Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science)

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Advance your career in health

The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science) is a professional qualification for medical laboratory technicians, interested in career and scientific advancement within the Diagnostic Laboratory, the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) or other health-related areas. The programme has been approved by the New Zealand Medical Sciences Council as a pathway toward registration as a medical laboratory scientist in New Zealand. 

Find out more about the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science parent structure

What is it like?

Follow your interests

The 15 credit courses in the programme introduce the clinical sciences and the two 30 credit courses are taken in the final semester allowing you to specialise at an advanced level.     

While much of the programme is fully prescribed, you will be able to choose an advanced clinical science elective after you have completed the preliminary 15 credit clinical science courses. You’ll be able to choose from these options:

  • Clinical biochemistry immunology
  • Medical microbiology
  • Clinical laboratory haematology
  • Transfusion science
  • Molecular diagnostics.

Undertake applied research

You will complete the final semester of your study with a 30 credit, evidence-based practice course that includes a workplace research project.

Study while you work

The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science) is offered as a part-time qualification that will take two to three years to complete (the equivalent of one year of full-time study). It is offered in distance learning mode, giving you the flexibility to study while you are working and allowing you to fit your study in at a time that best suits your schedule.

Medical laboratory science in New Zealand

Medical laboratory scientists and technicians are the main occupational groups in the profession of medical laboratory science in New Zealand.  They have an important but often unrecognised role in the NZ health system in which they undertake the analysis of samples submitted to the laboratory by medical health professionals. Their work is integral in the diagnosis of around 70% of all patient ailments. In addition they also provide laboratory support for the provision of safe blood and blood components for transfusion and undertake the laboratory workup required for donor/recipient matching of tissues for transplantation. 

Medical laboratory scientists and technicians belong to the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science, the professional body that provides ongoing education for practising scientists and technicians. Practise of the profession is governed by regulations embodied in the Health Professions Competence Assurance Act (2003). This means that those practising the profession of medical laboratory science in New Zealand must be registered with the NZ Medical Sciences Council and hold an Annual Practicing Certificate. This is a similar requirement that applies to all health practitioners in New Zealand.   

A good fit if you:

  • Have a relevant New Zealand Bachelor of Science degree (or overseas equivalent)
  • Are employed in a New Zealand diagnostic pathology laboratory, with the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) or elsewhere
  • Have employer’s support for the training and resources needed for you to complete the qualification
  • Are interested in upgrading your qualifications in the medical laboratory science profession
  • Wish to become eligible for medical laboratory scientist registration in New Zealand

Careers

Medical laboratory scientists and technicians are employed by:

  • Hospital and community diagnostic laboratories
  • The New Zealand Blood Service
  • Research and specialist testing laboratories. 

The work of scientists and technicians is varied and highly technical. Scientists commence their careers with the knowledge gained from formal education provided by NZ universities and grow their career with the experience gained from employment in the sector. All practitioners must go through some form of professional peer assessment to demonstrate their competence to practise the profession.    

People electing to enter this profession are often those wanting to contribute to the health and wellbeing of people and have an interest in science and technology. A career in medical laboratory science provides workplace diversity and there are promotional opportunities that can arise with experience and higher education.      

Become a registered medical laboratory scientist

If you’re a Bachelor of Science graduate employed in a diagnostic laboratory as medical laboratory technician and you’d like to upgrade your qualifications to become a medical laboratory scientist, then this programme is for you. Enrolment in the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science) offered by Massey University has been approved by the New Zealand Medical Sciences Council as a pathway to medical laboratory scientist registration in New Zealand. 

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