We offer offers three pathways to eligibility for the ASCP Board of Certification Exam


Sample MLS Program Plan

The University of Minnesota’s Medical Laboratory Sciences program offers three pathways to eligibility for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC) Exam, which is required for employment in the hospital setting.  These include Certificate in MLS, BS Degree in MLS and Professional Masters in MLS

The MLS program also offers a master’s degree plan for advanced studies in the field of laboratory science. The Master’s of Science degree in Biomedical Laboratory Science (MS-BLS) provides additional theory, research and practice knowledge in the field, including topic areas of laboratory operations and management, molecular diagnostic science, education and teaching, or specialty areas of laboratory practice such as flow cytometry or cytogenetics. The degree plan prepares candidates for specialty certifications in the field such as Molecular Biology or Microbiology.  The master’s degree plan reflects the interdisciplinary nature of laboratory practice and research with an emphasis on critical reasoning and innovative approaches to laboratory operations, leadership, research and evidence-based practice as well as laboratory method development and validation.

Certificate in MLS

The Certificate in Medical Laboratory Sciences is for students who are enrolled in the MLS program from one of our academic affiliated schools (Minnesota State University-Mankato, Saint Cloud State University, or the University of Wisconsin-River Falls) and are earning their first BS degree, or students who already have a BS/BA degree (or higher) and want to become eligible for the BOC exam. Students enrolled in the Certificate plan do not need to meet the University’s Liberal Education requirements but must complete the MLS program’s writing intensive courses.

BS Degree in MLS

Our Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences is the degree plan for students who are earning their first BS degree and want to be eligible for the BOC exam after graduation. To earn a first BS degree, students must also complete the University of Minnesota Liberal Education and Writing Intensive course requirements.  Students who already have a BS/BA degree may opt to receive a second BS degree and would be exempt from the Liberal Education and Writing Intensive requirements.

Professional Masters in MLS

Another option for students who already have a BS/BA degree (or higher) is the professional master’s degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences (MMLS).  The MMLS plan provides the necessary courses for certification (BOC) eligibility as well as additional course work in molecular diagnostics and laboratory operations management. Student must complete the same prerequisite courses as the undergraduate programs, but a minimum GPA for application is 3.0 (3.2 preferred).

Clinical Education

During the final semester of the University of Minnesota’s MLS program, each student completes four three-week rotations in each of the major areas of Medical Laboratory Sciences, including:

  • Hematology/ Hemostasis
  • Chemistry/ Urinalysis
  • Transfusion Medicine
  • Microbiology

During this clinical experience, students are assigned to at least two different clinical sites or systems to gain experience in both rural and urban settings, and to experience how different laboratories operate based on their patient population, location, and services offered. Additionally, students are enrolled in the program’s Laboratory Management course to help them gain a deeper understanding of laboratory operations.

The clinical experience semester is vital to our students’ success in the field of medical laboratory sciences because it connects classroom theory and learning to the clinical laboratory, which bridges the gap from being a student to becoming a professional.

The hands on experience students will receive in a variety of clinical laboratory settings this semester exposes them to  areas that are not reproducible within the classroom and laboratory, such as prioritizing, workflow, instrumentation, and  collaborating with others both inside and outside of the clinical laboratory.

Clinical Education Affiliates

The MLS Program is tremendously grateful to our many clinical education affiliates. Each of these institutions provides an essential piece of the degree program for our students: direct education experience in laboratory practice. This component of their education allows students to apply what they have learned on campus to a real world environment and prepares them for the workplace in the near future.

See a full list of our Clinical Affiliate sites