Thomas Jefferson University

Operational Excellence

Program Length

1-2 Years

Program Format


Program Audience

Healthcare Professionals


Rolling Admission

Operational Excellence (OpX) is the academic and professional field focused on developing and implementing evidence-based performance improvement methodologies needed to promote value and efficiency in healthcare. OpX professionals lead healthcare transformation by focusing on eliminating waste and improving system performance.

Program Features

  • 100% online with no in-person or synchronous learning requirements
  • Curriculum designed by and for OpX professionals
  • Accelerated 7-week semester format tailored to working professionals
  • Courses taught by expert practitioner faculty who bring extensive real-world experience to the classroom
  • Complete a graduate certificate in one year or a master’s degree in two years by taking just one course at a time

The paradigm shift from volume to value challenges providers, clinicians, and administrators with providing high quality, safe, and effective care at lower costs.  Healthcare cost reductions can be achieved through use of strategic and systematic improvement methods and tools.  The Operational Excellence framework, grounded by Lean Thinking and Change Leadership, provides a model for driving improvements and enhancing quality of systems, processes and services.

Program Options

Our OpX program has two degree options: a graduate certificate and a master’s degree.   All coursework is 100% online and uses an accelerated semester format specifically designed for working professionals.  This enables students to focus on building one set of skills at a time, but still graduate at the same pace as traditional graduate degree programs.

Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate focuses on the foundations of OpX.  This option contains five online courses and can be completed in one year.

Master’s Degree
The Masters of Science (MS) builds upon the foundational concepts presented in the Graduate Certificate and focuses on the advanced application of OpX concepts necessary for the analysis, management, and improvement of processes and the systems that deliver healthcare. This option contains 10 online courses and a capstone project, which is specifically designed to enhance the student’s career trajectory. This option can be completed in two years.

Program Audiences

Professionals from all key stakeholder groups in healthcare are engaged in OpX, including:

  •  Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians
  • Healthcare administrators
  • Health IT specialists and analysts
  • Integrated delivery systems


Graduate Certificate

  • HPL 500: U.S. Healthcare Organization & Delivery
  • HQS 500: Introduction to Healthcare Quality & Safety
  • OPX 531: Evaluating Healthcare Organizations
  • OPX 532: Project Management Essentials
  • Elective*

Master’s Degree (above plus)

  • OPX 525: Executing Lean Improvements
  • OPX 535: Strategic Execution
  • POP 520: Change Management
  • HPL 520: Fundamentals of Practice-Based Statistics
  • OPX 540: Baldrige
  • AHE 503: Hospital Finance & Accounting
  • OPX 650: Capstone Seminar and Project

*Elective not required in master’s degree.

The capstone project is designed by the student and is tailored to his/her career trajectory.  Visit our Student Resources section for course descriptions, capstone requirements, elective options, and more.

Program Outcomes

The OpX program prepares leaders to be effective agents of change within their organizations by equipping them with knowledge and skills to facilitate and lead system and process-level improvements.  Graduates will be able to:

Graduate Certificate

  • Apply the foundational concepts of quality and safety measurement, improvement and analysis
  • Utilize project management tools and framework to design and implement improvement projects
  • Distinguish the various evaluation methods used to externally and internally assess a healthcare organization’s performance
  • Identify and evaluate appropriate healthcare situations to utilize operational excellence tools

Master’s Degree (above plus)

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of various performance improvement evaluation approaches as well as improvement interventions
  • Integrate quality, safety and transformation/change management tools to promote quality, safety, and process efficiency
  • Design and implement operational excellence tools and strategies at a system level
  • Develop systematic approaches to drive broad-impacting improvements across a healthcare organization

Admissions Considerations

We review applications using a holistic perspective that carefully considers all available information without imposing specific minimums on any individual requirement.  In general, we look for:

  • A prior GPA of approximately 3.0 or higher in undergraduate or graduate coursework;
  • Competitive standardized test scores near or above the 50th percentile (a waiver available);
  • An articulate application essay conveying a passion for the field and commitment to completing the program;
  • A resume/CV that demonstrates a trajectory consistent with, or shows promise for success in, the applicant’s chosen degree program; and
  • Recommendation letters attesting to the applicant’s ability to be successful in the program.

Ultimately, we look for applicants who have a passion for the work and the ability to successfully complete the program.

Start Your Application

  • Start your application online anytime
  • No application fee for master’s degree programs
  • Begin classes in January or September (some availability in May)


If you have questions about the program, please contact the Program Director Dr. Mary Reich Cooper.

If you have questions about the application process, please send an email to or call us toll-free at 1-888-71-APPLY (27759).