Feb 04, 2023  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Medical Laboratory Science, BSMLS


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

Program Objectives

The curriculum is designed to produce graduates who reflect the current expectations of the profession and of employers, particularly with respect to the need for problem solving and supervisory skills in the laboratory. Graduates of the program are prepared to function effectively as medical laboratory scientists (MLS) in any laboratory setting and eventually to assume positions of responsibility in laboratory management, teaching and consulting.

Curriculum Description

The curriculum of the medical laboratory science program is a two-year professional program. Students complete two years of prerequisite courses at other colleges or universities, and then complete two years (21 months) of professional coursework on the Memphis campus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Clinical experience is integrated throughout the curriculum. The curriculum is designed so that there are opportunities for interactions with other health sciences students, and for integration of professional principles with the techniques of medical laboratory science.

Students are required to pass either a comprehensive examination upon completion of the program covering all courses in the curriculum, or comprehensive examinations at intervals as specified by faculty. Examinations may be written, practical, or both. Where a sequence of courses is described below, each course in the sequence is prerequisite to the subsequent course. Generally, for promotion to the next term or to graduation, all courses in each term must be completed with a passing grade.


The UTHSC program in medical laboratory science is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018- 5119, (773) 714-8880; http://www.naacls.org.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for consideration for admission into the BSMLS program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completion of the following 61 credit hours of prerequisite coursework with a grade of “C” or better in each course:


Prerequisite coursework for admission prior to Fall 2017 Credit Hours
English Composition 3
Humanities 3
General Chemistry 8
Organic Chemistry* 8
General Biology or Zoology 8
Human Physiology or Anatomy/Physiology 4
Microbiology 4
College Algebra or Statistics 3
Social Science 3
Electives** 17
Total 61

* One semester of Organic Chemistry and one semester of Biochemistry is acceptable
** All students receiving a baccalaureate degree in the state of Tennessee must have completed one unit of American History on the high school level or six credit hours of college-level American History (three credit hours of Tennessee History may be substituted for 3 credit hours of American History).

Prerequisite coursework effective Fall 2017 Credit Hours
General Education  
English Composition 3
English Literature 3a
Humanities or Fine Arts 3
Social/Behavioral Sciences 3
Natural Science/Mathematics  
        College Algebra or Statistics 3
American History 6b
Subtotal          21
General Education Electives 5
Subtotal          5
Prerequisite Course Work  
English Composition II 3
General Chemistry 8
Organic Chemistry 8c
General Biology or Zoology 8d
Human Physiology or Anatomy/Physiology 4
Microbiology 4
Subtotal          35
Total          61
  1. Courses in literature may be used to fulfill the Humanities/Fine Arts requirement
  2.  Students lacking the required one unit (one year) of American History from high school must complete six (6) credit hours of American History or three (3) credit hours of American History and three (3) credit hours of Tennessee History to fulfill the requirements in General Education.  For students who have successfully completed one unit (one year) of American History in high school will need to complete six (6) credits of elective to have thirty (30) credit hours in General Education.
  3. One semester of Organic Chemistry and one semester of Biochemistry maybe be substituted for two semesters of Organic Chemistry.
  4. Human Physiology II or Anatomy/Physiology II may be used to fill one of the General Biology requirements.


  1. Submit official transcripts of above coursework.
  2. Personal interview with faculty members.
  3. Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must submit results of the TOEFL, with a minimum score of 550 on the written test, 213 on the computer test or 80 on the TOEFL iBT®
  4. Completed application form including an essay describing the applicant’s reasons for choosing the profession and their career goals.
  5. Pre-professional advisory committee recommendation from college or university attended OR three letters of recommendation from previous college instructors.
  6. Ability to meet published technical standards of the College of Health Professions and the professional practice of Medical Laboratory Science.
  7. Coursework from another professional degree program may not be transferred to meet the requirements for admission to or graduation from the MLS program.  There is no advanced standing or placement in the program

Applications are accepted online at http://www.uthsc.edu/admissions/chp.php.

Application deadlines  
  • Early deadline:
  • Regular deadline:
  • Late deadline:
December 1
April 1
June 15

Health Requirements

In addition to general University of Tennessee Health Science Center requirements, medical laboratory science 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

Medical Laboratory Science 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 in this catalog. The additional Specific Technical Standards for Medical Technology 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, and 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.

General Education Competencies*

  1. Communication - Students must be able to communicate effectively in a style appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience.
  2. Mathematics - Students must be able to apply basic mathematical tools in the solution of real- world problems.
  3. Sciences - Students must be able to apply principles of the natural, behavioral and social sciences in the solution of problems encountered.
  4. Critical Thinking - Students must be able to demonstrate their ability to solve problems, construct and present cogent arguments in support of one’s views, and understand and evaluate arguments presented by others.
  5. Information Literacy - Students must be able to seek, access, critically evaluate and appropriately apply information.
  6. Technology - Students must be able to use technology in communicating, solving problems, and acquiring information in a professional manner.

General education competencies will be measured through tools and strategies such as student performance on oral presentations, written critiques of research papers, and papers written in capstone courses. Math competencies may be measured through tools such as comprehensive math examinations prior to graduation. Students will be apprised of specific strategies to be used to evaluate their mastery of the general education competencies during new student orientation.

*Required of all students at UTHSC enrolled in one of the Bachelor of Science degree programs

Scholarships and Expenses

The following scholarships are available to students entering the Medical Laboratory Science program:

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

Information about these scholarships is available in the general college section of the catalog

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

Medical laboratory science 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 medical laboratory science program for all courses, except clinical practice courses is as follows:

95 - 100 = A
85 - 94 = B
75 - 84 = C
65 - 74 = D
Below 65 = F

The grading scale for all clinical practice 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 (P)/Fail (F) 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 - BSMLS

The curriculum for a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science consists of 4 terms. For students matriculating during the academic year 2016-2017, the following summarizes the required courses included in the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science professional curriculum.  Required courses are offered annually during 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: 16 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 17 credit hours

Grand Total: 70 credit hours

Total Prerequisite credits: 61 credit hours

Total Degree Credit Hours: 131 credit hours

Progress, Promotion and Graduation

Students must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and meet all required professional and ethical standards to progress to the next term in good standing. Any student who earns a grade of D in any course may be placed on academic probation. A student earning a grade of “F” in any course or a grade of “D” in two or more courses may be dismissed. Using the guidelines outlined for progress and promotion under the General Information section in the present catalog, the student will be carefully evaluated to determine the course of action that is best for the student and the program.

Requirements for Graduation

The following requirements must be satisfied to earn the Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science:

  1. The candidate must present evidence of having satisfactorily completed all prerequisite coursework.
  2. Students must complete all courses and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  3. The candidate must discharge all financial obligations to the University and remove all deficiencies documented by the Registrar.
  4. Granting of the BS degree is not contingent upon passing a certification exam or obtaining licensure.

Attendance at commencement 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.


The two awards given to the students in the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science program are named for former faculty members who provided distinguished service to the University.

  • Frances Guthrie Outstanding Student Award in Medical Technology
    This award is presented to a graduating student who has demonstrated exceptional ability based on academic and professional criteria. The recipient is chosen by the medical laboratory science faculty and fellow students. This award is not necessarily given each year.
  • Alice Scott Hitt Faculty Award in Medical Technology
    This award is presented to a graduating student who has demonstrated outstanding personal and professional characteristics. The recipient of the award is chosen by the medical laboratory science faculty. This award may not be given every year.

Certification Examination and Licensure

Graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science 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.

Student Professional Organization Membership

Medical laboratory science students are eligible for student membership in a number of professional associations including the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Students are encouraged to apply for membership in one or more regional or national professional organizations.