Bachelor of Science
MLS Goals and Objectives
A Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science provides exciting opportunities for individuals with an interest in science who wish to pursue a career in a health/medical profession or other laboratory-related field. This major recently changed its name from Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) to Medical Laboratory Science. Medical laboratory scientists analyze blood and other body fluids using a variety of methods and sophisticated biomedical instruments. The results of these analyses are used to determine the presence or absence of disease, help determine appropriate medical treatment, monitor therapy, and assess health. Medical laboratory science encompasses such disciplines as hematology, clinical chemistry, immunohematology (blood banking), microbiology, immunology, and molecular diagnostics. Medical laboratory scientists are proficient at problem-solving, integration, organization, and quality management. In addition to performance and interpretation of laboratory procedures, medical laboratory scientists may be involved in the selection of lab methods or analyzers, as well as training, supervision, and consultation with other health care professionals.
An MLS education provides an excellent preparation for medical and graduate schools, and also prepares the graduate for employment opportunities outside the hospital setting. Recent graduates have gone on to medical school, law school, and programs in physical therapy, pathologists’ assistant, and public health. Diverse job opportunities include employment in research laboratories, forensic science laboratories, veterinary laboratories, fertility centers, and employment as laboratory computer specialists, educators, and laboratory consultants.
Completion of the degree leads to eligibility for certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist by the Board of Certification of the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Issuing of the degree is not contingent on passing any type of external certification or licensure examination. The UIS MLS Program has 100% employment of graduates seeking jobs in medical laboratories. The UIS Medical Laboratory Science Program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Rd., Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018 (773) 714-8880. UIS’ full ten-year accreditation is the result of two consecutive accreditation cycles with no deficiencies.
The Medical Laboratory Science curriculum at UIS provides outstanding preparation for certification as a medical laboratory scientist. The first two years of the four-year major are considered the PreProfessional Phase. During this time, the student completes the general education requirements of the university and the prerequisites for the Professional Phase. The last two years, including the summer between the last two years, are considered the Professional Phase of the MLS Program which is accredited by NAACLS (see above).
Both UIS students and transfer students must submit an application for the Professional Phase of the MLS Program. Students must meet the Essential Functions and health requirements (including immunizations) outlined on the MLS website in the MLS Student Handbook. The admissions packet is available from the department office staff. See the BACHELOR’S DEGREE section for the Admissions requirements and processes.
Initial academic work provides students with a strong liberal arts general education and background in fundamental sciences. As the program proceeds, students receive theory and laboratory experience in all areas of medical laboratory science. The students’ clinical education encompasses practical rotations through the various clinical specialty areas of affiliated medical laboratories and is under the joint supervision of faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield and practicing professionals in affiliated hospital laboratories. These practicum courses integrate the theory and practice of prerequisite campus courses with the professional practice and sophisticated instrumentation at the medical laboratories. Enhancement experiences are available in areas of interest to the student. A list of the current affiliated medical laboratories can be found on the MLS website. All facilities where students rotate are accredited. The program concludes with courses such as Health Care Management and a capstone Clinical Correlations course.
All students are required to have a criminal background check and drug screen completed prior to participating in clinical rotations. A background check that is not “clear” precludes rotations at some hospitals and prevents employment at most healthcare facilities.
Honors in Medical Laboratory Science (Department Honors)
MLS majors with a cumulative GPA equal to or greater than 3.25 in the MLS Program and one semester in residency at UIS may elect to participate in the MLS honors option. In addition to the MLS Program requirements, honors students must:
- maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25,
- earn a minimum grade of B- for each course in the MLS Program,
- successfully complete three credits of CLS 400 Applied Research or CLS 499 Tutorial, and
- present their findings in a formal paper and public presentation.
Students must apply for participation in the honors program to the MLS Program Director and obtain approval of a faculty research advisor prior to their final semester. This is not connected with the CAP Honors Program. Details can be found in the MLS Student Handbook.