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Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Molecular Diagnostic Science

Work hands-on at the molecular level.

The George Washington University’s (GW) online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Molecular Diagnostic Science gives you the knowledge and hands-on experience to work with DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids to detect, diagnose, and monitor disease and select optimal therapies.

You’ll learn the specific clinical laboratory techniques to detect and identify biomarkers at the nucleic acid levels in major areas of medicine including genetic disorders, infectious diseases, cancer, pharmacogenetics, and identity testing.

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Quick Facts


total credits


Qualify for the ASCP Molecular Biology (MB) exam

12 months

average duration

Accreditation and Rankings

  • Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • #62 Best National University*

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

Program Highlights

  • Qualify to take the ASCP Molecular Biology (MB) Board of Certification examination*
  • Clinical practicum waivers are available for qualified students
  • Finish in about 12 months
  • Students of this program are eligible for financial aid


Launch your laboratory career with seven courses dedicated to the exciting, up-and-coming field of molecular diagnostic testing.

You’ll focus on topics such as laboratory management and operations, molecular biology, human genetics, and applied molecular testing, and complete the certificate with a practicum diagnosing diseases in a real-world clinical setting.

Finish this program ready to help people get well through effective testing and diagnostics.

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Program Outcomes

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

  • Explain the methods of collection, transport and handling of various specimen types for molecular analysis.
  • Apply molecular-based testing for laboratory utilization and clinical decisions for patient/client outcomes
  • Implement preventive and corrective maintenance programs for equipment and assays, as well as troubleshoot and evaluate appropriate actions for problem resolution
  • Apply knowledge of molecular and genetic theory and principles as they relate to human disease diagnosis.

Who Is the Ideal Student for This Program?

To handle the online portion of the degree, you must be organized and independent. Students who excel at science-based coursework and are excited by molecular testing’s potential for medical science are a good fit for this program.

Career Outlook

Given the rise of commercialized, at-home DNA testing kits and recently proven medical capabilities, particularly in cancer diagnosis and treatment, the need for diagnostic molecular scientists who can ethically and properly manage the challenges of molecular testing and the data it provides is great.

When you graduate with the online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Molecular Diagnostic Science from GW, you’ll be prepared to work as a technologist in a diagnostic molecular laboratory, public health laboratory, research institution, law enforcement agency, the molecular section of hospital laboratories, reference laboratory, biotechnology firm, or, pharmaceutical company.

Medical technologists with molecular biology skills earn a median salary of $55,740 per year, with the top 10% earning more than $73,000.1

Admission Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  • Completed application
  • 2.5 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose: Applicants must include a 250–500 word essay describing your reasons for undertaking study at GW, your academic objectives, career goals, and related qualifications including collegiate, professional, and community activities relevant to your program of interest. Include any substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.
  • One letter of recommendation
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Tuition Details

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Molecular Diagnostic Science program at GW consists of 24 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, PhD

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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  1. Payscale (2020 January 20). Medical Technologist with Molecular Biology Skills. Retrieved on February 19, 2020, from

*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. States requiring licensure may require extended duration of practicum experiences, additional academic courses (outside the student’s program of study), etc. These additional requirements may require you to take a course or courses outside of GW. Each student is encouraged to contact their state’s regulating agency and review these requirements prior to beginning any degree program. In particular, New York and California have additional requirements for state licensure. Both NY and CA require extended times for practicum rotations.

Please also be aware that the fully online post-baccalaureate certificate programs do not meet the student lab requirement for NY state licensure. Also, for those applying to the fully online post-baccalaureate categorical certificates in hematology, microbiology, blood banking, and chemistry, the state of New York does not provide licensure for categorical certification (e.g., Technologist in Microbiology, Technologist in Blood Banking, etc.). We recommend that students who live in New York or California plan to relocate to New York or California do research to determine the NY and CA licensure requirements.