Clinical and Diagnostics Sciences

CDS Prepares Students for Graduate School and Beyond

Dr. Telgenhoff’s health care career experience proves advantageous in preparing students for their future through specializations and the upcoming Master’s program

A man standing in a lab

Photo credit: Robert Hall


icon of a calendarMarch 1, 2023

icon of a pencilBy Jillian Wolf

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Dale Telgenhoff, Ph.D., Coordinator and Associate Professor of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences (CDS), is striving to ensure that CDS students are well-prepared for their careers, graduate school and beyond.

Dr. Telgenhoff has always been passionate about health and biological sciences, and knew he wanted to be in the field of academia. Prior to returning to higher education, he worked in industry for multiple years, including several years at Proctor and Gamble, and five years at Healthpoint Pharmaceuticals where he performed research on wound healing. While Dr. Telgenhoff’s research continues, he focuses now on what is needed in the teaching realm and has become an educational trailblazer.

The Bachelor of Science in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences is structured so that students complete the foundational bachelor’s requirements but also a sequence of courses to specialize in a particular area. CDS students can choose from a broad range of specializations to meet their career goals, including Medical Laboratory Science, Radiologic Technology and more. Dr. Telgenhoff recently developed two additional specializations: Pre-pharmacy Sciences and Pre-Physician Assistant.

The specialization in Pre-pharmacy Sciences began in 2020 when Manchester University contacted Oakland University about a partnership. “We took into account not just Manchester’s prerequisites but all the prerequisites for multiple pharmacy schools in the area,” explains Dr. Telgenhoff. This allows students to be certain that they will be prepared for whichever program they choose upon graduating. Meanwhile, through the partnership, Manchester University automatically accepts two Pre-pharmacy Science seniors from OU into their program, provided that they meet the requirements. The CDS bachelor’s degree is awarded following successful completion of the first year of pharmacy school, saving the student time and money in the pursuit of becoming a pharmacist.

Upon developing the Pre-Pharmacy Science program, Dr. Telgenhoff wondered if a similar preparatory bachelor’s program would be useful for Physician Assistant (PA) students. After further exploration, Dr. Telgenhoff and the PA faculty discovered that there are very few Pre-PA programs in the country, and none in the state of Michigan. Thus, the Pre-Physician Assistant, or Pre-PA, specialization was born in the School of Health Sciences.

The Pre-PA specialization prepares students for admission to graduate PA programs, including OU’s upcoming Master of Physician Assistant Science. “We aligned it so that all the prerequisites from all of the PA schools would be covered in the specialization,” explains Dr. Telgenhoff, which presents tremendous advantages to students as prerequisites for PA programs can vary greatly. Additional benefits of this specialization include early interaction with PA mentors and guidance in students’ pursuit of this area. Officially beginning in 2021, Pre-PA had over 100 students in its first year alone and has experienced tremendous growth since its inception. It is now the largest and most desired specialization in CDS.

Dr. Telgenhoff’s most recent accomplishment is the introduction of a new Master’s degree to help enable career advancement of CDS graduates and others in these fields. This master’s degree, which recently received full University approval, offers a Traditional pathway, a Professional Development concentration, and a combined Bachelor's/Master's program.

The Traditional pathway of the Master's degree focuses on experience in clinical laboratory research. Students complete a set of core CDS courses centering on research methodology and implementation, and the Capstone project provides students with a unique opportunity to either conduct a research-based or problem-based project relevant to their career goals.

The Professional Development concentration is designed for working professionals in the field of CDS who are seeking to enter management or administrative positions. In addition to core courses, students also take courses in diverse disciplines such as management, organizational behavior and public administration. This concentration can be tailored to the student's career goals through the electives offered. 

The combined Bachelor's/Master's program is available for high-achieving undergraduate students in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences with a specialization in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS). The MLS student will complete a hospital-based clinical placement during their education for which credits are granted. This allows the completion of a Bachelor's and Master's in the field more efficiently than if the two degrees were completed separately.

Regardless of the desired pathway, the Master's degree is highly beneficial as a lot of CDS graduates are interested in pursuing deeper research or need a masters degree to advance to management positions. This program, designed to be primarily online to accommodate those who work full-time, is anticipated to be available in Fall 2023.

Dr. Telgenhoff has brought much experience to the School of Health Sciences, and Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences has experienced immense growth in students and programs due to his contributions. In addition to his responsibilities at OU, he volunteers for the accreditation agency for Histotechnology and Medical Laboratory Science programs in the United States. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outside, including kayaking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.

To learn more, visit Oakland's Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences website.

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