Objectives of the Genetic Counseling Program
The Masters Degree Program in Genetic Counseling is a two-year course of study integrating course work with clinical experience in an environment that encourages close student/faculty interaction. The program places a strong emphasis on human molecular genetics, while providing in-depth coursework in counseling theory and technique as well as extensive clinical training.
Graduates of the program are expected to have:
- a clear understanding of human and medical genetics, molecular biotechnology,
- gene mapping and sequencing;
- developmental biology;
- a familiarity with many genetic diseases and birth defects and the various techniques used to detect and/or treat them;
- a familiarity with a variety of counseling theories and techniques that work in short-term counseling settings;
- an understanding of how genetic counselors function in a variety of work settings and their roles and responsibilities within a medical team;
- the ability to present relevant genetic information to individuals and families from diverse cultural backgrounds in an informed, compassionate manner and to help families obtain the medical and social services they may need;
- a sensitivity to the needs and options of children and adults (including parents and potential parents) with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and other genetic disorders;
- an awareness of the legal, ethical, and public policy issues raised as a result of new DNA and reproductive technologies;
- an understanding of research methodology, experience in the design and execution of research projects involving human subjects and in the preparation of completed projects for professional publication and presentation;
- a familiarity with the relevant scientific literature and computer-based tools and websites.
Ordinarily, the program is completed in two academic years and the intervening summer. The program is accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and prepares graduates for the certification examination in genetic counseling and employment as genetic counselors.