Prospective MDS Students

MDS Admissions

Who Should Apply?

The MDS program is intended for current laboratory professionals and individuals with a baccalaureate degree and a strong preparation in science.

  • Laboratory practitioners with current certification as a medical laboratory scientist (MLS), clinical laboratory scientist (CLS), or medical technologist (MT) can advance their knowledge and credentials in this rapidly growing area of molecular diagnostics.
  • Cytotechnologists will find this program prepares them to understand and perform the molecular testing that is an increasing part of their clinical practice.
  • Students with an undergraduate science degree and an interest in molecular diagnostic testing will be prepared to work in clinical laboratories, research laboratories, and industry.

In addition to students who wish to practice in molecular diagnostic laboratories, the program will help prepare faculty for associate degree and baccalaureate degree clinical laboratory educational programs.

PLEASE NOTE: Because the MDS program has a significant number of on-line courses, immigration regulations do not allow UNC to issue the appropriate visa eligibility documentation. International students who are already in the U.S. and plan to maintain their current visa status while completing the MDS program may enroll in the program if their current visa allows them to study while in the US.

Application deadline: Second Tuesday in January.

Completed applications received by the second Tuesday in January will receive first consideration for admissions. Completed applications received after that date will be considered if there are positions available in the program.

Admissions Process

Individuals holding a baccalaureate degree with the required pre-requisite courses may apply for admission. Individuals who have completed an accredited program in Clinical Laboratory Science are considered to have met all prerequisites. An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

The application

Applications for admission to the UNC-Chapel Hill Molecular Diagnostic Science program should be submitted via the online admission application. All required materials described below should be submitted according to the instructions provided. Your application will not be reviewed until the application fee is received. By submitting an application to UNC-Chapel Hill, consent is granted to university staff to obtain any additional or missing information as needed, including campus safety information.

Please Remember as you complete your application:

  • Include a current email address on your application because we will rely mainly on email for communication with applicants.

Required Application Materials

1. Application Fee.
A non-refundable $85 application fee is required. Applicants can pay their application fee by credit card (Visa/MasterCard) or mail a check or money order to the address below. For security purposes, the credit card address manually inserted during the final payment process must exactly match the credit card billing address for a successful transaction. Mail-in payments are restricted to a check (in U.S. funds) that contains the pre-printed electronic routing numbers, or an international money-order made payable to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Please include your full name, birth date and program to which you applied.

2. Transcripts.
One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded within the application. If offered admission, one paper official transcript for each university attended will be required at a later date.

  • Transcripts of all post-secondary education (including community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs) are required. Unofficial transcripts must be complete (not select courses), issued in the original language and be accompanied by certified English translations when applicable. Transfer credit posted on the transcript of other institutions is not accepted in lieu of transcripts from the institution attended. A transcript from each institution is always required.
  • Applicants should submit transcripts showing their current courses. Final transcripts must then follow.
  • Applicants with education obtained outside the US or Canada must upload a course-by-course evaluation for equivalency reviewed by an evaluation agency. Suggested agencies include, but are not limited to:
    • Credentials Evaluation Service
      PO Box 66940
      Los Angeles, CA 90066
      310-390-6276
    • International Education Evaluation Inc
      5030 Flagstone Ct
      Harrisburg, NC 28075
      704-455-6154
    • International Education Research
      Credentials Evaluation Services
      PO Box 3665
      Culver City, CA 90231-3665
      310-258-9451

3. Current letters of recommendation.
The email address of three recommenders will be required within the application for electronic submission and delivery. You should solicit recommendations from individuals who are qualified to evaluate your academic and professional achievements and who can address your potential for success in the molecular diagnostic science program. The online application will prompt you to submit the email addresses for your three recommenders.

4. Resume.
You will be asked to upload a current resume.

5. Standardized Test scores.
You will be asked to enter your GRE General test scores within the application. The scores should be no more than 5 years old. Official test scores must also be reported to UNC-Chapel Hill directly by the Educational Testing Service. When you register for the GRE, you should indicate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (institution #5816) as a score recipient. If you did not specify the UNC-Chapel Hill as a score recipient at the time of taking the test, you must promptly ask ETS to send your scores to us (institution #5816). No departmental code is required.

At times, the five year framework for the GRE may be waived. Students may request consideration for a waiver of the five year time requirement. The request must be made in writing with a copy of the GRE scores and sent to the address below.

6. Statement of purpose.
You will be asked to upload a 1-page, typed statement indicating your educational and professional goals and a statement of your reasons for pursuing the master’s in molecular diagnostic science. You should also include any special interests, plans, or relevant information pertaining to educational records and career progression.

7. Supplemental information.

  • Description of Profession: You will be asked to upload a brief, typed description of your perception of the role of molecular diagnostic science in the health care team.
  • Clinical Rotation Plan: You will be asked to upload a typed description of your plans for completing the semester-long clinical rotation component of the program to include potential relocation and conflict with any existing employment.  Applicants applying for Route 2 or Route 3 must complete additional detailed plans for the clinical rotation component of the program.  See the description of the Routes and the steps for applying for Route 2 and 3 on our Curriculum page.

8. Campus Safety Information.
Applicants for admission will be asked several questions regarding criminal pleas, charges and convictions, academic suspensions, and military discharges on the MMDS application. You will also be asked to submit information for a criminal background check. You must describe violations of law in your home country and in any other country in which you have resided. The term “law” includes codes, legal rules and regulations, and other criminal-type statutes or violations of municipal, local, provincial, state, federal, national, commonwealth, and other governmental jurisdiction. Failure to provide complete, accurate and truthful information will be grounds to deny or withdraw your admission, or to dismiss you after enrollment. The same actions will occur if you fail to notify the Admissions Office promptly in writing of such charges that occur at any time after you submit the application.

9. TOEFL or IELTS score (no more than 2 years old).
All international applicants must submit acceptable, official (reported directly from ETS) TOEFL scores or IELTS (reported directly from IELTS). We accept no other English Language tests.

  • Standardized test scores must be official and are reportable for a period of two years from the date of the exam. Exam results more than two years old cannot be considered. Standardized test scores that are submitted to this institution are kept on file for only one year.
  • When you register for any tests, you should indicate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School as a score recipient. If you did not specify the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School as a score recipient at the time of taking the test, you must promptly ask to send your scores to us. While photocopies of score reports are useful for informal evaluation, the official report of your scores must arrive before final review and admission can be offered.

There are several categories of applicants who may qualify for an exception to the English Standardized exams:

  • those from countries where English is the SOLE OFFICIAL language of instruction (Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada-except Québec, England, Ghana, Ireland, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad, Tobago, Uganda, and Wales)
  • those who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university in the United States (If you are currently enrolled at a U.S. institution, you must submit an official transcript or verification of degree candidate status from that institution to qualify for a TOEFL or IELTS waiver. If the degree or an official verification is not received, the score will again be required.)
  • those who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university where English is the SOLE language of instruction. (If you are a degree candidate in a university where English is the SOLE language of instruction, you must submit an official verification from that university that English is the SOLE language of instruction along with your anticipated date of graduation. If the degree or an official verification is not received, the TOEFL score will again be required.)

The required minimum total score on the exams are:

  • The paper-based TOEFL exam = 550 with a minimum of 50 in each section.
  • The internet-based TOEFL exam = 79.
  • The IELTS exam = 7

10. Financial Certificate (for international students).
Additional information for international applicants may be found at http://oisss.unc.edu.

Interview

Based on the review of the submitted materials, applicants may be interviewed to assess their career goals and aptitude for molecular diagnostic laboratory testing.

Address for application fees:

Gabrielle Jones
Student Services Specialist, Office of Student Services
Department of Allied Health Sciences
UNC-Chapel Hill
1033 Bondurant Hall CB# 7120
Chapel Hill NC 27599-7120

Ph (919) 966-2343
Fax (919) 966-8384
Email gabrielle_jones@med.unc.edu

For questions about the MDS program, please contact Dr. Susan Beck, Program Director (sbeck@med.unc.edu)

MDS Prerequisites

 

Pre-requisite courses may be taken at UNC or at another college or university.

Pre-requisites

Credits Needed

Cell Biology (If the course is not titled “Cell Biology”, submit the name and description of the course that best matches this pre-requisite with your application for evaluation by the admissions committee.)

3 credits

Human Genetics

3 credits

Biochemistry

3 credits

Microbiology

3 credits

Mathematics

3 credits

Length and Costs of Program

Length of Program

The MDS program is a 2-year program. Students start and finish the program as a cohort. In the event that a student can not complete the courses in this time frame, the student will have up to 4 years to complete all the courses and receive the Master’s Degree. Because of the cohort nature of the MDS program, part time students will not be accepted; however, students accepted for Route 3 will be given 3 years to complete the program.

Cost of Attendance

The tuition for the MDS program is established by the university and can be found on the Finance Division website: http://finance.unc.edu/saur/student-account-services/tuition-and-fees/
Scroll down to "Charges for Attendance" and click on the current academic year. The tuition for the MDS program is found toward the end of the document under Off-campus programs, Allied Health Sciences, Master of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (MCLS).

In addition to tuition, fees, and books, students will incur costs including:

  • Application fee: There is a non-refundable $85.00 application fee.
  • Enrollment Deposit: There is a $200 enrollment fee for students who are accepted into the MDS program. The enrollment fee is applied to the fall semester tuition. The enrollment fee is not refundable.
  • Other costs: Travel to Chapel Hill, lodging, and meals for attending week-long sessions will be the student’s responsibility. Living expenses and costs of re-locating to attend the clinical rotation will be borne by the student. Students in certain states may incur authorization fees (see below).

Important Information for Students Residing in Another State

Federal student aid programs require that higher education institutions must be authorized by state regulators.  As of 2014, the Education Department requires states to also authorize institutions providing online education to students who are residents.  Some states require a per-student fee for this authorization.

Currently all UNC Chapel Hill Distance Education programs are authorized, registered, or exempt from registration in the following states:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Maine
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
NewJersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oklahoma
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

If you reside in any of the following states you may be required to pay additional state authorization fees should you enroll in our program:

Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesota
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Oregon
Tennessee

We are not currently able to accept students from:

Arkansas

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the tuition for this program? The tuition for the MDS program is established by the university and can be found on the Finance Division website:
http://finance.unc.edu/saur/student-account-services/tuition-and-fees/
Scroll down to "Charges for Attendance" and click on the current academic year. The tuition for the MDS program is found toward the end of the document under Off-campus programs, Allied Health Sciences, Master of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (MCLS).

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Can I waive the application fee or the enrollment fee? No, the application fee must be paid before we can consider your application. The enrollment fee must be paid in order to hold your position in the program. Both are non-refundable. The enrollment fee is applied toward your fall semester tuition.

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Do I have to take a GRE subject test? No, only the General GRE test is required.

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I sent my GRE / TOEFL scores to UNC-Chapel Hill electronically. Do I also have to send you a hard copy of the test results? No. Your official GRE or TOEFL scores will be automatically incorporated into your online application.

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Can I request a specific clinical rotation site? Students will submit requests for clinical rotations, and will be assigned sites by the beginning of the fall semester. Because clinical sites will take 2 students at the most, not all students will get their first choice for their clinical rotations.

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Can I complete the clinical rotation in a laboratory near my current residence? The UNC MDS program currently uses the following clinical sites for the clinical rotation:

  • UNC Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • Laboratory Corporation of America, Research Triangle Park, NC
  • Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute, Chantilly, VA
  • Molecular Pathology Laboratory Network, Maryville, TN
  • University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA.

If you are interested in a clinical rotation at a site that is not listed above, please read this document. The document describes the process of establishing new clinical sites. Note that this process must by completed during the student's first year in order for the desired clinical site to be considered for a clinical rotation.

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Can I complete the Master’s Degree without the clinical rotation? This program is designed to prepare graduates for national certification examinations and positions in molecular diagnostic laboratories. The clinical rotation is essential to this preparation and is required for the Master’s Degree.

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If I am already working in a molecular lab, do I still have to complete the clinical rotation and student lab? In order to complete the program, students must complete all courses (except that 610L is not required for certified laboratory professionals). All students must meet the goals and objectives of the clinical rotation, and complete all the checklists and assignments.  Students must be able to complete work on their projects independently.  Depending upon the test menu and facilities at the specific site, it may be possible for students who are already working in a molecular laboratory to complete their clinical rotations at that site (see next FAQ).

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Can I complete the clinical rotation at my current place of employment? Some students may be eligible for Route 2 or Route 3, which allow  students to meet some of the requirements for the clinical rotation by documenting their clinical competency in molecular testing at their current place of employment.  To determine whether or not you qualify for Route 2 or 3, see the description of the Routes and the steps for applying for Route 2 or Route 3 on our Curriculum page.

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Can I enroll as a part time student? Because the MDS students start and finish the program as a cohort, part time students are not accepted at this time.

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Can I take one course for continuing education? Because the MDS students start and finish the program as a cohort, we are only accepting full time students for enrollment in MDS courses.

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What kind of computer equipment do I need for the courses? See the AHS Technical Requirements for Distance Education Students page:
http://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/distance-education/technical-requirements

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How do I get technical assistance? Technical assistance is available through the University Help Desk at 919-962-HELP, or go to http://help.unc.edu to use live chat support or to submit a support request online. You can also go through the course instructor or teaching assistant.

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How many hours a week do the courses take? Obviously, this varies from student to student. These are demanding graduate-level courses. Many students have said that they were not prepared for the time commitment and had to adjust their time accordingly. The average number of hours per week/per course is 10-12. For some it is more and for others less.

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How long can I take to complete the MDS program? We expect students to start and finish the program as a cohort in four semesters. In the event that a student can not complete the courses in this time frame, the student will have up to 4 years to complete all the courses and receive the Master’s Degree.

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I have never taken an online course, what is it like? Do I have to be online at a certain time? No, you do not need to be online at a certain time. There are, however, specific activities that must be completed by a certain time. Each course consists of a mix of readings, group assignments through a discussion forum, individual assignments and audio/visual tutorials.

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Will I be able to ask questions of the instructors? All courses have a faculty member who is very accessible via phone or email.

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Is there campus housing available for the laboratory course and the clinical rotation? Students seeking housing should go to: http://housing.unc.edu

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After I complete the MDS program and pass the certification exam, can I put some credentials (initials) after my name? Yes, once you pass the exam you will be certified as MB(ASCP).

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Will there be job placement assistance for individuals who complete the MDS program? Although we do not specifically match students with job openings, the clinical practicum offers the student an excellent opportunity to learn about one employment setting. In addition, MDS employers can list job openings on the program website.

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Can I get a brochure or other printed material describing the MDS program? There is no additional printed information on the MDS program because we have attempted to put all the information on this website. If you have suggestions for additional information that would be helpful on this website, please contact us.

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Can I use the UNC tuition waiver program for MDS courses? Yes. UNC employees should review the guidelines in the tuition waiver to see if they are eligible.

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What is the average salary of a technologist working in a molecular diagnostic laboratory? The MDS program prepares graduates for entry-level positions. Although it is a Master’s degree program, graduates of baccalaureate degree programs are also qualified for these entry-level positions. In a recent survey, MDS graduates reported starting salaries between $40,000 - $50,000 / year. One graduate commented: “Salaries tend to be based more on experience than education. With little direct experience in the clinical laboratory, you may start with a salary close to or just slightly higher than a student with a BS degree in Clinical Laboratory Science. My starting salary after graduating from MDS was $45,000 per year. However, the experience and education that I gained in the program allowed me to perform at a much higher level than other techs during my first year. As a result, I'll be promoted more quickly to a leadership role within the laboratory, thus increasing my salary faster than the average tech.”

The following is a list of average annual salaries for medical technologists working in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area compiled by Monster.com in 2013:

Job Title

Typical Salaries
(Raleigh area)

Medical Technologist

$61,219

Laboratory Supervisor II

$79,017

Laboratory Manager

$87,560

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Can I transfer graduate level credits in molecular diagnostics from another college or university to this program? Transfer of course credit from another college or university will be evaluated on a case by case basis.  In some cases, it may be possible to receive up to six hours of credit.  A formal written request for credit transfer for previous course work must be submitted with the application packet.  The final decision regarding transfer of credit will be made by the admissions committee.

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Can UNC issue visa documents for the MDS program? Because the MDS program has a significant number of on-line courses, immigration regulations do not allow UNC to issue the appropriate visa eligibility documentation. International students who are already in the U.S. and plan to maintain their current visa status while completing the MDS program may enroll in the program if their current visa allows them to study while in the US.

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Transferring Credit from the MDS-C program

Students who previously completed the MDS certificate program at UNC-Chapel Hill and are interested in completing the Master’s Degree can transfer some of their course credits to the Master's Degree program.

The University policy on the transfer of credits from the MDS certificate program to the MDS program is as follows:

  1. All students must participate in and be accepted through a competitive application and admissions process to the degree program.
  2. The total number of academic credits transferred shall not exceed 40% of the total required for the master’s degree.
  3. All grades earned in the transferred courses will be included in the calculation of the academic eligibility in the degree program.
  4. Transferred credit shall not be included in the residence credit calculation.

The MDS program is 32 credits for students with certification as a CLS /MT and 38 credits for students without CLS or MT certification.  The maximum number of MDS certificate credits that can be transferred from the certificate program for CLS/MT students is 13 (40% of 32).  For students without CLS/MT certification, the maximum number of credits that can be transferred from the certificate program is 15 (40% of 38).   The following courses from the MDS certificate program are eligible for transfer to the Master's Degree program:

Course Number            Title                                                               Credits
CLSC 610               Clinical Laboratory Methods                                     3
CLSC 710               Principles of Molecular Diagnostics                           3
CLSC 720               Applications of Molecular Diagnostics                       3
CLSC 720L             Molecular Diagnostic Techniques Laboratory            3
CLSC 650               Clinical Laboratory Administration                            2
CLSC 740               Clinical Rotation in Molecular                                    4

During the admissions process, the MDS admissions committee will work with the applicant to select the best courses to transfer to the MDS program. See sample credit transfer plans, below.

Sample Transfer Credit Plan for MDS certificate graduate with CLS/MT certification

Semester

Course Number

Course Title


Transfer Credits

Enrolled Credits

Year 1



 

 

 

Fall

CLSC 610*

Clinical Laboratory Methods

Not required

 

 

Fall

CLSC 710

Principles of Molecular Diagnostics

Transfer

3

 

Fall

BIOS 600

Biostatistics 600

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 720

Applications of Molecular Diagnostics

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 720L

Molecular Diagnostic Techniques Laboratory

Transfer

3

 

Spring

CLSC 735

Method Evaluation

Enrolled

 

3

Year 2



 

 

 

Fall

CLSC 730

Research Methods

Enrolled

 

3

Fall

CLSC 740

Clinical Rotation in Molecular Diagnostics

Transfer

5

 

Fall

CLSC 770

Educational Methods and Applications

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 650*

Clinical Laboratory Administration

Not required

 

 

Spring

CLSC 760

Molecular Diagnostics in the Corporate Setting

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 780

Capstone Seminar

Enrolled

 

3

Total




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*Students who are certified as CLS(NCA), MT(ASCP), or MLS(ASCP)CM are not required to take CLSC 610 or CLSC 650.

Sample Transfer Credit Plan for MDS certificate graduate without CLS/MT certification

Semester

Course Number

Course Title


Transfer Credits

Enrolled Credits

Year 1



 

 

 

Fall

CLSC 610*

Clinical Laboratory Methods

Transfer

3

 

Fall

CLSC 710

Principles of Molecular Diagnostics

Transfer

3

 

Fall

BIOS 600

Biostatistics 600

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 720

Applications of Molecular Diagnostics

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 720L

Molecular Diagnostic Techniques Laboratory

Transfer

3

 

Spring

CLSC 735

Method Evaluation

Enrolled

 

3

Year 2



 

 

 

Fall

CLSC 730

Research Methods

Enrolled

 

3

Fall

CLSC 740

Clinical Rotation in Molecular Diagnostics

Transfer

5

 

Fall

CLSC 770

Educational methods and applications

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 650*

Clinical Laboratory Administration

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 760

Molecular Diagnostics in the Corporate Setting

Enrolled

 

3

Spring

CLSC 780

Capstone Seminar

Enrolled

 

3

Total




14

24

MDS Program Goals and Entry-Level Competencies

Program Goals:

Upon completion of the UNC-Chapel Hill  Molecular Diagnostic Science program, graduates will be prepared to

  1. work as entry-level laboratory professionals in molecular diagnostic laboratories.
  2. perform and interpret molecular-based laboratory tests.
  3. explain the appropriate use and meaning of molecular-based tests to other health care professionals
  4. establish and validate new molecular methods in a clinical laboratory
  5. continue to learn throughout their professional careers.
  6. serve as leaders in the clinical laboratory profession in technical, educational, and administrative roles.

Entry-Level Competencies:

The educational experiences in the UNC-CH  program are designed to ensure that students are well prepared to enter the laboratory profession and continue to learn throughout their professional career. At the completion of the UNC MDS program, students will be able to:

  1. Perform and evaluate pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical procedures to ensure the quality of laboratory results.
  2. Research, evaluate, implement, and monitor methods of collection, transport and handling of various specimen types for molecular analysis.
  3. Perform molecular-based laboratory tests, analyze and verify results, and resolve common problems in all the major areas of the clinical laboratory.
  4. Explain the principles and methods used in molecular laboratory tests.
  5. Explain the clinical significance of molecular laboratory procedures in diagnosis and treatment of disease and maintenance of health.
  6. Interpret and evaluate patient results and suggest or select appropriate additional testing.
  7. Determine the priority of laboratory requests and arrange the workload for optimal patient care and efficiency.
  8. Use quality assurance principles and practices to ensure the accuracy and reliability of laboratory information.
  9. Perform preventative and corrective maintenance of equipment and instruments.
  10. Use the principles of method evaluation to select new techniques and instruments.
  11. Explain and apply the major principles and practices of laboratory administration, supervision and budgeting.
  12. Explain and apply principles of effective test utilization.
  13. Comply with all standard safety regulations and monitor changes in safety regulations.
  14. Use educational methods to present information and develop instructional materials.
  15. Use research methods to design, conduct and disseminate results of studies on new technologies, procedures or diagnostic correlations in molecular science.
  16. Interpret, implement, and complying with laws, regulations and accrediting standards and guidelines of relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies.
  17. Use computer systems to produce documents, research information, communicate with others and enter and retrieve laboratory information.
  18. Apply principles of management to the acquisition and evaluation of laboratory information systems.
  19. Design, implement and evaluate resource management strategies to maintain optimal laboratory efficiency.
  20. Communicate effectively with laboratory personnel, other health care professionals, patients and the public.
  21. Demonstrate professional conduct and interpersonal skills with patients, laboratory personnel, other health care professionals and the public.
  22. Demonstrate ethical standards in all matters related to medical information and patient care.
  23. Formulate a strategic plan for professional career development.

MDS Essential Functions

Essential functions are the physical, intellectual and behavioral requirements of the program that a student must be able to master in order to successfully participate in the Molecular Diagnostic Science (MDS) program and become employable.   Examples of the program's essential functions are provided below. In compliance with the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS), the UNC-Chapel Hill Division of CLS makes these essential functions available to prospective students and the public. Prospective students who are not sure that they will able to perform these essential functions should consult with the MDS Admissions chair for further information and to discuss individual situations.

Visual Skills

A student in the MDS program must possess sufficient visual skills to perform and interpret laboratory assays and receive non-verbal communication appropriately. Examples of visual skills include the ability to:

  • read calibration lines on pipettes and laboratory instruments that are one millimeter apart
  • distinguish between solutions that are clear, opaque or particulate in test tubes and on glass slides
  • identify stained and unstained cellular components in the range of one micrometer using a binocular brightfield and fluorescent microscope
  • differentiate color reactions

Manipulative Skills

A MDS student must also possess adequate manipulative skills to perform a variety of laboratory assays. Examples of manipulative skills include the ability to:

  • turn dials, press keypads and move switches on laboratory instruments
  • use a rubber bulb to draw liquid into a marked pipette and then use a gloved finger to control the release of that liquid to within one millimeter of a fixed point on the pipette
  • Accurately pipet very small volumes (<5 µL) into very small wells in agarose gels without damaging the gel

Intellectual Skills

A MDS student must possess a range of intellectual skills that allows him or her to master the broad and complex body of knowledge that constitutes a molecular diagnostic science education. A MDS student must be able to memorize, perform scientific measurements and calculations, and analyze and synthesize information from a wide variety of sources. A student must possess computational skills needed for laboratory math calculations such as the conversion of milliliters to microliters.

Attitudinal, Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Attributes

A MDS student must be of sufficient emotional health to fully use his or her intellectual ability, to exercise good judgment, to complete clinical responsibilities promptly, and to relate to patients, instructors, and colleagues with courtesy, and respect. The ability to participate collaboratively and flexibly as a professional team member is essential. The MDS student must display this emotional health in spite of stressful work and changing environments. The MDS student must be able to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism.

An individual with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder may function as a MDS student as long as the condition is under sufficient control to allow accomplishment of the program’s educational goals with or without reasonable accommodation. The student must exhibit behavioral, emotional, and intellectual functioning that does not differ from acceptable standards. In the event of deteriorating function, it is essential that a MDS student be willing to acknowledge the disability and accept professional help before the condition poses danger to self, patients, instructors, or colleagues.

Communication Skills

A MDS student must be able to ask questions, respond to verbal instructions and record information accurately. The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with instructors, clinical laboratory staff and patients. This must include spoken communication and non-verbal communication such as interpretation of facial expression, affect, and body language. Mastery of both written and spoken English is required.

Additional Program Expectations

In addition to the essential functions listed above, all Clinical Laboratory Science students are expected to:

  1. Comply with the UNC-CH Honor Code and UNC Campus Code.
  2. Complete all course assignments on time.
  3. Work cooperatively with instructors, other students, and clinical laboratory personnel.
  4. Maintain grades of Pass (P) or High Pass (H) in all CLSC courses.
  5. Complete all Required Documentation, including immunization and training requirements, and annual criminal background checks, in a timely fashion.
  6. Follow all safety guidelines as outlined in the Safety Objectives and Student Laboratory Rules.
  7. Conform to the required Dress Code.
  8. Participate in clinical rotations as assigned.  Note that students are responsible for their own housing and transportation.
  9. Demonstrate professional conduct and interpersonal skills with patients, laboratory personnel, other health care professionals, and the public.
  10. Adhere to ethical standards in all matters related to medical information and patient care.

Failure to meet these expectations will result either in an offer of admission being rescinded, or in dismissal of an enrolled student.  A more complete discussion of these expectations may be found in the Division of CLS Policies.
If you have any questions or concerns about these expectations or your ability to meet them, please share these during the admissions process.