Dual Degree: BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences / MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences

A researcher looking through a microscope

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

GW’s NAACLS-accredited dual-degree program allows you to learn the foundation of medical laboratory science and gain sophisticated laboratory techniques to detect and identify biomarkers at the nucleic acid level. Through online coursework and hands-on training clinical rotations, you will gain the knowledge and skills required to work in the clinical laboratory setting detecting disease in its early stages.

This dual health sciences program is for individuals who have an associate’s degree and/or already hold a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certification and would like to further advance their career. The program covers diagnostic methods to establish disease prognoses, recommend therapies and monitor treatment plans throughout the course of a disease. Attention to detail is a must since you will learn to follow specific methodologies, manage data, and maintain quality control in all you do.

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Hybrid or 100% Online

48 months

Average Duration

Accreditation & Rankings

  • GWU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • #62 Best National University*
  • #15 Best Online Bachelor's Programs*
  • #8 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans*

* The U.S. News & World Report – 2023 Rankings

What is MLS?

Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) is a profession that combines the challenges of medicine, the basic sciences, and clinical sciences into a highly satisfying and valued career. Medical laboratory scientists function as detectives, investigating and determining the causes of disease. They utilize the latest biomedical instruments and molecular techniques to perform both routine and complex testing.

As vital members of the health care team, medical laboratory scientists (sometimes called medical technologists) find great satisfaction in making a direct impact on medical care. Today's medical laboratory science graduates work in diverse settings including hospital laboratories, physician offices, clinics, commercial and research laboratories, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, as well as government and public health facilities.

What is Molecular Diagnostic Sciences?

Molecular testing uses sensitive and specific laboratory techniques to detect and identify biomarkers at the nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) level. Molecular diagnostic tests are increasingly used in many major areas of medicine including genetic disorders, infectious diseases, cancer, pharmacogenetics and identity testing.  A great example of a molecular-based test is the PCR test used to detect the SARS-CoV2 virus in COVID-19 patients; this test, along with the laboratory scientists trained to perform the test, played a major role in identifying COVID-19 cases during the pandemic. The number of molecular-based laboratory tests is expected to increase dramatically as more information is uncovered about the human genome and disease.

Learn About the Dual Degree Program in BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences / MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences at GW

The overall goal of the proposed program is to prepare graduates with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for positions in diagnostic clinical molecular laboratories, public health laboratories, biotechnology companies, government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and research institutes.

Expand the accordions below for more information about each program.

  • The blended program has online and on campus requirement. Students need to reside in or relocate to the D.C. area, have completed an associate’s degree or a minimum of 24 credits, and are not Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certified through ASCP, AMT, or AAB.
  • This program provides 100% of didactic (lecture) courses online, in-person labs at the GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus (VSTC) in Ashburn, VA, and practicum at an approved diagnostic laboratory.
  • Geared for students who are not MLT certified, such as individuals with an Associate degree in biology, biotechnology or applied sciences, and want to complete a baccalaureate degree in the molecular diagnostic sciences.
Fully Online
  • A 100% online program is available for students who have Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certification through ASCP, AMT, or AAB, and have completed an accredited MLT program. This program provides 100% of didactic (lecture) coursework online with practicum experience in the student’s local area.
  • All didactic (lecture) courses are conducted online in a flexible, asynchronous format. To succeed in this program, students should be self-disciplined, self-directed, and comfortable scheduling their own coursework.
  • Geared for certified MLT’s who want a baccalaureate degree focusing on molecular diagnostic sciences.


Sample vials

Program Highlights

  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS)
  • Finish each degree in as few as 28 months each
  • Earn two degrees faster than completing each one alone
  • The MSHS in MDS is normally a 35 credit hour program. However, students take six graduate-level credits while completing the BSHS portion of the program and at the undergraduate credit hour rate
  • Prepare to sit for the ASCP Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) and ASCP Molecular Biology (MB) exam*
  • > 90% average pass rate on ASCP board of certification exams
  • Qualify for the ASCP Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) and Molecular Biology
    (MB) board of certification exams

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, learners will be able to:

  • Apply principles of traditional and molecular laboratory procedures to perform diagnostic analyses
  • Correlate laboratory data and quality control data to assess patient test results
  • Apply knowledge of traditional and molecular laboratory science principles as they relate to human disease diagnosis
  • Utilize laboratory safety regulations and regulatory policies to establish a safe work environment
  • Apply ethical decision-making to issues related to clinical laboratory practice

Career Outlook

Overall employment for medical laboratory technologists is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.1 An increase in the aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or Type 2 diabetes, through laboratory procedures. Graduates can build careers in clinical or public health laboratories, research institutions, law enforcement agencies, as well as biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. Some job titles include:

  • Biotechnology or Government Research Associate
  • Molecular Laboratory Scientist
  • MLT/MLS Teaching Positions
  • Public Health Laboratory Scientist

Meet the Program Directors

Cliff Cymrot


GW’s experienced faculty provide you with the rich, practical knowledge and support needed for you to succeed in the program and in your career.

Cliff Cymrot, DHSc, MHA, MLS(ASCP)CM, MT(AAB), MT(AMT)

Read Full Bio

Dr. Cliff Cymrot is the current program director for Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) and has over 10 years of experience in combined teaching and clinical laboratory practice. In addition to his program director duties, Dr. Cymrot teaches a range of courses within the MLS program, both online and face-to-face, such as Hematology lecture and lab, Bacteriology lab, Immunohematology lab, and Molecular Diagnostics.

Prior to his arrival at George Washington University (GW), Dr. Cymrot worked as a medical laboratory technician at a medium-sized, 200-bed hospital in upstate NY. In 2008, Dr. Cymrot worked for Advance Magazine for Laboratory Professionals providing storylines for the comic strip “Lab out Loud” that he worked on with his brother-in-law. He has also been a contributor for several chapters in the Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology by Mahon, Lehman, and Manuselis.

He is also a member of the DC chapter for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), American Medical Technologists (AMT), and the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB). He also holds certifications in ASCP, AMT, and AAB in medical laboratory science.

In 2010, he earned his B.S. in Medical Technology from the University of Cincinnati. He was then promoted to medical technologist and soon after began working as an adjunct instructor for SUNY Orange teaching Microbiology for Health Professionals, Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology, and Certification Preparation. In 2014 he earned a master’s degree in Health Administration.

After graduation, he received an offer to facilitate an online graduate level course in health systems management at the University of Cincinnati. In 2015 he was offered a position at GW to teach all of the laboratory courses in the newly created BSHS in MLS blended/hybrid program. After three years he was offered the Program Director position for the undergraduate courses in the MLS program here at GW. In 2022 he then went on to complete his doctorate in health sciences at GW. Dr. Cymrot is actively involved in the MLS profession and loves teaching and promoting MLS.

Graciela Lopez Gamboa



Graciela Lopez Gamboa, M.D., MSHS

Read Full Bio

Dr. Graciela Lopez is the current program director for the Molecular Diagnostic Science programs. She started her career in 2006 as a physician in Bolivia, later moving to the US where she continued to work in the medical clinical setting for over 10 years.  During this time she became interested both in clinical laboratory sciences as well as being part of academics, and in 2018 she graduated from the MSHS in Molecular Diagnostics program form George Washington University. The following year she began working with the Biomedical Laboratory Department (BLS) as adjunct faculty and since 2022 she has been in a fulltime faculty member. Nowadays, aside from her program director responsibilities she teaches online courses in the different programs available through our department plus she also teaches the in-person Molecular Diagnostics lab for our hybrid students.

Dr. Lopez is passionate about healthcare education and bringing awareness to healthcare careers, especially those within the clinical laboratory setting. She has been involved in developing the Medical Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomy Assistant pathway for the Health Science Academy at Alexandria City Highschool and was the first instructor for that program.  She also participated as a mentor for HOSA- Future Health Professionals.

She is currently working on completing the Master Teacher Leadership program through GW University with the goal to continue to improve the courses and programs she is involved with.

She looks forward to working on academic and lab-based research alongside her BLS colleagues, as well as with the students that come through our programs.


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019 September 4). Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved February 13, 2020

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119

Tuition Details

The Dual Degree: BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences / MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences program tuition information can be found here.

Note: Tuition rates are subject to change and additional fees may vary by program.


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