Medical Laboratory Science
Medical laboratory scientists perform scientific, fast-finding tests in the medical laboratory that help track down the cause and cure of disease. They are the top-level laboratory workers - the supervisors, the specialists, the teachers - for a wide range of complex tests essential to diagnostic and treatment procedures. Some of the roles and responsibilities of this profession and the specialty areas of the medical laboratories where they function include:
- Blood Banks - identify blood groups and match blood samples to determine and verify the final cross-match for blood transfusions.
- Hematology - examine the blood for such diseases as anemia, hemophilia, and leukemia.
- Microbiology - culture microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans) to identify disease - causing organisms, then perform tests to help determine the most effective antibiotic.
- Clinical Chemistry - determine the presence and quantity of chemical substances in the blood, urine, and other body fluids to diagnose a variety of illnesses - including diabetes and kidney and liver disorders.
This innovative program combines basic biomedical sciences with health professional training. The curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. During the first three years, the emphasis is on general education and basic courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics necessary as background in the applied sciences. Pre-clinical coursework includes courses taught in the new Oh Family Clinical Laboratory, and an internship at the state-of-the art URI Health Services Laboratory. The clinical courses of the senior year are taught off campus by the staffs of the affiliated hospital schools of clinical laboratory science.
The senior year is a 12-month program of study and starts soon after completion of the third year of the curriculum, in August. It is taken at one of the following hospitals: Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, which are in Providence, within about 30 miles from the Kingston campus. The clinical program includes lectures and laboratory instruction in the various areas of medical laboratory science and prepares the student for the national certification examinations. Students majoring in Medical Laboratory Science must complete a minimum of 130 credits of coursework, including 36 credits of clinical laboratory science courses. Upon completion, graduates are eligible to sit for the ASCP and NCA examinations and licencure by the Rhode Island Department of Health, and comparative agencies in other states.
Students may enter the Undergraduate Medical Laboratory Science Program directly from high school. It is advisable to have taken biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics in high school. Students at other colleges and universities, those with an associate's degree in medical laboratory technology, and those who have medical laboratory training from the military, may transfer into the program. Transfer credits will be determined on an individual basis.
Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science
Mathematics and Computer Science
General Education Courses
Introductory Hematology and Clinical Chemistry
General Education Courses
Introductory Clinical Microbiology
Clinical Microbiology I and II
Clinical Chemistry I and II
Immunohematology I and II
Hematology I and II
Flexibility in the curriculum permits the student to fulfill requirements for a degree in another major such as microbiology, biology, or related health sciences. A popular combination is a bachelor's degree in microbiology with the hospital internship taken as a fifth year of study.
Job availability in the profession is usually extensive, and it is increasing. A recent report issued by the United States Department of Labor indicates an increasing demand for professionals in all area of health care, including medical laboratory science. Graduates of the program have an opportunity for careers in clinical practice, laboratory supervision and management, health regulatory agencies, sales and technical representation for scientific equipment companies, research, and education.
The undergraduate program provides an excellent basis for students planning to pursue graduate education, particularly in programs leading to advanced degrees in science, medicine, education, or business. Recent placements of graduates have been at Georgetown Dental School, Tufts Medical School, Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine, Brown Medical School, and University of Massachusetts-Amherst.