate student status

3.One of the following three: 

The reason for the three options for prerequisites is to allow people with and without health care backgrounds to obtain the certificate.


Exit Requirements

GPA of 3.2 or above for the Patient Safety Certificate Curriculum courses (mandatory and elective combined).
Completion of all mandatory and elective courses.


Student Responsibilities


  • Complete the Patient Safety Certificate Declaration Form and have it signed by an approved advisor. Take the form to the ISyE Graduate Coordinator in 3182 Mechanical Engineering.
  • Complete the courses required for the Patient Safety Certificate. If you have any questions, please contact the ISyE Graduate Coordinator.
  • The semester you plan to graduate, complete the Patient Safety Certificate Completion Form and obtain your advisor’s signature. Take the form to the ISyE Graduate Coordinator in 3182 Mechanical Engineering. She will notify that Registrar’s Office that you have fulfilled the requirements.



  • Students must choose one of the core faculty members as an advisor.
  • The advisor will determine if a student has met the pre-requisite requirement.
  • Advisors must sign the section of the curriculum form titled “Patient Safety Certificate Application and Completion” in order for students to enroll.
  • When students have completed the Certificate curriculum, advisors will sign off on the Patient Safety Certificate Application and Completion form.


Potential Advisors





Sr No.  Mandatory Certificate Cources  Credits    
 1 ISyE 961 : Patient Safety Research Seminar  1
 2 Equivalent of a 1-credit Patient Safety Project.
To meet this requirement, students will be expected to work on an actual patient safety project with a health care delivery organization (in patient, out-patient, long-term care, home care, etc.) in which they will be involved in the design, measurement analysis, implementation and/ or evaluation of a patient safety project.
All students who complete requirement #3 below will automatically meet this requirement
 3 Pharmacy 608 : Safety and Quality in the Medication Use System  3
 4 Medical Physics/ ISyE 559 : Patient Safety Risk Assessment  2
 5 Population Health Sciences/ISyE 703 : Quality of Health Care  3
 6 One of the following:  3
   a) ISyE 555 : Accident Causation and Analysis  
   b) ISyE 652 : Sociotechnical Systems  
   c) ISyE 653 : Job and Organizational Design  
  Total Mandatory 12
  Effective Certificate Courses (minimum 3 credits)  3



Elective courses



 History of Medicine 

 HM 545 Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Clinical Investigation 

 Industrial and Systems Engineering

 ISyE 515  Engineering Management
 ISyE 549  Advanced Human Factors Engineering
 ISyE 555  Human Performance and Accident Causation
 ISyE 556  Occupational Safety and Health
 ISyE 575  Introduction to Quality Engineering
 ISyE 616  Planning Large-Scale Complex Systems
 ISyE 617  Health Information Systems
 ISyE 652  Sociotechnical Systems
 ISyE 653  Organization and Job Design
 ISyE 691  Introduction to Health Systems Engineering
 ISyE 691  Technology Implementation
 ISyE 854  Human Error
 ISyE 859  Seminar on Human Factors and Patient Safety

 Law School

 Law 854  Center for Patient Partnerships


 Nursing 415  Organizational Influences on Interdisciplinary Practice
 Nursing 761  Health Program Planning, Evaluation and Quality Improvement
 Nursing 802  Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research

 Population Health Sciences

 PHS 548  Economics of Health Care
 PHS 719  Seminar - Contemporary Issues in Health Care
 PHS 796  Introduction to Health Services Research
 PHS 797  Strategy and Methods in Epidemiology
 PHS 798  Epidemiologic Methodology
 PHS 800  Quantitative Methods in Population Health I
 PHS 802  Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases
 PHS 803  Monitoring Population Health
 PHS 875  Assessment of Medical Technologies