The curriculum for the genetic counseling program includes didactic instruction in principles of human, clinical, biochemical and molecular genetics; embryology and dysmorphology; laboratory and clinical research skills; and cytogenetics and cancer genetics among other subjects. Classroom instruction and special topic seminars provide exploration of social, legal and public health aspects of genetics. Students learn psychosocial theories and skills through a combination of didactic work and interactive role plays as well as through practical application in numerous clinical rotations in a variety of hospital and clinical settings. Laboratory experience includes classroom and hands-on instruction in diagnostic molecular and cytogenetics procedures with practice in in silico analysis of variants and results interpretation. Throughout the program, students gain extensive teaching experience via presentations required for the graduate research project, departmental seminar and journal club among other educational activities.
Beginning in the first spring semester, all students in the genetics counseling master’s degree program at IU School of Medicine complete clinical rotations in general pediatric and adult genetics; biochemical genetics; neurogenetics; and prenatal, oncology and cardiovascular clinics. Departmental faculty teach courses encompassing molecular and biochemical genetics, laboratory methods and research, psychology and counseling techniques, ethics and professional issues. The professional development/research project and an assortment of fieldwork electives along with journal clubs, seminars and tumor boards round out the 21-month program. Successful completion of the program leads to a Master of Science degree in medical and molecular genetics.
The program’s curriculum prepares students for a career in genetic counseling and fulfills the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling. After completing this program, students are eligible to take the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification examination.
To complete the Genetic Counseling graduate program and obtain a Master of Science in Medical and Molecular Genetics, a student must successfully: complete a minimum of 47 hours of specified coursework and clinical rotations, complete a graduate research project, present a departmental seminar, present at journal club, and pass a comprehensive examination. Students must achieve a minimum of a B- grade in all departmental courses and clinical rotations, with an overall GPA minimum of 3.0.
The order in which courses are taken may vary from student to student. Some courses are taught every other year and taken by both first- and second-year students at the same time. Courses specific to the genetic counseling program are typically taken only by genetic counseling students, while courses in various topics of human genetics may be taken with other medical and graduate students within IU School of Medicine.