Medical Laboratory Science

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Do you enjoy science, solving problems, and working as part of a team? If so, you may find Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) to be a rewarding career. Modern medicine would be impossible without the problem solving skills of medical lab scientists. MLS technicians run tests that encompass areas of clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, clinical urology, immunology, immunohematology, and molecular diagnostics. Each test run helps find an additional clue in the final patient diagnosis, which assists physicians in determining the best treatment for patients. Due to the national shortage of medical lab scientists, MLS graduates will have excellent job opportunities in nearly all areas of the United States. In addition, this major can also provide a great background for individuals interested in entering fields of forensic science, pharmaceutical sciences, and medicine.

Medical Laboratory Science Quick Facts (PDF)

Key Features

Key Features

  • Because of UMC’s small size, we have always provided a more personalized approach to student education than larger campuses have the capacity to provide. Professors with Ph.D.'s, whose primary focus is undergraduate student education, teach most of our courses and labs.
  • These faculty members also maintain an appropriate level of scientific scholarship to be able to involve undergraduate students in research projects on a regular basis, either through internal or external funding sources, such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) or the Crookston Student Research and Creative Works fund (CSRCW). Students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty on research projects in biology, chemistry, exercise science, and environmental science. Whether you are interested in field work or getting experience using state-of-the-art instruments and equipment, opportunities exist for working during the academic year and/or during the summer. Students are encouraged to attend professional conferences to present their work to their peers.
  • UMC has formed a consortium agreement and partnership with the University of North Dakota (UND), an NAAMLS approved school of Medical Laboratory Science (Western College Alliance of Medical Lab Science [WCAMLS]), in which the graduate of this program would receive a certificate of completion from UND. The student would be dual enrolled at both UMC and UND starting in the third year of the proposed program of study. In the spring of the junior year the student would take either courses located at UND (25 miles away) or online. The summer courses taken after the junior year would be located at UND’s campus. The remaining year of study would involve the students being located wherever the student is placed for clinicals at an affiliated NAAMLS approved School of Medical Laboratory Science.
  • The Medical laboratory science course requirements have considerable overlap with UMC’s Bachelor of Science majors in Biology and Health Sciences, and it is possible for students to complete a double major or minor in biology with minimal extra time. It is also a great advantage for students wanting to go on to medical school.

Program Requirements & Curriculum

Program Requirements & Curriculum

To view the current Medical Laboratory Science, BS curriculum, visit our catalog site:
View Medical Laboratory Science, BS curriculum



Employment opportunities regionally, statewide, and nationally for baccalaureate degree-holding MLS graduates are excellent and are projected to continue to be strong into the foreseeable future. According to the U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities are expected to grow by 14% through 2018, which is faster than the national average. This increased demand is driven primarily by population growth and the development of new diagnostic tests.

Currently, there are 10,813 graduates per year fewer produced than what is needed to fill open positions, and this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future (National Accrediting Agency for Medical Laboratory Science). This means that nationwide, less than ½ of the necessary lab personnel are graduating with the appropriate credentials.

Many medical laboratory science schools report 100% placement of graduates, yet vacancies in 50% of U.S. labs is at a 12 year high (American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Registry 2000 Wage and Vacancy Survey). With the current shortage in laboratory technicians, combined with the expectation that 25% of the workforce will retire in the next 10 years and the added pressure provided by our aging population, the demand for individuals trained in medical lab sciences will undoubtedly increase into the foreseeable future.

Within the state of Minnesota over the next decade demand is expected to increase by 23% (U.S. Department of Labor). The need for medical laboratory technicians is expected to increase by 20.2%, that for medical laboratory technologists is expected to be 17.3% and for medical lab scientists the increased demand is expected to be 22.3% (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Resources). This expected growth, along with the current shortages, creates exceptional need and demand for these types of individuals in our society. Shortages of MLS technicians are particularly detrimental, as many other areas of medicine depend upon the results that these individuals provide. “As dramatic as (the nursing shortage) will be, it pales in comparison to similarly driven shortfalls in other health professional groups. And, as important as shortages in pharmacy, medicine, and even dentistry might become, they will also fail to reach the depths of the looming crisis in the allied health professions,” says Edward O’Neil, MPA PhD, Director of the Center for Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco.

Currently, there is a critical shortage of MLS graduates nationally, including northern Minnesota and North Dakota. Shortages in rural areas are particularly detrimental to small clinics. “We could lose one or two RN positions—it would be tight but we could get by; however, if we lose just one x-ray or laboratory tech, we may have to close our doors,” says Jon Linnell, Chief Executive Officer, North Valley Health Center, Warren, MN.

Career Paths

  • Forensic Laboratories
  • Hospitals
  • Research Clinics
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Blood Banks
  • Public Health Clinics
  • Veterinary Practices and Laboratories
  • Public Health Organizations
  • U.S. Military
  • Volunteer Organizations, (Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders)
  • Equipment and Supply Companies

The UMC Advantage

The UMC Advantage

Small Campus. Big Degree.

Did you know a degree from the University of Minnesota is recognized all over the world? True story. As a system campus of the University of Minnesota system, the U of M Crookston offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources—all in a smaller, more personal campus setting that’s very much like a private school. The University of Minnesota is internationally recognized and respected by not only intellectuals and academic movers and shakers, but major employers who want to hire the best and brightest—namely, you.

Learning and Doing

At the U of M Crookston, you won’t spend all your time behind a desk. Our curriculum is designed around experiential learning, which means we want you to have as much hands-on learning as possible. Depending on your major, you’ll find opportunities to be in the field, the lab, the classroom, or engaging in simulated scenarios that give you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce or head to grad school. You’ll learn the concepts and then actively apply them through projects, field trips, site visits, internships, and interactions with professionals in the field.

Caring Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff members are respected not only for their knowledge and skills, but also because they care about you as an individual. They serve as true mentors, offering personalized attention through small class sizes, a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, and by working closely with you as advisors. They take the time to welcome you to the UMC community, watch you grow as a leader and scholar, and help you connect with alumni and other experts.

A Technology-Rich Environment

At the U of M Crookston, we offer every student a laptop computer from day one. Everyone is tech-savvy, wi-fi is everywhere and learning happens in many ways, including simulations, applications and video presentations. It’s a virtual tech-topia! So, when you graduate, you’ll have all the latest technology skills, giving you a competitive edge. Employers consistently report the UMC graduates they hire are their “go to” people for technology and are well prepared for the demands of today’s technological workplace.

Internships, Job Placement and Grad School

More than 87% of U of M Crookston graduates gain full-time employment in their field or enroll in graduate or professional school within one year of graduation. That’s a fact. We’ll sure miss you when you graduate, but we know as a proud Golden Eagle alum, you’ll want to come back to cheer us on at homecoming or catch up with your favorite professors.

Internships. They’re a great way to earn college credit, add to your resume and help answer the question, “is this really what I want to do?” You can find internship opportunities with everyone from the business down the street to Fortune 500 companies. Or maybe grad school is in your future. U of M Crookston students get the educational requirements and resources they need to apply to an array of graduate programs from veterinary science to med school to an MBA program. Many go on for more education in a variety of other fields.

Opportunities for undergraduate research also add real value to your educational experience by allowing you to design and conduct research while working alongside faculty mentors. Research experience is especially helpful if you plan to attend graduate school.

One-Rate Tuition and Scholarship Options

Whether you live in Minnesota, just across the border, across the country, or on the other side of the ocean, you pay the same tuition rate, and the U of M Crookston’s tuition rate is a real value because it’s the lowest of the five campuses that make up the U of M system. Additionally, with merit-based scholarships guaranteed based on GPA and ACT scores and more than 300 specialty scholarships, we really do help make college affordable.

Leadership, Clubs and Athletics

Sure, college is about classes, studying, and research, but another important part of the experience involves professional development, creativity, leadership, and service. And let’s not forget about fun! With more than 40 student clubs and organizations, there’s something for every interest. Best of all, if you can’t find something from the existing list, grab a few friends and start a new club. It’s really just that easy…

In athletics, Golden Eagles shake things up on the court, the field, and on the sidelines. The U of M Crookston competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) as well as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and offers a full range of men’s and women’s athletic programs.

A Diverse, Global Experience

The world really is a small place, and at U of M Crookston we value diversity. Our students bring rich experiences spanning six continents, and more than 20 countries and 40 states! We value diversity because it not only helps you better understand the world, it helps you understand yourself and how your piece fits into the puzzle of global society. Get involved in the many multicultural and international programs on campus, and you’ll see how easy it is to make friends from across the world.

Or choose one of our international programs. Study, intern, volunteer, play, explore – here or anywhere. Take your pick from more than 300 options in 67 countries. Don’t just learn it, live it.

On-Campus Faculty

On-Campus Faculty

Associate Professor, Sustainability Coordinator
Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Associate Professor, Department Chair, Research Labs Director
UMC Photo Not Available
Teaching Specialist
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Related Majors, Minors & Programs...

Interested in a double major or minor to complement your Degree? Check out these other programs at UMC: