School of Medicine


Human Genetics

M.S. in Genetic Counseling

Program Purpose

Genetic counselors are allied health professionals who undertake rigorous training in human genetics and counseling techniques. They work as members of a health care team, providing complex information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders. They help families to better understand genetic disorders and make important personal and family decisions. The program prepares students to practice genetic counseling in clinical, laboratory, administrative, and research environments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Domain I: Communication Skills

    Can establish a mutually agreed upon genetic counseling agenda with a client

    Can elicit family, medical, and psychosocial histories

    Can convey genetic, medical, and technical information including diagnosis, etiology, natural history, prognosis, and treatment/management of genetic conditions and/or birth defects to clients with a variety of educational, socioeconomic, and ethno-cultural backgrounds

    Can explain the technical and medical aspects of diagnostic and screening methods and reproductive options including risks, benefits, and limitations

    Can understand, listen, communicate, and manage a genetic counseling case in a culturally responsive manner

    Can document and present case information clearly and concisely

    Can plan, organize, and conduct public and professional education programs

  • Domain II: Critical-Thinking Skills

    Can assess and calculate genetic and teratogenic risks

    Can evaluate a social and psychosocial history

    Can identify, synthesize, organize and summarize pertinent medical and genetic information for use in genetic counseling

    Can demonstrate successful case management skills

    Can assess modify a counseling session according to client understanding

    Can identify and access local, regional, and national resources and services

    Can identify and access appropriate information resources

  • Domain III: Interpersonal, Counseling, and Psychosocial Assessment Skills

    Can establish rapport, identify major concerns, and respond to emerging issues of a client or family

    Can elicit and interpret individual and family experiences, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and attitudes that clarify beliefs and values

    Can use a range of interviewing techniques

    Can provide short?term, client?centered counseling and psychological support

    Can promote client decision?making in an unbiased, non?coercive manner

    Can establish and maintain inter- and intra-disciplinary professional relationships to function as part of a health care delivery team

  • Domain IV: Professional Ethics and Values

    Can act in accordance with the ethical, legal, and philosophical principles and values of the profession

    Can serve as an advocate for clients

    Can introduce research options and issues to clients and families

    Can recognize his or her own limitations in knowledge and capabilities and seek consultation or refer clients when needed

    Can demonstrate initiative for continued professional growth