Apr 18, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Bulletin (July 2022 Ed) 
2022-2023 Academic Bulletin (July 2022 Ed) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Advanced Practice Track, MSCLS


Kathy Kenwright, Ed.D., Program Director
Alex Ryder, 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 Medical Laboratory Science program in the Spring of the first year of the program.
  8. Graduate applicants will be notified by the Medical Laboratory Science program director 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.

Technical Standards

For admission to the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science degree programs or the Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), students are expected to be able to successfully meet the Technical Standards outlined below. Students are required to sign the Technical Standards Commitment form indicating their understanding and ability to meet these standards either with or without accommodations (for persons with documented disabilities). Any questions about these technical standards should be directed to the program director of the MLS programs.


UTHSC receives applications from a diverse body of potential students including those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to help students meet these technical standards when appropriate, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any student wishing accommodations should contact the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) for further information. Information regarding accommodations can be found on the SASSI website page:

https://uthsc.edu/sassi/disability_services.php or by calling 901-448-5056.


In the event a student cannot fulfill these Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations at any time in their program, the student will be ineligible for admission or continued enrollment in the program. In addition to ensuring that students can meet the intellectual, emotion and physical criteria for medical laboratory science, it should also be noted that of utmost importance is the student’s ability to provide for the welfare and safety of their patients and others. This is the foundation of all Technical Standards and if this cannot be done, the student is unable to meet the criteria outlined by the Technical Standards.

Once enrolled in the BS MLS or MS CLS Program, students must meet the requirements of the curriculum, including the demonstration of the skills described herein for the Program in order to progress through the curriculum and to graduate.

General Standards

The students must have the ability to:

  • Assess and make appropriate judgements regarding lab services and patient outcomes.
  • Prioritize and perform laboratory testing.
  • Adapt to a variety of patient care situations, including crisis.
  • Communicate effectively in English, orally and in writing.
  • Participate in discussion in the classroom, the clinical arena and with colleagues and patients.
  • Acquire information developed through didactic instruction and clinical experiences.
  • Comprehend reading assignments and to search and evaluate literature.
  • Prepare written assignments and maintain written records.
  • Perform duties and assignments in a timely fashion while under stress and in a variety of settings.
  • Meet deadlines and manage time.
  • Utilize the computer for instructional assignments and patient care activities.


Physical and Motor Skills

The student must possess:

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


Sensory Skills

The student must possess:

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

Cognitive, Integrative, Quantitative Skills

The student must possess the:

  • Ability to measure, calculate, analyze, interpret, synthesize and evaluate as applicable to clinical 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

The student must be able to:

  • Function as part of a team (communicate effectively in English, consult, negotiate, share, delegate).
  • Delegate to and supervise others.
  • Adhere to safety guidelines for self and others.
  • Comply with standards and regulations required by external agencies.
  • Follow instructions/procedures with accuracy and precision.
  • 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

Information about these scholarships is available in the general college section of the bulletin.  Students receive a scholarship application during the admission process. 

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 Medical Laboratory Science program 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:

94-100 = A

92-93 = A-

89-91 = B+

85-88 = B

83-84 = B-

80-82 = C+

75-79 = C

73-74 = C-

Below 73 = 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 bulletin. 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.  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: 27 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 15 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.

Alice Scott Hitt Faculty Award in Medical Laboratory Science
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 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.