Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Science

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA for upper-division credits taken at the undergraduate level. Graduate School Admission GPA is calculated based on the last 60± semester undergraduate credits (90± quarter credits). The student must apply to and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. The ISU Graduate School required GRE scores must be met for students with cumulative GPAs under a 3.5.

In addition, admission into the M.S. program will require the student to meet one of the two following conditions:

  1. Professionals are already certified as Medical Laboratory Scientist (Board of Certification) and have completed a B.S. or B.A. degree in a related science from an accredited university or college. Note: Categorical certification as Medical Laboratory Scientist does not wholly satisfy this requirement; OR
  2. Professionals seek entry-level M.S. completing certification requirements while pursuing the M.S. degree. Completion of a B.S. or B.A. degree from an accredited institution and completion of the following requirements during the M.S. program of study:
    1. At least 16 semester hours of chemistry to include inorganic chemistry and some combination of organic, biochemistry, and analytical chemistry;
    2. At least 16 semester hours of biology, to include at least one semester in microbiology, cell biology, genetics, immunology, anatomy and physiology, and human pathophysiology.
    3. Completion of the ISU Medical Laboratory Science professional program, accredited by NAACLS (National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science). Completion qualifies the applicant to take the national credentialing examinations offered by Board of Certification (BOC) and this should be attempted within one year of finishing the MLS professional block and prior to completion of the MLS research thesis.

Core Curriculum Areas

The three core areas for Medical Laboratory Science that all students could include in their programs of study are:

  1. Scientific subject core area including pathology, hematology, transfusion medicine (immunohematology), clinical chemistry, genetics, microbiology, or molecular biology.
  2. Management core area including information management, statistics, Quality Assurance Programs (e.g., Westgard, 6 Sigma Lean), predictive value theory, personnel, financial, organizational, or regulatory concepts.
  3. Educational core area including educational design and adult learning for professionals within and outside the medical laboratory setting.

Students are expected to have significant exposure to these core areas by the time they complete their degree requirements. Students coming in with MLS credentials have already demonstrated mastery of the core scientific subject area and those who do not have these credentials will be expected to demonstrate mastery by an examination administered by the program before they finish their M.S. studies.

Students may opt to gain expertise through a variety of mechanisms including independent readings, formal course work, seminars, or special projects. For those students who are not already credentialed, the 6 credits of the MLS Practicum are at the undergraduate level. This does not count toward the 32 graduate credit requirements.

The Project Process

The MLS Thesis or Capstone Project process comprises the following steps:

  1. Meet the minimum qualifications for starting a project
  2. Identify a committee
  3. Identify a capstone or thesis project
  4. Submit a written project proposal describing the project to your faculty advisor
  5. Upon approval of the proposal, enroll in capstone or graduate problem/thesis credits
  6. Complete the project
  7. Upon completion of the project, submit a final project report to your committee
  8. Upon approval of the final report, make an oral defense of the project to your committee
Minimum Qualifications to be eligible to begin the graduate project:
  • Route 1: Must have completed at least the 13 required MLS credits.
  • Route 2: Must have completed the MLS Professional Block and clinical rotation credits.
  • Be in good standing in the MLS program.
  • The student must also be a classified degree-seeking student.
Faculty Advisor:
  • Every project must have a faculty advisor. A project faculty advisor must be a member of the MLS faculty and must agree to serve in this role.
  • The capstone route requires a faculty advisor and 2 additional faculty committee members.
  • The thesis route requires a primary faculty advisor, 1-2 committee members, and a Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR) from outside the MLS department.
Identify a project:
  • Students apply the knowledge gained throughout the program to complete an independent, mentored project.
  • The capstone route project must consist of a literature search, and identify a problem or need, that is relevant to the MLS profession or program. This route does not need to be hypothesis-driven. The capstone process culminates in the capstone project being written in a final report and presented as PowerPoint in a defense setting. A viable project should comprise 100-300 working hours. If a student plans to complete the project in one 15-week semester, they should expect to spend approximately 15-20 hours per week actively working on the project.
  • The thesis route project requires students to formulate a research question and identify a methodology for obtaining data to test a literature-driven hypothesis. A viable project should collect enough data to write a standard 5-chapter thesis, and draw conclusions about their research questions and hypothesis.
Proposal:
  • A written proposal should be submitted to the MLS faculty advisor. The project proposal should include a cover page, proposed project description, proposed methodology, and project timeline. The MLS advisor should be given 2 weeks to modify and respond to the proposal. The MLS faculty may accept, accept with modification, or reject the proposal.
Enrolling in Capstone or Graduate Problems/Thesis credits
  • Capstone route: After the approval of the capstone proposal, a student may enroll in 1-3 credits of the Capstone course. A minimum of 3 capstone credits is required for the capstone route degree. A student must be registered for a minimum of one capstone credit in the semester that they defend their project. If the project is not completed at the conclusion of 3 capstone credits, they may register for more than 3 credits. Grades will be submitted as an incomplete grade until after the oral defense, where grade changes will be submitted, if necessary.
  • Thesis route: After the approval of the capstone proposal, a student may enroll in up to 4 credits of the Graduate Problems course, and up to 6 credits of the Thesis course. A minimum of 4 Graduate Problems and 6 Thesis credits is required for the thesis route degree. A student must be registered for a minimum of one thesis credit in the semester that they defend their project. If the project is not completed at the conclusion of their 10 required credits, they may register for more than 6 thesis credits. Grades will be submitted as an IP grade until after the oral defense, where grade changes will be submitted, if necessary.
Complete the project:
  • The student should give their MLS faculty advisor regular updates on the progress of the project. It is important for the student to alert their advisor when problems or issues arise that could delay or prevent the completion of the project.
Final project report:
  • The final report should consist of a cover page, executive summary, literature search, methodology, and a critical discussion of project and its implications. As appropriate, the student should draw conclusions and suggest future areas of research. The final project report needs to be submitted to the MLS committee two weeks prior to the oral defense. Thesis route students must complete a written thesis following the ISU Thesis and Dissertation Manual standards published by the Graduate School.
Oral defense:
  • The final step in the project process is to make an oral defense of the project to the MLS committee.
Scheduling

Scheduling is coordinated by the student, and defenses must be scheduled at least a month in advance of the defense. However, the presentation cannot take place before the final report has been approved. Failure to get approval for your final report will result in the cancellation of the oral defense.

Time Limitation

Each defense presentation is limited to a total of 50 minutes including introduction, presentation, demonstrations (if any), and questions and answers by the committee. You must leave the last 10 minutes open for questions and answers by the committee, therefore the total time for the student’s part of the presentation must be no more than 40 minutes.

Guests

The oral project defense is a public event and guests may be invited to attend the defense.

Presentation Content and Format

The oral presentation should be supported with acceptable presentation media that illustrate the major points of the project. The student is expected to explain the content of the slides, not to read the slides. The slides should focus on the key elements of the project.

Pass/Fail

At the conclusion of the oral defense, the MLS committee will vote for pass or fail of the capstone project and final report. To pass the student must get a pass vote from the majority, or 2 of the 3 MLS committee members.

Route 1 - Previously Certified Students

Thesis Track

Route 1 - Certified
Select 3 of the following (minimum 9 credits)9
MLS 6640Advanced Topics in Hematology1-4
MLS 6641Advanced Topics in Immunology and Transfusion Medicine1-4
MLS 6642Advanced Topics in Medical Chemistry1-4
MLS 6643Advanced Topics in Medical Laboratory Education1-4
MLS 6644Advanced Topics in Medical Microbiology1-4
MLS 6651Graduate Seminar2
Required Thesis Track Courses
MLS 6648MLS Graduate Problems4
MLS 6650Thesis6
Graduate electives 5000- or 6000-level13
Total Credits 32

Capstone Track

Route 1 - Certified
Select 4 of the following (minimum 13 credits)13
MLS 6640Advanced Topics in Hematology1-4
MLS 6641Advanced Topics in Immunology and Transfusion Medicine1-4
MLS 6642Advanced Topics in Medical Chemistry1-4
MLS 6643Advanced Topics in Medical Laboratory Education1-4
MLS 6644Advanced Topics in Medical Microbiology1-4
MLS 6651Graduate Seminar2
Required Capstone Track Courses
MLS 6647MLS Capstone3
Graduate electives 5000- or 6000-level16
Total Credits 32

Route 2 - Certified Students

Thesis Track

Route 2 - Uncertified
Year 1
Professional Block - Fall
MLS 4410Phlebotomy Practicum1*
MLS 5512Urinalysis and Body Fluids1
MLS 5514Hematology and Hemostasis3
MLS 5516Medical Microbiology I3
MLS 5518Medical Chemistry and Instrumentation3
MLS 5520Medical Immunology2
MLS 5522Basic Concepts in Transfusion Medicine2
MLS 5524Medical Laboratory Fundamentals1
Professional Block - Spring
MLS 5531Medical Microbiology II3
MLS 5533MLS Management and Education2
MLS 5535Molecular Diagnostics3
MLS 5537Critical Analysis of Lab Information3
MLS 5539Advanced Concepts in Transfusion Medicine2
MLS 5541MLS Graduate Research1-3
MLS 5555MLS Student Laboratory Practices2
Clinical Rotation - Summer
MLS 4491Microbiology Practicum2*
MLS 4492Hematology and Urinalysis Practicum2*
MLS 4493Transfusion Blood Bank Practicum1*
MLS 4494Chemistry and Automation Practicum1*
Year 2 (+)
Select 2 (6 cr) from the following courses:
MLS 6640Advanced Topics in Hematology1-4
MLS 6641Advanced Topics in Immunology and Transfusion Medicine1-4
MLS 6642Advanced Topics in Medical Chemistry1-4
MLS 6643Advanced Topics in Medical Laboratory Education1-4
MLS 6644Advanced Topics in Medical Microbiology1-4
MLS 6651Graduate Seminar2
Required Thesis Track Courses
MLS 6648MLS Graduate Problems1-9
MLS 6650Thesis1-9
Credit Hour Totals
Year 1 (5000 level)31
Year 2 (6000 level)16
Total Credits 47

 Capstone Track

Route 2 - Uncertified
Year 1
Professional Block - Fall
MLS 4410Phlebotomy Practicum1*
MLS 5512Urinalysis and Body Fluids1
MLS 5514Hematology and Hemostasis3
MLS 5516Medical Microbiology I3
MLS 5518Medical Chemistry and Instrumentation3
MLS 5520Medical Immunology2
MLS 5522Basic Concepts in Transfusion Medicine2
MLS 5524Medical Laboratory Fundamentals1
Professional Block - Spring
MLS 5531Medical Microbiology II3
MLS 5533MLS Management and Education2
MLS 5535Molecular Diagnostics3
MLS 5537Critical Analysis of Lab Information3
MLS 5539Advanced Concepts in Transfusion Medicine2
MLS 5541MLS Graduate Research1-3
MLS 5555MLS Student Laboratory Practices2
Clinical Rotation - Summer
MLS 4491Microbiology Practicum2*
MLS 4492Hematology and Urinalysis Practicum2*
MLS 4493Transfusion Blood Bank Practicum1*
MLS 4494Chemistry and Automation Practicum1*
Year 2 (+)
Select 3 (9 cr) from the following courses:
MLS 6640Advanced Topics in Hematology1-4
MLS 6641Advanced Topics in Immunology and Transfusion Medicine1-4
MLS 6642Advanced Topics in Medical Chemistry1-4
MLS 6643Advanced Topics in Medical Laboratory Education1-4
MLS 6644Advanced Topics in Medical Microbiology1-4
MLS 6651Graduate Seminar2
Required Capstone Track Courses
MLS 6647MLS Capstone1-6
Graduate electives 6000-level4
Credit Hour Totals
Year 1 (5000 level)31
Year 2 (6000 level)16
Total Credits 47

 The remaining credits are to be taken from graduate-level courses (a minimum of 16 at the 6000 level) in one or more of the core areas with the approval of the applicant’s committee and MLS Program Director.

Three graduate-level courses (6 to 9 credits) approved by the graduate student’s committee may be taken from outside the department (to be taken at Boise State University, Idaho State University, or another approved university) and may include adult education, management, and/or medical informatics.

The capstone project may be in a core scientific subject, management, education, or a combination thereof.