Medical Laboratory Science

The Profession

Do you enjoy problem solving and courses in biology and chemistry that include a laboratory component?

If so, a career in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) may be for you! Medical Laboratory Scientists perform, develop, evaluate, correlate and assure accuracy and validity of laboratory information. They play a key role in the healthcare team by providing lab results that assist physicians in patient diagnosis and treatment, disease monitoring and prevention. The Medical Laboratory professional has diverse and multi-level functions in the area of analysis and clinical decision-making, information management, regulatory compliance, education and quality assurance. A MLS graduate can work in a variety of settings including clinical laboratories, research laboratories, forensic laboratories, industry or in the field of education.

Medical Laboratory Scientists must also have a strong desire to help others and possess good communication skills. Medical Laboratory Scientists will be an important member of the healthcare team and will interact with physicians, nurses, patients and other members in the laboratory. Graduates of MLS programs will often have management responsibilities. Many may specialize in areas in the Medical Laboratory such as hematology, clinical chemistry, toxicology, virology, microbiology, immunohematology (blood banking) or molecular biology.

The curriculum also offers an excellent foundation for medical, dental, veterinary, and pharmacy schools. It is also an excellent degree for admission to graduate programs in medical sciences.

Our Program

The Medical Laboratory Science (formerly Clinical Laboratory Science) program at the University of Kentucky began in 1933 and was one of the first programs in the United States. The program has evolved over the years and has graduates worldwide that have worked in the field.

The 18-month program provides sequential instruction in laboratory medicine for the student who has been well prepared in science and mathematics during the first 2 years of study at the university. Click here to view prerequisites. Traditional students apply to the program in the second semester of the sophomore year and begin Medical Laboratory Science courses in the fall of the junior year. Students complete an intense curriculum that includes lectures and student laboratory classes, and then complete a 20-24 week clinical practicum in one of our affiliated clinical sites. Opportunities exist for the student who wishes to complete clinical practice in rural Kentucky sites.

After completion of the MLS curriculum, students are well prepared for clinical practice in the modern, automated laboratory. Graduates are eligible to take national certification examinations as Medical Laboratory Scientists through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification.

The University of Kentucky Medical Laboratory Science program is accredited through 2017 by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAAMLS) 8410 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60631; 773.714.8880.

Program Locations

Currently the 18-month program is offered on the Lexington campus of the University of Kentucky and at the Center for Excellence in Rural Health campus in Hazard, Kentucky. For additional information about the Hazard program, contact LeeAnn Helton (Center for Rural Health advisor) at

Track Options

Second B.S. Degree

Students with a bachelor degree in science (e.g., biology or chemistry) from another university in the U.S. are eligible to obtain a Bachelor of Health Science in Medical Laboratory Science after MLS Program pre-requisites are met.

Transfer Students

Students completing their general education requirements and program requirements at a two-year or four-year institution can transfer to UK and apply to the MLS program.

Online MLT to MLS

The MLT to MLS track (bridge) is an online program only available to those who have an associate degree from a medical laboratory technician (MLT) program.

Program Outcome Data

The United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education have indicated the importance of the public availability of student outcomes information. To meet this expectation, the University of Kentucky Medical Laboratory Science program is providing the following:

Certification Examination Pass Rate

Class of Number of graduates taking exam Ultimate pass rate %
2012 19 100
2013 19 95
2014 19 90


Employment Rate

Class Total graduates Secured initial employment or continuing education (six months post graduation) #/% Secured initial employment or continuing education (six months post graduation) #/%
2012 19 19/100%  
2013 20 19/95% 20/100%


Attrition/Graduation Rates


Class of # of students beginning final half of the program* # of students graduating Attrition Rate Graduation Rate
2012 19 19 0 100
2013 20 20 0 100
2014 24 24 0 100

*Accrediting body requests data on final half of the program. Final half is summer courses of year 1 students and fall courses of year 2 students.