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MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Science

Qualify to sit for the ASCP MB Exam in 24 Months

The George Washington University’s (GW) online Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Molecular Diagnostic Science examines the latest nucleic acid-based technologies to provide you with the skills and practical experience to solve complex issues in molecular diagnostics. GW’s comprehensive online program is one of few that pairs molecular biology and biotechnology coursework with a real-world clinical rotation experience.

Quick Facts


total credits


Qualify for the ASCP Molecular Biology (MB) exam

2 years

average duration

Accreditation and Rankings

  • Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Institutional Member of the Consortium of Academic Programs in Clinical Research (CoAPCR)  
  • #66 Best National University*
  • #19 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs*

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

Program Highlights


In the Master’s in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences program, you’ll learn how to excel in the field of molecular diagnostics, so you can pursue a career in a variety of health care organizations, including clinical molecular laboratories, public health laboratories, and biotechnology companies.

Through 12 courses and a total of 35 credit hours, this online program leverages distinguished faculty, real-world experience, and an innovative curriculum. In two years, you’ll gain the comprehensive skills you need to succeed in clinical research. Applicants with clinical laboratory experience may be eligible to waive individual clinical practicum requirements.

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Program Outcomes

When you complete this program, you will be able to:

Who Is the Ideal Student for This Program?

The MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences program is designed for individuals who hold national certification or wish to become certified in Molecular Biology.

Career Outlook

GWs online MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences is one of the few programs that provide students with both traditional coursework in molecular biology and biotechnology, as well as the hands-on clinical rotation experience required to prepare for ASCP Board Certification in Molecular Biology. Applicants with clinical laboratory experience may be eligible to waive individual clinical practicum requirements.

Upon completion, graduates will be ready to pursue board certification in Molecular Biology and begin an exciting career in a diagnostic molecular laboratory, research institution, public health laboratory, biotechnology firm, a pharmaceutical company, or government agency with titles such as:

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

Admission Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

See All Requirements

Tuition Details

The Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences program at GW consists of 35 credit hours. Please find the cost per credit hour and total estimated program costs here.

Note: Tuition rates are subject to change and additional fees may vary by program. Please call at (844) 386-7323 for more information.

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Meet the Program Director

Marcia Firmani

Chair, Biomedical Laboratory Sciences Department
Director, Clinical Microbiology Graduate Program
Director, Molecular Diagnostic Programs

Dr. Marcia Firmani has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and research. In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Firmani both directs and teaches several courses within the BLS department, including Clinical Bacteriology, Molecular Diagnostic Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology, and Plagues, Pandemics & Epidemics. She also mentors undergraduate and graduate research projects and has published peer-reviewed articles with students

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 the laboratory science field, 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.

** Best Health Care Support Jobs of 2019. USNews.Com, Accessed on 3/20/19.

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