Overview and Objectives


Brandeis University’s Master of Science (MS) in Genetic Counseling is a two-year course of study, fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), that integrates coursework with clinical experience in an environment that encourages close student/faculty interaction. Through teaching and supportive mentoring, our Program provides students with the clinical, counseling and research skills that will enable them to effectively work with individuals and families with disabilities, couples who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant and patients who have, or may be at risk for, hereditary forms of cancer in a profession that continues to evolve.

Students who successfully complete the requirements for a Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling will have a strong knowledge base in:

  • Human genetics and genomics, molecular biotechnology and developmental and reproductive biology
  • The clinical features, natural history, inheritance and treatment of a variety of birth defects and genetic conditions
  • Laboratory testing methods utilized in the prenatal, pediatric and cancer settings
  • Counseling theory and the techniques employed during short term counseling
  • The social, legal and ethical issues surrounding genetic testing and counseling
  • The methodology used to design and implement a research project
  • How genetic counselors function in a variety of work settings and their roles and responsibilities within a medical team

Through education in both the classroom and their internships, students will be well prepared with these core skills:

  • Gathering and documenting medical and family history information
  • Assessing patient risk and determining appropriate testing options
  • Explaining complex information in a way that patients can understand
  • Giving difficult news in a sensitive and compassionate manner
  • Counseling patients from diverse backgrounds for a variety of indications
  • Initiating, or participating in, clinical research
  • Working as an integral part of a healthcare team

Students who complete the program have demonstrated mastery of all the required content areas within the ACGC Practice Based Competencies. This will allow students to:

  • work as a genetic counselor in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings
  • successfully sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling’s Certification exam