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Health Science

Welcome to the Health Science program at VCSU. You found us because you are interested in a career in healthcare, biomedical sciences and/or you simply love science and want to learn more. You are in the right place. There are many career options within our program and you can choose between two majors.

The Health Science major is for students interested in working with patients or conducting biomedical research in graduate school.

The Medical Laboratory Science degree prepares you to work in a clinical laboratory which is an essential part of providing a diagnosis in patients.

You will also find information about nursing on this site. Even though VCSU does not have a nursing degree, we have created exciting pathways to get you to a career in nursing.

The Health Science major is organized to prepare you to pursue professional programs such as:

  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • optometry
  • pharmacy
  • chiropractic
  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • physician assistant
  • veterinary science
  • mortuary science

Or to pursue graduate school in a variety of disciplines such as:

  • microbiology
  • organic chemistry
  • neuroscience
  • molecular bioscience
  • protein chemistry
  • toxicology

But if you think four years of school are enough, you will be able to find entry-level positions that require an understanding of the biomedical field and its practical application. Examples include jobs in laboratories, hospitals, the government, field offices, and small business and industry. Our alumni work for the North Dakota Department of Health, University of North Dakota Medical School, dental and optometry offices to name a few.

The program is thorough and rigorous, and gives you the opportunity to explore a wide variety of career options. The department has a strong practical-application emphasis. We encourage you to be involved in research. Each course has a lab associated with it to provide hands-on learning. We pride ourselves in our small class sizes, which provides a superior learning environment for our students.

Why pick Health Science at VCSU?

It is the only program in the state of North Dakota that combines all prerequisite courses for a variety of professional schools in one major, which means you won’t be taking extra courses to fulfill graduation requirements.

It’s a flexible program that allows you to explore your interest in a variety of biomedical and health-care careers. Each course utilizes a hands-on approach using techniques and technologies used in your future career.

A variety of research opportunities are available:

  • synthetic biology (biological engineering)
  • environmental contaminant using a Fruit fly model
  • cancer genetics
  • computer modeling
  • water quality
  • stress physiology

You’re eligible to join the Pre-Professional Club, which:

  • supports the admission process into professional and/or graduate school
  • provides opportunities for job shadowing and volunteering
  • offers opportunities to gain leadership skills

More than 55% of Health Science graduates move on to professional school or graduate school.

The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) major trains essential members of the healthcare team. Graduates of this major study and practice diagnostic medicine and generate accurate and reliable test results in chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, and microbiology. Results of these tests provide key information leading to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in this field are expected to be excellent. Employment of medical laboratory workers is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2008–2018, faster than the average for all occupations especially in rural areas. This major at VCSU will give you career training in rural areas and make you a well-rounded Medical Laboratory Scientist. However, if you prefer to specialize in a particular diagnostic area, bigger hospitals in urban centers are an option.

Western College Alliance & Medical Laboratory Science Certificate

The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) major at Valley City State University is part of the Western College Alliance for Medical Laboratory Science. This means that you take three years of classes at VCSU. Upon completion of these courses you move to Grand Forks for a summer of courses at the University of North Dakota (UND). During the Fall and Spring semester of your senior year, you will learn on the job by working in actual clinical laboratory at UND’s MLS clinical affiliate. Students from Valley City have been placed at CHI Mercy Health in Valley City and Presentation Medical Center in Rolla, ND. You will graduate in the MLS major with a degree from Valley City State University and a Medical Laboratory Science Certificate from UND.

There are many ways to get degrees in Nursing and VCSU has several options for you. VCSU does not award nursing degrees but you can start your career here.

If you are interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, you can take the pre-nursing coursework on our campus as a VCSU student. In this route you can have the college experience with one-on-one attention for the general education pre-requisites. After which, you will transfer to a nursing program of your choice to finish the bachelor’s degree and take your exams to become a licensed Registered Nurse (RN).

Another convenient option here at VCSU is the collaboration with Dakota College at Bottineau through the Dakota Nursing Program. This program allows you to earn your Practical Nurse (PN) certificate or your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) right here in Valley City. You will be able to participate in student life and activities on the VCSU campus. This route is an excellent path for people already trained as certified nursing assistant but with an interest in advancing their career in nursing.

To better understand all of the options, please call us to help you choose the path that is right for you.


Becky Pfennig, PN
Dakota College at Bottineau, Valley City site
(701) 845-7682

Hilde van Gijssel
(701) 845-7337

  • Pre-Professional Club
    Admission to a professional school program is not something that you do on a Sunday afternoon. There are many required components of the application such as volunteer hours, observation hours, admissions tests, leadership skills and working in a health care setting. It is suggested to start working towards your application in your freshman year. The Pre-Professional Club is here to help you navigate the process and provide you with emotional and academic support. The club provides study material and guidance on how to take the admission and competencies tests such as the MCAT, PCAT, GRE and OAT. We even practice taking the tests so you are prepared. The club provides volunteer opportunities, leadership opportunities and experience in fundraising. Every year the club organizes a soup and sandwich feed to raise money to support the club and to support the work of the Hospice of the Red River Valley. The club also provides CPR training, AED training and First Aid training.

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