The creation of new majors in UVM’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences is diversifying areas of study which were previously more limited.
The College’s three previously available majors were radiation therapy, nuclear medical technology, and medical lab science (MLS). Now, the four-year MLS major will have three concentrations: public health, nuclear diagnostics, and clinical lab science.
The difference between these three focuses is the hands-on experience that each major entails during the student’s senior year of study..
Currently, public health officials do not have their own major, as it is a relatively new field. This puts UVM on the leading edge for these types of undergraduate studies, working with topics such as food poisoning in restaurants, water safety, and epidemiology.
Nuclear diagnostics concentrates on the search for genetic signatures for ailments, such as the identification of metabolic diseases from a person’s genotype. One might also identify the AIDS virus by identifying the virus itself instead of the antibodies.
Essentially, the nuclear diagnostics concentration is a more specialized version of the traditional MLS major.
Students are able to seek an MLS certification even if they have or will have a bachelor’s degree in another field. These degrees are more employable than a biology or chemistry degree, and students are able to go through the certification program while being a student, or as a returning graduate seeking to attain the degree.
Due to its applicability to the applied sciences, the MLS degree is one that is very viable in today’s job market.
When the MLS department’s Dr. Kevin Foley was asked if pre-med students should choose to major in MLS instead of a traditional science, he replied affirmatively, “I would certainly argue that.” This is likely to be the case because MLS is more applicable to the applied sciences one encounters in medical school.
By creating these new majors, UVM has put itself on the cutting edge of these areas of study which seek to engage their majors in valuable, real-world experience at the undergraduate level.