The tuition for the MDS graduate program is established by the University and can be found on the University Cashier’s Office website. Under “Charges for Attendance” you will find rates for the current academic year. The tuition for the MDS graduate program is found under Off-Campus Programs, Allied Health Sciences, Master of Clinical Laboratory Science (MCLS). Note that the tuition is charged per credit hour and the charge for fees is minimal.
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 the tuition for your first course.
No, the GRE is not required for MDS applicants.
No. Your official TOEFL scores will be automatically incorporated into your online application.
Applicants may indicate their clinical site preferences during the admissions process. Students will be notified of their clinical site placement at the time of acceptance. Because clinical sites will take only one or two students, not all students will get their first choice for their clinical rotations. Students entering the program following routes 2 or 3 must complete the required documentation confirming that their employer will permit them to complete their competency plan onsite.
The UNC MDS graduate 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 and Burlington, NC
  • Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute, Chantilly, VA
  • North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, Raleigh, NC
  • Atrium Health (Carolinas Medical Center), Charlotte, NC

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 be completed during the student’s first year in order for the desired clinical site to be considered for a 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.
In order to complete the program, students must complete all courses. 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.
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.
Because MDS students participate as a cohort, part-time students are not accepted at this time.
Because MDS students participate as a cohort, we are only accepting full-time students for enrollment in MDS courses.
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.
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 five years to complete all the courses and receive the Master’s Degree. Students accepted through Route 3 are expected to complete the program in six semesters, but will also have up to five years to finish.
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.
All courses have a faculty member who is very accessible via phone or email.
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.
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.
Yes. UNC employees should review the guidelines in the tuition waiver to see if they are eligible. Employees of UNC Health Care may also be eligible for academic assistance.
The MDS graduate 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 $50,000 – $60,000 / 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 in 2018:

Job title Average salary in Raleigh area
Medical technologist $62,200
Laboratory Supervisor II $80,000
Laboratory Manager $100,700
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.
Because the MDS graduate 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 graduate program may enroll in the program if their current visa allows them to study while in the US.