Course Listings

The curriculum, consisting of four semesters and the intervening summer, is designed to provide students with a well-rounded educational experience that will prepare them for the genetic counseling profession. Coursework focuses on two main areas: the acquisition of a strong scientific knowledge base and solid counseling skills with integration of these throughout the curriculum. Students also receive instruction in research methodology, disability, law and social policy and professional development to round out their didactic experience. Fieldwork, family pals and internships provide students with the opportunity to work with patients and families and practice their skills in a clinical setting. Students are also required to design and implement an independent research project that culminates in their master’s thesis.

Year 1 – Fall Semester

BIOL 101a Molecular Biotechnology A study of the molecular basis of DNA replication, RNA transcription focusing on molecular biology techniques such as PCR, DNA sequencing, genomics, cloning, microarrays, and siRNA and their relation to human disease research applications. Usually offered every year. Ms. Woodruff

BIOL 128a Human Genetics Survey of topics, including: mutation and polymorphism; molecular methodology; single-gene inheritance and complexities thereof; multifactorial conditions, risk assessment, and Bayesian analysis; cytogenetics; hemoglobinopathies; population genetics; gene mapping; cancer genetics; ethical considerations in genetics; immunogenetics; pharmacogenetics; genetics of development; biochemistry of selected genetic diseases; gene therapy, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. Usually offered every year. Ms. Kramer

BIOL 160b Human Reproductive and Developmental Biology Course deals with hormonal, cellular, and molecular aspects of gametogenesis, fertilization, pregnancy, and birth. Pathological and abnormal variations that occur and the available medical technologies for intervention, correction, and facilitation of these processes are discussed. Usually offered every year. Ms. Jackson

BIOL 202d Introduction to Genetic Counseling A two-semester sequence that provides the historical and theoretical foundations for the practice of genetic counseling and the role of genetic services within the health care delivery system. Introduces students to some of the practical aspects of genetic counseling, including case preparation, pedigree construction/interpretation, and medical documentation. Usually offered every year. Ms. Chan-Smutko

BIOL 211a Genetic Counseling Fieldwork Placement: Part I Students work one day per week in a community-based health service organization, school, clinic, or public health agency to develop awareness of disability-related issues and the variety of community-based services for individuals with special needs. Students also observe in a genetics clinic twenty to thirty hours over the course of the semester to gain exposure to concepts learned in BIOL 202d (Introduction to Genetic Counseling). Periodic course discussions supplement the fieldwork experience. Usually offered every year. Ms. Chan-Smutko

BIOL 206d Genetic Counseling Journal Club Weekly meeting of students and faculty at which students present recent papers. Usually offered every year. Ms. Tsipis

Year 1 – Spring Semester

BIOL 203a Proseminar: The Molecular Basis of Genetic Diseases Covers the molecular basis of muscular dystrophy, fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and several inherited cancer syndromes. A historical perspective is used for each topic; molecular diagnostics and genetic counseling issues are addressed as well. Usually offered every year. Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 204b Clinical Genetics I Introduction to basic concepts of biochemical genetics, cytogenetics, and clinical molecular genetics. Makes use of clinical cases ranging from single-gene disorders to multifactorially determined conditions and includes problems in dysmorphology, inborn errors of metabolism, and cancer genetics. A problem-solving approach is emphasized. Usually offered every year. Ms. Schneider and Ms. Stoler

BIOL 205b Counseling Theory and Technique A comprehensive overview of counseling theory and practice. Topics include listening, observation, and interview skills and strategies; family dynamics and development; coping and adaptation processes; referral and consultation procedures; and ethical principles. Students are provided an opportunity to integrate clinical experiences with the coverage of topics. Usually offered every year. Ms. Queler

BIOL 206d Genetic Counseling Journal Club Weekly meeting of students and faculty at which students present recent papers. Usually offered every year. Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 211b Genetic Counseling Fieldwork Placement: Part II To begin preparing for clinical internships, students participate in a variety of experiences that serve to foster and integrate the concepts introduced in courses and presentations. Students are exposed to procedures in clinical labs through lectures, site visits, and/or lab work. In addition, students continue observations in a genetics clinic and meet several times with a family with a child with a disability. Periodic course discussions supplement the fieldwork experience. Ms. Chan-Smutko

Summer

BIOL 212a Genetic Counseling Internship I During this course, students complete a 25-30 contact day clinical genetic internship under the supervision of a genetic counselor or other qualified clinician. Students increase their knowledge of clinical genetics and master genetic counseling skills by offering genetic counseling services in a prenatal, pediatric, cancer, general, adult or specialty clinic setting. Usually offered every summer. Ms. Schneider

BIOL 213a Genetic Counseling Research I In the summer semester students choose a research project, do a review of the literature and summarize key findings, and write a research proposal for a thesis project (to be done in the following fall/spring semesters). Usually offered in the summer. Ms. Buck

Year 2 – Fall Semester

BIOL 206d Genetic Counseling Journal Club Weekly meeting of students and faculty at which students present recent papers. Usually offered every year. Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 207a Genetic Counseling: Case Conferences and Family Counseling Taught by a team of health care professionals. Case studies provide the basis for discussion of a variety of genetic disorders and the application of counseling modalities. Students have an opportunity to share experiences gained during clinical internships. Discussions emphasize the interplay of medical, psychological, ethical, legal, social, and cultural factors in genetic counseling. Usually offered every year. Ms. Queler and Ms. Rosenfield

BIOL 212b Genetic Counseling Internship II Students complete a 25-30 contact day clinical genetic internship under the supervision of a genetic counselor or other qualified clinician. Students increase their knowledge of clinical genetics and master genetic counseling skills by offering genetic counseling services in a prenatal, pediatric, cancer, general, adult, or specialty clinic setting. Usually offered every fall and spring. Ms. Schneider

BIOL 213a Genetic Counseling Research II Students are introduced to the principles and basic techniques of social science research in a series of seminars while they implement their thesis research projects. Usually offered fall and spring. Ms. Buck

BIOL 214c Genetic Counseling Process Group In this small group setting, students can share and learn from their collective experiences in their interships, courses, and individual lives and have the opportunity to process and integrate the experience of becoming a genetic counselor. Usually offered every semester. Mr. Cunningham

BIOL 220a Clinical Genetics II Continuation of BIOL 204b with emphasis on the genetic and developmental disorders of most major organ systems. A case-based, problem-solving approach is emphasized. Usually offered every year. Ms. Schneider and Ms. Stoler

Year 2 – Spring Semester

BIOL 206d Genetic Counseling Journal Club Weekly meeting of students and faculty at which students present recent papers. Usually offered every year. Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 212b Genetic Counseling Internship III Students complete a 25-30 contact day clinical genetic internship under the supervision of a genetic counselor or other qualified clinician. Students increase their knowledge of clinical genetics and master genetic counseling skills by offering genetic counseling services in a prenatal, pediatric, cancer, general, adult, or specialty clinic setting. Usually offered every fall and spring. Ms. Schneider

BIOL 213b Genetic Counseling Research II Students are introduced to the principles and basic techniques of social science research in a series of seminars while they implement their thesis research projects. Usually offered fall and spring. Ms. Buck

BIOL 214c Genetic Counseling Process Group In this small group setting, students can share and learn from their collective experiences in their field placements, courses, and individual lives and have the opportunity to process and integrate the experience of becoming a genetic counselor. Usually offered every semester. Mr. Cunningham

BIOL 216b Internship Seminar Series This is a noncredit seminar required for all genetic counseling students. Students meet once a week for a series of lectures, presentations and mock sessions that explore issues related to advanced practice in genetic counseling. Topics include advanced genetic counseling case management, Baysian analysis, and the use of the NSGC code of ethics. Usually offered every year. Ms. Schneider

BIOL 236b Genetics, Law, and Social Policy Explores advances in human genetics, the clinical and economic benefits promised by new tests, and problems generated by our new ability to manipulate our biological future. Analyzes the role of government in regulating technological development and the legal doctrines of privacy, informed consent, and professional liability. Usually offered every second year. Ms. Noble

BIOL 235b American Health Policy & Practice and the Delivery of Genomic Health Care The continuous discovery of genetic markers for common diseases is leading to an increasing demand for genetic services, and for the integration of traditional medical genetics with mainstream medicine and public health care. In addition, the American healthcare system is evolving and huge changes in how is accessed, financed and delivered can be expected in the coming years. Those providing genetic services will therefore need a strong background in the structure of the American health care system and how public policy is influencing the field of medical genetics. This course is specifically designed to meet this objective using a mixture of readings from the literature, writing assignments, lecture, class discussion, guest speakers and student presentations. Usually offered every second year. Ms. Lerner