Feb 29, 2024  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Advanced Practice Track, MSCLS

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees, Majors, and Concentrations Offered


Kathy Kenwright, M.S., Program Director
Royce E. Joyner, M.D., Medical Advisor

Program Objectives

The College of Health Professions offers a Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences designed for students who have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology or chemistry and desire to enter a career in the clinical laboratory. The program provides the necessary educational experiences for the student to qualify for certification as a medical technologist/medical laboratory scientist by national examination and to apply for a Tennessee license to practice as a clinical laboratory professional. Graduates achieve entry-level competency in laboratory sciences as well as acquire additional, graduate-level skills in problem solving, management, communication and clinical correlation.

Curriculum Description

The program is a full-time, 24 month advanced practice course of study which begins in August of each year. Students earn a BS degree in biology or chemistry at other colleges or universities and then complete two years of professional coursework on the Memphis campus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Master’s level courses, taken with the BS in Medical Laboratory Science students, have higher level course learning objectives to improve the learner’s critical thinking and problem solving skills. To achieve these objectives, graduate students have additional assignments in these combined courses including clinical rotations. These assignments will include, but are not limited to, additional reading assignments, essay test questions, journal critiques, case study presentations, research papers and independent learning assignments.

During the spring term of the second year, graduate students begin mentored work with a faculty mentor on a Master’s Level Research Project which is written in a format suitable for publication in a clinical journal. Projects are presented to faculty and students upon completion.


Advance Practice Track

  1. An earned BS degree in biology, chemistry, microbiology or other science from an accredited university.
  2. In addition to their BS degree requirements, qualified students must have successfully completed with a “C” or better the specific prerequisite courses required for medical laboratory science.
  3. Submit a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  4. Meet faculty expectations on the student professional performance evaluation.
  5. Students must complete thirty-nine (39) credit hours of the undergraduate professional courses (the first year of the BS in Medical Laboratory Science) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  6. Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must submit the results of TOEFL, with a minimum score of 550 on the written test or 213 on the computer test.
  7. Students must submit a letter of intent to The Admissions Committee of the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences in the Spring of the first year of the program.
  8. Graduate applicants will be notified by the Dean of the College of Health Professions in June advising them of their admission status. Master’s level course work begins in the second fall term.
  9. Coursework from another professional degree program may not be transferred to meet the requirements for admission to or graduation from the MSCLS program. There is no advanced standing or placement in the program

Applications are accepted online at http://www.uthsc.edu/admissions/. Students must apply to, and be accepted to, the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science program initially. Upon successful completion of the first year in the program, interested and qualified students may apply for acceptance into the Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences program.

Health Requirements

In addition to general University of Tennessee Health Science Center requirements, Clinical Laboratory Sciences students are required to have an annual skin test for tuberculosis and to be immunized against Neisseria meningitides and the Hepatitis B virus. Information about fulfilling these requirements is provided during orientation.

Technical Standards

Clinical Laboratory Sciences students must have or must be able to acquire certain essential skills, functions and professional attitudes and behavior as described for the college and the program in order to progress through the curriculum and to graduate. A description of the technical standards for students in the College of Health Professions is included in the college overview section on this catalog. Prior to matriculation, students are required to indicate in writing they have reviewed and are able to meet the college-wide and program specific technical standards. The additional Specific Technical Standards for Clinical Laboratory Sciences students include the:

  • Ability to  assess  and  make  appropriate  judgments  regarding  lab  services  and  patient outcomes.
  • Ability to prioritize and perform laboratory testing.
  • Ability to adapt to a variety of patient care situations, including crises.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in English, orally and in writing.
  • Ability to participate in discussion in the classroom, the clinical arena and with colleagues and patients.
  • Ability to acquire information developed through didactic instruction and clinical experiences.
  • Ability to understand reading assignments and to search and evaluate literature.
  • Ability to prepare written assignments and maintain written records.
  • Ability to perform duties and assignments in a timely fashion while under stress and in a variety of settings.
  • Ability to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to use the computer for instructional assignments and patient care activities.

Physical and Motor Skills

  • Dexterity with both wrists, hands and arms, and dexterity with all fingers.
  • Ability to grasp, pinch, push, pull, finger, hold, extend, rotate, cut.
  • Ability to obtain and/or verify patient samples.
  • Possess sufficient stamina to tolerate physically taxing workloads.
  • Ability to operate/manipulate and effectively evaluate the status of laboratory instruments and equipment.

Sensory Skills

  • Visual acuity (corrected to 20/40); visual perception with respect to depth and color.
  • Ability to palpate.

Cognitive, Integrative, Quantitative Skills

  • Ability to measure, calculate, analyze, interpret, synthesize and evaluate as applicable to clinical laboratory practice.
  • Ability to solve one or more problems within specific time frames, which are often short.
  • Ability to comprehend spatial relationships.

Affective, Behavioral and Social Skills

  • Ability to function as part of a team (communicates effectively in English, consult, negotiate, share, delegate.)
  • Ability to delegate to and supervise others.
  • Adherence to safety guidelines for self and others.
  • Compliance with standards and regulations required by external agencies.
  • Ability to follow instructions/procedures with accuracy and precision
  • Ability to maintain intellectual and emotional stability and maturity under stress, while also maintaining appropriate performance standards.
  • Learn and exhibit professional attributes.

Scholarships and Expenses

The following scholarships are available to students entering the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program:

  • UTNAA Scholarship
  • Ann Bell Scholarship
  • Elam Scholarship
  • Elizabeth Club Scholarship
  • Loretta Cox Stuckey Scholarship

Students wishing to be considered should complete the scholarship application and return it to the program director. http://www.uthsc.edu/finaid/AlliedHealthScholarshipApplication.pdf

Clinical Affiliations

Clinical affiliation sites are located in Memphis and throughout Tennessee. Due to the limited number of clinical sites in Memphis, it may become necessary for students to accept the financial impact of traveling and living out of town for a portion of their clinical assignments. The Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences will make every effort to place all students on clinical rotation.  Occasionally, a scheduled clinical experience at an external site is unavailable due to circumstances beyond the control of the University; however, because the experience is required for graduation, the Medical Laboratory Science program has exercised a number of replacement options.  A student’s graduation due to lack of clinical placement could be delayed if a clinical rotation could not be secured in Memphis and the student could not be placed in one of the following:  A site outside of Memphis or a simulated laboratory experience on campus.

Program Specific Policies

Attendance Requirement

Clinical laboratory sciences students are expected to attend all scheduled classes, student labs, and clinical lab assignments. In the case of absence due to illness or emergency, the student must notify the medical laboratory science office and clinical site no later than 8:30AM of the day missed. For any other absences, prior arrangements must be made with the specific instructor(s) involved. Makeup tests, missed lectures, or laboratory sessions should be coordinated with the course director. Appointments for health services should not be made during scheduled class time.

Grading Policy

Written and practical examinations and performance evaluations are a part of the educational program throughout the curriculum. All courses in each term must be passed before the student is allowed to progress to the next term. No credit for any course is awarded until the end of the term. The point- grade conversion scale used by the clinical laboratory sciences program for all courses is as follows:

95 - 100 = A
86 - 94 = B
80 - 85 = C
75 - 79 = D
Below 75 = F

Practicum courses may be graded on Pass/Fail criteria as indicated in course syllabi.  These grades are not included in calculating the grade point average (GPA). 

Information about grading for incompletes and withdrawals is covered in the general college section of the catalog. Students should reference this information about grade assignments in these situations.

Curriculum Summary - MSCLS Advanced Practice Track

Students must complete thirty-nine (39) credit hours of the undergraduate professional courses (the first year of the BS in Medical Laboratory Science program) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale before being considered for the MS in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Advanced Practice Track. Students accepted to the Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Advanced Practice Track degree program complete an additional 3 terms.  For students matriculating during academic year 2016-2017, the following summarizes the required courses included in the Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science professional curriculum. Required courses are offered annually in the terms indicated.  Students move through this program in a cohort.

Total Credit Hours: 12 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 25 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 17 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 21 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Grand Total: 81 credit hours

*Denotes a “hybrid course” such that course content is divided between classroom and online instruction

Progress, Promotion and Graduation

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and meet all professional/ethical standards in order to progress to the next term in good standing. Academic probation and/or dismissal from the program may result if the GPA falls below 3.0. Using the guidelines outlined for progress and promotion under the College of Health Professions Progress, Promotion, and Graduation (CHP)  section in the present catalog, the student will be carefully evaluated to determine the course of action which is best for the student and the program.

Requirements for Graduation - MSCLS, Advanced Practice Track

The following requirements must be satisfied to earn the degree of Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (Advanced Practice Track).

  1. Satisfactory completion of 39 credit hours at the baccalaureate level and 42 credit hours of work at the Master of Science level.
  2. Students must complete all courses and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  3. Satisfactory completion of a research project and presentation are required prior to graduation.
  4. Students must file an application for admission to candidacy when the conditions listed above have been fulfilled and the final draft of the master’s project has been approved by the research mentor and faculty.
  5. Students must discharge all financial obligations to the University and remove all deficiencies documented by the Registrar.
  6. Granting of the MS degree is not contingent upon passing a certification exam or obtaining licensure.

Attendance at graduation is mandatory. Those unable to attend the commencement must obtain permission to receive the degree in absentia by filing a written request with the Dean of the College.


Brenta G. Davis Outstanding Clinical Laboratory Sciences Graduate Student Award
This award will be presented to a graduate of the Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences program who demonstrates scholarship, character and dedication to the highest ethical and professional standards. The recipient of the award will be chosen by the didactic faculty. The award will not necessarily be presented each year.

Certification Examination and Licensure

Graduates with a Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences qualify to sit for the national certification examination in medical laboratory science (MLS) administered by the Board of Certification (BOC) of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Graduates are also eligible to take the American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification examination. Both examinations are offered year- round in major cities throughout the United States. Graduates in the program seeking employment in the field of medical laboratory science in the state of Tennessee must also obtain a license to practice from the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Board. A passing score on the ASCP or AMT certification exam is required for licensure in Tennessee.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees, Majors, and Concentrations Offered