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Master of Science in CLS

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.

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.

Additional Information

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: 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.

The following scholarships are available to students entering the Clinical Laboratory Science 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 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.

Last Published: Aug 21, 2020