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Dual Degree: BSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences / MSHS in Clinical Microbiology

Work at the Forefront of Disease Detection

The George Washington University (GW) offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences and a Master of Science in Health Science (MSHS) in Clinical Microbiology all in one convenient program.

Through online coursework, hands-on lab work and clinical rotations this dual-degree program delivers a strong foundation in using clinical laboratory techniques to detect and identify biomarkers at the nucleic acid levels in major areas of medicine. In the master’s program, you learn to identify and investigate human infectious diseases and conduct research that helps prevent the spread of infections.

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Quick Facts


total credits



3.5 years

average duration

Accreditation and Rankings

  • Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • #66 Best National University*
  • #19 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs*

U.S. News & World Report‘s 2021 Best Colleges Rankings

Program Highlights


This dual-degree is available in a fully online and hybrid program format. With either option you will complete 89 total credits including clinical rotations.

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Program Outcomes

Graduate ready to:

Who Is the Ideal Student for This Program?

Attention to detail is a must because methods, data, and quality control will be at the center of what you do. Our dual health sciences degrees are for undergraduate students serious about building their careers quickly.

If you’re passionate about bringing new standards of excellence to the field and making an impact on health care with molecular testing and clinical microbiology, this program could be a good fit for you.

Career Outlook

Build your career in a variety of settings including diagnostic microbiology labs, public health laboratories, research institutions, law enforcement agencies, molecular sections of hospital laboratories, reference laboratories, biotechnology firms, and pharmaceutical companies.

Qualify to sit for both the Molecular Biology (MB) and Microbiology (M) Board of Certification examinations offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), moving you ahead of your competition. Medical technologists with molecular biology skills earn between $43,202 and $72,705 a year.1

With your MSHS in Clinical Microbiology in hand, you can consider career titles such as:

  • Clinical Laboratory Supervisor, $69,539 median salary2
  • Clinical Research Manager, $78,205 median salary3
  • Microbiology Technologist, $48,513 median salary4
  • Public Health Microbiologist, $48,001 median salary5

Admission Requirements

If you have an associate degree from a participating D.C., Maryland, Virginia community college, you may be eligible for guaranteed admission to this program. Review the list of participating institutions or complete this form to speak with an Online Admissions Advisor for more details.

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Tuition Details

The dual-degree BSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences/MSHS in Clinical Microbiology program at GW consists of 89 credit hours and costs an average of $767 per credit hour.

Note: Tuition for the BSHS undergraduate courses is $635 per credit hour. MSHS graduate course tuition is $1,040 per credit hour.

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Meet the Program Director

Marcia Firmani

Director of the program in Medical Laboratory Sciences, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Marcia Firmani has more than 10 years of experience in teaching and research. In addition to her program director duties, Dr. Firmani teaches several courses within the MLS program.

Prior to her arrival at The George Washington University, Dr. Firmani was a principal investigator at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), where she conducted and managed several research projects involving biothreat agent characterization. Dr. Firmani also held two previous faculty appointments.

From 2002–2007 she was an assistant professor in the CLS department at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) in New Orleans. She taught lecture and laboratory courses and directed a research lab where she performed basic and applied research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and MRSA and mentored master’s student thesis projects.

From 2007–2010, Dr. Firmani was an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) where she taught various undergraduate CLS courses and graduate-level Biomedical Sciences courses. She also directed a research laboratory where she conducted NIH-funded research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and mentored both undergraduate and graduate student research projects.

Dr. Firmani has taught numerous continuing education courses in CLS, including a DVD for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) on emerging infections. She has authored several chapters focusing on infectious diseases in textbooks and has also published her research in peer-reviewed journals, such as Infection and Immunity, and the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Frequently Asked Questions

As you explore an online program at the George Washington University, our dedicated staff is here to support you. If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call 844-386-7323.

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* While the completion of this program will make graduates eligible to register for an ASCP Board of Certification Exam, this does not automatically guarantee a graduate will also meet their state’s requirements for state licensure (if applicable). Since each state may have different requirements for licensure, each student is encouraged to contact their state’s regulating agency and review these requirements prior to beginning any degree program.

New York Residents – We advise applicants who are considering New York state licensure to review license requirements before accepting admission to the program.


  1. (2019, September 10) Medical Technologist with Molecular Biology Skills Salary. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from
  2. (2020, February 28) Laboratory Supervisor Medical/Clinical Salary. Retrieved March 16, 2020,
  3. (2020, February 24) Clinical Research Manager Salary. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from
  4. (2020, February 14) Microbiology Technologist Salary. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from
  5. (2019, December 19) Public Health Microbiologist Salary. Retrieved March 16, 2020, from