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Name change at Dwyer reflects preferred terminology

May 30, 2023

Microbiology students work with bacteria during a lab Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in Dwyer Hall on campus at IUSB. (Photo by Michael Caterina...

The Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences at IU South Bend has established a thriving program for students seeking a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science. The program should continue to flourish, and it needs no structural reboot. However, it has gotten a new name. In a move that reflects the current preferred terminology in the field, the program is now called Medical Laboratory Science.

The degree path, courses, and expected outcomes are unchanged, but the wording now fits more closely with the language favored by the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification. It also helps in practical matters such as highlighting the ideal terminology used when finding job opportunities in the field.

“When graduates are looking for employment, ‘Medical Laboratory Science’ is usually the best search term to use,” says MLS program director Barbara Spinda.

“It aligns with the career pathway, grounding it in a medical-based profession, not just a lab-based profession,” says Jenny Deranek, assistant dean of the School of Applied Health Sciences. “They do work in the lab, but they’re an integral part of the medical system. They play crucial roles in diagnosis and treatment.”

A fundamental appeal of an MLS degree is the multitude of opportunities that it makes available.

“They can find work in hospital laboratories, reference labs like LabCorp or Quest, research institutions, government institutions such as the CDC, the military, or even the industry side, helping to create and develop diagnostic instruments,” Spinda says. “They can also go on to pursue master’s degrees and clinical doctorate degrees.”

There are multiple ways that a student can get on track for an MLS. Some start the path as freshmen in a standard four-year period and emerge with an MLS at the end. Someone who already holds a science degree can come to IU South Bend and add the MLS credential in a mere three semesters. A third option comes from a partnership with Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart, allowing students with an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech to complete the remaining bachelor’s degree requirements at IU South Bend.

Having the MLS on a resume is certainly getting employers’ attention these days.

“Our MLS grads are walking right into good-paying, well-respected jobs,” Deranek says. “This degree makes people employable anywhere in the country.”

“We’ll have to learn to explain to them how to turn down a job offer,” Spinda says, “because they’ll get more than one.”

To find out more about Medical Laboratory Science at IU South Bend, visit the departmental website:

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