Clinical Laboratory Science

The clinical laboratory scientist is an essential member of the health care team, performing a myriad of laboratory procedures aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science.

The program is administered by

Dean: Shirley Richmond, Ed.D.

Program Director: Brandy Greenhill, Dr.PH.

Education Coordinator: Kimberly Murray, M.A.

Educational Preceptor: Christopher Einspahr, B.S.

Medical Advisor: Jeffery Tarrand, M.D.

Visit the SHP Faculty page for a complete list of CLS and SHP faculty, staff, and adjuncts.

The Program in Clinical Laboratory Science


The MD Anderson Cancer Center Program in Clinical Laboratory Science, in concert with the mission and vision of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is committed to the education of technically and academically competent graduates prepared to meet the immediate and future needs of the Clinical Laboratory Science profession.


The faculty of the Program in Clinical Laboratory Science is committed to:

  • Providing the didactic and clinical instruction that offers the graduate the opportunity to prepare to:
    1. Perform procedures in all areas of the clinical laboratory
    2. Integrate and correlate laboratory data
    3. Solve problems relating to the production of laboratory results
  • Maintaining an effective program of student development and learning
  • Leading the student in developing an understanding and appreciation for a total quality management program, the skills necessary to establish quality control measures, and to making appropriate decisions to maintain accuracy and precision
  • Meeting the future needs of the Clinical Laboratory Science profession by including:
    1. State-of-the-art procedures and instrumentation
    2. Courses that offer career alternatives
    3. Opportunities to participate in research and development of molecular techniques
  • Developing the framework for the graduate to maintain and grow in professional competence throughout his lifetime by promoting participation in continuing education activities of the laboratory, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the community
  • Communicating the necessity of obeying a professional code of conduct toward patients, visitors, and all health care professionals and of demonstrating the highest regard for human dignity and life


The University of Texas MD Anderson Program in Clinical Laboratory Science is designed to prepare students to perform clinical laboratory analysis, make appropriate decisions and solve problems to become successful entry-level clinical laboratory scientists.

The program provides instruction and training in all the major areas of the clinical laboratory through both didactic and clinical training. Most students enter the program to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree.

The clinical laboratory scientist is an essential member of the health care team, performing a myriad of laboratory procedures aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The technical procedures and complex instruments used in modern laboratory medicine require well-educated and technically proficient scientists. Clinical laboratory scientists are problem solvers, technologists who use their knowledge and technical skills to operate and repair laboratory instruments, monitor quality control programs, produce high-quality patient test results and correlate test results with disease processes.

The primary goal of the Clinical Laboratory Science program is provide the community with competent, entry-level clinical laboratory scientists (medical laboratory scientists) who are prepared to meet the qualifications for certification in their profession.

While many scientists choose to work in hospital laboratories, others opt to develop new testing procedures in diagnostic and research laboratories. Scientists with leadership ability and administrative skills manage the laboratory operations. Those interested in computer technology use their laboratory knowledge and skills in the management of laboratory information systems. Others provide educational programs to prepare the scientists for the future. There are even opportunities for scientists to serve as self-employed consultants.


The CLS curriculum offers the student the opportunity to obtain the following competencies:

  1. Accurate application of mathematic principles in the clinical laboratory science domain of practice.
  2. Appropriate interpersonal and public speaking skills in the clinical and academic setting.
  3. Appropriate oral and written communication in the clinical and academic setting.
  4. Appropriate computer skills in the clinical and academic setting.
  5. Synthesis of information from primary and secondary sources using recognized research techniques.
  6. Critical reading and writing strategies to evaluate, interpret and analyze non-fiction, academic and professional readings.
  7. Knowledge of quality assurance through application of quality control and required documents for regulatory compliance.
  8. Correlation of disease processes with appropriate assays for diagnosis.
  9. Application of management principles in the clinical laboratory science domain of practice.
  10. Ability to collect specimens and determine the criteria of acceptability and rejection.
  11. Ability to operate instrumentation, troubleshoot and document preventive maintenance.
  12. Ability to describe the theory and principle of operation of the test methodology for all areas of the clinical laboratory.
  13. Ability to perform appropriate assays with the ability and accuracy to determine the accuracy of results from interference substances.
  14. Ability to correctly perform appropriate manual procedures when necessary.
  15. Ability to apply knowledge of test limitations and select appropriate corrective action for out-of-limits situations.
  16. Ability to organize workflow to make efficient use of time and materials.
  17. Ability to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate results by recognizing normal, abnormal and critical values and taking appropriate action where necessary.

Selection Process

Admission is dependent on factors that include:

  • Cumulative GPA.
  • Math & Science GPA.
  • Last 60 hours GPA.
  • Personal qualities such as maturity and professional goals based on the personal essay, interview, and reference letters.
  • Ability to meet the SHP non-academic technical standards.
  • Race, religion, national origin, veteran status, gender, or disability are not factors considered in the selection process.

Applicants should begin the application process three to six months prior to the application deadline to ensure all documents are received and processed by The Unviersity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Registrar's office.

Nonacademic Requirements

For a description of the non-academic technical standards requirements for admission, visit the admission section of the Student Catalog's Policies and Procedures.

Program Admission Requirements

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree typically enter at the Junior level; however, there are a limited number of entry positions available at the Senior level on a case by case basis. Application and supporting documents must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Applicants to the Program of Clinical Laboratory Science must satisfy the following requirements for admission:

  • All prerequisite course work must be from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must have satisfactorily completed all prerequisite courses listed prior to graduating. These courses must be lecture and laboratory courses acceptable toward a degree by majors in those fields and cannot be survey courses.
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale both overall and in science and mathematics courses is required to be considered for admission. Special circumstances may be considered, but at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  • Texas Success Initiative (TSI) - All applicants must provide proof of successful assessment of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). Applicants who have graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an accredited Texas College or University are exempt from TSI. Proof of an applicant's readiness to enroll in college level course work will be determined by the Registrar's Office based upon review of official transcripts from previously attended institutions.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Applicants from countries where English is not the native language may be required to take the TOEFL. Internet based TOEFL is now available and a total test score ranging from 74-78 with a minimum score of 18 in each section is required.


Prerequisite information regarding the one-year and two-year programs is found on the SHP Prerequisite page.

Advanced Placement

The School of Health Professions accepts and/or awards credit through the following examination programs:

  • College level examination program of the College Board
  • Comprehensive departmental examinations
  • Regionally accredited military training programs

Recommendations from the School's academic departments are followed with regard to minimum score requirements, level of credit and amount of credit to be awarded. Program faculty are consulted to determine if credit recommendations equate to specific School of Health Professions (SHP) courses. The internal comprehensive departmental examination program provides a local means for establishing knowledge of SHS course content in areas not covered by the above examination program. Programs may elect to administer examinations that cover material specific to SHS courses with the results being reported to the Registrar.


Each candidate for graduation with a baccalaureate degree in Clinical Laboratory Science must have completed a minimum of 138 SCH of course work. Within this requirement, the students must have completed the following:

  • At least 40 SCH of advanced (3000/4000) course work.
  • At least 25% of the total SCH required must have been earned at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions.

Graduation occurs in August. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the national certification exam given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). This exam is given throughout the year. Please check with the program director for application deadlines.

Upon passing the certification examination, the student is considered a certified Medical Laboratory Scientist. The awarding of the degree is not contingent upon a student passing a national certification examination.


The Program in Clinical Laboratory Science is a highly intensive course of study composed of didactic and clinical training. Didactic courses are presented in clinical hematology and hemostasis, clinical chemistry, clinical microscopy, microbiology, immunohematology, immunology, molecular diagnostics, human tissue typing and management.

The course of study will offer the student the opportunity to obtain the necessary:

  • Fundamental knowledge to enter the profession as a capable medical laboratory scientist.
  • Highly specialized skills that will broaden career opportunities.

During the clinical phase of instruction, training and supervision are provided at leading clinical laboratories at sister medical institutions within the Texas Medical Center and beyond, in order that students may develop expertise in a variety of settings and experience the breadth of opportunity available to Clinical Laboratory Scientists.

Current Affiliations

During the clinical phase of instruction, training and supervision are provided in affiliated clinical laboratories, including:

  • Conroe Regional Medical Center
  • Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
  • St. Luke's Hospital in the Texas Medical Center
  • St. Luke's Hospital in the Woodlands
  • Texas Children's Hospital
  • Laboratory Corporation of America
  • North Cypress Medical Center
  • Quest Diagnostics


The Clinical Laboratory Science program is accredited by and has conformed its curriculum to the standards published and monitored by the:

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N. River Rd., Ste 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Phone: 773-714-8880
Fax: 773-714-8886

Course Listings

The Laboratory Sciences programs admit students at the Junior Year level who share a Junior Year curriculum consisting of:

  • Laboratory sciences core courses
  • Program-specific core courses
  • Program-specific elective courses
Junior Year Courses30 SCH
Laboratory Sciences: shared core courses8
HS 3102 Molecular Techniques Lab1
HS 3210 Laboratory Mathematics2
HS 4310 Medical Microbiology3
HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics1
HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence1
CLS Program Core22
HS 3270 Critical Thinking in Health Professions2
HS 3300 Immunology3
HS 3310 Intro to Quality in Health Care3
HS 3330 Pathology of Body Fluids3
HS 3333 Statistics3
HS 3340 Research Methods3
HS 4300 Pathophysiology3
HS 4111L Medical Microbiology Lab1
HS 4160 Critical Scientific Analysis1
Senior Year **48 SCH
CL 4231 Immunohematology Lab2
CL 4245 Hemostasis2
CL 4250 Phlebotomy2
CL 4260 Capstone Seminar2
CL 4320 Advanced Medical Microbiology3
CL 4321 Clinical Microbiology3
CL 4330 Immunohematology (blended)3
CL 4332 Clinical Immunohematology3
CL 4370 Advanced Studies3
CL 4375 Research Project3
CL 4424 Miscellaneous Microbiology4
CL 4500 Clinical Chemistry5
CL 4530 Clinical Core Rotation5
CL 4540 Clinical Hematology5
HS 4371 Management and Education3

** Students entering the School of Health Professions for the first time at the Senior level must take the following additional required courses

  • HS 3300 Immunology **(or equivalent course)
  • HS 3330 Pathology of Body Fluids **
  • HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics **
  • HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence **

Course Descriptions

Junior Year Course Descriptions

HS 3102 Molecular Techniques Laboratory (1 SCH)
A study of the laboratory skills involved in transporting, preparing and reporting final results of specimens that include blood, bone marrow and solid tissue samples. The course will provide participants with hands-on laboratory experience in: performing molecular techniques such as DNA extraction, purification and quantification; preparing and viewing PCR products and DNA fingerprints via gel electrophoresis and bacterial transformation.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3110 Medical Terminology (1 SCH)
An introduction to medical terminology. Emphasis on word roots, prefixes, suffixes, spelling and analysis of unfamiliar terms. Additional background information on the anatomy that relates to various body systems will be discussed.

HS 3120 Introduction to Cytogenetics (1 SCH)
A detailed study of human G-banded chromosomes. Includes instruction in banding pattern recognition and polymorphic variation. Includes classroom instruction and hands-on experience.

HS 3203 Advanced Molecular Techniques (2 SCH)
This is a continuation of the previous introduction to molecular techniques laboratory course. Emphasis on performing additional molecular techniques such as, but not limited to various DNA extraction methods, amplification methods, electrophoresis, and fluorescent in-situ hybridization.

HS 3210 Laboratory Math (2 SCH)
The basic principles and theory of clinical, biochemical, and analytical laboratory math related calculations. It includes basic operations such as problem solving using percentiles, rates, ratios, mole ratios, molality, pH, conversions, solving for proportions and more.

HS 3254 Immunohistochemistry (2 SCH)
A comprehensive course that deals with the fundamentals of immunohistochemistry as applied to the theory and practical techniques in histopathology. The students acquire basic knowledge of how immunology is applied in the development of immunohistochemistry reagents and techniques. Emphasis will be placed on the clinical significance of diagnostic and prognostic indicators used in immunohistochemistry techniques. Troubleshooting and standardization of reagents are emphasized.

HS 3270 Critical Thinking in Health Professions (2 SCH)
This course is designed to provide health professions students with resources for improving critical thinking skills. The course will introduce basic concepts of critical thinking through integration into interactive case studies, problem based scenarios, and project design assignments. The specific objectives of this course coincide with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions' definition of critical thinking.

HS 3300 Immunology (3 SCH)
This course focuses on the basic concepts in immunology, and covers general properties of immune responses; cells and tissues of immune system; lymphocyte activation and specificity; effector mechanisms; immunity to microbes; immunodeficiency and AIDS; autoimmune diseases; transplantation. Course delivery is a blend of lecture and on line, self-paced activities.

HS 3310 Introduction to Quality in Healthcare (3 SCH)
This course will provide an overview of the history, development and application of quality concepts. The components of quality management, quality assurance and quality control will be addressed through discussions and assignments on the history of quality, the different approaches to quality, such as Six Sigma and ISO standards, and how to define, implement and ensure compliance to the quality assurance and quality control process.

HS 3320 Medical Genetics (3 SCH)
This course is a study of the role of genetics in medicine including: Mendelian genetics, multifactorial inheritance, DNA structure, chromosome structure, population genetics, mutation rates, ethnicity of disease and genetic mapping. A comprehensive review of the cell cycle, mitosis, and meiosis and pedigree analysis is incorporated as well.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3330 Pathology of Body Fluids (3 SCH)
This course is a study of the anatomy and physiology of the kidney and the formation, elimination and composition of urine. Various body fluids (CSF, Synovial, Plural, Serous, etc.) will be study and associations made with various disease states. Interpretation of urinary and body fluids elements, chemical assays and the correlation with normal and abnormal physiology: Course delivery is a blend of lecture and on line, self-paced activities.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3333 Statistics (3 SCH)
This course provides an introduction to statistical techniques. Emphasis will be placed on probability and probability distributions, sampling and descriptive measures, inference and hypothesis testing, linear regression, and analysis of variance.
Prerequisite: HS 3101

HS 3340 Research Methods (3 SCH)
This research methods course will introduce the basic language and concepts of empirical research with emphasis on the applicability of research methodology in the area of clinical laboratory sciences. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to search the peer-reviewed journal databases available to them through the Research Library. They will then critique and review their references, learn how to make an outline, and write a literature review on their assigned topic. Curriculum will include a blend of lectures, group work, presentations by guest researchers and development of a group research poster.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3370 Fundamentals of Writing and Critical Thinking (3 SCH)
This basic writing course stresses both reading and writing skills and is designed to teach students to improve their ability to write logically and develop short essays, brief formal summaries, and reports.

HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics (1 SCH)
This course content is designed to establish a foundation and set parameters of professional practice for health care professionals. The emphasis will be on developing the background for the resolution of ethical dilemmas through ethical reasoning, ethical obligations in health professional-patient relationships and just allocation of scarce health care resources.

HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence (1 SCH)
This course content is designed to create an awareness of ethnocentrism and a beginning understanding of cultural similarities and diversity. It provides the student with knowledge of the concepts of cultural relativity, cultural integration and variation in cultural values, organization and institutions.

HS 4111L Medical Microbiology Student Laboratory (1 SCH)
The course utilizes biochemical, morphological, and serological techniques to illustrate concepts from the lecture course relating to microbial structure, metabolism, virulence, and transmission. Students also receive instruction on proper technique and procedures for a number of different tests, including culturing, staining, carbohydrate utilization, immunoassays, and microscopy.

HS 4160 Critical Scientific Analysis (1 SCH)
Students will analyze current scientific publications for research questions, hypothesis, study design and statistical analysis and the application of proper scientific formats in the clinical laboratory professions. Students will complete pre-session assignments, participate in group discussion and present their group findings.

HS 4161 Seminar in Health Care (1 SCH)
Seminar based course covering topics in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

HS 4170 Special Topics I (1 SCH)
A review of the principles of mathematics and statistics used in the clinical laboratories, this course presentation includes an introduction to the selection and operation of a laboratory information system.

HS 4300 Pathophysiology (3 SCH)
This course is designed to provide basic knowledge in pathophysiology in preparation for professional studies in the health sciences. Topic covered includes central concepts of pathophysiology of the cells and tissues and alterations on organs and systems with an emphasis on carcinogenesis. Appropriate diagnostic and treatment procedures are covered.

HS 4310 Medical Microbiology (3 SCH)
This course is the study of the utilization of morphological, biochemical, serological, disease inducing characteristics for microorganism, fungi, mycobacterium and virus identification. Course delivery a blend of lecture and on-line, self-paced activities.

HS 4371 Management and Education (3 SCH)
This course covers laboratory management and educational methodologies. It includes management and motivational theories, communication skills, regulatory and accreditation requirements, budget and strategic planning, curriculum design and examination instruction.

Senior Year Course Descriptions

CL 4231 Immunohematology Lab (2 SCH)
Laboratory emphasizes hands-on instruction in basic blood bank techniques, resolution of compatibility problems and advanced antibody identification methods.
Corequisite: CL 4330

CL 4245 Hemostasis (2 SCH)
An analysis of the mechanisms of hemostasis, the analytical techniques used to measure coagulation and the correlation of test results with hemostatic disorders.

CL 4250 Phlebotomy (2 SCH)
This course emphasizes professional conduct and adherence to safety regulations and policies. Course includes practical experience in patient blood procurement by venipuncture and microcollection techniques.

CL 4260 Capstone Seminar (2 SCH)
This course provides an integration of the information obtained by laboratory testing in the various laboratory disciplines.
Prerequisite: CL 4321, CL 4330, CL4500, CL4540, CL4245, HS 3330

CL 4320 Advanced Medical Microbiology (3 SCH)
A comprehensive study of clinically important aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Course consists of both didactic and student laboratory sessions.
This course has a Lab fee of $30.00.

CL 4321 Clinical Microbiology (3 SCH)
Clinical laboratory study of the utilization of morphological biochemical and serological characteristics for microorganism identification.
Prerequisite: CL 4320

CL 4330 Immunohematology (3 SCH)
An in-depth study of the basic principles of immunology, human blood group systems, blood group genetics and the theory and application of blood bank techniques.
This course has a Lab fee of $30.00

CL 4332 Clinical Immunohematology (3 SCH)
Clinical laboratory study of the serodiagnostic studies of blood group identification and transfusion service procedures.
Prerequisite: CL 4231, 4330

CL 4370 Advanced Studies (3 SCH)
The study of some of the more esoteric areas of clinical laboratory. Topics include molecular diagnostic procedures utilizing recombinant DNA technology, Cytogenetics and bone marrow transplantation testing.
This course has a Lab fee of $30.00

CL 4375 Research Project (3 SCH)
An independent study that may be a case study analysis, laboratory test procedure evaluation, or investigation of a laboratory problem.
This course has a Lab fee of $30.00

CL 4500 Clinical Chemistry (5 SCH)
A comprehensive study of the methods used to determine the chemical composition of body fluids. Study includes principles of analytical procedures and the correlation of test results with normal and abnormal physiological states. Additionally, the course will include the study of special chemistry techniques, including electrophoresis, radioimmunoassay, enzyme immunoassay and nephelometry.
This course has a Lab fee of $30.00

CL 4424 Miscellaneous Microbiology (4 SCH)
Study of protozoan, helminthic and arthropod parasites and clinically important viruses of medical significance in humans. The course will also discuss the clinically important fungi and their interaction with the human host and recognized species of mycobacteria that are known to cause disease in human hosts. In addition, the course includes a study of serological techniques such as agglutination, precipitation, enzyme immunoassay and immunofluorescence. Student Laboratory demonstrations/practice will be a part of this course.

CL 4530 Clinical Core Rotation (5 SCH)
Clinical laboratory study of blood cell counts and special procedures, using manual and automated methodology. Operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of the hematological high volume analyzers. Manual cell counting and morphological interpretation of blood and bone marrow cells.
Prerequisite: CL 4500, CL 4540, HS 3330

CL 4540 Clinical Hematology (5 SCH)
A comprehensive study of the formation of blood cells, functions of the hematopoietic system, related hematological disease and instrumentation and manual procedures to quantify and identify cells. Analysis of the maturation cell sequence in peripheral blood and the morphological characteristics of these cells. Flow cytometry will also be discussed.
This course has a lab fee of $30.00

HS 4371 Management and Education (3 SCH)
This course covers laboratory management and educational methodologies. It includes management and motivational theories, communication skills, regulatory and accreditation requirements, budget and strategic planning, curriculum design and examination instruction. Course delivery is on-line, interactive, self-paced.