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Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)

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 Medical Laboratory Science:
Open: 1 August
Close: 15 September

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 208  Introduction to Diagnostic Pathology

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)

45

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

MELS 410  Medical Laboratory Science for Rural Health

120

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

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. The number of domestic students admitted to the second year of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science programme is limited to the number determined by the Council annually on the basis of available resources. Some additional places may be available to International students.
    2. Applications for admission by domestic students may be made by those eligible under the following categories:
      • Health Sciences First Year (see 1(l))
      • Two or More Years of University Study (see 1(m))
      • Graduate (see 1(o))
      • Alternative (see 1(q))

    3. Applications must be made by the due dates specified for each category as part of the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes published at www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences. (“the Guidelines”)
    4. Selection of eligible students for admission to the second year of the programme shall be made by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee (“the Committee”) whose terms of reference shall be established by the Division of Health Sciences and approved by the Senate.
    5. Subject to these regulations and the Selection Criteria established by the Committee and approved by the Senate from time to time and published as part of the Guidelines, selection for admission shall be in the discretion of the Committee.
    6. Without limitation, the Selection Criteria may include:
      1. academic performance;
      2. demonstration of appropriate attributes for admission into the programme.
    7. The Division of Health Sciences’ Te Kauae Parāoa policy promotes and facilitates equity for Māori students and students from other under-represented groups. In accordance with this policy, the Selection Criteria may provide for applicants in the following equity groups to be given preference for selection:
      • Māori
      • Resident Indigenous Pacific
      • Rural
      • Socioeconomic Equity
      • Refugee Background
    8. Recognition for inclusion in the Māori and Resident Indigenous Pacific equity groups shall be through demonstration of ancestry in accordance with the University’s Ancestry Verification Procedures for Māori and Pacific Students and any other criteria the Senate may determine. Criteria for inclusion in the Rural, Socioeconomic Equity and Refugee Background equity groups shall be established by the Academic Board of the Division of Health Sciences and approved by the Senate. Criteria approved by the Senate shall be published as part of the Guidelines.
    9. Single Programme Preference

    10. In selecting domestic students from the categories in 1(b) above, to enter the second year of the Medical Laboratory Science programme, the 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, Pharmacy, Medicine, Physiotherapy, or Radiation Therapy programmes offered by the University of Otago.
    11. 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.

    12. Candidates wishing to be considered under the Single Programme Preference provision must specify that they are applying only for the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science by the close of applications for the programme.
    13. Candidates wishing to be considered under the Single Programme Preference provision may apply for any other programmes offered by the University of Otago excluding those named in 1 (i) above.

      Health Sciences First Year Category

    14. To be eligible to be selected 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;
      2. pass all of the papers prescribed for the University of Otago Health Sciences First Year course, with an average mark of at least 65%.
    15. Two or More Years of University Study

    16. To be eligible to be selected 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 must not have failed more than two papers in any one year subsequent to a first year of study.
    17. Applicants offered a place under the Two or More Years of University Study category may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, before being admitted to second year classes.
    18. Graduate Category

    19. To be eligible for selection for admission under the Graduate category, an applicant must have completed as their first degree, within three years prior to the date of application, and in the minimum academic time, at least one of the following qualifications awarded by a university in New Zealand:
      1. a bachelor’s degree; or
      2. undergraduate bachelor’s honours degree; or
      3. bachelor’s degree, followed by a postgraduate diploma or postgraduate honours year.
    20. Applicants offered a place under the Graduate category may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, before being admitted to second year classes.
    21. Alternative Category

    22. To be eligible to be considered for admission under the Alternative category, an applicant must be a domestic student and:
      1. hold a degree from a New Zealand university, and no longer be eligible under the Graduate category; or
      2. have completed a degree at an overseas university at a standard of at least NZQF Level 7; or
      3. hold a master’s or doctoral degree; or
      4. demonstrate health-related professional experience in a relevant field to a standard acceptable to the Committee.
    23. An applicant may be required to attend an interview.
    24. Applicants offered a place under the Alternative category may be required to pass prescribed papers, to a standard determined by the Committee, before being admitted to second year classes.
    25. International Admissions

    26. The Committee may offer a limited number of places in second year classes to international students who meet all the requirements determined by the Committee.
    27. Exceptional Circumstances

    28. Notwithstanding any of the above provisions, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) shall have discretion to approve a recommendation from the Committee concerning any applicant who, not having satisfied these regulations in a particular aspect, in the Committee’s view warrants admission to the programme for exceptional reasons.
    29. Declining of Admission

    30. Any applicant who
      1. is, or who has been, the subject of criminal charges; or
      2. is, or who has been, subject to disciplinary proceedings of a tertiary institution or professional body; or
      3. (iii) has been found to have an issue (whether in connection with their mental or physical health, or their professional attributes or conduct, or otherwise) that compromises or is likely to compromise their fitness to practise; or
      4. is found to have failed to declare a matter covered by (v)(i)-(iii),

      may be declined admission to the programme by the 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Credits and Exemptions

    The Board of Studies may grant such credits and exemptions as it deems appropriate for work done previously by a candidate.

  4. Cross Credits

    1. A candidate who is enrolled for the degree concurrently with another degree, or who has completed another degree, may cross credit any of the papers of the First Year course.
    2. In addition, a candidate who has passed any papers similar to papers in the Second or Third Year courses may be exempted from those papers.
    3. If papers worth more than 180 points are cross credited or the subject of exemptions, the Director of the Programme will, where appropriate, prescribe additional or alternative papers at the same or higher level and points value to be passed to ensure a coherent and equitable overall programme of study.

  5. 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. A candidate gains terms based on satisfactory 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.
    4. Terms granted in any paper shall normally be for the year only.

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  6. 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 the year of the programme. 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.

  7. Withdrawal from the Programme

    1. Deferral of admission to second year classes
      1. In limited circumstances, the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee may allow a student to defer admission to second year classes for one year. Any application for deferral must be made no later than the end of the third week of classes in the original year of admission. Where deferral is granted the right of re-entry to second year classes remains subject to confirmation by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee.
      2. Applications for deferral and for confirmation of the right of re-entry will be determined by the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee in accordance with the criteria and procedures set out in the Admissions Guidelines.
    2. Temporary withdrawal from programme
      1. Except in circumstances covered by 7(a), a student who wishes to withdraw from the programme on a temporary basis must obtain the prior approval of the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science. Where temporary withdrawal is approved, re-admission to the programme remains subject to the approval of the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science. Any application for such approval needs to be made no later than 1 October in the year prior to that for which readmission is sought. subject to the approval of the Board of Studies. Any application for such approval needs to be made no later than 1 June in the year prior to that for which readmission is sought.
      2. Applications for temporary withdrawal and for readmission will be determined by the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science in accordance with the criteria and procedures set out in the Withdrawal and Readmission Guidelines.
    3. Permanent withdrawal from programme
      1. Students who withdraw permanently (including students who withdraw without prior approval and students who fail to communicate their intentions within 12 months of when they were last enrolled or for any other 12 month period) have no right to be considered for readmission.
      2. Despite the previous clause, the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science may allow a student who has permanently withdrawn to submit a fresh application under the regulations governing admission to the programme. In considering whether to allow such an application to proceed, the Board of Studies for Medical Laboratory Science may have regard to all of the circumstances of the student’s withdrawal. Where an application is allowed to be made, the Medical Laboratory Science Admissions Committee may also have regard to those circumstances when considering the application.
  8. 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 (whether in connection with their mental or physical health, or their professional attributes or conduct, or otherwise) that compromises or is likely to compromise 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.

  9. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  10. 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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