Prospective CLS Students

Admission to the CLS Program

Thank you for your interest in the clinical laboratory science program and profession!

One on One Instruction

The CLS program will prepare you for entry-level laboratory positions and a future in a constantly growing area of health care.  Now is a great time to start your career in the clinical laboratory profession, because there is a nationwide shortage of clinical laboratory personnel.  Our graduates have multiple job offers when they complete the program and go on to have rewarding careers in a wide variety of positions.   We look forward to receiving your application and talking to you about the exciting field of clinical laboratory science.

Students typically enter the Clinical Laboratory Science program after completing general education requirements and prerequisite courses. Successful completion of the prerequisite courses listed under the major does not guarantee admission to the program. CLS students are selected on the basis of science and math prerequisite courses, grades, a written application, interviews, and letters of recommendation. Students who already have a baccalaureate degree and have the CLS prerequisite courses may apply for admission to the program and request a second baccalaureate degree from UNC.

Because enrollment is limited, students are encouraged to begin the application process early in the fall preceding the year of enrollment. 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. Transfer students should note that the last day to apply to the CLS program through Undergraduate Admissions is February 15th.

Beginning the application:

  • Transfer Students, Second Degree Students and UNC-CH graduates: You must apply to UNC and to the CLS program through Undergraduate Admissions. When you indicate that you are applying to the CLS program, you should also get the CLS-specific questions on your application.
  • Current UNC-Chapel Hill Students ONLY: Log in to the ConnectCarolina Student Center. In the "other academic" dropdown, select "Apply for Change of Major". Once you complete and submit this request, you will receive an email with instructions for completing your application. Download the CLS Supplemental Form to upload with your application.

    Within the online application, you will be asked for information including:

    1. A list of current and planned courses. We need to know which courses you are currently taking and the courses you plan to take before entering the CLS program so we can make sure you will have the CLS pre-requisite courses and the courses needed to graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill.
    2. School and community activities.
    3. Work and volunteer experiences.
    4. Special recognition and honors.
    5. Recommendations. The email addresses of two recommenders will be required within the application for electronic submission and delivery. They will receive an automated email containing instructions to complete a recommendation form and to submit the form via email. Recommendations should be completed by college professors or teaching assistants who are familiar with your academic abilities.
    6. Essay. You will be asked to upload a 1-2 page typed statement describing your interest in CLS, your career goals, and how you think you can contribute to the CLS profession.

    Please remember as you complete the online application:

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

    Application Assistance:

    If you have questions about the application process, please contact (919-966-3011). Should you encounter any technical difficulty, please contact the UNC help desk at (919)962-HELP (919-962-4357).

    Thank you for applying to the UNC Clinical Laboratory Science program. We look forward to receiving your application.

    Our contact information is:

    Admissions Chair, Division of Clinical Laboratory Science
    Department of Allied Health Sciences
    CB# 7120, Bondurant Hall
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7120

    CLS Curriculum

    First Semester Course Credit
    Laboratory Mathematics CLSC 410 1
    Basic & Molecular Laboratory Methods CLSC 410L 2
    Urinalysis and Body Fluids CLSC 420 1
    Urinalysis and Body Fluids Laboratory CLSC 420L 1
    Clinical Biochemistry CLSC 430 3
    Hematology I CLSC 440 2
    Hematology I Laboratory CLSC 440L 1
    Immunology CLSC 450 3
    Second Semester Course Credit
    Hematology II CLSC 442 3
    Hematology II Laboratory CLSC 442L 1
    Microbiology II CLSC 462 2
    Microbiology II Laboratory CLSC 462L 2
    Clinical Chemistry CLSC 470 3
    Clinical Chemistry Laboratory CLSC 470L 2
    Immunohematology CLSC 480 3
    Immunohematology Laboratory CLSC 480L 2


    First Semester Course Credit
    Microbiology I CLSC 460 2
    Microbiology I Laboratory CLSC 460L 1
    Research Methods CLSC 630 2
    Educational Methods CLSC 670 2
    Clinical Hematology Laboratory* CLSC 540L 4
    Clinical Hemostasis Laboratory* CLSC 542L 2
    Clinical Chemistry Laboratory Rotation* CLSC 570L 4
    Second Semester Course Credit
    Clinical Laboratory Management CLSC 620 2
    Clinical Microbiology Laboratory* CLSC 560L 4
    Clinical Immunology Laboratory* CLSC 550L 1
    Clinical Immunohematology Laboratory* CLSC 580L 4
    Clinical Transplantation Medicine Laboratory* CLSC 582L 1

    *Clinical Laboratory Rotations are offered in both fall and spring semesters. Schedules may vary from the example shown.


    (UNC course numbers in parentheses. These are the course numbers that took effect in Fall of 2006.)"Book Work"

    • Math: One math course from the following: Trigonometry & Analytic Geometry (Math 130), Calculus I (Math 231), or Statistics (Stat 155)
    • Chemistry: General Descriptive Chemistry I and II with labs (Chem 101, 101L, 102, 102L), Analytical Chemistry with lab (Chem 241, 241L) or Organic Chemistry with a lab (Chem 261, 241L*). *Note that Chem 241 or 241H is a prerequisite or corequisite for Chem 241L.
    • Biology: Introductory Biology with lab (Biol 101, 101L), and one additional course. (Genetics/Molecular Biology (Biol 202) is recommended.)

    All students seeking a degree from UNC must also complete the UNC-CH general college requirements. These courses are usually taken in the first two years of college.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    When is the admissions deadline? The deadline for completed applications is the second Tuesday in January. To be most competitive, students should apply to the Division of CLS in the fall semester preceding the year of enrollment. Completed applications received after the January deadline will be considered for admission if positions are available in the program. Qualified students are interviewed early in the spring semester and admissions decisions are made in time for students to register for fall semester courses.

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    How many students are accepted? The CLS program accepts 20 students for each class. The number of students is limited so that students will have the best possible educational experiences in the classroom and clinical courses. The small class size allows the faculty to work closely with students to facilitate their academic and professional development.

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    What are my chances of being accepted in the CLS program? Students are accepted to the CLS program on the basis of science and math pre-requisite courses, grades, written application, interviews, and letters of recommendation. The CLS admissions committee is looking for applicants who can handle the academic demands of the program and who are excited about a career in clinical laboratory science. In general, the better the grades, the better the chances of acceptance because good grades in science courses indicate that students can do well in the CLS courses. However, an interest in the laboratory profession is also very important and the interview process gives students a chance to talk about career goals and demonstrate their motivation for and knowledge of the laboratory profession.

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    Can I apply to the program if I already have a baccalaureate degree? Yes. Students often apply to the program with a baccalaureate degree. If your degree is from a US college or university, you will receive a second degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from UNC after completing the program.

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    Can I apply to the program before I have completed all the science and math pre-requisites? Yes. You can apply before you have taken all the pre-requisite science and math pre-requisites courses but you should complete them before the fall semester in which you are entering the program.

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    Do I have to complete all my general education requirements before I enter the CLS program? No. Sometimes students have one or two general education courses left to take when they enter the program. Students can take those courses in the summer between the first and second years of the program.

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    What if my grades are low? Should I apply? The CLS program will consider applications from students with GPAs of 2.00 or higher who can meet the science and math pre-requisites before entering the program and who have demonstrated a strong interest in clinical laboratory science.

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    Is this a good major for me if I want to go to medical school? UNC students who want to go to Medical School should visit the Health Professions Advising Office to discuss their individual situations. Graduates of the UNC- CLS program have gone to medical school and have been very successful. It is important that students choose the CLS major because it matches their interests and talents. If you are not interested in the clinical laboratory curriculum, you will not do well in the courses and that will hurt your chances of going to medical school.

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    Is this a good major for me if I want to go to forensic science? There is no one route to a career in forensic science. The CLS program provides a strong background in the concepts and laboratory skills used in forensic laboratories and one of the current UNC-CLS clinical sites includes a forensic laboratory. Graduates of the UNC CLS program have gone into forensics; however, there are generally fewer positions available in forensics than in clinical laboratories.

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    Is Clinical Laboratory Science right for me? Clinical laboratory science may be the right career for you if you:

    • like science and the "hands-on" aspects of laboratory science
    • want to use your interest and talents in science to help others
    • are good at solving problems and like to see tasks through to completion
    • want a baccalaureate degree that will allow you to enter a health care profession
    • have good communication skills and can work well with others as a team

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    Information for Transfer Students

    Transfer students must apply to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science. Applications to UNC-CH are available online from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Applicants can also obtain information on transfer course equivalencies.

    Office of Undergraduate Admissions
    CB# 2200 Jackson Hall
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2200
    Phone: (919) 966-3621
    Fax: (919) 962-3045

    Information for International Students

    Applicants who are not current students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) must apply to the CLS program and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    Applicants must submit a course-by-course translation reviewed by an evaluation agency. The evaluation must include the statement that the student has obtained the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree from a US college or university. The evaluation should be sent to the CLS program. Suggested agencies include, but are not limited to:

    Credentials Evaluation Service
    PO Box 66940
    Los Angeles, CA 90066

    International Education Evaluation Inc
    5030 Flagstone Ct
    Harrisburg, NC 28075

    International Education Research
    Credentials Evaluation Services
    PO Box 3665
    Culver City, CA 90231-3665

    Applicants must successfully complete the CLS math and science prerequisites before entering the CLS program. Applicants may take these courses at UNC-Chapel Hill or obtain credit for the courses they have already taken. In order to obtain credit for courses taken outside of the US, students must have a UNC department grant credit for the courses. For example, the Chemistry department must review Chemistry courses and write a letter assigning credit for courses taken at a foreign institution. Applicants should submit documentation of course credits to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    Applicants must take the TOEFL exam (Test of English as a Foreign Language) if English is not their first language. Official results must be mailed by the TOEFL center directly to the CLS program. For more information about this exam write to:

    Test of English as a Foreign Language
    P.O. Box 6151
    Princeton, NJ 08541-6151.

    The required minimum total score on the computer-based TOEFL exam is 213 with a minimum score of 18 in each subsection. The required minimum total score on the paper-based TOEFL exam is 550 with a minimum of 50 in each section. TOEFL scores are reportable for a period of two years from date of the exam. Exam results more than two years old will not be reported by ETS, and thus cannot be considered by us. TOEFL scores that are submitted to this institution are kept on file for only one year.

    If an applicant has obtained education outside the United States but does not have the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree from a US college or university, the applicant must complete all the UNC-CH general college requirements for perspectives, foreign language and P.E. and the CLS program math and science prerequisites before entering the CLS program. Students may seek credit for courses taken outside the United State from UNC-Chapel Hill Departments.

    Students may wish to enroll through Continuing Studies to complete CLS pre-requisite courses.

    Information for CLT/ MLT's

    The UNC CLS program may award credit for selected CLS clinical courses if students meet the following criteria:

    1. Graduation from a CLT/MLT program accredited by NAACLS
    2. Certification as a CLT(NCA) or MLT(ASCP)
    3. Completion of CLT/MLT clinical courses within five years of the student’s acceptance into the UNC CLS program. If students do not meet this requirement, the UNC CLS program will evaluate their clinical experiences since graduation and award credit on a case by case basis.
    4. Successful completion of first-year CLS courses.

    CLT/ MLT students who meet the requirements described above may request to receive credit for the following courses:

    Course Credit
    Clinical Chemistry Practicum CLSC 570 4
    Clinical Hematology Practicum CLSC 540
    Clinical Microbiology Practicum CLSC 560 4
    Clinical Immunohem. Practicum CLSC 580 4

    The CLS faculty will review the request for credit and base the approval on the student’s performance in the first two semesters of the CLS program. These courses represent one semester of work in the UNC CLS program. Credit for other CLT/MLT courses is granted on a case by case basis. Students are also allowed to challenge any course in the CLS curriculum. Credit is awarded after the successful completion of all other UNC CLS courses.

    CLS Program Goals and Entry-Level Competencies

    Program Goals

    Upon completion of the UNC-Chapel Hill CLS program, graduates will be prepared to

    1. Work as entry-level clinical laboratory scientists.
    2. Continue to learn throughout their professional careers.
    3. Use ethical standards to guide professional behavior and judgments
    4. Communicate effectively with other health care providers
    5. Serve as leaders in the clinical laboratory profession in technical, educational, research and administrative roles.

    Entry-Level Competencies:

    The educational experiences in the UNC-CH CLS program are designed to ensure that students are well prepared to enter the profession of Clinical Laboratory Science and continue to learn throughout their professional career. At the completion of the UNC­CLS 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. Perform laboratory tests, analyze and verify results, and resolve common problems in all the major areas of the clinical laboratory.
    3. Explain the principles and methods used in laboratory tests in all major areas of the clinical laboratory.
    4. Explain the clinical significance of laboratory procedures in diagnosis and treatment of disease and maintenance of health.
    5. Correlate information from different laboratory departments to verify results or resolve problems.
    6. 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. Obtain acceptable blood samples for laboratory tests using standard phlebotomy procedures.
    9. Use quality assurance principles and practices to ensure the accuracy and reliability of laboratory information.
    10. Perform preventive and corrective maintenance of equipment and instruments.
    11. Use the principles of method evaluation to select new techniques and instruments.
    12. Explain and apply the major principles and practices of laboratory administration, supervision and budgeting.
    13. Explain and apply principles of effective test utilization.
    14. Comply with all standard safety regulations and monitor changes in safety regulations.
    15. Use educational methods to present information and develop instructional materials.
    16. Use computer systems to produce documents, research information, communicate with others and enter and retrieve laboratory information.
    17. Apply principles of management to the acquisition and evaluation of laboratory information systems.
    18. Communicate effectively with laboratory personnel, other health care professionals, patients and the public.
    19. Demonstrate professional conduct and interpersonal skills with patients, laboratory personnel, other health care professionals and the public.
    20. Demonstrate ethical standards in all matters related to medical information and patient care.

    CLS 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 CLS 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 CLS program 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 CLS Admissions chair for further information and to discuss individual situations.

    Visual Skills

    A student in the CLS 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 microscope
    • differentiate color reactions

    Manipulative Skills

    A 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
    • isolate bacteria in microbiology by smoothly moving a loop (a 12 inch wire with a looped end) over the surface of an agar (gel) culture plate without tearing the surface of the agar

    Intellectual Skills

    A CLS 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 clinical laboratory science education. A CLS 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 CLS 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 CLS student must display this emotional health in spite of stressful work and changing environments. The CLS student must be able to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism.

    An individual with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder may function as a CLS 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 CLS 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 CLS 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. Report to classes and laboratories on time, and notify the appropriate instructor in case of unavoidable delay or absence.
    3. Complete all course assignments on time.
    4. Work cooperatively with instructors, other students, and clinical laboratory personnel.
    5. Maintain grades of C-(70%) or higher in all CLSC courses.
    6. Complete all Required Documentation, including immunization and training requirements, and annual criminal background checks, in a timely fashion.
    7. Follow all safety guidelines as outlined in the Safety Objectives and Student Laboratory Rules.
    8. Conform to the required Dress Code.
    9. Participate in clinical rotations at UNC Hospitals and other (off-campus) clinical laboratories as assigned.  Note that some rotations may begin as early as 7:00 am, and that students are responsible for their own transportation.
    10. Demonstrate professional conduct and interpersonal skills with patients, laboratory personnel, other health care professionals, and the public.
    11. 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.