Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)

Key facts

  • First year available at Auckland
  • Available at Manawatū
  • First year partly available via Distance Learning
  • Four years full time study or equivalent part time
  • Available for international students studying in NZ
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Be a health detective with medical laboratory science

Want a well-paid, exciting career with great prospects? Then the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science at Massey could be for you.

What is it like?

With the BMLSc, you’ll learn things that will help real people. The courses are challenging, different and fun.

Do a vital - and varied - job

Medical laboratory scientists are "healthcare detectives". They provide the test results that are vital for clinical medical staff to detect the body’s secrets, monitor medical treatment or prevent disease. It’s varied and fascinating work.

Get a job and travel the world

When you graduate, you have a reasonably good chance of getting a job. And if you want to see the world, a BMLSc from Massey is an excellent travelling degree, as your qualification will be recognised in many countries around the world, although many countries do have their own registration requirements.

Why Massey is a great place to study medical laboratory science

  • Massey has an international reputation in the biological sciences
  • The Massey BMLSc degree is accredited by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand (former NZMLSB) and the Australian Institute of Medical Science (AIMS)
  • The BMLSc has an excellent reputation with professional staff in medical laboratories
  • You will get a very competitively priced, high-quality education
  • The fourth year is a great opportunity to demonstrate your skills to potential employers because you spend two 15-week semesters in medical laboratories

An unusual feature of medical laboratory science is the wide variety of disciplines covered, which include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Haematology
  • Transfusion science
  • Immunology
  • Histological technique
  • Human cytogenetics

The first three years of the BMLSc are similar to other degrees like the BSc, but in the fourth year you will be placed in ISO 15189-accredited diagnostic medical laboratories throughout New Zealand for practical training and experience.

A good fit if you:

  • Enjoy science, especially biology and chemistry
  • Are inquisitive and like to understand how the human body works (normal) and what can go wrong with it (pathology)
  • Are dextrous or good at laboratory work
  • Like to help people and want to work in a healthcare team, while not dealing directly with the public
  • Are good at problem-solving
Hazel Gilbert
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Medical Laboratory Scientist, Cytogenetics at Canterbury Health Laboratories

“You gain enough knowledge to help you land that perfect job…”

I love science and wanted to work in a field that is fast paced, constantly evolving and demands continued learning. Massey is such an awesome place to meet lots of different people. The best part was the amazing lecturers. They were engaging and made all the classes and labs enjoyable. I found the programme very well structured and full of useful papers that really prepared you for your final year of placements. Some topics were challenging but now I realise how important it is to be aware of other scientific disciplines and understand their testing. I was employed at Canterbury Health Laboratories within two weeks of my final exam. Currently I am reporting cases and analysing prenatal and postnatal samples. I analyse chromosomes for a variety of referrals, check tissue cultures, and have the added responsibility of acting duty scientist in the lab to oversee technical work. The best thing about my career is how rewarding it is knowing you’re a part of a patient’s health journey. Employers are always keen for someone with experience. This programme ensures you gain enough knowledge to help you land that perfect job.

Careers

Help people to better health

The BMLSc degree primarily leads to employment in hospital and community-based medical laboratories. After graduating, your initial role is likely to involve carrying out laboratory tests to help with clinical diagnosis and health screening. Most medical laboratory scientists, especially in larger hospitals, specialise in a few disciplines. With experience, promotion to management and departmental responsibility within these laboratories is likely. If you continue your education at postgraduate level, you’ll have opportunities to engage in research and develop new scientific techniques for commercial application.

To practise as a medical laboratory scientist in New Zealand you must be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand (MSCNZ). This is a requirement of New Zealand law, to maintain professional standards and provide public protection. A degree in medical laboratory science is the most direct path to registration as a medical laboratory scientist.

Make more money, and travel too

The financial return for BMLSc graduates is usually greater than with other science degrees.

Overseas recognition of the Massey BMLSc provides opportunities for employment and research in medical laboratories or related fields outside New Zealand. You can work in Australia, and New Zealand medical laboratory scientists are sought-after for locum work in other places such as the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Scientists are often recruited even before leaving New Zealand.

Several other areas of employment are open to BMLSc graduates; for example, in the pharmaceutical and food science industries; animal pathology; and other allied health areas, such as biomedical research and the laboratory supply industry.

Registration

Anyone who wishes to work as a professional medical laboratory scientist in New Zealand must be registered by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand. A new graduate can apply for registration as a medical laboratory scientist on completion of the BMLSc. He/she will work under supervision for a minimum of six months in an approved medical laboratory to be eligible for an Annual Practicing Certificate (APC).

Risks

Students considering a career in medical laboratory science should be aware that medical laboratory scientists, working in diagnostic laboratories, will be exposed to specimens from patients infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV, the agent of AIDS), hepatitis C and perhaps other as-yet-unidentified infectious agents. Application of Universal Safety Precautions (taught in the BMLSc programme) ensures that the risk of infection is very small but it will not be zero. There are presently no vaccines available for HIV or hepatitis C and both these agents can cause serious if not fatal disease. If you feel that you would be unhappy working with human specimens knowing that they could pose a risk to your health, however slight, then you should, perhaps, look for another career. Hepatitis B virus is much more common and it poses a much greater risk for medical laboratory scientists working with human specimens than either HIV or hepatitis C. However there is now a safe and effective vaccine available for hepatitis B. This vaccine is strongly recommended for students not already immune to hepatitis B virus. In the unlikely event that you are hepatitis Be antigen positive and you wish to pursue a career in Medical Laboratory Science, you should discuss your options with the Programme Director of Medical Laboratory Science before enrolling in the programme.

Join the engine of the new New Zealand
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