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The University of North Carolina Division of Clinical Laboratory Science believes that earning a Masters in Clinical Laboratory Science – Medical Laboratory Science track (MLS) requires mastery of a coherent body of knowledge and skills. The following Essential Functions describe the non-academic qualifications required in addition to academic achievements which the school considers essential for successful completion of the program.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for applicants with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability or pregnancy complications resulting in difficulties with accessing learning opportunities.

All accommodations are coordinated through the Accessibility Resources and Service Office. Detailed information about the registration process is available at Student and Applicant Accommodations Policies.  For additional information, Contact ARS.

Prospective students who are not sure that they will able to perform these essential functions should consult with the MLS admissions chair for further information and to discuss individual situations.

The Essential Functions for Attitudinal, Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Attributes, Stamina, Intellectual Skills, Communication Skills, Visual, Auditory, Tactile and Motor Competencies are adapted from the UNC School of Medicine Technical Standards found at

Attitudinal, Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Attributes

Because the clinical laboratory profession is governed by ethical principles and by state and federal laws, a MLS student must have the capacity to learn and understand these values and laws and to perform within their guidelines. MLS students should be able to relate to colleagues, staff and patients with honesty, integrity, non-discrimination, self-sacrifice and dedication. Students must be able to identify personal reactions and responses, recognize multiple points of view, and integrate these appropriately into decision making.

MLS students must be of sufficient emotional health to utilize fully their intellectual ability, to exercise good judgment, to complete laboratory tests promptly, and to relate to patients, instructors, and colleagues with courtesy, compassion, maturity, and respect for their dignity. The ability to participate collaboratively and flexibly as a professional team member is essential. MLS students must display this emotional health in spite of stressful work, changing environments, and clinical uncertainties. MLS students must be able to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism. They must be open to examining personal attitudes, perceptions, and stereotypes (which may negatively affect patient care and professional relationships). An individual with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder may function as a MLS student as long as the condition is under sufficient control to allow accomplishment of the above goals with or without reasonable accommodation. The student must exhibit behavior and intellectual functioning which does not differ from acceptable standards. In the event of deteriorating emotional function, it is essential that a MLS student be willing to acknowledge the disability and/or accept professional help before the condition poses danger to self, patients, and/or colleagues.


The study and ongoing practice of laboratory medicine often involves taxing workloads and stressful situations. MLS students must have the physical and emotional stamina to maintain a high level of function in the face of these likely working conditions. MLS students must meet deadlines for course assignments and program requirements.

Intellectual Skills

MLS students must possess a range of intellectual skills that allows them to master the broad and complex body of knowledge that comprises a clinical laboratory education. The student’s learning style must be effective and efficient. The ultimate goal will be to independently solve difficult problems and to make analytical decisions. MLS students must be able to memorize and recall information, perform scientific measurements and perform calculations. MLS students must accurately follow course syllabi, assignment directions and any actions plan(s) developed by deans, faculty, administrators, or campus partner staff. MLS students must be able to navigate a variety of online resources independently.

Reasoning abilities must be sophisticated enough to analyze and synthesize information from a wide variety of sources. It is expected that MLS students be able to learn effectively through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to: classroom instruction, small group discussion, individual study of materials, preparation and presentation of written and oral reports, and use of computer based technology.

Communication Skills

MLS students must be able to ask questions, to receive answers perceptively, and to record information accurately. They must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, and with other members of the health care team. This must include spoken communications and non-verbal communications such as interpretation of facial expressions, affects and body language. Mastery of both written and spoken English is required although applications from students with hearing and speech disabilities will be given full consideration. In such cases, use of a trained intermediary or other communications aide may be appropriate if this intermediary functions only as an information conduit and does not serve integrative or interpretive functions.

Visual, Auditory, Tactile and Motor Competencies

MLS students must possess sufficient visual, auditory, tactile and motor abilities to allow them to gather data from written reference material, from oral presentations, by observing demonstrations and experiments, by studying various types of medical illustrations, by observing laboratory procedures performed by others, and by reading digital or analog representations of laboratory results.

Additional Program Expectations

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

  1. Comply with all University Student Conduct Policies.
  2. Complete all course assignments on time.
  3. Communicate periodically with the faculty advisor concerning course work planning and capstone project coordination.
  4. Follow written and oral instructions for course assignments and program requirements (e.g. registration).
  5. Work cooperatively with instructors and other students.
  6. Maintain grades of Pass (P) or High Pass (H) in all MLS courses.
  7. Complete all required documentation in a timely fashion.
  8. Demonstrate professional conduct and interpersonal skills.
  9. 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.