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Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences

MS/MA in Genetic Counseling & Bioethics

MS/MA in Genetic Counseling & Bioethics

The Departments of Genetics & Genome Sciences and Bioethics offer a dual degree program between the Masters in Genetic Counseling and the Masters in Bioethics Programs. The dual degree program provides a comprehensive curriculum integrating foundational principles of genetics and ethics. The goal of the program is to train Genetic Counselors who wish to apply additional Bioethics expertise into their clinical practice and/or research.

The dual degree program allows graduates to engage in both contemplative analysis and application of knowledge in the counseling of patients and should allow graduates to be more prepared to participate in the ongoing national dialogue about the ethical, legal, and social implications of advances in genomic technology as well as research within their home institutions and with other counselors nationwide regarding issues of new genomic testing technology, concerns about genetic services, and issues related to genetic discrimination, privacy, and the return of genetic and genomic results.

The curriculum for the Dual Genetic Counseling/Bioethics Degree consists of 59 credit hours to be completed in 2.5 years. Students enrolled in the dual degree program will spend their first year taking courses entirely within the Genetic Counseling Program and then will spread out their Bioethics coursework over the next 1.5 years while continuing with required coursework and clinical rotations in the genetic counseling program.

In addition to both a written and oral comprehensive examination as part of the Genetic Counseling Training Program, the dual degree requires a research project be carried out for the completion of the both degrees. For the dual degree, students will be required to choose a research project that includes ethical, legal, or social issues of genetic counseling practice, clinical genetics or genomics, or genetic research. Students will also be required to include at least one Bioethics Faculty member on their Research Project Committee.

Students who would like to enroll in the dual degree program will apply and be admitted into each program separately. While admissions committees for each program will communicate with each other regarding applicants, each admissions committee will decide independently about the suitability of the applicant to their program.

Once students have been admitted, the Director of the Genetic Counseling Training Program and the Director of the MA Program in Bioethics will act as student advisors for each of the two programs individually as well as collaboratively - meeting monthly to assess student progress, address any student or faculty concerns, and assure that student progress in each of the programs, and their overlapping components, are being achieved.

Course Information

First YearUnits
Intensive: Medical Terminology (1 week)
Embryology (online course)
Advanced Medical Genetics: Molecular & Cytogenetics (GENE 524)2
Principles and Practices of Genetic Counseling (GENE 528)3
Advanced Medical Genetics: Quantitative Genetics & Genomics (GENE 526) orAdvanced Medical Genetics: Biochemical Genetics (GENE 527)2
Direct Practice Generalist Methods & Skills (SASS 477)3
Intensive: Human Development (1 week)
Psychosocial Issues in Genetic Counseling (GENE 529)3
Advanced Medical Genetics: Clinical Genetics (GENE 525)2
Cancer Genetics (GENE 531)2
Research in Genetics (GENE 601)2
Clinical Practicum in Genetic Counseling (GENE 532)3
Year Total:1093
Second YearUnits
Advanced Medical Genetics: Biochemical Genetics (GENE 527) or Advanced Medical Genetics: Quantitative Genetics & Genomics (GENE 526)2
Clinical Practicum in Genetic Counseling (GENE 532)4
Research in Genetics (GENE 601)3
Ethical Issues in Genetics/Genomics (BETH 412)3
Clinical Practicum in Genetic Counseling (GENE 532)4
Research in Genetics (GENE 601)2
Year Total:99
Total Units in Sequence40
Course NumberCourse DescriptionsCredits
GENE 524Advanced Medical Genetics : Molecular and Cytogenetics An in-depth forum for discussion of fundamental principles regarding clinical cytogenetics and molecular genetics and their relevance to medical genetics, genomics and genetic counseling. Following a historical overview, topics include a discussion of numerical and structural aberrations, sex chromosome abnormalities, issues regarding population cytogenetics, clinical relevance of such findings as marker chromosomes, mosaicism, contiguous gene deletions and uniparental disomy. The course will cover principles of molecular genetics including structure, function and regulations of genes (DNA, RNA, proteins), genetic variation, inheritance patterns and both cytogenetic and molecular laboratory techniques (fluorescence in situ hybridization, micro-array, SNP analyses, sequencing) in the clinical laboratory.2.0
GENE 525Advanced Medical Genetics: Clinical Genetics Fundamental principles regarding congenital malformations, dysmorphology and syndromes. Discussion of a number of genetic disorders from a systems approach: CNS malformations, neurodegenerative disorders, craniofacial disorders, connective tissue disorders, skeletal dysplasias, hereditary deafness, cardiovascular genetics, etc. Discussions include diagnosis, etiology, genetics, prognosis and management.2.0
GENE 526Advanced Medical Genetics: Quantitative Genetics and Genomics This course provides a foundation in quantitative genetics as well as genomic approaches and technologies which have greatly expanded our understanding of not only rare genetic disorders but common ones as well. Concepts related to risk assessment and calculation and its application to medical genetics including principles and application of Hardy Weinberg equilibrium and applying Bayes' Theorem as a mechanism to refine risk assessment based on patient specific data are covered. The clinical implications of interpreting next generation sequencing results, identifying limitations of genomic technologies, and practicing annotation and interpretation of genomic testing results are also covered. In addition, resources and bioinformatics tools including national databases and clinical labs to aid in the interpretation of genomic test results including variants of uncertain significance are discussed.2.0
GENE 527Advanced Medical Genetics: Metabolic Disorders Fundamental principles of metabolic testing; amino acid disorders; organic acid disorders; carbohydrate disorders; peroxisomal disorders; mitochondrial disorders; etc. Discussion of screening principles and newborn screening as well as therapy for metabolic diseases.2.0
GENE 528Principles and Practices of Genetic Counseling Fundamental principles needed for the practicing genetic counselor. Topics include skills in obtaining histories (prenatal, perinatal, medical, developmental, psychosocial and family); pedigree construction and analysis, physical growth and development; the genetic evaluation; the physical examination and laboratory analyses; prenatal issues, prenatal screening and diagnosis; and teratogenicity.3.0
GENE 529Psychosocial Aspects of Genetic Counseling Fundamental principles regarding the psychosocial aspect of birth defects and genetic disease, its psychological and social impact on the individual and family. Topics include the genetic counseling interview process, issues regarding pregnancy, chronicity, death and loss, as well as the impact of cultural issues. Resources for families are also explored. Basic interviewing skills are addressed. Students will have an opportunity for practice of skills through role play and actual interviewing situations.3.0
GENE 531Clinical Cancer Genetics This seminar discusses basic concepts in cancer epidemiology, principles of cancer genetics, inherited cancer syndromes, cytogenetics of cancers, pedigree analysis for familial cancer risk and approaches to the differential diagnosis of inherited and familial cancers. Additionally, topics of risk assessment, genetic testing, screening, management and psychosocial issues in providing genetic counseling to patients with familial and inherited cancers will be discussed.2.0
BETH 412Ethical Issues in Genetics and Genomics This course is designed to familiarize graduate students with the major controversies regarding the generation and use of new human genetic information. Topics will include the growth of susceptibility and predictive genetic testing, prenatal diagnosis, genetic discrimination, human genetic variation research, eugenics, genetic counseling, and the limits of human gene therapy. The course will be conducted as a seminar, involving discussions of readings, guest speakers, and student presentations.3.0
SASS 477Direct Practice Foundation: Methods & Skills The course introduces major social work theories (i.e., systems-based, cognitive-behavioral, and relationship-based intervention approaches utilized in social work [and genetic counseling] practice with individuals and families. The course is structured to include lecture, discussion and experiential laboratory learning. Interviewing skills for beginning practitioners relevant to work with individuals and families will be a major focus of work both in lectures and during the skills lab incorporating engagement, assessment, goal-setting/treatment planning, intervention and evaluation, termination and follow-up.3.0
GENE 601Genetic Counseling Research Seminar This required research seminar is a continuation of the fall research seminar. The major focus of the spring semester will be to provide guidance regarding the development of a research proposal. Discussion continues regarding quantitative, qualitative and mixed research approaches except now in the context of specific research projects. Students will identify their specific research question and specific aims, discuss issues regarding review of the literature, develop the appropriate research design (study population, data collection, data analysis) to answer the research question, discuss the required format of the proposal, human subjects' protection (IRBs) issues and the proposal defense. The end product of the seminar will be a written research project proposal.2.0
OnlineClinical Embryology This on-line course, developed by the faculties of the Genetic Counseling Program and Department of Anatomy at the University of Cincinnati, provides students with an in-depth review of normal human development and provides a basis for explaining the process of developmental anomalies. Moreover, the course provides an introduction to the treatment of patients with congenital anomalies as well as counseling options for families of affected individuals. Students are given access to the course prior to being classes of the first year. They are required to have completed the course by the end of September of the first year.
GENE 532Clinical Rotations There are six rotations; five in the clinical areas and one in the laboratory. These begin over the summer semester with a six-week General Genetics/Prenatal Diagnosis/Cancer Genetics/Specialty Clinic Rotation at Akron Children's Medical Center Hospital and a three -week Clinical Cytogenetics/Molecular Genetics Laboratory rotation. Rotations continue through the second year of the program with four 8-week rotations including General Genetics and Specialty Clinics rotation (includes children and adults); Prenatal Diagnosis Rotation; and Clinical Cancer Genetics. Students rotate at the Center for Human Genetics Case Medical Center, the Genomic Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and at MetroHealth Medical Center. In addition, student start observational experiences at these institutions early in the first year.
GENE 601Research Requirement The Program requires a research project be carried out for the completion of the Program. This scholarly project may be literature-based, a clinical or counseling project, or laboratory-based project and must relate to some aspect of genetic counseling. At the completion of the project there is a committee oral defense. The final research project is submitted to the research committee in manuscript format suitable to submit for consideration of publication. All students present their research to the department faculty, staff and students at the poster sessions during the annual departmental retreat. In addition, the students present their work at the Genetic Counseling Research Showcase held at the end of the second year.
Last update on: 11th July 2018