Program goals

The Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences provides students with advanced theoretical and technical education and prepares them to assume roles as laboratory supervisors, educators and researchers.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrated professional and leadership conduct
  2. Demonstrated ability to research and evaluate laboratory testing-related issues

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

All students will be given a handbook on policies and regulations at orientation.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
M.S.FallJun 1Satisfactory scores on the GRE; minimum TOEFL of 600 (paper), 250 (computer) or 100 (IBT); or minimum IELTS score of 7.0 for international students whose native language is not exclusively English
SpringNov 1

Special requirements

  • Applicants must possess the essential technical abilities and skills described below.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the general entrance requirements for the Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences for the categorical concentration are:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a major in biology or chemistry (Other majors may be approved with 12 credits of biology and 12 credits of chemistry completed.)
  2. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for at least the last two years of undergraduate work
  3. Three letters of recommendation from recent instructors or professional references from the applicant’s intended field of study addressing the applicant’s academic and professional abilities and preparation for graduate study
  4. Satisfactory interview
  5. Essential functions in clinical laboratory sciences
    The VCU Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences is responsible for providing education without regard to disability while assuring that academic and technical standards are met.
    1. Academic standards are met by successfully completing the curriculum for the M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences degree.
    2. Technical standards represent the essential nonacademic requirements that a student must demonstrate to successfully participate in the M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences degree program. The technical standards for each category identified below are consistent with the expectations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Applicants must possess the following essential technical abilities and skills for admission consideration:
      1. Manual dexterity: Ability to use hand(s) or prosthetic devices with coordination

      2. Fine motor: Ability to manipulate small objects with fingertips or adaptive devices

      3. Mobility: Ability to maneuver in the laboratory and around instruments and in patient-care settings

      4. Vision: Ability to distinguish red, yellow, green and blue colors; to distinguish clear from cloudy; and to distinguish objects through a microscope

      5. Hearing: Ability to hear with assistive devices (i.e., phone receivers, hearing aid, etc.)

      6. Speech: Ability to verbally communicate in English

      7. Writing: Ability to communicate effectively in written form in English

      8. Reading: Ability to read, understand and follow directions printed in English

      9. Emotional and physical stability: Ability to work accurately and safely under stress, adapt to changing environments and prioritize tasks

      10. Personal attributes: Must demonstrate integrity, responsibility, tolerance and respect


Degree requirements

The categorical concentration of the Master of Science program provides specialized study, including a clinical practicum, in one of the following areas: clinical chemistry, hematology, microbiology or immunohematology.

In addition to the general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students in the categorical concentration are required to complete:

  1. A minimum of 34 graduate credit hours to include 20 credits from core courses and 14 credits from discipline-specific science courses while completing undergraduate courses specific to their specializations
  2. A six-week clinical practicum in their specialty area 

In addition to the basic science requirement, each student may choose an area of secondary emphasis in biomedical research, education, management or business.

  1. In lieu of 12 of the 14 credit hours of discipline-specific course, students with a secondary emphasis in education, management or business may elect to focus on courses in those areas.
  2. No more than 12 credit hours in the area of the secondary emphasis may be applied toward the required curriculum minimum of 34 credits.

Upon completion of the curriculum, students are eligible to take a national certification examination in the area in which they performed their concentrated study.

Full-time candidates require a minimum of two academic years to complete the program. Part-time students must complete all work requirements within six years. An interruption in registration in excess of one semester requires prior approval of the department.

In addition to these requirements, the department faculty will review continuation in the program if:

  1. A student fails to achieves a minimum GPA of 3.0
  2. A student receives a D or F in a course
  3. A student receives a grade of C on more than one CLLS graduate course or more than nine graduate credit hours (CLLS and non-CLLS credits)
  4. A student receives a grade of U (unsatisfactory) on required graduate course work.
  5. A categorical master’s student receives a grade less than a B in undergraduate course
  6. A student fails to demonstrate appropriate professional responsibility 

Curriculum requirements

Undergraduate course work

Discipline-specific courses
Select eight to 10 credit hours of the following specialties 18-10
Clinical chemistry specialty
Clinical Chemistry and Instrumentation I
Clinical Chemistry and Instrumentation II
Hematology specialty
Abnormal Hematology
Urine and Body Fluid Analysis
Immunohematology specialty
Clinical Immunology (other immunology courses may be approved)
Microbiology specialty
Introduction to Pathogenic Microbiology
Pathogenic Bacteriology
Total Hours8-10

Specific courses will depend on the individual student's choice of specialty. Other courses may be approved.

Total undergraduate credit hours required 8-10

Graduate curriculum

Core courses (20 credits)
ALHP 594Health Education Practicum4
BIOS 543Graduate Research Methods I3
or STAT 543 Statistical Methods I
CLLS 690Clinical Laboratory Sciences Seminar (one-credit course completed at least three times; four recommended)3
CLLS 761Research Methodology in Clinical Laboratory Sciences3
CLLS 790Research in Clinical Laboratory Sciences4
HADM 602Health System Organization, Financing and Performance3
Discipline-specific courses (14 credits)
Select 14 credit hours from the following specialties: 1
All specialties (required)
CLLS 500Concepts and Techniques in Clinical Laboratory Science3
CLLS 580Principles of Education/Management3
CLLS 595Clinical Practicum3
Clinical chemistry specialty
Mass Spectrometry
Analytical Techniques for Clinical Mass Spectrometry
Mass Spectrometry Systems for Clinical Analyses
Mass Spectrometry Assay Development for In Vitro Diagnostics
Advanced Concepts in Clinical Chemistry and Instrumentation
Forensic Toxicology
Hematology specialty
Advanced Hematology
Advanced Concepts in Hematology
Introduction to Human Genetics
Immunohematology specialty
Theoretical Blood Banking
Advanced Concepts in Immunology and Immunohematology
Introduction to Human Genetics
Microbiology specialty
Laboratory Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases
Advanced Concepts in Microbiology
Principles of Molecular Microbiology
Mechanisms of Viral and Parasite Pathogenesis
Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis
Electives for all specialties
Select from the following (other courses may be approved):
Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Fundamentals of Molecular Genetics
Molecular Diagnostics in Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Advanced Human Genetics
General Pathology (Dentistry)
Electives in business, education, management, marketing, health administration (secondary emphasis) 2
Fundamentals of Accounting
Adult Learning and Development
Financial Concepts of Management
The Academic Profession
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Health Economics
Administration of Long-term Care Facilities and Programs
Information Systems for Managers
Best Practices in Leadership
Marketing Management

Specific courses will depend on the individual student's choice of specialty. The basic science requirement may be distributed among approved courses listed in the VCU Graduate Bulletin. Other courses may be approved.


In lieu of 12 of the 14 credits in discipline-specific courses, students with a secondary emphasis in education, management or business may elect to focus on courses in those areas. No more than 12 graduate credit hours in the area of secondary emphasis may be applied to the required curriculum minimum of 34 credits.

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 34.


Teresa S. Nadder, Ph.D., MLS(ASCP)CM
Associate professor, chair and graduate program director
(804) 828-9469

Program website: