The BS in Medical Laboratory Science prepares students for careers in hospitals and clinics as well as in biotechnology and industrial laboratories. Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) is a profession of highly knowledgeable and skilled individuals who perform clinical laboratory tests on blood, other body fluids, or tissue samples. This is a critical part of health care, as the results obtained by these laboratory tests are vital tools for physicians in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

People trained as medical laboratory scientists may work in a variety of settings. Many work in clinical laboratories in large medical centers, hospitals, or clinics. Some do research in industrial, public health, or medical laboratories. Others teach in hospitals, colleges, or universities. An MLS may practice as a generalist, using knowledge in several of the scientific disciplines, or may specialize in one scientific area in larger hospitals. A successful MLS is an individual who enjoys studying the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. He or she may also find personal satisfaction and intellectual reward in applying scientific methods to the diagnosis and evaluation of disease.

Admissions

University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Policies

Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees including the Mason Core1.

MLAB 300 Science Writing fulfills this major's writing intensive requirement.

Important information and departmental policies are available with the Department of Biology.

This program requires the equivalent of three years of full-time pre-professional study at the college level preceding a senior year of professional education in an affiliated school of medical laboratory science. All affiliated schools (see below) are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

1

Note: Because of the extensive pre-professional education requirements stipulated by NAACLS, students majoring in medical laboratory science are exempt from the Mason Core 'Arts' requirement.

Important Program Requirements

  • Students must complete MLAB 200 Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science and present the following courses in their biology coursework and supporting requirements with a minimum GPA of 2.00.
  • A grade of 'C' or better must be earned in BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core) in order to advance to other major requirements. Students may repeat BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core) once and a second time only with permission of the Department of Biology.
  • Medical laboratory science majors must earn a minimum of 'C' in all biology core courses listed below.

Major in Medical Laboratory Science as a Second Bachelor’s Degree

While the standard program for medical laboratory sciences is three years on campus followed by a fourth year at a clinical affiliate (3+1), many students elect to complete a bachelor’s degree before entering the clinical program (4+1). Students who have completed the Biology, BS or Chemistry, BS at Mason and then undertake a fifth year at a clinical affiliate may be eligible for a second bachelor’s degree with a major in medical laboratory science. Students wishing to receive the second degree must apply before entering their fifth year. For further information, contact a laboratory sciences advisor.

Applying to Medical Laboratory Sciences Schools

Responsibility for applying to schools of medical laboratory sciences and gaining admission rests with the student; however, guidance is provided by the medical laboratory sciences program director. Admission to medical laboratory sciences schools is selective, so candidates should strive for strong academic standing. Students who fail to gain admission to a NAACLS-approved school are unable to complete the degree program. Such students may transfer to Biology, BA or the Biology, BS without loss of credits.

Application to medical laboratory sciences schools should be initiated about a year before the desired entrance date. This fact, coupled with the large number of required courses in the pre-professional curriculum, makes it imperative that students in the program consult regularly with their faculty advisor. All medical laboratory sciences majors and prospective majors are urged to enroll in MLAB 200 Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science as early as possible. This course provides information on the profession, as well as the educational demands placed on candidates.

Senior Year

Students should be aware that the senior year spent off campus requires the following special interpretation of university policies. Transfer students must present at least 16 credits of 300 to 400-level biology or chemistry coursework taken at Mason. Students may present no more than 6 credits of ‘D’ grades in biology and chemistry courses required in three years of pre-professional study. No unsatisfactory grades may be presented for courses in the senior year of professional study. Transfer students entering with more than 45 transfer credits are often unable to complete the pre-professional phase of their program in the usual three years of full-time study.

Senior students are registered at the university through special procedures. For details, consult the program director.

Affiliated NAACLS-Approved Schools

This program requires the equivalent of three years of full time professional study at the college level preceding a senior year of professional education in an affiliated school of medical laboratory sciences. All affiliated schools are accredited by the NAACLS:

Banner Code: SC-BS-MLAB

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Students must complete the requirements outlined below, choosing one Professional Study/Concentration option:

  • Not choosing a concentration ("Professional Study: Generalist Option") will provide students generalist training. Upon graduation, the board certification test may be taken and would allow graduates to practice in any area of a hospital or laboratory.
  • Choosing a concentration will allow students to complete their clinical rotations in that specific area. Upon graduation, the Molecular Biology or Microbiology (depending upon the concentration chosen) board certification test may be taken.

Biology Core

BIOL 213Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)4
BIOL 214Biostatistics for Biology Majors4
BIOL 311General Genetics4
Total Credits12

MLAB and BIOL Additional Courses

MLAB 200Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science1
MLAB 300Science Writing 12
BIOL 305Biology of Microorganisms3
BIOL 306Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory1
BIOL 430Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL 431Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
BIOL 452Immunology3
BIOL 453Immunology Laboratory1
Total Credits19
1

Fulfills writing intensive requirement. 

Chemistry

CHEM 211
CHEM 213
General Chemistry I (Mason Core)
and General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)
4
CHEM 212
CHEM 214
General Chemistry II (Mason Core)
and General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core)
4
CHEM 313Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 315Organic Chemistry Lab I2
Select one from the following:4-5
General Biochemistry
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Lab II
Total Credits17-18

Mathematics

Select one from the following:3-6
Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A
and Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)
Total Credits3-6

Information Technology

Select one from the following:3
Computing for Scientists (Mason Core) 1
Any course(s) which fulfills the Mason Core: Information Technology requirement
Total Credits3
1

Recommended course for this major

Professional Study: Generalist Option

Senior students are registered at the university through special procedures. For details, consult the medical laboratory science program director.

The senior year spent off campus requires the following special interpretation of university policies: transfer students must present at least 16 credits of 300 to 400-level biology or chemistry coursework taken at Mason; no unsatisfactory grades (less than 'C') may be presented for courses in the senior year of professional study. Transfer students entering with more than 45 transfer credits are often unable to complete the pre-professional phase of their program in the usual three years of full-time study.

Students may have up to 30 credits of professional study during the senior year awarded for clinical education at an affiliated school of medical technology. No more than 30 professional credits may be applied toward the degree. 

The distribution of credits in these courses varies with the school of medical technology. In consultation with the advisor, select from the following:30
Orientation to the Problems and Practices of the Clinical Laboratory
Clinical Hematology and Coagulation
Clinical Microscopy
Serology and Immunohematology
Clinical Microbiology
Clinical Chemistry
Clinical Molecular Biology
Total Credits30

Notes:

Students are encouraged to elect additional basic science courses during their pre-professional years. Recommended courses are:

BIOL 465Histology4
BIOL 483General Biochemistry4
BIOL 484Eukaryotic Cell Biology3
BIOL 485Eukaryotic Cell Biology Laboratory2-3
CHEM 321Quantitative Chemical Analysis4
PHYS 243College Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 244College Physics Lab (Mason Core)1
PHYS 245College Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 246College Physics Lab (Mason Core)1

Professional Study: Molecular Biology Concentration (MOB)

Senior students are registered at the university through special procedures. For details, consult the medical laboratory science program director.

The senior year spent off campus requires the following special interpretation of university policies: transfer students must present at least 16 credits of 300 to 400-level biology or chemistry coursework taken at Mason; no unsatisfactory grades (less than 'C') may be presented for courses in the senior year of professional study. Transfer students entering with more than 45 transfer credits are often unable to complete the pre-professional phase of their program in the usual three years of full-time study.

Students may have up to 30 credits of professional study during the senior year awarded for clinical education at an affiliated school of medical technology. No more than 30 professional credits may be applied toward the degree. 

This concentration is a pathway leading to eligibility for categorical certification as a Certified Technologist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC). The course is one year long, consisting of about 20% classroom and 80% hands-on laboratory experience. Instructors include the expert clinical scientists and technologists of Quest Diagnostics, Chantilly, Virginia.

In addition to the courses required for all Medical Laboratory Science students, the following is required:30
Orientation to the Problems and Practices of the Clinical Laboratory
Clinical Molecular Biology
Total Credits30

Notes:

Students are encouraged to elect additional basic science courses during their pre-professional years. Recommended courses are:

BIOL 465Histology4
BIOL 483General Biochemistry4
BIOL 484Eukaryotic Cell Biology3
BIOL 485Eukaryotic Cell Biology Laboratory2-3
CHEM 321Quantitative Chemical Analysis4
PHYS 243College Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 244College Physics Lab (Mason Core)1
PHYS 245College Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 246College Physics Lab (Mason Core)1

Professional Study: Microbiology Concentration (MIB)

Senior students are registered at the university through special procedures. For details, consult the medical laboratory science program director.

The senior year spent off campus requires the following special interpretation of university policies: transfer students must present at least 16 credits of 300 to 400-level biology or chemistry coursework taken at Mason; no unsatisfactory grades (less than 'C') may be presented for courses in the senior year of professional study. Transfer students entering with more than 45 transfer credits are often unable to complete the pre-professional phase of their program in the usual three years of full-time study.

Students may have up to 30 credits of professional study during the senior year awarded for clinical education at an affiliated school of medical technology. No more than 30 professional credits may be applied toward the degree. 

This concentration is a pathway leading to eligibility for categorical certification as a Certified Technologist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC). The course is one year long, consisting of about 20% classroom and 80% hands-on laboratory experience. Instructors include the expert clinical scientists and technologists of Quest Diagnostics, Chantilly, Virginia.

In addition to the courses required for all Medical Laboratory Science students, the following is required:30
Orientation to the Problems and Practices of the Clinical Laboratory
Clinical Microbiology
Total Credits30

Notes:

Students are encouraged to elect additional basic science courses during their pre-professional years. Recommended courses are:

BIOL 465Histology4
BIOL 483General Biochemistry4
BIOL 484Eukaryotic Cell Biology3
BIOL 485Eukaryotic Cell Biology Laboratory2-3
CHEM 321Quantitative Chemical Analysis4
PHYS 243College Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 244College Physics Lab (Mason Core)1
PHYS 245College Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 246College Physics Lab (Mason Core)1

Mason Core and Electives

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 32-36 credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, and electives. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Note: Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication6
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology3-7
Core Requirements
Arts3
Global Understanding3
Literature3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 1
Synthesis/Capstone3
Total Credits40
1

minimum 3 credits

MLAB 401 Topics

The following topics will be covered under MLAB 401 Orientation to the Problems and Practices of the Clinical Laboratory:

1. Introduction to CLS and Laboratory Operations

This course is a brief introduction to the Clinical Laboratory Science professions and Laboratory Operations. Topics include: Introduction to Laboratory Operations, Pre-analytics and Specimen Types, Quality Management Concepts, Quality Control, Laboratory Professions, Professional Ethics, Laboratory Mathematics, Proper use of Laboratory Equipment, Introduction to Laboratory Instrumentation. 

2. Board Exam Preparation

This course is a structured review and practice in preparation for the American Society for Clinical Pathology Technologist in Molecular Biology Board of Certification Exam. Practice tests and questions from a variety of published and authoritative sources are used to reinforce the content of the Technologist in Molecular Biology program. 

MLAB 405 Topics

The following topics are covered under MLAB 405 Clinical Microbiology:

1. Introduction to Clinical Microbiology

This course is a brief introduction to the discipline of Clinical Microbiology, and laboratory diagnostic techniques. Topics include: Overview of Microbiology Theory, Methods and Applications, Instrumentation, Staining, and Media, Immunology, Serology, and Molecular Diagnostics.

2. Medical Virology

This course is a survey of the characteristics, pathogenicity, and laboratory diagnosis of important human viruses. Topics include viral taxonomy and classical virology. Special emphasis is placed on the epidemiology and the laboratory’s role in influenza pandemics.

3. Medical Mycology

This course is a comprehensive presentation of medically important fungi. Emphasis is placed on clinical presentation and laboratory identification of pathogenic species and opportunistic pathogens. Topics include general mycology methods, yeasts, susceptibility testing, molds (Hyaline, Mucor, Dematiaceous), Dermatophytes, Systemic infections, and Pneumocystis.

4. Medical Parasitology

This course is a comprehensive presentation of human parasites. Emphasis is placed on clinical presentation and laboratory identification. Topics include Flagellates, Ciliates, Coccidians, Malaria and Babesia, Other Blood Born and Tissue Born parasites, Nematodes, Cestodes, Trematodes, and Arthropods.

5. Molecular Detection of Infectious Disease

This course examines the advances in using molecular methods to detect human infectious disease. Careful attention is given to the comparison of molecular technologies with traditional microbiology methods. Topics include molecular methods and applications, including PCR, sequencing, TMA, and PEGE, specimens of choice, sample preparation, Quality Control, primer selection, Molecular methods in selecting antimicrobial agents, molecular epidemiology, and target organisms: fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

6. Medical Bacteriology

This course is a comprehensive presentation of bacteria isolated in the clinical laboratory. Emphasis is placed on the laboratory identification of isolates from a variety of specimen sources, and pathogenic species. Topics include Instrumentation and MALDI, Gram Positive Cocci, Gram Positive Baccili, Enterics, non-fermenters, Moraxella, Neisseria, Pasteurella, Haemophilus and HACEK, Camphylobacter, Helicobacter, Legionella, CDC Select Agents, Chlamdydia, Mycoplasm, Ureaplasm, Spirochetes, Anaerobes, Antibiotics and Susceptibility testing, and Acid Fast Bacilli.

7. Microbiology Clinical Correlations

Designed as the capstone for the Technologist in Microbiology program, this course takes a body system view of the pathogenicity of infectious disease. Attention is given to integrating clinical presentation and case history to laboratory investigation and diagnosis. Topics include UTI/Genital, Food Borne/GI, Cystic Fibrosis, Blood, CSF, Body Fluids, and Wounds.

MLAB 407 Topics

The following topics will be covered under MLAB 407 Clinical Molecular Biology

1. Introduction to Clinical Molecular Biology

This course presents the fundamentals of nucleic acid testing in the clinical laboratory and the underlying human genetics. Topics include: Fundamentals of Nucleic Acid Biochemistry, Common Techniques in Molecular Biology (Extraction, Resolution and Detection of Nucleic Acids, Analysis and Characterization, Amplification, Chromosomal Structure and Mutations, Gene Mutations, and DNA Sequencing).

2. Advanced Methods in Clinical Molecular Biology

This course applies the fundamentals of nucleic acid testing to advanced methods commonly used in the contemporary clinical and research laboratory. Topics include: PCR, Transcription-Based Amplification, Probe Amplification, Branched DNA, Hybrid Capture, Amplification: Signal, Cleavage-Based, Cycling Probe,  Sequencing: Direct, Next Gen, Pyrosequencing, Bisulfite, RNA Sequencing, Bioinformatics, Human Genome Project.

3. Molecular Detection of Infectious Disease

This course examines the advances in using molecular methods to detect human infectious disease. Careful attention is given to the comparison of molecular technologies with traditional microbiology methods. Topics include: Molecular methods and applications, including PCR, sequencing, TMA, and PEGE, specimens of choice, sample preparation, Quality Control, primer selection, Molecular methods in selecting antimicrobial agents, molecular epidemiology, and target organisms: fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses. 

4. Human Molecular and Chromosomal Applications and Pathology

This course presents advanced methods in nucleic acid testing to human medico-legal, forensic, and pathology applications. Topics include: Polymorphisms,  RFLP,  Paternity Testing, Linkage, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, Bone Marrow Engraftment, Mitochondrial DNA Polymorphisms and Disorders, Chromosomal Abnormalities, Patterns of Inheritance, Single Gene Disorders, Lysosomal Storage Disorders, Cystic Fibrosis, Trinucleotide Repeats, Genomic Imprinting, Array CGH, Molecular Oncology, HLA and Transplantation.