Master of Science in Genetic Counseling
The Master of Science in Genetic Counseling is a 59-credit hybrid program that will prepare graduates for careers in the burgeoning field of genetic counseling. As a profession, genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. This process integrates a variety of disciplines including science, psychology and education. Tasks include interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence and education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research. The counseling process promotes informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition. Genetic counselors (GCs) practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, laboratories, and policy arenas, and serve as clinicians, researchers, educators, and policy makers.
Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the ABGC certification examination, and will be employable by hospitals, medical centers, physicians, medical insurance companies, biomedical laboratories and policy centers.
To earn an M.S. in Genetic Counseling, students must complete 59 hours of graduate coursework including an original institution review board (IRB) approved capstone project, which involves an in-depth study of a selected genetic counseling issue or topic. Students will be strongly encouraged to study topics appropriate for national presentation and/or publication.
Students are expected to achieve the Practice-Based Competencies for Genetic Counselors, stated in four domains:
Domain 1 - Genetics Expertise & Analysis
1.1 Demonstrate & utilize a depth & breadth of understanding and knowledge of genetics and genomics core concepts and principles.
1.2 Integrate knowledge of psychosocial aspects of conditions with a genetic component to promote client well-being.
1.3 Construct relevant, targeted, & comprehensive personal and family histories and pedigrees.
1.4 Identify, assess, facilitate & integrate genetic testing options in genetic counseling practice.
1.5 Assess individuals’ & their relatives’ probability of conditions with a genetic component or carrier status based on their pedigree, test result(s), & other pertinent information.
1.6 Demonstrate the skills necessary to successfully manage a genetic counseling case.
1.7 Critically assess genetic/genomic, medical and social science literature and information.
Domain 2 - Interpersonal, Psychosocial & Counseling Skills
2.8 Establish a mutually agreed upon genetic counseling agenda with the client.
2.9 Employ active listening & interviewing skills to identify, assess, & empathically respond to stated & emerging concerns.
2.10 Use a range of genetic counseling skills & models to facilitate informed decision making & adaption to genetic risks or conditions.
2.11 Promote client-centered , informed, non-coercive & value based decision making.
2.12 Understand how to adapt genetic counseling skills for varied service delivery models.
2.13 Apply genetic counseling skills in a culturally responsive and respectful manner to all clients.
Domain 3 - Education
3.14 Effectively educate clients about a wide range of genetics & genomics information based on their needs, characteristics, & circumstances of the encounter.
3.15 Write concise & understandable clinical & scientific information for audiences of varying educational backgrounds.
3.16 Effectively give a presentation on genetics, genomics and genetic counseling issues.
Domain 4 - Professional Development & Practice
4.17 Act in accordance with the ethical, legal, & philosophical principles and values of the genetic counseling profession and the policies of one’s institution/organization.
4.18 Demonstrate understanding of the research process.
4.19 Advocate for individuals, families, communities and the genetics counseling profession.
4.20 Demonstrate a self-reflective, evidence-based and current approach to genetic counseling practice.
4.21 Understand the methods, roles, and responsibilities of the process of clinical supervision of trainees.
4.22 Establish and maintain professional interdisciplinary relationships in both team and one-on-one settings and recognize one’s role in the larger healthcare system.