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. See the curriculum section for information on eligibility routes.

  • 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. You may find an agency at

3. Current letters of recommendation.
The email address of two 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 two recommenders.

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

5. Standardized Test scores.
Applicants for the MDS program do not need to submit GRE scores.

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 = 90.
  • The IELTS exam = 7

10. Financial Certificate (for international students).
Additional information for international applicants may be found at


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:

Laura Tremaine
Student Services Specialist, Office of Student Services
Department of Allied Health Sciences
UNC-Chapel Hill
1025 Bondurant Hall CB# 7120
Chapel Hill NC 27599-7120

Ph (919) 966-2343
Fax (919) 966-8384

For questions about the MDS program, please contact Dr. Susan Beck, Program Director (