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Full-time Diploma 6615dipma


Note: The January 2021 intake is closed for new applications. Applications for re-admission may be submitted. The September 2021 intake will be open for applications starting October 1, 2020.

Fall 2020 Delivery Mode: BLENDED

  • This program will be delivered for the fall semester as a combination of online and on-campus learning.
  • Faculty will notify students of when their attendance on campus will be required.
  • We are putting measures in place for your safety and well-being, ensuring that all safety protocols are addressed. Please see BCIT COVID-19 Return to Operations for details on the mandatory procedures that have been implemented.
  • Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.

With one of the highest pass rates in the country, BCIT's Medical Laboratory Science program is known for producing high-quality and well-prepared graduates who are ready to start working from day one.

Medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) perform over 1.2 million lab tests every day in Canada. Doctors use these tests to make diagnoses that impact patient health. Our grads play a critical role in ensuring patients get the right treatment and health care they need.

About the program

  • Two-and-a-half year, full-time, Diploma program
  • On-campus lectures and clinical labs deliver a solid theoretical and practical foundation
  • A 38-week clinical placement provides direct learning in a workplace lab setting

Students are ready to write the national certification exam upon graduation. See Program Details to learn more about BCIT's Medical Laboratory Science program.

Who it's for

This program is for individuals who:

  • Have a high school diploma or higher level of education with science and math courses
  • Have an aptitude for mathematics and scientific work
  • Have strong critical thinking and organizational skills
  • Are interested in detailed, precise, analytical work
  • Are willing to work shifts with varying schedules

Find out if this program is right for you. See Program Entry for more information on requirements and applying.

What grads can do

Our grads get hired, with many being offered employment before completing the program. Visit Graduating and Jobs to learn more about a future in medical lab science.

Program Entry

COVID-19 Notice to Applicants

Please visit Admission during COVID-19 to learn how BCIT Admissions is supporting applicants. At this time, there are no program-specific changes for applying to this program.

Application processing

Applications are accepted from October 1st* to May 1st.*

You must submit a complete application, including all supporting documents, by the deadline date to be considered.

*or next business day

Entrance requirements

Competitive Entry: Three-step process

This program is competitive and only applicants who have met the academic entrance requirements will be considered.

Preference for shortlisting will be given to applicants with:

  • Math, biology,and chemistry requirements completed within the past five years
  • Final grades rather than midterm grades
  • Post-secondary education
  • A strong GPA

Applicants with preferred entrance requirements are to submit transcripts and supporting documentation with their online application.

Step 1: Meet the following entrance requirements

If more than five years have elapsed since you completed the math, biology, or chemistry requirements, upgrading is preferred. Upgrading is not required for English or physics.

  1. Students can only write the math, biology, chemistry, and physics challenge exams once.
  2. A student who registers and writes these exams a second time will be given the mark from their first attempt.
  3. The post-secondary human biology equivalent courses' content must include cytology and the structure and function of the following organ systems: digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, renal/urinary, and reproductive.
  4. To meet the minimum requirements, applicants must submit final or midterm grades in support of their application. Midterm reports must demonstrate a minimum completion of 50% of the gradable course work.
  5. Applicants may request to have their credentials reviewed for equivalency and/or recency by contacting the administrative coordinator.

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Step 2: Requirements for selected applicants

All applications will be reviewed by the program area. Only complete applications received by the application deadline date will be considered.

  1. Applicants deemed to have the best opportunity for success in the program are selected to complete the multiple-mini interview process (MMI).
  2. The MMI process has been designed to assess the suitability for the healthcare profession.
  3. Conditional acceptance into the program is based on the MMI assessment.
  4. The MMI interview process is conducted in the first two weeks of June.

Step 3: Conditionally selected applicants

If you have been conditionally accepted to BCIT, you will be notified and the following mandatory information will be required in order to be fully accepted into the program:

Once these and any other outstanding conditions have been met, you will receive notification of your full acceptance.

Clinical requirements

Note: Effective immediately, all health care workers who come into contact with patients at publicly-funded health care facilities or in the community, including at long-term-care facilities, will have to get the influenza vaccine or wear a mask during flu season. This policy affects all students who will be entering a clinical setting.

As such, you will be required to provide proof of your immunization or agree to wear a mask at all times through the flu season prior to being placed in your clinical studies.

Face Respirator Fit Testing

Respirator fit testing with a N95 respirator (1860, 1860s or 1870) is required and must be performed in accordance with CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.4-02. Fit testing must also include inspection, cleaning, maintenance, and storage of protective equipment. Students will be given specific instructions on how to access fit testing by the program prior to the first clinical. Students are responsible for paying for the annual fit test while in the program and carrying their certificate with them at all times during their practicum.

Recommended for success

Since the work is highly technical and exacting, you must feel comfortable with complex instruments, possess considerable manual dexterity, and have meticulous work habits. You must also have a strong sense of responsibility and a desire to work as a health-care team worker with the ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure. Excellent communication, interpersonal, organizational, and critical thinking skills are required.

International applicants

This program is not available to international students. View available programs

Apply to program

Note: The January 2021 intake is closed for new applications. Applications for re-admission may be submitted. The September 2021 intake will be open for applications starting October 1, 2020.

To submit your application:

  • Include proof of meeting all entrance requirements.
  • Convert all transcripts and supporting documents to PDF files.
  • Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee.
Apply Now

Learn more about how to apply

Scheduled intakes

September each year.

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

The program is competency-based and therefore does not ordinarily accept transfer credits for the Medical Laboratory Science courses.


Within two business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal and myBCIT e-mail addresses. All correspondence regarding your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at We'll send you an e-mail when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these e-mails or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within four weeks.

Advanced Placement


You may be eligible to apply to an advanced level of the program through re-admission. Please note that applications are considered based on:
  • Complete applications: you must show proof that you have completed (or are registered in) all requirements to be considered.
  • Competitive entry: if the number of applicants exceeds available seats, BCIT will accept those deemed to have the best opportunity for success.
  • Seat availability: confirmation may not be available until approximately one week before the term begins.
  • Approved success plan: acceptance will, in part, be dependent upon the successful implementation of a plan resolving previous academic difficulties.


If you have previously completed part of this program at BCIT and wish to re-enter the program at an advanced level, you may be eligible to apply for re-admission. Please review the letter you received from Student Records to determine whether or not you are eligible.

View the Re-admission Guidelines and Process

  1. The Medical Laboratory Science program reserves the right to deny any applicant re-admission to the program after a single clinical failure due to:
  2. If you have withdrawn from or failed any Medical Laboratory Science course that is a prerequisite for a course in the next level of the program, you are deemed to have failed out of the program. You must apply for re-admission when ready to return to the program.
  3. If you have any combination of two instances of withdrawal or failure in a Medical Laboratory Science course, or have failed two or more courses in a single term, you may be re-admitted to the program only “with written permission from the Associate Dean, who will detail any special considerations in a written contract” (BCIT Policy 5103).
  4. The length of time out of the clinical environment will influence which level of the program to which you may be re-admitted. If you have been out of the program for two sequential terms you may be required to repeat a previous clinical course for which you have credit.
  5. You may be required to audit or retake courses already successfully completed. You may not take any courses in the next level until you have successfully completed all courses in your current level.
  6. If you have failed any level 3 courses, you must re-apply for the failed courses(s) and must audit the remaining level 3 course(s), including meeting attendance and participation requirements. This is to ensure that you are prepares to successfully and safely enter level 4 clinical.

Submit the Medical Laboratory Science Re-Admit form [PDF] with your application.

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Ready to submit your application? Apply now.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Full-Time Studies Tuition & Fees page for full-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

Supplies, in addition to regular school supplies, include appropriate footwear, uniforms, CSMLS trainee membership fee and certification examination fee*.

Level 1:  $1,550
Level 2:  $380
Level 3:  $570
Level 4:  $100
Level 5:  $100

(general estimated cost, subject to change)

Face respirator fit testing: approx. $30 per year annual re-fitting required.

*Please refer to the CSMLS website for current certification examination fee schedule.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.


Note: The Medical Laboratory Science curriculum has been revised effective for the September 2021 intake. Students that began the program prior to September 2021, please refer to the January 2021 cohort matrix [PDF]

Program matrix

Level 1 (September to December) Credits
  BHSC 1139 Applied Immunology 3.5
  BHSC 1310 Anatomy and Physiology for Medical Laboratory Sciences 1 3.0
  COMM 1370 Communications for Medical Laboratory Science 1 3.0
  MLSC 1009 Foundations of Clinical Microbiology 3.0
  MLSC 1218 Integrative Medical Laboratory Studies 1 8.5
  MLSC 1314 Molecular and Cell Biology 3.0
Level 2 (January to May) Credits
  BHSC 1300 Self and Others: Foundations 1.0
  BHSC 1320 Anatomy and Physiology for Medical Laboratory Sciences 2 3.0
  MLSC 1304 Specimen Procurement 1 1.0
  MLSC 2300 Hematology 1 5.0
  MLSC 2309 Clinical Microbiology 1 4.0
  MLSC 2314 Molecular Diagnostics 1 1.5
  MLSC 2315 Clinical Chemistry 1 6.0
  MLSC 2320 Transfusion Science 1 5.5
Level 3 (September to December) Credits
  MLSC 2319 Clinical Microbiology 2 5.0
  MLSC 2325 Clinical Chemistry 2 5.5
  MLSC 2330 Histology 1 5.0
  MLSC 3300 Hematology 2 5.0
  MLSC 3320 Transfusion Science 2 4.0
Level 4 (January to April) Credits
  BHSC 2300 Self and Others 2: Applications 1.0
  MLSC 2304 Specimen Procurement 2 2.5
  MLSC 2310 Hemostasis 2.0
  MLSC 3309 Clinical Microbiology 3 6.0
  MLSC 3314 Molecular Diagnostics 2 3.0
  MLSC 3315 Clinical Chemistry 3 4.0
  MLSC 3330 Histology 2 5.5
Level 5 (May to February) Credits
  COMM 2370 Communications for Medical Laboratory Science 2 1.0
  MLSC 2219 Integrative Medical Laboratory Studies 2 6.0
  MLSC 4300 Clinical Placement 52.5
Total Credits: 156.0

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program curriculum is designed to prepare the student for work within the clinical laboratory. Curriculum and program objectives are built based on the state of practice in the BC medical laboratory community, and on competencies established by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) for entry-level medical laboratory technology.

The program provides theoretical, practical and clinical learning experiences. In this competency-based model, students have the opportunity to first practice, and then demonstrate, competency in a variety of clinical testing domains. Students prove competence through experiences in a clinical setting. Successful completion of this program requires proof of competence in all aspects of the general competency profile [PDF] for CSMLS certification as a medical laboratory technologist. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to write the General Medical Laboratory Technologist certification exam. Successful completion of the certification exam enables one to practice medical laboratory technology across Canada.

BCIT arranges clinical placements for each student. Clinical placements are located in a variety of accredited laboratories throughout BC including the Interior, the Kootenay region, Vancouver Island and the Greater Metro Vancouver area. Not all clinical facilities are easily accessible by public transportation, students assigned to these sites must have access to personal transportation. Students are responsible for travel, accommodation arrangements and costs to, during and from their clinical experience. Students continue with their didactic studies thru on-line learning while on their clinical placement and stable internet access is required.

Note: For clinical site assignment, an automated matching program is used, where students input their preferences for clinical placements. However, there is no guarantee that students will receive a clinical site assignment from their list of preferred sites. Students must be prepared to attend their assigned placement at any of the clinical sites in the province.

Clinical partners

  • Fraser Health Authority
  • Interior Health Authority
  • LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services
  • Providence Health Authority
  • Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority

Program length

Two-and-one-half years, full-time, beginning in September each year.

The program consists of four on-campus terms and one clinical term. The first term begins in September for 15 weeks, followed by a January term for 20 weeks. Students then break for the summer, returning in September for a 15-week term and a 17-week term starting in January. Shortly after students complete the fourth term, they progress to a 35-week clinical placement. Students will write the national CSMLS exam in February, after they have successfully completed the program.


All MLS didactic courses require 60% to pass. Clinical experience is competency based and therefore has a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade.

To continue from one level of the program to the next, all courses must be successfully completed in each level. To graduate, all courses must be successfully completed, including the online learning materials which supports the Term 5 clinical placement.


This program is accredited by the Health Standards Organization (HSO) and its affiliate accreditation (AC) through their new EQUAL Canada program.

Program structure

2.5 years, full-time

Begins in September each year

Four on-campus terms, one clinical term

    Term 1: 15 Weeks (September – December)
    Term 2: 20 Weeks (January – May)
    Term 3: 15 Weeks (September – December)
    Term 4: 17 Weeks (January – April)
    Term 5: 35 Weeks (May – February)

Graduation date: February

CSMLS exam date: February

Continue your education

The Canadian healthcare system is constantly evolving with the establishment of new responsibilities for care and treatment. Entering the Medical Laboratory Science field means that you are prepared for lifelong learning as your chosen career continues to change. Opportunities exist for graduates to continue training into laboratory information systems, advanced medical laboratory practice and management. Graduates also pursue opportunities in the areas of laboratory instrument sales and technical support, research and medical laboratory education.

On completion of the diploma program and Medical Laboratory Technologist Certification with the CSMLS, students are eligible to apply for degree transfer into year 3 of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). With appropriate prerequisite work in undergraduate general science courses, it is anticipated that a time frame of less than five years full-time will allow for completion of both the BCIT diploma and UBC BMLSc degree.

Graduating & Jobs

Our graduates get work

Employers know to expect the best from BCIT grads. Across the country, our grads are working in medical laboratories and providing accurate, high-quality medical testing so that patients receive the best healthcare possible.

After writing their Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) exam for medical laboratory technologists, most of our students find work within two months of graduation.

Career opportunities

MLT careers often start in hospitals and private clinics, working in core labs performing high value, automated testing. It's a job that requires precision, technical skills, and analytical thinking. Annual, full-time salaries start at approximately $50,000.

Other career paths that offer opportunities to advance or specialize your career include:

  • Administrative and coordinator positions
  • Laboratory information management systems (LIS)
  • Public health laboratories
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • BC Laboratory Centre for Disease Control
  • Veterinary and industrial laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical and biological supply houses
  • Sales and technical representatives for private companies
  • Research and development

Curious as to what Medical Laboratory Technologists do on the job? See WorkBC's video explaining the skills required to succeed as a Medical Laboratory Technologist.

Keep learning

Want to advance your education? After graduating, complete a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program through the University of British Columbia.

Internationally Trained?

Note: BCIT is not currently offering any refresher courses for internationally-trained technologists. Your first step is to connect with CSMLS for information about becoming certified as a medical laboratory technologist in Canada (see links below).

To work as a medical laboratory technologist in BC, you must be certified by the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). The general certification includes clinical chemistry, hematology, clinical microbiology, histology, and transfusion science (also called blood transfusion).

The CSMLS offers credential assessment services to help internationally trained technologists assess their eligibility for certification:

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)
33 Wellington Street North
Hamilton, ON L8R 1M7
t: 905-528-8642
f: 905-528-4968

Additional resources for Internationally Educated Medical Laboratory Technologists (IEMLT)

CSMLS IEMLT Certification Process
CSMLS Medical Laboratory Assistant Certification Process
BCSLS BC Society of Laboratory Science


Program Details FAQs

Program Admission FAQs

How big are the classes?

Lectures are a cohort of 80 students, and in sets of 20 for laboratory activities.


Can I do this program part-time?

The program is only offered in a full-time format.


Can I apply for transfer credit for my college/university courses?

If you feel you have completed courses equivalent to MLS courses, you may apply for individual transfer credit within the first two weeks of the program start.

Refer to Admission & Registration.


I plan on working part time, while going to school. What does the program recommend?

Working part-time is not recommended, given the rigorous expectations of the program.


How many hours per week will I spend on school work?

In terms 1-4 prepare to be in class from 0830 to 1630, Monday through Friday. An average of 4-5 hours homework per day can be anticipated.

During clinical placement, students need to be prepared to be scheduled for occasional evening, weekend, or night shifts.


Am I responsible for costs throughout clinical placement?

You are responsible for all transportation, accommodation, and personal expenses throughout the clinical placement.


Where will I do my clinical placement?

Students will be requested to provide their preferences for clinical placements, but there is no guarantee that they will be assigned to one of their preferences. Training site placements are located in a variety of accredited laboratories throughout BC including the Interior, the Kootenay region, Vancouver Island and the Greater Metro Vancouver area.


Is there a pathway to degree completion?

Upon graduation and CSMLS Certification, students are eligible to apply for entry into third year of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). With appropriate prerequisite work in undergraduate general science courses, it is anticipated that a time frame of less than five years full-time will allow for completion of both the BCIT diploma and the UBC BMLSc degree.


What if I am colour blind?

Many test results are based on the medical laboratory technologist’s ability to differentiate colours. If you are unable to discern colour differences, you will find it difficult to successfully complete the program. In addition, your employment opportunities will be limited as some laboratories cannot hire individuals who are colour blind.


What if I am hearing impaired?

Technologists must be able to communicate with patients and the healthcare team. The majority of this communication is spoken, whether face to face or over the telephone. Depending on the severity of your hearing impairment, your opportunities for a successful clinical experience and your opportunity for employment may be limited.


How competitive is the program and is there a wait list?

We typically interview 140-160 applicants for 80 seats in the program. Acceptance is based on the ranked aggregate score achieved during the selection process.

Participants who are not among the top 80  will be placed on a wait list for the current intake, in the event a seat becomes available. The wait list is cleared once the program intake is full and closed; unsuccessful applicants must re-apply to be considered for the next intake.


Can I apply to the program while I'm working on meeting the prerequisites or do I wait until all are complete?

You can only apply when you have fully met the academic requirements. An exception can be made if you are in the process of completing prerequisite courses and can submit midterm reports. Refer to Using Your Midterm Grades for information on submitting midterm marks. When submitting midterm marks, your final marks should be submitted no later than one month prior to the start of the program.


What if I have the prerequisites, but they are from more than five years ago?

To meet the recency requirement, courses should have been completed within five years from the calendar year of start date in the program. As 5 year recency is preferred, if your course work is not within recency, you have the option to either write challenge exams or complete upgrading courses through your local school district or post-secondary institution. Challenge exams exist for Biology, Math, Chemistry and Physics.


I did not receive a 'B' in English 12, will my post-secondary English marks be considered?

Yes, refer to Admission & Registration.


I need to meet the English 12 requirement, what are my options?

There are a number of upgrading and assessment test options available.


What if I write challenge exams and do not achieve the necessary grade?

You will have only one opportunity to write each challenge exam. If you are unsuccessful, you must then upgrade to meet prerequisites. A student who registers and writes a challenge exam a second time will be given the mark from their first attempt.


Do you consider out of country credentials as meeting the prerequisite requirements for the MLS program?

Please refer to Admission & Registration for information on International high school equivalencies. Please note we will be looking for courses that meet equivalency, recency, and the relevant letter grade criteria.

Challenge exams or upgrading will be required if the prerequisite courses have not been taken within five years from your program start date.


Do you consider GPA in the selection process?

Yes, GPA is used in the departmental review process to short list applicants.


What can I do to prepare myself for success in the selection process?

The program looks for well-rounded individuals who will be successful as students and as future medical laboratory technologists (MLT). Ensure that you have researched what it means to be an MLT and be prepared for a formal interview process.


I have met prerequisites for the program. What post-secondary courses can you recommend to support my success in the program?

We recommend post-secondary courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology and other medical laboratory-related courses.

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Andre Caron, BSc(MLS), MLT (CSMLS)
Program Head
Tel: 604-432-8537

Donna O'Neill, MLT (CSMLS)
Clinical Coordinator
Tel: 604-456-8145
Email: donna_o’

Dj Lidher
Administrative Coordinator
Tel: 604-456-1257

The Medical Laboratory program faculty are all CSMLS certified (Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science).

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Questions or comments?

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As well, if you meet any of the following criteria, please follow the links for more information, instead of sending the form:

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Information Access and Privacy.

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Picture of Meghan McLennan in St Paul's Hospital

"BCIT has an excellent reputation for training competent MLTs, which can be observed in the pass rate achieved on the CSMLS competency exam. For me personally, the balance between theory at BCIT and the practical experience at our clinical sites was instrumental in passing the competency exam and successfully finding a job."

Meghan McLennan
MLSC Graduate, 2010
Lab Research Coordinator
St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver