Genetic Counseling, M.S.

For information regarding deadlines and requirements for admission, please see the Guide to Graduate Admissions.

In addition to the application materials required by The Graduate School, applicants must submit a personal essay, resume, and evidence of successful completion of at least one upper level undergraduate course each in general genetics and biochemistry and at least one undergraduate course in statistics. Applicants who are evaluated as meeting the standards for admission will be invited for a required personal interview with the admissions committee.

It is recommended that applicants have previous experience in a volunteer or paid position working in social service agencies or with crisis counseling organizations. It is also recommended that applicants have previous exposure to genetic counseling via shadowing or internship experiences.

Degree Program Requirements

Required: 62-64 credit hours

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
GEN 601 Principles of Genetic Counseling 3
GEN 610 Genetic Counseling and the Community 2
GEN 615 Introduction to Oncology and Genetic Counseling 1
GEN 618 Psychosocial Seminar 1
GEN 625 Introduction to Research Methods and Genetic Counseling Literature 2
GEN 658 Molecular Diagnostics 2
BIO 614 Prenatal Development: Embryology and Teratology 3
 Credit Hours14
Summer Session I
GEN 646 Advanced Clinical Genomics 2
GEN 649 Independent Research Study 1
 Credit Hours3
Summer Session II
GEN 698 Summer Clinical Rotations 2
 Credit Hours2
Spring
GEN 602 Principles of Genetic Counseling II 3
GEN 618 Psychosocial Seminar 1
GEN 630 Medical/Clinical Genetics I 3
GEN 648 Capstone Preparation Seminar 1
GEN 668 Introduction to Clinical Encounters 2
Approved Elective (3 credits) 3
Research Elective (1-3) * 1-3
 Credit Hours14-16
Year Two
Fall
GEN 618 Psychosocial Seminar 1
GEN 701 Principles of Genetic Counseling III 3
GEN 718 Clinical Rotations I 4
GEN 720 Peer Supervision in Genetic Counseling 1
GEN 730 Medical/Clinical Genetics I 3
GEN 748 Research Project ** 2
 Credit Hours14
Spring
GEN 618 Psychosocial Seminar 1
GEN 719 Clinical Rotations II 4
GEN 720 Peer Supervision in Genetic Counseling 1
GEN 749 Research Project ** 3
CED 645 Mental Health Issues for Genetic Counselors 3
PHI 620 Ethics and Genetics 3
Optional Elective (0-2 credits) 0-2
 Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours62-64

Elective Courses

An elective relevant to the student’s professional goals will be selected during the second semester of the program. Electives must be approved by the program director. With approval of the program director, students may select an additional (optional) elective in the fourth semester of the program.

Clinical Internships

The clinical rotations are an integral part of the program and serve to provide students with opportunities to increase their general clinical knowledge, gain experience with genetic counseling for a variety of indications, and develop the necessary skills and competencies required for the practice of genetic counseling. Under the supervision of on-site, board-certified genetic counselors, students will progress from observation to participation in various aspects of clinical genetic services. Evaluation/feedback of the student’s activities and progress will be an ongoing component of the clinical rotations. At the end of each rotation, a formal written evaluation will be conducted by the Clinical Supervisor and reviewed with the student. Students will be required to keep an accurate logbook of clinical cases according to guidelines provided by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling. Students will complete a summer clinical rotation (GEN 698 Summer Clinical Rotations) during Summer Session II of the program. Summer clinical rotations will be available at the following sites: Carolinas Healthcare System, Duke University Medical Center, Fullerton Genetics Clinic, Cone Health System, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and Women’s Health Specialties in Wilmington. Students may also make arrangements for a summer clinical rotation at another site with permission of the program director.

During the second year of the program, students will be assigned to four clinical rotations (GEN 718 Clinical Rotations I/GEN 719 Clinical Rotations II). Second year clinical rotations will be available at the following sites: Carolinas Healthcare System, Duke University Medical Center, Cone Health System, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and Fullerton Genetics Clinic.

Research Project

The culminating experience for students in the genetic counseling program will be a formal research project (GEN 748 Research Project/GEN 749 Research Project). The research project may consist of a detailed case study and library synthesis, a clinical application, or an original clinical or laboratory research project. Students must select a project during the second semester of the program. All projects must be approved by the program director. Projects will be completed under the guidance of a research project committee, which will consist of a chair and two other members. Adjunct clinical faculty may serve on research project committees. Students will be required to submit a detailed written report of their project and to make an oral presentation about their project to their classmates and the faculty.