Hematology focuses on the blood and associated conditions, such as sickle-cell anemia and leukemia. Students interested in hematology at the graduate level can pursue graduate certificates specifically in hematology, master's degrees in broad areas such as laboratory medicine and transfusion sciences, and doctoral degrees in medicine or clinical laboratory sciences.
Graduate Program Options in Hematology
A graduate certificate program in hematology can take 1-2 years of full time study and will be suitable for someone interested in working as a hematology technician. Master's degrees in areas like clinical laboratory science and laboratory medicine or transfusion sciences also take about two years to complete and prepare graduates to study the blood in laboratories. A doctorate in clinical laboratory science is also an option for someone looking to become an educator, scholar, or practitioner in the field. This degree can be completed in three years and includes clinicals. Finally, the training needed to become a hematologist includes four years of medical school, three years of residency in a focus area like pediatrics, and at least two years of a fellowship for additional training in a subspecialty like pediatric hematology.
Coursework for Graduate Programs in Hematology
The curriculum for graduate programs in hematology-oriented disciplines can include topics such as immunology, clinical biochemistry/biochemical analysis, and molecular biology. Below are some common courses and their descriptions.
Introduction to Immunology
An understanding of immunology, which is the body's way of fighting off infection, is crucial to hematology. Students will learn about topics such as modern genetics and cell biology. Such courses may also cover experimental and clinical topics in immunology.
Clinical Biochemistry/Biochemical Analysis
Biochemistry focuses on the connection between biology and chemistry inside living things. These courses can focus on laboratory medicine. Students will learn various techniques utilized in diagnostic medicine and laboratory research.
Students will need an understanding of pathology in order to work in the field of hematology. Some graduate programs will offer a general course in pathology that will provide students with a broad understanding of the area. Other graduate programs may provide more specific courses in pathology, such as medical immunology, molecular virology, and the tenets and uses in molecular diagnostics.
Molecular biology focuses on biological processes that involve molecules. Students may learn the role molecules play in genetic processes. They may also explore how genetic analysis can be utilized to alter certain gene strands.
Some students enrolled in graduate hematology programs will gain hands-on experience through an independent research project. They will usually be assigned a faculty advisor and assist on current research projects. Students will learn various research techniques and how to properly collect and analyze data.
Graduate Hematology Program Admissions Information
Candidates interested in entering a graduate program usually need a bachelor's degree in scientific disciplines such as biology or chemistry. Some programs may require that candidates have a minimum grade point average, such as a 3.0. In addition, certain programs may also require that candidates have completed a minimum number of credits in undergraduate scientific coursework.
Candidates will usually complete an online application and pay a non-refundable processing fee. While specific admissions requirements will vary from program to program, most have general requirements that will include the following:
- Official or unofficial transcripts
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores no older than five years
- Personal essay or statement of purpose that covers areas such as a student's background, interest in the program, and career aspirations
- Two or three letters of recommendation
Select programs may require or prefer that candidates have significant research experience, along with certification as a clinical laboratory scientist or a medical technologist. Candidates may also need to undergo a criminal background check or a personal interview as part of the admissions process for some programs.
Individuals looking for graduate study in hematology have many options, including programs for graduate certificates, master's degrees, and doctorates. Students can take courses that prepare them for both clinical and academic work and will usually need a bachelor's degree in a scientific discipline in order to apply.