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Medical Laboratory Science Program


Curriculum  |  Graduation / Certificate of Completion  |  Competencies

Curriculum and Credits Awarded

The 45-week program provides comprehensive curriculum of theoretical and experiential knowledge in all aspects of laboratory science. The course content and clinical laboratory experience encourages excellence, independence and confidence in the application of skills, clinical theory and problem solving. The listed credits are suggested guides and are not awarded by UPMC Chautauqua WCA. Refer to the college catalog for the distribution of credits awarded by your college of university for the following courses.

5 Credits

Theory and principles surrounding the body’s immunological response to disease and the current means of detecting and determining such responses are covered along with topics in abnormal antibody production as seen in autoimmune diseases and multiple myeloma.  The serological diagnostic methods of testing are included.

5 Credits

Coursework emphasizes the theory, practice and diagnostic principles in antibodies and red cell and tissue antigens related to transfusion medicine. Topics include blood group systems, hemolytic diseases, blood donor and autologous transfusion practices. Theory, procedures and techniques in the cross-matching of transfused blood and in blood component therapy are covered.

6 Credits

The study of the cellular and formed elements of blood, body fluids and the blood-forming tissues and their relation to the diagnostic care of patients as correlated with the entire clinical condition. Theory and practice in coagulation and fibrinolytic pathways. Manual methods, instrumentation and in depth microscopy utilized to study cellular morphology, physiology and pathology.

6 Credits

A study of analytical chemistry and qualitative analysis stressing the chemistry of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, and etc., and their correlation with states of health and disease. The theory and practice of measuring these constituents in human blood and body fluids using manual and automated methods. Physiological topics and experience in therapeutic drug monitoring and the detecting of drugs of abuse. Quality control issues, statistical analysis, correlation studies and the selection, use and troubleshooting of laboratory instruments are presented.

1 Credits

This course considers the anatomy and physiology of the kidney and urinary system along with the physical and chemical properties of urine. Kidney function tests, urine microscopic examination, manual and automated methodologies are utilized in obtaining results for clinical disease evaluation.

7 Credits

The study of various microorganisms recovered in clinical specimens through the principles of bacteriology, mycology, mycobacteriology, virology and parasitology. Microbiological techniques and procedures for culture, isolation, staining, identification and antimicrobial susceptibility of pathogenic microorganisms are stressed along with molecular genetic techniques in the diagnosis of disease.

2 Credits

This combines several segments of instruction:

Orientation is designed to allow the student to become comfortable in his/her new environment and become acquainted with the laboratory staff and clinical routine. Lectures in safety, conduct, and introductory lectures in fundamental procedures are included.

Instruction in the theory of specimen procurement including patient identification, proper tube/anticoagulant selection, specimen transport and sample processing.  Ample practice in venipunctures provided throughout the program year.  Requires students to perform procedures on and submit to venipunctures by instructors and fellow students.

Etcetera Program:
The clinical laboratory is like a village and is more than just daily diagnostic bench-analysis. Topics within Special Studies are to integrate these vital aspects into the program creating a graduate with an encompassing view of the clinical laboratory.
An independent laboratory research project is conducted by the student culminating in a research paper and poster presentation. Research results are utilized by the laboratory for advancement of its purpose and include a validation or parallel study (laboratory instrumentation-, kit- or procedure-based) or a quality assurance/improvement study.
Management lectures, assignments and specialty rotations provide knowledge, application and first-hand experience in laboratory management, pathology, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, point-of-care, laboratory information systems (LIS), infection control, education methodologies, and more. Additional lectures are provided for area of interest, such as medical ethics, patient advocacy, resume writing, investing, and continuing education.
Ample opportunities for review in preparation for the certification examination are also provided.

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Graduation / Certificate of Completion

After successfully completing the program a graduate is awarded a Certificate of Completion and is ready to take a national registry examination to become certified as a Medical Laboratory Scientist.

Upon successful completion of the UPMC Chautauqua WCA Medical Laboratory Science Program, grades earned are reported to the affiliated academic institution to fulfill degree/graduation requirements.  Refer to the college catalog for the number of credits the college/university awards for the program year (most colleges award 30 to 32 credits).

The final course grade for each individual clinical course is determined from practical, academic, and attitudinal assessments in each discipline during both Rotation I: Didactic and Rotation II: Clinical, and from the final exam for each course.

Didactic Rotation Grade 40%
Clinical Rotation Grade 50%
Course Final Exam 10%

Final Course Grade 100%

Grading Scale

The UPMC Chautauqua WCA program utilizes the following grading scale.  All grades reported to a student's college/university are given in numerical values allowing each college to access its own letter grade and quality points according to its policy.

Rotation I exams, practicals and overall Rotation I score
Rotation II rotation tests/quizzes
Percentage (%) Letter Quality Points
93-100 A 4.0
90-92 A- 3.7
87-89 B+ 3.3
83-86 B 3.0
80-82 B- 2.7
77-79 C+ 2.3
75-76 C 2.0
<75 Failure 0.0
Rotation II final exams and practicals
Overall score for each Rotation II rotation
Overall score for each internship course
Percentage (%) Letter Quality Points
93-100 A 4.0
90-92 A- 3.7
87-89 B+ 3.3
83-86 B 3.0
80-82 B- 2.7
77-79 C+ 2.3
70-76 C 2.0
<70 Failure 0.0

A student must satisfy all of the following criteria in order to receive a Certificate of Completion from the UPMC Chautauqua WCA Medical Laboratory Science Program.  Receiving a Certificate of Completion is not dependant upon the student completing or passing any external certification or licensure examination.

  1. 75% (or above) overall in Rotation I: Didactic courses combined.
  2. 70% (or above) on the written FINAL EXAMINATION of each Rotation II: Clinical departmental rotation.
  3. 70% (or above) on the PRACTICAL EXAMINATION(S) of each Rotation II: Clinical departmental rotation.
  4. 70% (or above) in overall level of performance in each Rotation II: Clinical departmental rotation (quizzes, exams, evaluations, etc.).
  5. 70% (or above) overall in each Medical Laboratory Program course (see Curriculum and Course Description).
  6. Complete all aspects of academic courses and clinical rotations according to established criteria and policies.
  7. Be competent in all routine procedures and techniques and meet the established Career Entry-Level Competencies, further indicated by obtaining 70% (or above) on all cognitive, psychomotor and affective domain evaluation line items.
  8. Meet all financial obligations to UPMC Chautauqua WCA and its Medical Laboratory Science Program.

A student who does not meet the Completion Criteria at anytime during the program year or performs at a level of competence inconsistent with the welfare of the patient will be placed on probation or may be immediately dismissed from the program.

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Career Entry-Level Competencies

The UPMC Chautauqua WCA Medical Laboratory Science Program is a quality preceptorship guiding its students to the following career entry-level competencies. The role of the professional Medical Laboratory Scientist demands knowledge and skills as a scientist and a keen awareness of his/her vital role in the health care team and in service to the patients.

The curriculum of the UPMC Chautauqua WCA Medical Laboratory Science Program is designed, through the acquisition of knowledge and practical experience, to expect its graduate to obtain the following career entry-level competencies:


    Demonstrate commitment to the role of the Medical Laboratory Scientist as part of the medical team by professional conduct and relationships to patients, peers, coworkers, supervisors and other members of the health care team.
    1. Demonstrate a professional attitude and conduct.
    2. Advocate the ethical and legal responsibilities of the laboratory and its personnel.
    3. Value his/her position in the health care team and exhibit empathy and understanding in the care of the patient.
    4. Maintain patient confidentiality at all times.


    Demonstrate knowledge of biology, physiology, chemistry, and other vital sciences by being able to select, perform, and evaluate basic and complex automated and manual techniques according to norms of a quality control program.
    1. Demonstrate proficiency in the methodology of collection and handling of physiological specimens for evaluation by the laboratory.
    2. Apply the principles of clinical laboratory methodology by performing simple and complex procedures with precision and accuracy.
    3. Correlate principles of manual methods with those of automated methods when necessary in the practice of laboratory technology.
    4. Validate patient results, evaluating for possible errors and performing corrective action if necessary.
    5. Relate the effects of disease on the patient through the correlation of the basic sciences and the pathologic process and incorporate this knowledge into laboratory medicine.
    6. Evaluate data (test results) as they relate to normalcy and disease.
    7. Demonstrate the ability to organize and perform multiple procedures in routine and non routine (stressful) situations.
    8. Establish and monitor quality control systems utilizing statistical method.
    9. Follow governmental, hospital, laboratory and departmental safety guidelines and regulations.


    Exhibit an ability to keep adequate and accurate records having a working knowledge of legal and ethical responsibilities toward privileged information, by proper handling and disposition of such information.
    1. Utilize the principles of effective communication in professional relations, both inside and outside the laboratory and between laboratory departments.
    2. Support teamwork among the members of the laboratory in both personal and professional arenas.
    3. Participate in the interaction of the laboratory with other units of the hospital.
    4. Exhibit care and compassion in direct and indirect contact with patients.


    Demonstrate a practical knowledge of instrumentation by competent use, care, and minimal basic repair of all types of laboratory equipment. Utilize the laboratory information system for the reporting and manipulation of results.
    1. Demonstrate proficiency in the mathematical computation of laboratory methodology.
    2. Apply the principles of clinical laboratory instrumentation, including performance of preventative maintenance.
    3. Identify and solve technical problems relating to troubleshooting clinical laboratory instrumentation and/or methodology.
    4. Participate in the evaluation, recommendation and validation of new laboratory instrumentation and/or procedures.
    5. Record laboratory results accurately and timely, maintaining confidentiality as it pertains to laboratory policy.
    6. Utilize computer information system in the ordering, completing, reporting and querying of laboratory results, including providing patient results to qualified and eligible personnel.


    Demonstrate through performance of class assignments, a working knowledge of the principles and practices involved in the administrative aspects of the hospital laboratory.
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and skills of management to effectively supervise a laboratory, its budget, equipment and personnel.
    2. Develop a quality assurance program to help guarantee excellence and continue improvements in a hospital laboratory.
    3. Utilizing management skills, identify an area within a laboratory for a potential problem or concern and formulate a potential solution.
    4. Evaluate the necessity and comply with the guidelines of the government and private regulatory and accrediting agencies.


    Demonstrate the basic principles of education including the development of a lesson plan, measurable behavioral objectives, and student evaluation. Evaluate the professional organizations pertinent to the advancement of medical laboratory scientists and the importance of staff development and continuing education. Possess skills necessary for independent inquiry and research, including the means for verbal, written and audiovisual presentation of conclusions.
    1. Research and present pertinent educational information in an organized, practical manner, utilizing behavioral objectives and assessment tools. Tailor presentation to the audience's knowledge level.
    2. Demonstrate the principles of laboratory research through identifying the study, obtaining data, trouble-shooting issues, performing appropriate statistical analysis, writing a scientific paper, performing an oral presentation, and supporting the laboratory in any changes due to the results of the research.
    3. Support and seek continuing education and professional development.

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