Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences



Ethiopia is a country characterized by low socio economic status and health service coverage. As a result, there is low ratio and improper mix of health professional to the population. The current Ethiopian health policy is based on health promotion and disease prevention by giving priority to the rural and unprivileged urban population. Successful implementation of this policy is highly dependent on availability of well-trained health professionals, like Medical Laboratory Scientists or Medical Laboratory Technologists both in quality and quantity.

Historically, although rudimentary examinations of human body fluids date back to the time of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates around 300 BC, simple laboratory procedures were performed by physicians, then by laboratory assistants trained by pathologists. However, World War I brought about a critical shortage of qualified laboratory assistants to staff the laboratories, prompting the creation of a wide variety of training programs to meet the growing need. The clinical laboratory work force comprises a critical sector of the health care workforce. Due to advances in medical technology, clinical laboratory workers perform an ever increasing range of tests help in detecting and diagnosing diseases or pre disease states as well as monitoring the progress and results of treatment among other things.

In Ethiopia, formal training of laboratory professionals was started in 1954. The pioneers were the then Pasteur institute, Minellik II hospital, Gondar Public Health College and Jimma hospital. Since then laboratory professionals were trained at different levels and assumed positions in various health institutions and contributed significantly to the health care delivery system of the country.

Jimma University took the initiative to implement a post basic training, which enabled selected laboratory technology diploma graduates to pursue their first degree. This was followed by a five year BSc degree level training program for generic students under the directives of the Ministry of Education.  The five year program was subjected to series of review process to fit into a new three years training and education policy of the country.  During the review process care was taken not to affect the graduate profile and to keep the professional and other course proportions. However, it was quite difficult to grant the same skilled professional as of the five year training since practicum sessions were reduced to about 50%. And now the curriculum has been reviewed again and decided to be a four year program; Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences is preparing to graduate the first batch of the new four year curriculum batches by 2013/14 academic year.

At present, in Ethiopia, health institutions (hospitals, health centers, Private clinics, regional laboratories, and others), higher institutions (government and private),biotechnology labs and non-clinical industrial labs research institutions and industries that require competent medical laboratory professionals at different level of training and expertise are progressively growing.  As a consequence, ample opportunities are created for medical laboratory science practitioners to play a vital role in the country’s development. However, the input of these professionals to a great extent depends on the quality of education (training) they receive in the higher learning institutions or universities.

Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences has the following programs:

           BSc in Medical Laboratory Sciences

MSc in Medical Microbiology

And the department has an immediate planned to launch MSc programs in some special clinical laboratory related fields like MSc in Tropical and Infectious Diseases by the 2007.


Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences strives to be a yardstick for national Universities and a recognized department in Africa in-terms of Academic, Research and Community services by 2020.


Department of Medical Laboratory sciences is intended to manufacture academically rigorous and technically skillful graduates in terms of clinical laboratory sciences. The department is also aimed at conducting basic and operational researches based on felt gaps in community service requirements.


General Objectives

The general objectives of Department of Medical Laboratory Sciencesare:

  1. To train medical laboratory science practitioners who are capable of providing comprehensive health laboratory services in hospitals, regional laboratories and health centers and are also   capable of training subordinate laboratory personnel
  2. To conduct research activities in the area of clinical laboratory sciences and public health based on the existing problems and felt need of the society.
  3. To participate in community services and to take active part in solving general problems related to health.

  Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences are to train:

  •    Qualified medical laboratory science practitioners to work in health institutions, higher institutions, research institutions and industries.
  •  Graduates those are capable of developing and promoting the medical laboratory profession for human good.
  • Competent medical laboratory science practitioners to meet the human power needs of various health and health related institutions.
  • Graduates who are equipped with skills to utilize classical and advanced laboratory techniques in clinical diagnosis of human disease. (In both clinical and public health laboratory settings).
  • Test and analyze tissue, blood, and other physiological specimens collected for the purposes of criminal and other legal investigations.
  •  Graduates with managerial, supervisory and quality assurance responsibility.
  • Graduates who can participate in identifying and solving the community problems in various health perspectives.
  • Competent practitioners who can maintain the professional code of ethics.

       Admission Requirements

  • Regular Program

To be admitted to the regular Program, candidates must:

  • Meet the set criteria of the Higher Education Main Department.
  • Satisfy the academic rules and regulations of the university
  • Be physically and mentally healthy.

o  Applicants with minor physical problems that would not hinder effective training could be considered for placement as appropriate

  • Advanced Standing Program

Admission of the advanced standing applicants to the School of Medical Laboratory Sciences will be made based on the existing University’s rules and regulations.

Applicants can be enrolled in a continuing education program (evening and summer programs) to undertake their studies.

  • Those who have diploma in medical laboratory sciences
  • Those who are generic students (i.e., other diploma holders and high school graduates)

    Duration of study            It is a four (4) years program

    Mode of delivery            Block and semester based