2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Apr 13, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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Medical Laboratory Science (B.S.)

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Stacie Lansink, Program Director
Department of Allied and Population Health
Avera Health and Science Center

Program Information

The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program prepares its graduates for employment in hospital or medical laboratories. The curriculum emphasizes basic science, medical laboratory science, critical thinking and communication skills, including structured learning in the laboratories of clinical affiliated laboratories. During the first two years, students complete basic science courses necessary for entrance into the professional clinical program. Upon completion of pre-MLS requirements, students apply for entrance into the professional component of the major. The professional program consists of on-campus medical laboratory science courses and an off-campus clinical experience. The program provides the scientific background in hematology, immunohematology, urinalysis, phlebotomy, microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, clinical chemistry, and management necessary for a laboratory career.

Program Goals

  • Provide an educational program within the framework of the University setting in accordance with the Standards of Accredited Programs for the Medical Laboratory Scientist as established by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).
  • Provide adequate numbers of entry-level medical laboratory scientists to meet the workforce needs of the state of South Dakota and surrounding areas.
  • Provide the health care community with quality individuals who are competent to conduct laboratory procedures in large medical facilities and small rural laboratories and who demonstrate positive professional attitudes, ethics and practices.

Enabling Objectives

  • Provide a curriculum that includes a general or liberal education, content specific theory and applications, technical knowledge, professionalism and clinical competence to successfully complete a national certification exam.
  • Assist students in career placement by providing academic and occupational advisement.
  • Instill in students a sense of professionalism, commitment to lifelong learning and academic excellence.
  • Prepare students to successfully enter the health care field as competent entry-level professionals that communicate well, appreciate social diversity and possess a genuine compassion and concern for others.

Student Learning Outcomes

In the Medical Laboratory Science major, students will:

  • Apply principles of management that include administrative methodologies and assessment to clinical laboratory practice.
  • Apply principles of educational methodologies including objectives and learning outcomes, domains, and Bloom’s taxonomy to curriculum design, evaluation, and assessment in clinical laboratory practice and continuing professional development. (Cross-curricular Skill: Foundational Lifelong Learning Skills)
  • Exercise independent judgement and critical thinking to correlate and recognize discrepancies associated with normal and abnormal test results using patient history, characteristics, and demographics. (Cross-curricular Skill: Inquiry and Analysis)
  • Evaluate, demonstrate and perform best laboratory practices as outlined in the standard operating procedures to correctly and independently follow procedures and policies to perform laboratory test procedures. (Cross-curricular Skill: Problem Solving)
  • Demonstrate effective oral or written communication with other students, faculty, patients, professional colleagues, physicians, other members of the health care team, and the public to effectively and efficiently transmit test results and instructions.
  • Proficiently construct and devise written documents in accordance with quality management and quality assurance.
  • Demonstrate and value professional conduct that includes compassion, concern, integrity and respect when dealing with patients, colleagues, faculty, students, physicians, other members of the health care team, and the public independent of race, sex, religion, ethnicity or diversity. (Cross-curricular Skill: Diversity, Inclusion and Equity)
  • Practice and demonstrate the use of appropriate ethical standards in all matters related to medical information and patient care including strict adherence to patient confidentiality rights as mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). (Cross-curricular Skill: Ethical Reasoning)

Medical Laboratory Science Professional Program

The Medical Laboratory Science Program accepts up to twenty-four students into the on-campus program. Applicants will be notified of the decision regarding their application in writing.

Admissions Deadlines

  • November 15 - Current SDSU Medical Laboratory Science Majors (minimum of 12 months as a designated MLS Major)
  • February 15 - All other applicants, including transfer students or non-designated majors. Transfer students must be admitted to SDSU prior to applying to the MLS program.
  • Any student who anticipates successful completion of the pre-MLS mathematics, science, and communication requirements prior to the admission in the fall semester is eligible to apply.

Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive and will be determined based on the following criteria:

  • Submission of cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale of all college work completed at the time of application.
  • Grade of “C” or “70%” minimum in all prerequisite courses.
  • Completion of prerequisite courses CHEM 106-106L , CHEM 108-108L , BIOL 221-221L , BIOL 325-325L , STAT 281 , and course or content equivalencies as approved by the MLS Academic Affairs Committee.
  • Confirmation of ability to meet the non-academic Essential Functions of the program.
  • Completion of an approved background check administered according to program guidelines.  Expenses concurred are the student’s responsibility.*
  • Completion of an interview with the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee.
  • Completion of a writing assessment exercise.

*NOTE:  An additional background check may be required prior to clinical placement, dependent on clinical affiliate requirements.  Students are responsible for all costs associated with background checks.

MLS Progression and Remediation Policies

  • Medical Laboratory Science GPA Calculation
    • Medical Laboratory Science GPA is calculated using all medical laboratory science MLS prefix courses. 
    • MLS courses repeated at SDSU, only the repeated grade will be used to calculate the GPA.
  • Graduation
    • A student must earn a minimum 2.0 grade point average within the medical laboratory science program to qualify for graduation with a B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science.

Refused Status

A student will be placed on refused status if the student:

  • Earns a D or F in one MLS course
Options for Students on Refused Status:
  • One D (excluding clinical experience)
    • Student earning one D in a MLS course may choose to:
      • Pursue remediation. See remediation policy.
      • Forgo remediation and repeat all MLS courses for the academic year in which the unremediated D was earned.
  • Two Ds (excluding clinical experience)
    • The student may reenter the MLS program by repeating all required MLS courses for the academic year in which the second D was earned.
  • Three Ds or one F that lead to a refused status require the student to schedule an appointment with the Dean of Student Services to submit an academic appeal for readmission.


Remediation is a second opportunity to demonstrate minimum competency in course outcomes and is defined as the process of correcting an academic deficiency.  Repeating a course is not considered remediation.

Situation that can be remediated:
  • A student is allowed to remediate one course during their academic career in the professional MLS program.
  • Only one MLS grade of “D” in a lecture course can be remediated.  There is no remediation for a “D” in the lab.
  • A student receives a “D” on an exam/practical during a clinical experience course.
Remediation Process

Remediation is available as a “second chance” to make up a deficiency in one course.  Multiple remediations are not allowed as this would severely change the way the MLS curriculum is delivered.

  • The student requesting remediation must contact the MLS course instructor and the MLS Program Director no later than two business days (5:00 pm CST on the second day, holidays not included) after grades are required to be posted (typically midnight on the Monday after finals week in the fall, and typically midnight on the Wednesday after finals week in the spring).
  • The MLS instructor for the course will create a Remediation Plan that includes student self-directed study materials, format for comprehensive assessment, the level of performance required on the assessment to achieve successful remediation, and a timeline for completion.
  • The MLS Program Director and Department Head will review and approve the remediation plan.
  • The student will receive the remediation plan within two business days of requesting remediation (5:00 pm CST on the second day).  The plan will be provided to the student by the MLS Program Director.
  • The student will sign the remediation plan indicating his/her acceptance and understanding of the plan.  The signed plan will be returned to the MLS Program Director prior to the student starting his/her remediation.  The form will be forwarded to the Department Head.
  • If the student is remediating a MLS course offered in the fall semester, he/she is responsible for carrying out the self-remediation plan and completing the comprehensive assessment prior to the first day of classes in the spring.
  • If the student is remediating a MLS course offered in the spring semester, he/she is responsible for carrying out the self-remediation plan and successfully completing the comprehensive assessment prior to June 1.
  • Successful remediation will not change the course grade but will allow the student to progress on in the MLS program.
  • If a student is unsuccessful in remediation, then he/she has utilized the “second chance” to make up the deficiency and therefore must submit an academic appeal to gain reentry.
  • The student will be notified of the results by the Department Head.
  • The completed Request for Remediation will be placed in the student’s folder.
  • A student receiving two “D”s on any exams/practicals during clinicals, and their exam average is below 70% during their clinical experience can have these replaced by a “C” if they receive at least a 70% on the final comprehensive exam taken at the end of the clinical experience.

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure


The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Rd. Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018-5119.


Graduates will be eligible to take the certification examination as a medical laboratory scientist from the Board of Certification by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.


Licensure requirements will vary by state.

Course Delivery Format

MLS courses are delivered through lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical practice experiences. The on campus program consists of lectures and laboratory courses that provide hands-on skills and technical training. The MLS program is a technology and lap-top based program. Course materials are provided electronically utilizing the Desire2Learn course management system.

Clinical Practice Experience courses will be completed at a clinical affiliate site. Placement at the clinical affiliate will be made in consultation with clinical affiliates and the MLS program faculty. Current available sites are Avera Health System facilities, Essentia Health Care System facilities, Madison Community Hospital, VA Regional Medical Center Sioux Falls, Prairie Lakes Healthcare, Monument Health, and Sanford Health Network Affiliated Hospitals. This list is not all inclusive and may change as affiliations and availability of sites are updated periodically. Availability of clinical placement is not guaranteed.

Requirements for Medical Laboratory Science Major: 120 Credits

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science 

Major Requirements


Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Total Required Credits: 120

Summary of Program Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science

System General Education Requirements 33 Credit Hours
Major Requirements 80 Credit Hours
Electives** 7 Credit Hours

**Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Academic Advising Guide Sheet

The goal of the academic advising guide sheets and sample plans of study is to promote undergraduate student success by guiding all students to timely completion of an undergraduate degree. Students are not limited to the course sequence provided for their academic program. Instead, the sample plan of study is one possible path to completing your degree and is meant to be used as a guide for planning purposes in consultation with an academic advisor. The plans also help students prepare for meetings with their academic advisor and track their progress in their selected academic program.

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