Montana State University
Department of Microbiology and Immunology > Microbiology > Medical Laboratory Sciences Option

Medical Laboratory Sciences Option


What is the Medical Laboratory Science option in the Department of Microbiology?

This option is for students interested in careers that involve the performance of clinical laboratory tests. These tests provide data that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Because their work may deal with life and death situations, it requires people who are precise, dependable and have a strong sense of responsibility. To become a Medical Laboratory Scientist, students must train in a year long program and become accomplished professionals in microbiology, chemistry blood banking and hematology. They are involved in a constant challenge of change, discovery and exploration and have a strong desire to help others.

What courses would I take in the MLS curriculum?

There are two plans to choose from in this option: Plan A and Plan B. In both plans, students get a strong background in microbiology as well as in supporting subjects such as cell biology, chemistry and anatomy. Specialty courses are offered in general microbiology, medical bacteriology, hematology, virology, immunology, eukaryotic pathogens, microbial physiology and genetics.


Plan A

Students complete three years of coursework at MSU and, if qualified, enter their professional training in their senior year. This clinical training for Plan A students is offered through one of three affiliate schools:

  • Montana Medical Laboratory Science Training Program (MMLS), MSU, Bozeman, MT.
  • Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Sciences, Denver, CO
  • Sacred Heart Medical Center School (SHMC) of Medical Technology, Spokane, WA

Students apply to these programs in their junior year. They must have a 2.5-2.8 GPA to apply. Students attend the Colorado Center for MLS and SHMC programs for one full year (3 semesters). Following successful completion of this training, students take a Board of Certification exam to become Medical Laboratory Scientists,and are awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from MSU.


Plan B

Students take four years of coursework at MSU to complete the Bachelor of Science degree and, if they qualify, enter training programs in their fifth year (4 + 1). During their senior year they apply for clinical training which usually requires at least a 2.5 GPA. The training programs are a one-year internship, and, for the most part, are anywhere in the United States. After this clinical training and examination they become registered Medical Laboratory Scientists.

How does the Medical Laboratory Science option prepare me for more advanced training and employment?

Professionals in this field are termed Medical Laboratory Scientists. In either plan A or plan B, students take a Board of Certification exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathologists. This certifies them to work in clinical labs throughout the nation.From the inception of the program we have had a 100% Graduation Rate, 100% B.O.C Pass Rate and also 100% Employment Rate. Our students score 30-40 points above the average for University Based Programs for the B.O.C Certification Exam.

Medical Laboratory Scientists have diverse career opportunities available to them, and they can combine skills and interests to create a career suited to their desired goals. Most medical laboratory professionals work in hospital laboratories, but many others are employed in clinics, physicians’ offices, commercial laboratories, research facilities, veterinary clinics, public health centers, criminology laboratories, the Armed Forces, and the Peace Corps.

Some technologists with managerial background become laboratory administrators or marketing specialists with medical supply companies who are developing new test kits, instruments and equipment for diagnostic use. Some also apply their investigative skills to medical research, working closely with pathologists or other scientists. 


What does the curriculum look like?

Medical Laboratory Science Option A

Medical Laboratory Science Option B

Application materials and additional information for the Montana Medical Laboratory Science Training Program

You can also download our MMLS Brochure