Doctor of Clinical Laboratory Sciences

The Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science (DCLS) is the terminal practice degree for the Clinical Laboratory Science profession. This degree provides an opportunity for advanced practice in multiple venues including clinical institutions, reference laboratories, physician practices, industry, public health agencies, government facilities, and academic institutions. Clinical Laboratory Science professionals holding the DCLS will provide a critical interface between practice, research, and health care policy. They will assure the effective and appropriate utilization of laboratory tests and information by eliminating unnecessary tests and ordering tests that should have been ordered but were not. This will result in decreased costs, earlier diagnosis, and improved patient outcomes.

The three-year, full-time program consists of a minimum of 76 credit hours divided between advanced theory courses (core curriculum), research, and a one-year clinical residency. Course delivery may include face-to-face, online, and hybrid formats.  The core curriculum may be completed as a distance learning program and on a full-time or part-time basis.  However, the residency component requires full-time attendance at a clinical affiliate. 

The core curriculum is designed to advance the foundational knowledge of the bachelor's-level medical laboratory scientist in the areas of hematology, clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, immunohematology, clinical immunology, and molecular diagnostics. The core curriculum also includes clinical correlations, evidence-based medicine, and interprofessional practice.  Information gained from this course work is integrated with knowledge from other disciplines in health care such as health policy and management, pharmacology, health care education, public health and epidemiology, and advanced pathophysiology.

Research is a component of this program and students will be expected to complete research projects over the course of the program culminating in a capstone project suitable for publication.  Research projects will advance practice in clinical laboratory medicine, such as the development and implementation of diagnostic and interpretive algorithms, clinical practice guidelines, and collaborative interprofessional patient care.  

The one-year clinical residency will provide immersion in the workings of the health care system by integrating the resident into patient care alongside physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals in clinical practice environments at program affiliates. During the residency, the students will work with management, laboratory staff, physicians, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team to provide guidance in laboratory utilization and interpretation thereby optimizing patient outcomes. The residency focuses on laboratory test selection and result interpretation. In addition to the direct learning by the resident, he or she can educate the patient and the other members of the health care team on the proper utilization of lab tests, correct specimen requirements, and interfering factors affecting results. 

Graduates of this program will be prepared to act as consultants to health care providers, serve as laboratory directors, educate patients and health care providers, perform and disseminate research on evidence-based practice and test utilization, and enter academic positions.

The DCLS curriculum addresses the competencies established for the profession by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science Oversight Committee and NAACLS accreditation guidelines for the DCLS.