Students follow the Program of Courses as outlined in the University of Alberta Calendar for the year in which they entered their program. The program consists of a preprofessional year followed by three years in the Division of Medical Laboratory Science.

Visit Medical Laboratory Science Courses for course information.

Preprofessional Year

The Medical Laboratory Science program at the University of Alberta has a preprofessional year that is required before admission to the program.

Preprofessional year objectives

In the preprofessional year, students will obtain a good basic science background reflecting the disciplines of medical laboratory science. Upon completion of this year, students will:

  1. Develop a background knowledge in basic sciences, including:
    • General Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Genetics
    • Microbiology
    • Statistics
  2. Use correct technical and scientific vocabulary
  3. Practice safely in a laboratory setting
  4. Demonstrate ability to follow written and oral instructions
  5. Effectively communicate ideas in written and spoken English
  6. Be responsible for their own learning.

Year 2

Year 2 enhances the background information of the preprofessional coursework. It is a normal university year in which didactic material for the five disciplines is presented.

Year 2 objectives

In Year 2 students will develop a basic foundation in the five major disciplines of medical laboratory technology. Upon completion of this year, a medical laboratory science student will be able to do the following:

  1. Understand and have basic knowledge of core theoretical principles that form the foundation of the disciplines of medical laboratory science, including:
    • Pathophysiology and pathogenesis
    • Clinical presentation of disease
    • Laboratory investigation
    • Interpretation of laboratory results
    • Diagnosis and treatment
    • Application of relevant basic sciences
  2. Be introduced to core manual techniques, and demonstrate accuracy and precision in performing these techniques.
  3. Demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of core technical methods and instrumentation.
  4. Have a basic understanding of quality control.
  5. Develop the ability to perform laboratory tests in a confident, organized and efficient manner.
  6. Use laboratory manuals appropriately, and independently carry out a procedure with minimal supervision.
  7. Develop an understanding of the principles and practice of ethical behaviour for medical laboratory technologists.
  8. Develop the ability to relate theory to practice through interpretation of results.
  9. Gain experience with self-directed learning.
  10. Develop the ability to analyze data, and to recognize and solve basic problems.
  11. Develop the ability to deal with ambiguity.
  12. Be introduced to basic components of the scientific method and recognize its role in the advancement of medical knowledge and practice.
  13. Gain some experience with both convergent and divergent thinking in solving problems.
  14. Develop and gain some practice in using the problem solving approaches typical of each discipline.
  15. Develop the ability to transfer knowledge laterally between disciplines and understand the role that each discipline plays in patient diagnosis and treatment.

Year 3

Year 3 is a 38-week clinical practicum comprised of laboratory rotations under the supervision of Alberta Precision Laboratories in the Edmonton Zone. Additional university courses run concurrently with this rotation.

Year 3 objectives

In Year 3, students will become technically proficient in the five major disciplines and further develop problem solving skills. Upon completion of this year, a medical laboratory science student will be able to do the following:

  1. Perform efficiently basic techniques with precision and accuracy at an acceptable level of clinical competence to qualify to write the CSMLS certification examinations.
  2. Develop theoretical competence sufficient to be eligible to write the CSMLS examinations.
  3. Develop confidence in their abilities and recognize their limitations.
  4. Develop the ability to organize work and set priorities.
  5. Communicate effectively, defend judgments and conclusions, and cite supportive evidence.
  6. Follow safety regulations in the laboratory, and perform accepted protocol in case of accident.
  7. Use, care for and perform routine maintenance of equipment in the laboratory.
  8. Interpret test results and solve routine laboratory problems.
  9. Develop a positive attitude towards learning the laboratory disciplines.
  10. Develop positive attitude needed to be a competent medical technologist with a sense of responsibility in relation to patient care.
  11. Develop an understanding of the principles of ethical and professional behaviour for medical laboratory technologists.
  12. Become familiar with standard texts and journals for each discipline.
  13. Develop the ability to undertake independent, self-directed learning.
  14. Demonstrate the ability to organize and present a large volume of information in a logical and concise manner.
  15. Demonstrate an ability to critically analyze current literature on a given topic by comparing the writings of various authors and by drawing pertinent personal conclusions.
  16. Communicate basic knowledge in an oral presentation in an organized and concise fashion.
  17. Develop the ability to analyze laboratory data.

Year 4

Students return to the standard university structure for year 4. They may choose from an array of courses representing specialties of medical laboratory science. While a research project is compulsory, students may select a project in an area of interest to them.

Year 4 objectives

In Year 4 students broaden their knowledge of theory and practice in medical laboratory science and develop further skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation as they relate to the scientific method of inquiry. Upon completion of this year, a medical laboratory science student will:

  1. Gain experience in the research process by planning and conducting a research project.
  2. Develop the ability to use critical thinking in analyzing data and in formulating conclusions based on empirical evidence.
  3. Develop problem-solving skills.
  4. Develop the ability to write a scientific paper using a standard format.
  5. Develop knowledge of career opportunities and accordingly establish meaningful personal professional goals.
  6. Demonstrate a greater degree of independent learning than necessary in previous years.
  7. Learn advanced theories and newest techniques applicable to the field of medical laboratory science.
  8. Develop a broader knowledge base in the sciences and humanities.
  9. Develop a broader knowledge of quality assurance programs and establish familiarity with cGMPs and GLPs.