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Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)

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Overview

The Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc) degree was introduced in 1992, to meet the needs of the medical diagnostic laboratory profession for a science-based academic qualification. The four-year programme includes a comprehensive grounding in health sciences and specialised training in the various laboratory testing disciplines, such as microbiology, biochemistry, and haematology. Most candidates enter the degree programme through the University of Otago Health Sciences First Year course.

Graduates can expect to gain early recognition and registration as medical laboratory scientists in New Zealand, and can also work in most other countries. Medical laboratory scientists play a major part in helping to diagnose and treat diseases. There is an increasing shortage of medical laboratory scientists worldwide. There are also many opportunities for postgraduate study, either in medical laboratory science, or in one of the related health sciences such as forensic pathology, or molecular pathology.

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Information for New Applicants

Applications for 2017

Open: August 2016
Close: 15 September 2016

Information regarding the guidelines for admission can be found on the following website.
Division of Health Sciences

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Contact Details

Website Medical Laboratory Science

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Subject Area

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Programme Requirements

Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)

Year Papers Points
1st year

Health Sciences First Year Course

Note: Students enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course will be required to achieve a satisfactory mark in a standard diagnostic English test or another approved measure of achievement.

126
2nd year

MELS 207  Introduction to Diagnostic Pathology

MELS 221  Microbes to Medicine (for BMLSc)

MELS 223  Infection and Immunity (for BMLSc)

MELS 230  Biochemistry (for BMLSc)

MELS 241  Human Biology: Cells to Systems (for BMLSc)

MELS 251  Physiology (for BMLSc)

27

18

18

18

18

21

3rd year

MELS 301  Diagnostic Chemical Pathology

MELS 302  Haematology and Transfusion Science

MELS 304  Principles of Pathology

MELS 305  Elements of Histotechnology

MELS 306  Medical Microbiology

30

30

15

15

30

4th year

Two of:

MELS 401  Advanced Diagnostic Chemical Pathology

MELS 402  Clinical Microbiology

MELS 403  Clnical Virology

MELS 404  Diagnostic Molecular Pathology

MELS 405  Cytopathology

MELS 406  Haematology

MELS 407  Histopathology

MELS 408  Transfusion Science

MELS 409  Clinical Immunology

120

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Regulations for the Degree of Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    Notes:
    (i) All applicants seeking admission to the second year of the Medical Laboratory Science programme must have completed the requirements of the Health Sciences First Year course at the University of Otago (or equivalent for the Two or More Years of University Study, Graduate and Alternative admissions categories).
    (ii) For specific enquiries about admission to the Medical Laboratory Science programme intending students should make an appointment with the Health Sciences Admissions Office (health-sciences@otago.ac.nz).

    1. Admission to the second year of the Medical Laboratory Science programme shall be determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee.
    2. Admission to the second year of the Medical Laboratory Science programme is limited to 60 Domestic students (but see regulation 1(j) regarding International student admissions).

      Note: ‘Domestic student’ is defined in the Admission to University Statute 2011, clause 3.3.

    3. Applications for admission may be made under the following categories:
      Health Sciences First Year (see 1(f))
      Two or More Years of University Study (see 1(g))
      Graduate (see 1(h))
      Alternative (see 1(i))

    4. In selecting Domestic students from the categories in 1(c) above, to enter the second year of the Medical Laboratory Science programme, the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee will first select from those applicants who have specified that they are seeking admission to the Medical Laboratory Science programme only and not also to one or more of the Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy or Radiation Therapy programmes offered by the University of Otago, and who, normally, achieve a minimum average of 65% for the Health Sciences First Year category, or a minimum average of B- (grade point average (GPA) of 4) for the Two or More Years of University Study, Graduate, and Alternative categories. (See Note (ii) below.)

      Thereafter if Domestic places are still available in each of the applicable categories, the Committee will then select from the group of applicants who are seeking to enter Medical Laboratory Science and one or more of those other programmes.

      Notes:
      (i) To be considered in the “Medical Laboratory Science Single Programme Preference” group, an applicant must specify that he or she is applying only for the Medical Laboratory Science professional programme by close of applications (15 September) for admission to Health Sciences Undergraduate Professional Programmes in the year prior to admission. Applicants in this group may apply for admission to other programmes excluding Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Radiation Therapy at the University of Otago.
      (ii) For guidance on how average grades are calculated, see the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html.

    5. The University of Otago is committed to initiatives that increase the number of students of Māori and Pacific ancestry. The Division of Health Sciences is focused on ensuring that New Zealand’s need for a diverse health workforce is met, honouring the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi and promoting academic equity for under-represented groups.

      Applicants in any category (see regulation 1(c)) who have fulfilled the requirements as described in 1(f), 1(g), 1(h) or 1(i) may also be considered in one or both of the following sub-categories:

      1. Māori.
      2. Indigenous Pacific (see note).

      An applicant in either or both of these sub-categories must provide verified evidence of either Māori whakapapa or indigenous Pacific ancestry, be a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand, and complete a written statement describing their commitment to Māori and/or Pacific health.

      An applicant in either or both of these sub-categories must have achieved a minimum academic standard to be determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee from year to year in the course of study on which the application is based.

      Note: Students applying under the Indigenous Pacific sub-category need to provide verified evidence of family ancestry originating from one or more of the following Pacific nations: Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Fiji, Rotuma, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Wallis and Futuna, Hawai'i, French Polynesia, Rapanui (Easter Island).

    6. To be considered for admission under the Health Sciences First Year category, an applicant must
      1. be enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course at the University of Otago (see also 1(k));
      2. pass all of the papers prescribed for the University of Otago Health Sciences First Year course, normally with a minimum average of 65% (but see 1(e)).

      Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on their average mark in the Health Sciences First Year papers and in accordance with 1(d).

      Note:
      (i) If an additional optional paper from the approved list is taken, and provided all of the prescribed papers are passed at or above the required minimum standard, the results in the highest scoring seven papers will be counted for admission purposes.
      (ii) To be admitted to the Health Sciences First Year course, the applicant must not have studied any university degree-level papers that include a subject that is the same, similar to, or contains significant portions of any of the prescribed Health Sciences First Year papers. Prior university degree-level study in any subject area must not comprise more than one year of equivalent full-time study.

    7. To be considered for admission under the Two or More Years of University Study category, an applicant must not be a finalist but must have completed two or more years of full-time study at a university in New Zealand comprising at least three papers at 200-level, and have completed or be required to complete the equivalent of the papers prescribed for the Health Sciences First Year course (see note (i)), normally with a minimum grade of B- (GPA of 4) across all papers (but see 1(e)).

      Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on their GPA, as calculated by the Division of Health Sciences, and in accordance with 1(d) and note (iii).

    8. Notes:
      (i) Applicants offered a place under the Two or More Years of University Study category who have not yet completed some or all of the Health Sciences First Year papers (or equivalent) will be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee, before being admitted to second year classes. Prescribed papers must be completed at the University of Otago in the year following application to the programme.
      (ii) For purposes of admission into the second year of the programme, a second attempt in a First Year paper in the Schedule in which a pass has already been achieved will not be considered.
      (iii) For guidance on how average grades are calculated, see the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at http://www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html.

    9. To be considered for admission under the Graduate category, an applicant must have completed, normally in the minimum academic time, at least one of the following qualifications awarded by a university in New Zealand:
      • a bachelor's degree; or
      • a bachelor's honours degree; or
      • a bachelor's degree, followed by a postgraduate diploma equivalent to a bachelor's honours degree from the awarding university.

      Notes:
      (i) The qualifying degree for the Graduate category will be the first university degree awarded to the applicant.
      (ii) The grades obtained in a bachelor’s honours degree (if separate from the qualifying degree) or an equivalent postgraduate diploma will be included in the GPA calculation, along with the qualifying degree.

      Applications must be received within three years of completion of the qualifying degree. Normally, the date of completion will be taken as the end of the teaching period in which the final paper or papers included in the programme are undertaken. Repeat applications within the eligibility period are allowed.

      The applicant must have completed or be required to complete the papers of the Health Sciences First Year course or their equivalents (see note (i)). The average grade for all papers in the qualifying programme must be at least B- (GPA of 4) (but see 1(e)).

      Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on their GPA and in accordance with 1(d) and note (iii).

      Notes:
      (i) Applicants offered a place under the Graduate category who have not yet completed some or all of the Health Sciences First Year papers (or equivalent) will be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee, before being admitted to second year classes. Prescribed papers must be completed at the University of Otago in the year following application to the programme.
      (ii) For purposes of admission into the second year of the programme, a second attempt in a First Year paper in the Schedule in which a pass has already been achieved will not be considered.
      (iii) For guidance on how average grades are calculated, see the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at http://www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html.

    10. To be considered for admission under the Alternative category, an applicant must:
        either

        hold a degree from a New Zealand university, and no longer be eligible under the Graduate category;
        or
        have completed a degree at an overseas university at the equivalent of at least NZQF Level 7;
        or
        hold a master’s or doctoral degree;
        or
        be an allied health professional who holds a relevant tertiary-level qualification and has completed no less than five years of full-time work in an allied health profession.

        All applicants applying for admission under the Alternative category will be required to complete or will have completed the equivalent of the papers prescribed for the Health Sciences First Year course (see note (i)), and have achieved a minimum academic standard to be determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee in any papers undertaken at university level (usually a minimum grade of B- (GPA of 4) (Otago equivalent)) (but see 1(e)) and note (iii)).

        All applicants applying for admission under the Alternative category have provided must provide a statement of interest and a current curriculum vitae.

        Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on academic merit and a single programme preference for Medical Laboratory Science.

        Notes:
        (i) Applicants offered a place under the Alternative category who have not yet completed some or all of the Health Sciences First Year papers (or equivalent) will be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee, before being admitted to second year classes. Prescribed papers must be completed at the University of Otago in the year following application to the programme.
        (ii) For purposes of admission into the second year of the programme, a second attempt in a First Year paper in the Schedule in which a pass has already been achieved will not be considered.
        (iii) For guidance on how average grades are calculated, see the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at http://www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html.

    11. The Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee shall have discretion to offer a limited number of places in second year classes to International students who meet all the requirements determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee. (See Note (i) below.)
    12. Admission to the programme shall be subject to applicants’ meeting an English language requirement as determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee.
    13. Notwithstanding any of the above provisions, the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee shall have discretion to consider any applicant who, not having satisfied these regulations in a particular aspect, warrants admission to the programme for exceptional reasons.
    14. Any applicant who
      1. is, or has been, the subject of criminal charges; or
      2. is, or has been, subject to disciplinary proceedings of a tertiary institution or professional body; or
      3. has a mental or physical condition that could adversely affect their fitness to practise; or
      4. is found to have failed to declare a matter covered by (m)(i)-(iii),

      may be declined admission to the programme by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee on the recommendation of the Health and Conduct Review Group. Any offer of admission made before responses to medical tests or requests for information regarding an applicant’s health status or past conduct have been received is conditional on the information received confirming the applicant’s suitability for admission.

      Notes:
      (i) See the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html.
      (ii) The due date for applications for enrolment in the second year course is 15 September in the year before admission.

    • Structure of the Programme

      1. Every programme of study must satisfy the programme requirements above.
      2. No candidate may enrol in any papers other than those prescribed for the degree, except with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences).
      3. Candidates will not normally be permitted to enrol for any papers of a year until all papers of the preceding year have been passed.

    • Credits

      The Board of the Division of Health Sciences may grant such credits as it deems appropriate for work done previously by a candidate.

    • Cross Credits

      1. A candidate who is enrolled for the degree concurrently with another degree, or who has completed another degree, may cross credit 100-, 200- or 300-level papers which are common to both degrees to a maximum of 180 points.
      2. A candidate who has passed papers common to the degrees concerned worth more than a total of 180 points may be exempted from those papers in the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science programme but must pass additional papers at the same or higher level as  those for which exemptions have been granted. Any such papers must be approved by the Director of the Programme and contribute to a coherent overall programme of study.

    • Terms Requirements

      1. No candidate shall be eligible to sit a final examination for any paper in the Second, Third, or Fourth years of the programme without having gained terms in that paper prior to the examination.
      2. Terms for each year will be awarded by the Board of Examinations based on attendance, professional attitudes and skills assessment and the performance of each student in all components of the course in each year, including the clinical placement in the Fourth Year.
      3. A candidate who fails to gain terms in any paper will be required to repeat the whole of that paper.

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    • Examinations

      1. To pass any paper, candidates must achieve
        1. a mark of 50% or better in the theoretical component assessed in the final examination, and
        2. an overall mark of 50% or better in the internal assessment which comprises assignments, practical and technical components.
        If either component of a paper is failed the paper will be deemed to be failed.
      2. In any year a candidate who has satisfied Terms Requirements for one or more papers but has not sat the final examination, or, having sat, obtains a D grade, may be permitted to sit special examinations for the papers concerned provided that the candidate has not failed more than half the total points for that year. In this event, the candidate will be required to repeat all the failed papers.
      3. Any candidate who has achieved an E grade in a paper shall not normally be admitted to special examinations but shall be required to repeat the paper.
      4. Any candidate who is repeating a paper shall not normally be admitted to a special examination for that paper.
      5. Applications for special consideration due to illness or events beyond a candidate's control are considered by the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science in accordance with the Examinations and Assessment regulations.

    • Withdrawal from the Programme

      A candidate who withdraws from the programme must obtain the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) before being readmitted.

    • Exclusion from the Programme

      1. A candidate who fails any or all of the papers for a year of the programme other than the Health Sciences First Year may enrol again for the paper or papers concerned. This concession shall normally be granted only once in the programme. The candidate may be excluded from further study towards the degree by the Board of the Division of Health Sciences on the recommendation of the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science if he or she:
        1. fails to complete all of the requirements for a year of study at a second attempt; or
        2. fails to complete any paper of a later year of the programme at the first attempt (which may include special examinations) having repeated a previous year.
      2. Any student who, during the course of their studies, is
        1. subject to criminal charges;
        2. subject to disciplinary proceedings of the University or of a professional body; or
        3. found to have an issue in connection with their mental or physical health that could adversely affect their fitness to practise; or
        4. found to have failed to declare a matter covered by (b)(i)-(iii),

        may be excluded from further study towards the degree by the Academic Board of the Division of Health Sciences on the recommendation of the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science.

    • Level of Award of the Degree

      The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

    • Variations

      The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

      Notes:
      1. Students undertake placements in approved medical laboratories for the fourth year of the programme, which is taught in two semesters.
      2. Papers of the fourth year may sometimes be offered only in one semester, and not all papers will necessarily be available in any one year.
      3. In order to obtain a pass in each fourth year paper, a candidate shall be required to complete assignments, achieve specified competencies, and pass the examination.

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