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Medical Laboratory Science

Let’s say you want to work in the healthcare industry, but you don’t feel called to be a medical doctor or nurse. What do you do? One option is to consider a degree in medical laboratory science at Dordt. The healthcare industry has an increasing and dire need for medical lab scientists, so your job prospects following graduation are excellent. More importantly, you’ll have a chance to impact patients’ lives and live out your Christian faith through your work.

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Dr. Jelsma interacts with a couple students during a lab

Program Overview

Dordt’s medical laboratory science major prepares students for a career working in hospital labs doing a variety of procedures. You may diagnose and treat new infectious diseases through sophisticated diagnostic tests. You might conduct research to develop cancer treatments. You may study and analyze microscopic bacteria and viruses for hospitals.

This job requires attention to detail, and does not always work directly with patients. At the same time, it provides unique opportunities to make discoveries, test new possibilities, and ultimately improve patients’ lives through the work. If you want to study and better understand how God made our bodies while impacting people on a daily basis, this major is for you.

students examine glass vile during lab

What can I do with a major in medical laboratory science from Dordt University?

The medical industry is in dire need of medical laboratory science students, and the opportunities for job placement—even right out of college—are extremely high. Many students secure jobs before they have even officially graduated. Here are just a few of the opportunities you’ll have as a medical laboratory science major:

Biological Technician

Biological Technicians are in charge of the set up and maintenance of laboratory equipment, as well as conducting smaller-scale biological tests and experiments.

Blood Bank Technologist

A Blood Bank Technologist deals with the registration and screening of blood donors.

Medical Laboratory Technician

A Medical Laboratory Technician collects and examines different medical samples.

Medical Laboratory Science Major

In this program, you will spend the first three years studying at Dordt, taking classes in biology, chemistry, and statistics. Your fourth year will be spent at a college certified by the Council of Medical Technology Education (COMTE), where you will receive training in a hospital setting using the equipment used for medical technology.

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.

The medical laboratory science major consists of three years of preparatory courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics, with a fourth clinical year at a COMTE-certified institution. During the beginning of the third year, students will apply for acceptance to this program. After successful completion of the final year, students will graduate with a bachelor of science degree from Dordt University.

  • General Zoology: A study of the anatomy, physiology, ecology, taxonomy, and economic importance of the invertebrate and chordate animals. Three lectures and one laboratory period of three hours per week.
  • Cell and Molecular Biology: An introduction to molecular mechanisms in living organisms. Topics include structure and functions of cellular components, gene structure and expression, and recombinant DNA technology. Concepts of reductionism and evolutionary theory will be addressed. Three lectures and one laboratory period of three hours per week.
  • Advanced Microbiology: An upper-level course in the study of microbes, their history, their cell biology, and inter-organism (symbiotic) processes. Topics will include and build on pro- and eu-karyotic distinctions, in-depth study of viruses and plasmids, anaerobic metabolism, biofilms, endosymbiosis, antibiosis, antibiotic resistance, disease mechanisms, how host immune responses develop and adapt. Laboratory work will include basic microscopic observation, culturing, and identification. Isolation and characterization of bacteria, viruses, and potential antibiosis will be featured as “unknown” work. Intended for biology majors and pre-medical students. Students cannot receive credit for both Biology 302 and 310. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
  • Human Anatomy: A detailed study of the organ systems of the human body, with an emphasis on dissections, including cadaver dissections. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.
  • Human Physiology: An advanced study of the functions of the human body and how it responds to stress and disease. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.
  • Medical Terminology: The course is designed for students in pre-health professions and secretarial science–medical emphasis. Students will learn medical terminology and its meaning within the context of the healing professions. Programmed texts and computer software will be used with regular testing periods throughout the semester.
  • Principles of Chemistry: A study of the fundamental principles of chemistry and an introduction to foundational issues in science. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. An introduction to laboratory safety and chemical hygiene is included in the laboratory. This is the first course in chemistry for majors in the physical and life sciences. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
  • Organic Chemistry: Structure and Mechanism: In this foundational organic chemistry course, students will learn the foundational topics and problem-solving skills needed to understand the plethora of chemical reactions that involve compounds containing carbon. A working knowledge and application of topics such as nucleophiles, electrophiles, acids, bases, stereochemistry, mechanism, kinetics, substitution reactions, elimination reactions, carbonyl chemistry, and conformational analysis will be developed. Through a detailed understanding of the chemistry, an honest discussion of ethical implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material we will develop an understanding of how God reveals himself through his creational structure.
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry: Synthesis and Mechanism: In this advanced organic chemistry course, students will learn more advanced topics and problem-solving skills needed to understand the diversity of chemical reactions utilized in modern organic chemistry. Through the process of reviewing current chemical literature articles that report the total synthesis of natural products and investigate reaction mechanism, students will apply the foundational ideas learned in Chemistry 225, classify reactions based on analogy, articulate an understanding of topics such as stereoselectivity and regioselectivity, and explore how organic chemists advance the field. Through a detailed understanding of the chemistry, an honest discussion of implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material will we develop an understanding of how we as scientists and Christians should respond to culture.
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry: BioOrganic: In this advanced organic chemistry course, students will learn the application of organic chemistry to the processes of life. Through the process of reviewing chemical literature articles that report metabolic pathways and the total synthesis of biological products, students will apply the foundational ideas learned in Chemistry 225, classify reactions based on analogy, articulate an understanding of topics such as stereoselectivity and regioselectivity, and consider how biological catalysts accommodate chemical reactions. Through an in-depth application of the chemistry, an honest discussion of implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material we will develop an understanding of how God has created a world in which life is supported through organic chemistry.
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory: In this advanced laboratory course, students will propose, complete, and report on common laboratory techniques utilized in organic chemistry. Students will explore several common reactions including esterification, electrophilic aromatic substitution, and multi-step chemical synthesis. Students will also propose and complete an individual laboratory project. Graded on an A-F scale.
  • Histology: A study of the microscopic anatomy of animal tissues and organs, emphasizing the relationship between structure and function. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week.
  • Cell Biology: A study of the morphology and physiology of the cell, its organelles, and its constituents.
  • Chemical Analysis: An in-depth study of the theory and practice of quantitative methods of chemical analysis. Includes discussion of proper laboratory techniques, theory of operation of common laboratory equipment, discussion of various analytical methods, sampling and sample preparation, and discussion of statistical methods for evaluating and interpreting data. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
  • Instrumental Analysis: Optical, electrical, and chromatographic methods of quantitative analysis and theoretical study. The class meets for three lectures per week for the first two-thirds of the semester; laboratory experiments are performed during the last one-third of the semester.
  • Introductory Statistics: An introductory course in statistical techniques and methods and their application to a variety of fields. Topics include data analysis, design of experiments, and statistical inference including confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. Exposure to statistical software and a substantive student project are also part of this course.
  • Biochemistry: Study of the foundations of biochemistry, starting with the structures and functions of small biomolecules—amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and nucleotides—to macro-biomolecules—peptides, proteins (enzymes), oligosaccharides, nucleic acids and lipids. With this knowledge of biomolecules, the principles of metabolism, enzyme kinetics, catalytic strategies, regulatory strategies, and allosteric enzymes will be studied. Introduction to transduction and energy storage involved with glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, the citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, and fatty acid metabolism. After exploring God’s beautiful design of biomolecules, the students will understand how God’s hand is working in living cells and thereby give glory to God.
  • Business and Technical Writing: Students will study the process, application, and characteristics of business and technical writing, and the way in which writing style, strategies, content, and clarity will relate practically to one’s profession. Concentrates on developing competence in a variety of writing tasks commonly performed in business, law, industry, social work, engineering, agriculture, and medicine.

See the course catalog for more information.

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With experience in a variety of fields, our faculty members are equipped and ready to help you succeed.

Science and Technology Center

As a medical laboratory science major, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Science and Technology Center. Informally known as the "Science Building," the Science and Technology Center is home to special facilities for the physics, chemistry, agriculture, engineering, biology, and environmental studies departments.

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A front exterior view of the Science and Technology Center

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