Graduate Certificate in Clinical Laboratory Science

Program Scope

The SF State Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Internship Certificate program provides students with the theoretical and practical skills necessary to work in hospitals, clinics, and biomedical research environments. The program prepares students at the post-baccalaureate level to take the national board examination for certification as Clinical Laboratory Scientists. In addition, the program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and meets the educational standards required for licensure as a CLS by the California State Department of Health, Laboratory Field Services (LFS). The program seeks to develop critical thinking skills for clinical and administrative decision-making in the complex and ever-changing healthcare environment.

Career Outlook

Clinical laboratory scientists play a pivotal role in the healthcare sector, finding employment in diverse settings ranging from medical laboratories within expansive medical centers to community hospitals, public health clinics, biotech companies, and private industry. As healthcare continues to advance, the role of clinical laboratory scientists remains dynamic and integral to the overall improvement of patient care and medical innovations.

Admission to Program

Requirements are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university with a major in microbiology, biology, or another related field. Students with international degrees should check the CLS website for more information (
  • An overall GPA of 3.0 or better, or a GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester units (90 quarter-units).
  • International students must score at least 80 on the internet-based TOEFL, or a 550 on the paper-based test with a Test of Written English (TWE) of at least 4.
  • Science course preparation that includes courses in hematology, immunology, medical microbiology, quantitative chemistry analysis, biochemistry, physics, and college-level mathematics.
  • Eligibility for a trainee license from the State of California Department of Health, Laboratory Field Services.
  • A complete application form and three letters of reference.
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Background checks may be required.


The CLS program consists of

  1. a 16-week semester of didactic and laboratory work and
  2. a 40-week off-campus internship at affiliated clinical laboratory sites.

Students enroll for 18 units for the pre-clinical semester. For the 40-week off-campus portion, students enroll in a combination of regular university sessions and special sessions through the College of Professional & Global Education.

First Semester

CLS 701Clinical Chemistry and Urinalysis4
CLS 706Contemporary Clinical Science Issues2
CLS 731Clinical Hematology and Laboratory Application4
CLS 753Clinical Microbiology for the Clinical Laboratory Science Intern4
CLS 790Clinical Serology and Immunohematology4

Total Units First Semester: 18

Subsequent 40 Weeks

CLS 702Clinical Laboratory Science Internship I (4 units taken twice)8
CLS 705Clinical Laboratory Science Internship II (3 units taken twice)6
CLS 709Clinical Laboratory Science Internship III3
CLS 707CLS Bridge to Clinical Practice3

Total Units Subsequent 40 Weeks: 20
Total Units for Entire Program: 38

English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Students complete a proctored essay at the time of their application interview. If necessary, remediation will be fulfilled by successful completion of SCI 614 or equivalent.

Level Two

Successful completion of written professional documents as required for a leadership role in professional environments.