2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Medical Laboratory Science (B.S.)

Location(s): Brookings Main Campus

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Program Coordinator/Contact

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

Program Information

Medical Laboratory Science is the health care discipline that is trained in medical diagnostic testing to help clinicians diagnose diseases.  The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program prepares its graduates for employment in hospital, medical laboratories, reference or research laboratories. Medical Laboratory Scientists perform a variety of testing on patient samples that includes blood, various body fluids, cells, and tissues.  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 labs 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.  Medical Laboratory Science provides excellent opportunities for those interested in a dynamic and exciting career as a medical detective that plays a key role in helping to diagnose a patient’s disease. The laboratory testing performed makes up 70-80% of a patient’s medical history.  According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical laboratory scientists is expected to grow 7% between now and 2031.  

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.

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.
  • Exercise independent judgement and critical thinking to correlate and recognize discrepancies associated with normal and abnormal test results using patient history, characteristics, and demographics.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).

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 CHEM 106L CHEM 108 CHEM 108L BIOL 221 BIOL 221L BIOL 325 BIOL 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.


  • 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.


  • To progress in the MLS program a student cannot have more than 5 credits of “D” in MLS prefix courses.
  • MLS students with 5 credits of “D” can continue in the MLS program but if a student receives 6 or more credits of “D”, the student would not be able to progress on to the next semester and would be removed from the program. The student would then have to follow the academic appeals if he/she would like to be readmitted to the program
  • If a student receives an “F” in an MLS prefix course, the student would not be able to progress on to the next semester and would be removed from the program. The student would then have to follow the academic appeals if he/she would like to be readmitted to the program.
  • The Pre-Clinical Assessment is a capstone activity that each student must take for completion of the MLS2 fall semester and progression into the MLS2 Clinical experience; it is administered during the fall semester of the MLS2 year. The assessment is administered at an alternate time for the Upward Mobility program and the Accelerated MLS program as determined by the MLS faculty and Program Director. The assessment is intended to determine competency in the general and professional student learning outcomes that are pertinent through the clinical experience (see Essential Functions and Curriculum Outcomes in the Student Handbook). The student will also be required to take a clinical post-test followed by a final comprehensive exit exam in the summer of the MLS2 year to complete the clinical experience.

Requirements for Medical Laboratory Science Major: 120 Credits

Bachelor of Science

Major Requirements


Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Total Required Credits: 120

Summary of Program Requirements

Bachelor of Science

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

*System General Education Requirements for students pursuing a baccalaureate degree shall include a minimum of 30 credit hours. Some general education coursework may be counted for Major Requirements and Supporting Coursework.
**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.