What is a medical laboratory scientist?
The medical laboratory scientist (MLS) is a highly skilled scientist who functions in multiple roles. Some of these roles include performing and evaluating diagnostic laboratory procedures on body fluids, developing new diagnostic procedures, supervising biomedical research projects, providing technical expertise, consulting, managing clinical and research laboratory departments, and analyzing and implementing laboratory information systems. The major areas of interest in laboratory science are hematology, immunohematology (transfusion medicine), clinical microbiology, clinical chemistry, clinical immunology, body fluid analysis and molecular diagnostics.
What is the difference between a medical laboratory scientist and a medical technologist?
None. Over the last decade the profession has pushed to change its name from medical technology to medical laboratory science to better define our role in health care. As such, we feel that the term medical laboratory scientist is more descriptive of who we are and what we do.
When should I apply for your program?
Our application deadline is March 1, but you may apply any time between July 1 and March 1 for entrance into the following fall semester. You do not need all of your prerequisites completed before applying. However, you are required to have all prerequisite course work completed before entering the program in the fall semester.
Why should I spend two years in your program when I can go to a one-year hospital-based program?
Technically, one-year hospital-based programs and two-year university-based programs are the same. However, the focus of the programs vary significantly. The hospital-based programs were initially designed to train students as future employees of the hospital laboratory and traditionally most students took positions in the institution in which they were trained. With downsizing occurring in many health care institutions, it is becoming more difficult for these facilities to provide job opportunities upon completion of the program.
University-based programs are focused more on developing a student into a professional medical laboratory scientist who has the skills and knowledge to accept positions in various health care settings, biotechnology/molecular biology industries, biomedical manufacturing industries and research institutions.
Who are the faculty?
All of our faculty (academic and clinical) are credentialed professionals. The majority of the faculty in the department hold terminal degrees in areas related to the profession and have extensive teaching experience. Our faculty are well published and have presented papers, posters, and workshops at the national, regional and state levels. All of the faculty are involved with professional organizations and encourage students to become actively involved.
May I take electives during the professional phase of the MLS program?
The department is implementing a new curriculum that allows students to take at least 16 hours of elective courses. This will provide students with the opportunity to work with faculty and researchers at UMMC in areas including molecular diagnostics/ molecular biology, laboratory information systems, management, clinical sciences, and the basic sciences. In the past, our students have received national recognition for paper and poster presentations made about research projects they have completed.
I want to go to medical school. Should I major in medical laboratory science?
Yes. Several of our students have continued their education by obtaining a Doctor of Medicine degree. A Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) is an excellent preparation for medical school. Laboratory medicine is a very important part of medical diagnosis and by obtaining a MLS degree you will have additional knowledge to enhance your diagnostic skills during your third and fourth year of medical school. Our department offers a pre-med option for prerequisite courses.
What electives should I take as prerequisite courses?
Medical Laboratory Science is a very diverse profession. It will be to your advantage to take courses in the advanced sciences (genetics, cell biology, embryology, quantitative analysis, physical chemistry) and business (management, marketing, accounting, information systems).