Medical Laboratory Science (MLS)

The Profession

Medical laboratory science is the study and practice of diagnostic medicine. A practitioner with appropriate education (ordinarily a bachelor's degree) in the profession is called a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS).

A medical laboratory scientist's role is to provide accurate laboratory results in a timely manner. These results are used to confirm a diagnosis or to monitor treatment.

Medical laboratory scientists perform tests that analyze blood, urine, tissue, or other body specimens. These professionals perform, develop, evaluate, correlate, and assure accuracy and validity of laboratory data.

Medical laboratory scientists practice independently and collaboratively and are responsible for their own professional actions. The ability to relate to people, care about patient outcomes, and display calm and reasoned judgment are essential qualities. Although medical laboratory scientists seldom have personal contact with patients, they play a major role in disease diagnosis and in monitoring therapy. They work closely with physicians, researchers, and other health care professionals.

Credit For Prior Learning (CPL)

The CPL process is directed to prospective or admitted students who currently work in a laboratory setting or have obtained medical laboratory technician (MLT) certification prior to attending the Allen College MLS program. The CPL process involves evaluating current and/or post-degree work experience against specific program objectives. Students with current experience and/or MLT certification can earn credit for the Phlebotomy and Pre-Analytical Variables course, and students with MLT certification may also be eligible to earn credit that satisfies clinical rotation requirements in hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, and immunohematology.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program is to provide a baccalaureate-level educational program that prepares individuals for a career in the laboratory science profession.

Program Goals

In concert with the Allen College philosophy, the mission and objectives of the School of Health Sciences and the mission of the MLS program, graduates will be able to:

  • Integrate knowledge from the humanities, social sciences, natural science and medical laboratory science to demonstrate professional MLS practice.
  • Collaborate and integrate with members of the healthcare team to facilitate caring behaviors to meet the needs of patients in different health care settings and delivery practices.
  • Demonstrate technical competency in the delivery of quality laboratory service in all areas in the scope of medical laboratory practice.
  • Display a commitment to the role and the development of the medical laboratory professional.

Competencies / Outcomes

  1. Apply theory and principles related to body fluids, blood bank, chemistry, hematology, immunology, and microbiology laboratory testing.
  2. Explain the fundamental biological characteristics related to laboratory testing.
  3. Perform a wide variety of laboratory tests.
  4. Recognize sources of error in laboratory testing.
  5. Use appropriate quality control and quality management procedures to ensure the accuracy of laboratory testing results.
  6. Assess the accuracy of laboratory test results by correlating laboratory data with clinical diagnoses.
  7. Evaluate and apply appropriate corrective actions when problems are encountered.
  8. Apply management principles to the medical laboratory environment.
  9. Accurately report patient test results.
  10. Demonstrate professional conduct when communicating with patients, laboratory personnel, other health care professional, and the public.

Program Description

Students enrolled in the MLS program complete all general education courses at a separate institution before beginning the MLS-specific coursework. All required MLS coursework may be completed in one calendar year, but a part-time plan is also available. Students receive the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with a MLS major and qualify for MLS certification upon completion of program requirements. This option is also possible for those who already have an associate's or baccalaureate degree and have completed all general education courses. The MLS program has a summer start date and is offered in an online delivery format. Clinical rotations are completed at a clinical laboratory facility.

Clinical Rotation Hours:

  • Fall - 160 hours; 80 in hematology, 80 in chemistry
  • Spring - 160 hours; 80 in microbiology, 80 in immunohematology
  • We have established relationships with multiple clinical rotation site locations in Iowa
  • Incoming students who have an established relationship with an institution may elect to complete clinical rotations there if a clinical contract can be arranged
  • Students who plan to live out-of-state must find their own local clinical site (please allow 8 weeks for clinical contract processing); if a local clinical site cannot be arranged, students will be placed at a site in Iowa


Upon satisfactory completion of the program and completion of baccalaureate degree requirements, graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification exam offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology-Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC).

Clinical Affiliation

Listed below are the websites for the MLS clinical sites:


The Allen College Medical Laboratory Science Program is accredited by the National Accrediting Association of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
5600 N. River Rd.
Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
(773) 714-8880
Fax: (773) 714-8886

Allen College Medical Laboratory Science Outcome Measures