Pathology

  • Medical Laboratory Scientist Program (MLSP)

    Career Description

    If you're interested in health care, laboratory work, producing and using scientific data, analytical problem solving, then Medical Laboratory Science may be the career for you.


    The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine offers a bachelor's degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences through an affiliation with Allen College in Waterloo, Iowa. The program provides patient-centered educational opportunities, with theoretical knowledge and practical experience in hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, immunohematology, immunology, endocrinology and molecular diagnostics. Students can enroll in the program as the final year of a bachelor’s degree or as an additional year following receipt of a bachelor’s degree.

    Features of the Program

    • a broad education that prepares students for many professional options
    • individualized help and attention
    • laboratories where students put course material into practice
    • hands-on experience with patient samples and the latest technology
    • clinical experiences in the laboratories of The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and The Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    • the experts, technology, and learning environment of two of the world's largest academic medical centers

    Applying to the Program

    Students should apply to the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program at Allen College by December of their junior year. Contact Allen College for specific information as to prerequisite coursework and financial aid available. 

    Successful program participants also possess the following personal abilities

    • strong communication skills
    • sound judgment
    • professional integrity
    • manual dexterity
    • attention to detail
    • capacity to work independently and as a team member

    The Clinical Year

    Students seeking entry into the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program should take three or more years of prerequisite coursework at the University of Iowa or another college. Following application in December of the junior year, accepted students start the clinical year in late August following the junior year at which this students will complete coursework via web-based, streaming-video lectures from Allen College faculty. Clinical rotations will begin in late November at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The program emphasizes laboratory principles and procedures, clinical significance and application, principles and practice of quality assurance, principles of laboratory management and supervision, safety, instructional methods, and computer applications.

    Students complete the clinical year in late July. They will receive academic credit from Allen College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The Allen College MLS program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences:

    National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
    5600 N. River Rd.
    Suite 720
    Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
    (773) 714-8880
    Fax: (773) 714-8886
    E-mail: info@naacls.org
    Website: http://www.naacls.org

    Employment Opportunities

    MLS graduates are well qualified to work in health care, research, or industry; in hospital or clinic laboratories, and in doctors' offices, private clinical laboratories, or the armed services.

    MLS graduates can use their degrees as building blocks to careers that require MS, PhD, MD, DDS, MBA, or other advanced degrees.

    In a clinical laboratory setting, clinical laboratory scientists may

    • work in clinical chemistry, hematology, immunohematology, immunology, molecular pathology and/or clinical microbiology
    • perform analysis on blood, urine, and other body fluids
    • operate complex instruments to generate scientific data that aid in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of disease
    • evaluate quality assurance data to ensure accurate and reliable test results
    • use independent judgment and problem-solving abilities
    • develop research projects to evaluate new products and methods
    • provide and participate in continuing education

    Some alternative job options include:

    • environmental chemist
    • research assistant
    • research and product development scientist
    • laboratory administrator
    • laboratory sales representative
    • veterinary and zoo laboratorians
    • continuing education coordinator
    • educator
    • technical representative
    • laboratory computer specialist
    • waste management supervisor
    • epidemiologist
    • industrial laboratorian
    • pharmaceutical laboratorian
    • marketing manager

    These jobs are found in various settings including hospitals, research facilities, private industry, public health, pharmaceutical companies, and educational programs.

    To receive additional information and specific course requirements contact:

    Norma J. Ward
    Pathology Administration Specialist
    Room C660 GH
    200 Hawkins Drive
    Iowa City, IA 52242
    Phone: 319-384-9634
    Fax: 319-384-9613

    e-mail: mls-program@uiowa.edu