The Master of Health Care Operational Excellence (MHOE) from the Sever Institute at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis can help you advance with the knowledge, leadership and skills needed to establish, implement and oversee critical process analysis and continuous improvement initiatives in the growing field of health care.

From your first course and throughout the program, you will learn theories combined with real-world applications, strengthening your management acumen, collaborative problem solving, interpersonal communication and leadership competencies.

Debra Williams
Director of Professional Education Marketing

Johanna Sengheiser
Graduate Financial Aid Analyst & Accountant

Engineering Graduate Admissions


The 30-unit (10-course) MHOE is intended for practitioners and process managers in the health care industry. Students in this program will enable health care professionals to lead teams and significant initiatives in an operational excellence environment.

A 15-unit (five-course) graduate certificate in Health Care Operational Excellence is also available and can be transferred into the degree program at any time. A graduate certificate is an excellent option for individuals wishing to advance their careers, with a shorter time commitment than a degree.

MHOE courses are available in evening and online formats, and are designed with input from employers, thought leaders and practitioners, and taught by leading health care professionals, experts and executives.

Students learn project management fundamentals, navigating organizational change, service and finance, and emerging issues in health care and related service organizations. The program also addresses the more nuanced human factors and topics of personal leadership and resilience.

Registration, Tuition Fees & Payment Policies

Qualified veterans: WashU McKelvey School of Engineering and the VA will cover 100 percent of your graduate tuition.

Although certificate programs do not qualify for federal loan programs, loans are still available for the master's degrees. For more information, contact Johanna Sengheiser (


Required Courses (Choose 9)

Project Management in Healthcare (T71-507)
3 Units

This course is a practical experiential orientation to project management processes, including relevance and application. Students will be exposed to the art of project leader competencies and emotional intelligence in addition to the science of traditional project management methodologies in a healthcare setting. Participants will engage in project initiation including strategic organizational alignment, concept of why and charter development. Project planning will include scoping, elicitation of stakeholder requirements, work breakdown structure, scheduling, cost, quality, resources, communications and risk management. Healthcare related project management and execution will be the focus of practical application along with other outside healthcare industry relevant examples. Learners will apply management of triple constraint (time, cost, schedule) and skills to align executive sponsor(s) and key stakeholders. Exposure will include disciplines of execution, monitoring and controlling and closing processes. The course will integrate core concepts of initiating change, portfolio and program management, business analysis, performance improvement and effective facilitation in a healthcare setting.

Introductory Overview of Operational Excellence in Health Care (T71-501)
3 Units

This introductory course is designed to prepare students for the Master of Health Care Operational Excellence program. Students will learn the fundamentals of operational excellence principles and how the organizational complexities, regulatory and economic framework, and nuances of healthcare impact the ability to apply them. Students will research and explore both healthcare and non-healthcare examples of performance improvement and operational excellence efforts within different organizations and from different stakeholder perspectives. Throughout the course, students will gain an understanding of how the various methods, both social and technical, can plan an integral role in achieving operational excellence, and how to identify and mitigate challenges and barriers. Specific methods will include facilitating teams, change management, lean, six sigma, project management and the importance of principle-based deployments rooted in changing behaviors and transforming culture. By completing this introductory overview course, students will understand the level of personal transformation in mindset and skills that will be necessary in order to successfully impact the changes needed for health care operational excellence.

Facilitation Skills/Change Management (T71-502)
3 Units

The course integrates strategy and organizational due diligence with facilitation and change management strategies. By examining the relationship between employees, teams and organizations students will explore each level and practice assessing and facilitating team processes to maximize productivity and results for members and stakeholders. The course addresses how to get things done when teams lack leadership or authority. Supporting topics include how to build teams, how to manage meetings, how to build relationships beyond the team, and how to keep teams effective over their life span. Students will learn processes of change and the techniques of change to various types of organizations while using useful design frameworks for facilitation.

Lean Healthcare Concepts, Tools and Lean Management Systems (T71-503)
3 Units

Students will learn and apply core Lean tools including Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Visual Management, Standard Work, JIT, Push/Pull, Error Proofing, and Daily Management. Critical to applying Lean effectively, participants will also learn how to plan and lead Rapid Improvement Events and other group activities and tactics. This program has been adopted by BJC executive leadership and is identified as a core competency for transformational efforts. Students will also learn the essential elements of a Lean Management System and how to accomplish sustainable results and the development of a continuous improvement culture.

Six Sigma Concepts and Tools (T71-504)
3 Units

This course is designed to teach the tools associated with the 5 DMAIC phases (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). Some of the tools considered for inclusion are: Critical to Quality Matrix (CTQ), Failure Modes Effectiveness Analysis (FMEA), Statistical Analysis, Contingency Tables, Hypothesis Testing, Confidence Intervals, Correlation & Regression, ANOVA (Analysis of Variation), Pareto Analysis, Statistical Process Control (SPC), Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA), Data Collection, Time Studies, Root Cause Analysis (RCA), Fishbone Diagramming, Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ), SIPOC, Detailed Process Mapping, Cause and Effect tools, Design of Experiment (DOE).

Healthcare Financial Models (T71-505)
3 Units

This course provides an overview of how healthcare financing and reimbursement systems work in the United States. The course focuses on the evolution of insurance, HMOs, and managed care. Students learn how hospitals, outpatient centers, clinicians, and other providers are reimbursed for the services. Private and public reimbursement; state rate setting; risk management; new models of reimbursement; the role of billing, coding, and accounts receivable; and managed competition are explained.

Innovation Science and Human Centered Design/Human Factors (T71-506)
3 Units

This course is intended to introduce the student to the concept of "design thinking" as well as the process for innovating. It is dependent on an individual's ability to observe what people are actually doing and how they are doing it. It also requires an iterative process for understanding, synthesizing, ideating, prototyping, testing, and implementing. Emphasis will be placed on how to build stakeholder/user personas and requirements as well as map their emotional experience with a process to gain more insights than a quantitative analysis alone would provide. Healthcare needs a "human-centered" design approach to navigate the blurring of lines between product and service, provider and patient. Designers of processes, methods, and systems now must take the needs of the entire world, including the environment, into account. Human factors will need to be applied during the iterative process to account for human factors and the parameters of users and uses.

Capstone Seminar (T71-508)
3 Units

This course integrates the learning from all disciplines and subject matter presented in the Master's in Healthcare Operational Excellence program to complete a comprehensive, practical project in a healthcare-related organization. It will include a summary of the key topics covered within the program and how these apply to student's projects. The course will also focus on leading organizational change and fostering a culture of continuous improvement in healthcare and related service organizations into the future.

Capstone Project (T71-509)
3 Units

The capstone project incorporates operational excellence principles, the lean management system, rapid cycle improvement methods, data analysis, change management, facilitation, project management and healthcare cultural issues, integrating lessons learned through the coursework to demonstrate students' mastery of operational excellence in healthcare. Students will work in multidisciplinary teams, delivering a final project that applies their cumulative coursework within a context of real industry work.

Elective Courses (Choose 1)

Human Performance in the Organization (T55-583)
3 Units

Gain insights and practice in the art and science of leadership. This course addresses the leadership and management capabilities required to move into positions of greater responsibility, with a focus on technology-based organizations. Topics include leadership, goals, motivation and performance, management of change, conflict and effectiveness, organizational development and work design. Because when a leader gets better, everyone gets better.

Communication Excellence for Influential Leadership (T54-584)
3 Units

Exceptional communicators become extraordinary leaders. This course will guide students to learn to exceptionally communicate their message by applying refined nuances that inspire and transform those with whom they converse. Through a proven communicative process, students will acquire skills necessary to differentiate them as leaders. Students will learn how to communicate across a variety of settings using strategies that result in clear, vivid, and engaging exchanges. Students will practice: storytelling; creating and using clear visuals; engaging listeners; demonstrating passion when speaking; responding to questions with clarity and brevity, and, using their distinctive voice as a leadership asset. Each student will learn how to assess his or her own communication capabilities, adjust to different listeners, and how to evaluate speaker effectiveness and provide valuable feedback to others. Video recordings will be used to demonstrate incremental communicative changes throughout the course, and to show how these strategies bring about outstanding leadership.

Meet our faculty

Kevin Leeseburg Performance Improvement Consultant with BJC Healthcare’s Center for Clinical Excellence.

Kevin Leeseburg

  • Adjunct Instructor
John Miller Director of Cultural Transformation at St. Louis Children’s Hospital

John Miller

  • Adjunct Instructor
Matt Morgan Senior Consultant for Performance Excellence at St. Louis Children's Hospital, emphasizing lean operations and human-centered design

Matt Morgan

  • Adjunct Instructor
Sheyda Namazie-Kummer Director, Clinical Advisory Group – Center for Clinical Excellence at BJC HealthCare

Sheyda Namazie-Kummer

  • Adjunct Instructor
Kim Orton Leader transforming vision into action

Kim Orton

  • Adjunct Instructor
Stacy Sedlack Performance Improvement Consultant at St. Louis Children's Hospital

Stacy Sedlack

  • Adjunct Instructor
Lashonda Session Lead Consultant experienced in developing leaders focusing on change management, facilitation and coaching within team-based environments

Lashonda Session

  • Adjunct Instructor
Eric Warnhoff Director of System Operations of Transformation Support in the Center for Clinical Excellence at BJC HealthCare

Eric Warnhoff

  • Adjunct Instructor
Andrew Wilkey Lead Process Improvement Consultant with BJC for St. Louis Children's Hospital

Andrew Wilkey

  • Adjunct Instructor
Edwin Zuluaga Process Improvement Consultant in Performance Improvement with BJX for St. Louis Children's Hospital

Edwin Zuluaga

  • Adjunct Instructor