Medical Laboratory Science Degree Program

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

Acquire the Skills to Evaluate Diseases With a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

Medical laboratory science (MLS) is where basic laboratory science meets the practice of medicine. As a graduate of this Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science program at Grand Canyon University (GCU), you will be instructed on how to perform complex and essential clinical laboratory tests on blood, body fluids and tissue samples. These tests play a crucial role as vital tools for physicians in diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases.

If you enjoy studying the biological, chemical and physical sciences, and find personal satisfaction in applying scientific methods in the evaluation of disease, a BS in Medical Laboratory Science degree may be right for you. Offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at GCU, this journey in the field of medical laboratory science can provide you with the knowledge necessary to potentially serve as a vital healthcare detective, contributing to healthcare and making a meaningful impact on patient care.

As a graduate of the MLS program at GCU, you will be taught the technical skills needed for clinical laboratory testing, as well as the ability to analyze ethical decisions through the lens of the Christian worldview. This unique perspective may allow you to approach your work with a holistic understanding of ethical considerations and contribute to the field of healthcare with a faith-based perspective.

Explore GCU’s Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program

Medical lab scientists (also called clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists) are typically drawn to the testing and studying of biological, chemical and physical sciences in efforts to assist in the treatment of diseases. By the end of the MLS program, GCU faculty will have taught you the essential sciences to effectively perform your job duties.

For some patients, an accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment plan can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, a strong foundation in clinical laboratory testing is critical for medical laboratory scientists to excel in their profession and contribute to patients’ well-being.

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74%

Percentage of medical laboratory scientists who earn a bachelor’s degree1

$57,800

Median annual wage for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians2

Course Topics in the Bachelor’s in MLS Program

The Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science degree requires a total of 120 credits for completion. Most of the classes are 15 weeks in length. GCU designed the curriculum for the MLS program to cover a broad range of subjects, including, but not limited to, some of the following:

  • Clinical chemistry
  • Immunohematology (transfusion medicine)
  • Microbiology
  • Hematology and hemostasis
  • Immunology
  • Molecular diagnostics

Throughout your MLS program, you have the opportunity to gain off-campus clinical experience working in practical laboratory settings under the supervision of experienced professionals. You will be taught how to correlate results with disease states and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Career Opportunities for BS in Medical Laboratory Science Graduates

Earning a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science can prepare you for a career with a critical role in disease evaluation, monitoring treatment effectiveness and ensuring patient safety. As a clinical laboratory professional in this degree program, you will be taught how to utilize advanced biomedical instrumentation and technology, alongside expert manual techniques, to perform tasks that can prepare you for a variety of job prospects within many different settings, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Research facilities
  • Public health agencies
  • Reference Lab
  • Education

Medical laboratory scientists may work as generalists, utilizing their expertise in various scientific disciplines, or they may choose to specialize in a particular area within larger hospitals.3 Pursuing a BS in Medical Laboratory Science program may open doors to various career advancement opportunities, including specialization in a particular area of laboratory science and leadership roles. If you wish to further advance your education, consider pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, such as this Master of Science in Health Administration with an Emphasis in Health Care Quality and Patient Safety from GCU. As a BS in Medical Laboratory Science graduate, you may have the ability to pursue careers in the following:

  • Technical specialist
  • Reference lab
  • Biomedical
  • Sales
  • Supervision or management

7%

Job growth for medical laboratory technologists and technicians4

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science Degree FAQs

If you're considering pursuing a career in medical laboratory science or are already on the path toward this field, we’ve gathered a few frequently asked questions about the degree program to help you make your decision.

Yes. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21,800 new jobs are estimated to open for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians from 2021 to 2031.4 A bachelor of science (BS) degree in medical laboratory science may be right for you if you are interested in healthcare, laboratory sciences and diagnostics. By completing this degree program, you may gain a solid foundation of knowledge and skills relevant to working in a clinical laboratory setting, enabling you to play a crucial role in the healthcare field.

A medical laboratory science bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate program that can prepare you for careers in clinical laboratory settings. This multidisciplinary field involves the study of various scientific disciplines, including clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, immunology and molecular diagnostics.5 MLS program graduates may find themselves working in hospitals, laboratory clinics, public health agencies or similar settings.6

A solid understanding of biological, chemical and physical sciences is essential for medical laboratory scientists (also referred to as medical laboratory technologists) to effectively perform their duties. Therefore, most employers require medical laboratory technologists to have a bachelor’s degree.6

On the other hand, clinical laboratory technicians (also called medical laboratory technicians) often hold associate degrees. Although the laboratory work performed by these professionals may overlap, the medical lab technologist may have an advanced theoretical knowledge base that enables them to conduct more complex testing, such as molecular diagnostics and intricate microbiological testing, as well as cross-matching blood for transfusion, which requires the additional education of a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science.3

The terms “clinical laboratory scientist” and “medical technologist” are often used interchangeably and can refer to the same profession. These professionals are highly skilled laboratory scientists who perform a wide range of laboratory tests on patient specimens, such as blood, urine and other body fluids, to help diagnose and treat diseases.6 The specific job duties and requirements of clinical laboratory scientists and medical technologists may vary depending on the employer, region and type of laboratory you work in. However, both professions are highly specialized and are an important part of the healthcare team.7

1 Zippia The Career Expert. (2022, Sept. 9). Medical Laboratory Scientist Demographics and Statistics in the U.S. Retrieved on May 1, 2023.

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians as of May 2021, retrieved on May 1, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as clinical laboratory technologists and technicians. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.

3 Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (n.d.). Medical Laboratory Scientist. Retrieved on May 23, 2023

4 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, retrieved on May 1, 2023. 

5 Stone, J. (2022, April 28). We’re Facing A Critical Shortage of Medical Laboratory Professionals. Forbes. Retrieved on May 23, 2023.

6 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023, Feb. 16). What Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians Do. Retrieved on May 23, 2023.

7 Indeed (2023, March 10). What Can You Do With a Medical Laboratory Science Degree? (With 16 Jobs). Retrieved on May 23, 2023.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 7 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
80 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the principles and applications of microbiology and a study of the general characteristics of microorganisms, their activities, and their relationship to humans. Students develop understanding of microbial cell structure and function, microbial genetics, related pathologies, immunity, and other selected applied areas. Co-requisite: BIO-205L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of BIO-205 supports further learning surrounding principles gained in the lecture course. Students develop fundamental skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, microscopy methodologies, and the isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms. Co-requisite: BIO-205.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the properties, structure, function, thermodynamics, and basic genetics of macromolecules, including proteins, enzymes, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. The course also covers how living systems synthesize and utilize these macromolecules and how that relates to energy production and use. Prerequisites: CHM-111 and CHM-111L, or CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-Requisite: CHM-350L.

Course Description

This laboratory course introduces techniques for analyzing macromolecules including carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. It also explores basic biochemical pathways utilized by living systems that enable cellular function. Prerequisites: CHM-111 and CHM-111L. Co-Requisite: CHM-350.

Course Description

This course is the first of a two-course sequence examining the structure and function of the human body and mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This portion includes the study of cells; tissues; genetics; and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Co-requisite: BIO-201L.

Course Description

This course is a systematic study of human gross anatomy and function. Topics include the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Co-Requisite: BIO-201.

Course Description

This course provides an in depth study of the principles and applications of immunology and of the general characteristics of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Students develop understanding of pattern recognition receptors, antigen presentation, B and T cell responses, immunity, and other selected areas. Prerequisites: BIO-181 or BIO-201 or BIO-210, and BIO-205 or BIO-210.

Course Description

This course is the second of a two-course sequence examining the structure and function of the human body and mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This portion includes the study of immunity; metabolism; energetics; fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance; and the endocrine, hematologic, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Prerequisites: BIO-201 and BIO-201L. Co-requisite: BIO-202L.

Course Description

This course is a systematic study of human gross anatomy and function. Topics include the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive systems. Prerequisites: BIO-201 and BIO-201L. Co-Requisite: BIO-202.

Course Description

This course covers the language of medicine that will be used as a foundation for understanding upper level undergraduate and graduate level courses to follow. It will include pronunciation, definition, usage and origins of medical terms. Medical terms presented will be used to identify signs, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options for selected pathologies. With these skills the student will be able to effectively interpret and communicate in a healthcare setting. Prerequisite: BIO-192 or BIO-202 or BIO-211 or BIO-364.

Course Description

Basic concepts and skills in the clinical laboratory are introduced and practiced preparing students for subsequent MLS laboratory courses Principles and applications of laboratory testing using safe practices and specimen quality assurance, preparation, and collection (phlebotomy). Core skills of microscopy and pipetting will be practiced in preparation for performing urinalysis and body fluid analysis. Point of Care testing instrumentation is introduced and practiced. Acceptance in MLS Program is required.

Course Description

Basic principles involving antigen/antibody complexes as they relate to basic concepts in immunology, clinical immunology techniques, immune related disease states, and diagnostic criteria. The background of nucleic acid chemistry along with current molecular methodologies of detection and applications will be explored. Acceptance in MLS Program is required.

Course Description

Fundamental theories of hematology and hemostasis are discussed, with an emphasis on the practice of routine laboratory evaluation of blood components using manual and microscopic methods, including safety and quality control. Introduction to abnormal hematology and hemostasis. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-303L.

Course Description

The practice of routine laboratory evaluation of blood components using manual and microscopic methods, including safety and quality control will be emphasized. Introduction to abnormal hematology and hemostasis lab testing will be employed and follow the lecture material closely. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-303.

Course Description

Basic concepts in clinical chemistry and quality control utilized in manual laboratory procedures are discussed with an emphasis on blood and body fluid assessments of carbohydrates, bilirubin, non-protein nitrogen testing and electrolyte acid/base balance. Proteins, lipids, enzymology, therapeutic drug monitoring, toxicology, and basic endocrinology will also be featured. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-305L.

Course Description

Manual techniques in clinical chemistry using spectrophotometry to perform assays. Quality control in manual laboratory procedures. Emphasis on blood and body fluid assessments of carbohydrates, bilirubin, non-protein nitrogen testing and electrolyte acid/base balance. Additional assessment of proteins, lipids, enzymology, therapeutic drug monitoring, toxicology, and basic endocrinology. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-305.

Course Description

Off-campus clinical experience providing exposure to Hematology laboratory practice. Specialized rotations may be available. Students must have taken the associated didactic course and laboratory. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Practicum/field experience hours: 40. Prerequisite: MLS-303, MLS-303L.

Course Description

Off-campus clinical experience providing exposure to Clinical Chemistry laboratory practice. Specialized rotations may be available. Students must have taken the associated didactic course and laboratory. Practicum/field experience hours: 40. Prerequisite: MLS-305, MLS-305L.

Course Description

This course provides coverage of clinically significant pathogenic bacteria, including epidemiology, pathogenicity, and procedures for manual laboratory identification. Topics and practice include antimicrobial identification testing and sensitivities as well as an introduction to clinical mycology, virology, parasitology. mycobacteria, and anaerobes. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-311L.

Course Description

This course compliments the lecture and provides techniques of identification of clinically significant pathogenic bacteria and procedures for manual laboratory testing techniques. Practice will include antimicrobial identification testing and sensitivities as well as an introduction to clinical mycology, virology, parasitology. mycobacteria, and anaerobes. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-311.

Course Description

Lecture and laboratory covering the basic principles Immunohematology (Transfusion Medicine) relevant to blood group serology and typing, population prevalence of antigens, antibody detection and identification, and compatibility testing of blood products. Component preparation and therapy in blood transfusion service, quality control, donor screening and transfusion reactions are explored. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-313L.

Course Description

Lecture and laboratory covering the basic principles Immunohematology (Transfusion Medicine) relevant to blood group serology and typing, population prevalence of antigens, antibody detection and identification, and compatibility testing of blood products. Component preparation and therapy in blood transfusion service, quality control, donor screening and transfusion reactions are explored. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Co-Requisite: MLS-313.

Course Description

Principles and applications of instrumentation used in current laboratory practice. Students will be exposed to automated methodology and computer applications to enhance the manual concepts previously introduced. Problem solving involving specimen integrity, interfering substances and basic instrument trouble shooting are explored. Cross departmental relationships are emphasized using an integrated case study approach in a simulated laboratory experience. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-303,, MLS-303L, MLS-305, MLS-305L.

Course Description

Off-campus clinical experience providing exposure to Clinical Microbiology laboratory practice. Specialized rotations may be available. Students must have taken the associated didactic course and laboratory. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Practicum/field experience hours: 40. Prerequisite: MLS-311, MLS-311L.

Course Description

Off-campus clinical experience providing exposure to Clinical Immunohematology laboratory practice. Specialized rotations may be available. Students must have taken the associated didactic course and laboratory. Practicum/field experience hours: 40. Prerequisite: MLS-313, MLS-313L.

Course Description

Advanced theory to include laboratory instrument system comparison, evaluation, and validation procedures with emphasis on scientific research design and statistical analysis. Interrelated topics to include approaches to work-load management, designing and implementing standards for quality assurance, budgeting, and marketing strategies. How to select, evaluate, design, perform, and document validation studies on new instrumentation or analytical methods. This is a writing-intensive course. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-301L, MLS-311L, MLS-313L, MLS-315.

Course Description

Correlation of medical laboratory hematology and hemostasis with emphasis on hematopathology, disease classification (malignant vs benign), specialized procedures, and hematological abnormalities in human cellular components. Specialized hematology and coagulation procedures will also be studied, and patterns analyzed to detect hemorrhagic and thrombotic problems and treatment. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-303, MLS-303L.

Course Description

Problem-solving oriented course presents the correlation of clinical chemistry test results to organ-related diseases, such as renal, hepatic, and endocrine diseases. Students will learn how to use clinical correlation as a quality assurance tool to detect patient testing errors. Additionally, blood gases, therapeutic drug monitoring, drugs of abuse and toxicology studies are presented. Acceptance in MLS Program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-305, MLS-305L.

Course Description

Students will identify a laboratory related project or research question and develop an original design to address the issue. Students will work closely with a faculty mentor or laboratory mentor and if deemed applicable will prepare a grant application for funding of supplies and reagents and write an IRB (Institutional Review Board) application. Acceptance in the MLS program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-315.

Course Description

This course begins with a comprehensive review of introductory clinical bacteriology, virology, and mycology, along with a culture site approach to clinical bacteriology for the laboratory identification of pathogens by traditional manual methods. Diagnostic molecular biology and mass-spectrometry analysis of infectious microorganisms will also be addressed. Acceptance in MLS program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-311, MLS-311L.

Course Description

Advanced blood banking theory and specialized procedures as they pertain to antibody identification, transfusion, component preparation and distribution, compatibility testing, quality assurance, investigation of unexpected results, and regulatory issues pertaining to Transfusion Medicine. Acceptance in MLS program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-313, MLS-313L.

Course Description

Basic instructional and pedagogical theory as it applies to the field of medical laboratory science. Basic principles and applications of operating a medical laboratory to include management styles, leadership of small groups, human resource management, and key features of technical supervision will also be covered. Acceptance in MLS program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-402.

Course Description

Students will continue to work closely with a faculty or laboratory mentor in the development of the project’s resolution and conclusion. After completing the project students will present their findings in written, poster and oral format. This is a writing-intensive course. Acceptance in the MLS program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-410.

Course Description

Integration of material from all the major medical laboratory science disciplines including Blood Bank, Chemistry, Hematology, Immunology, Microbiology, and Urinalysis. Case studies utilized and presented will include information about the pathophysiology, etiology, and epidemiology as well as analysis of laboratory results and their significance. Students will correlate results with disease states and continue to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. Practical study skills and certification exam preparation will be high priority. Acceptance in MLS program is required. Prerequisite: MLS-402.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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