Genetic Counseling

Prospective students should use this checklist to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to Graduate School.

Degree Offered:M.S.
Interim Program Director:Christina Hurst
Phone:(205) 934-7299
E-mail:cbhurst@uab.edu
Web site:www.uab.edu/msgc

M.S. Program in Genetic Counseling

Accreditation:

The Genetic Counseling Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The program received full accreditation in 2013 and will apply for re-accreditation in 2019. Fully  accredited programs must complete a rigorous process to demonstrate that the program is capable of meeting the criteria for a genetic counseling training program as established by ACGC.  Programs that successfully complete this process are awarded full accreditation. All students that graduate from an accredited program may apply for board certification and licensure as a genetic counselor.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college/university
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores from the Verbal, Quantitative and Analytic sections. Applicants with advanced degrees whose GRE scores are older than 5 years (the time limit that ETS will send scores) can send reports from previously attended graduate programs.
  • A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in natural science courses
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the program prerequisite courses, with a minimum grade of C in each (prerequisite courses are listed below)
  • Resume or CV: This should include academic qualifications, a description and timeline of any paid or volunteer work experience in crisis counseling or peer counseling setting, working with individuals with genetic conditions or disabilities, technical work in laboratories, research, or teaching experience, and any other relevant information.
  • A personal statement (no more than 500 words) highlighting your motivation to become a genetic counselor, and emphasizing your prior and current experiences and how they will benefit you in the profession.
  • Paid or volunteer experience in a crisis counseling setting, peer counseling setting, working with individuals with genetic conditions or disabilities, technical work in genetics laboratories, research, or teaching experience in biology or genetics is recommended and encouraged in preparation for entering the genetic counseling field.
  • Interview with UAB faculty
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Satisfactory screening on health data questionnaire by the UAB Medical Center Student Health Service.
  • Complete a criminal background check and drug screen at program admission and again prior to clinical placement as required by school policy.
  • The following course prerequisites:
    o 4 semester hours of biology I (with lab)
    o 4 semester hours of biology II (with lab)
    o 3-4 semester hours of biochemistry
    o 3-4 semester hours of genetics
    o 3 semester hours of statistics (upper level, population, and/or health-related)
    o 3-4 semester hours of psychology (general, developmental, or abnormal)

Degree Requirements

The graduate program in genetic counseling will follow the Plan II (non-thesis) option.

Program Curriculum

First Year
First TermHours
GC 5013
GC 5103
GC 5601
GC 7253
CDS 6103
ECG 6213
 16
Total credit hours: 16
First Year
Second TermHours
GC 5043
GC 5053
GC 5063
GC 5601
CDS 6253
ECG 6283
 16
Total credit hours: 16
First Year
Summer TermHours
GC 6502
GC 6515
 7
Total credit hours: 7
Second Year
First TermHours
GC 5601
GC 6002
GC 6522
GC 6532
GC 6982
CDS 5001
 10
Total credit hours: 10
Second Year
Second TermHours
GC 5601
GC 6022
GC 6542
GC 6552
GC 6982
CDS 6051
 10
Total credit hours: 10

Additional Information

Deadline for Entry Term(s):January 15
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office:January 15
Number of Evaluation Forms Required:Three
Entrance Tests:GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)

For detailed information, contact Program Director, Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling, UAB School of Health Professions, 1705 University Boulevard, SHPB 444, Birmingham, AL 35294-1212.
Telephone 205-975-4CDS (205-975-4237)
E-mail mailto:AskCDS@uab.edu
Website www.uab.edu/msgc

Courses

GC 501. Genetics in Medicine. 3 Hours.

Overview of the clinical evaluation and assessment of an individual with a congenital anomaly, mental retardation and/or genetic condition; includes introduction to etiology of common genetic conditions, pediatric genetic counseling, and testing and treatment options for genetic disorders.

GC 504. Prenatal Genetics, Embryology and Teratology. 3 Hours.

Basic concepts of embryology, teratology and physiology as related to human development and genetic disease and their applications in prenatal genetic counseling.

GC 505. Principles of Cancer and Adult Genetics and Counseling. 3 Hours.

Genetic mechanisms of cancer syndromes, cancer predisposition, and adult onset disorders; psychosocial issues related to these conditions that influence the genetic counseling process.

GC 506. Theory and Practice of Genetic Counseling. 3 Hours.

Development of advanced genetic counseling skills for application in clinical settings.

GC 510. Introduction to Genetic Counseling. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the field of genetic counseling and the basic principles of the profession.

GC 560. Genetic Counseling Journal Club. 1 Hour.

Review, presentation and discussion of relevant literature in medical genetics and genetic counseling.

GC 600. Advanced Clinical Skills in Genectic Counseling. 2 Hours.

Advanced genetic counseling clinical skills in areas such as communication, research, industry, and reflective practice.

GC 602. Advanced Topics in Genetic Counseling. 2 Hours.

Exploration of advanced topics in genetic counseling related to clinical practice and non-clinical professional duties as a genetic counselor.

GC 650. Clinical Laboratory Rotation. 2 Hours.

Exposure to genetic testing protocols, laboratory genetic counseling, and specimen processing and reporting through rotation in biochemical, molecular, and cytogenetic laboratories.

GC 651. Clinical Rotation I. 5 Hours.

Initial clinical rotation to establish basic skill sets in genetic counseling. Supervised and direct patient contact in prenatal, pediatric, adult, cancer, and specialty clinics will allow students to acquire cases for ABGC certification.

GC 652. Clinical Rotation II. 2 Hours.

Students utilize intermediate clinical skills in assigned clinical setting. Students interact with an array of genetic specialists. Supervised and direct patient contact in prenatal, pediatric, adult, cancer and specialty clinics will allow students to acquire cases for ABGC certification.

GC 653. Clinical Rotation III. 2 Hours.

Students will apply progressive genetic counseling skills in a clinical setting. Students will interact with an array of genetic specialists. Supervised and direct patient contact in prenatal, pediatric, adult, cancer and specialty clinics will allow students to acquire cases for ABGC certification.

GC 654. Clinical Rotation IV. 2 Hours.

Students will apply progressive genetic counseling skills in a clinical setting. Students will interact with an array of genetic specialists. Supervised and direct patient contact in prenatal, pediatric, adult, cancer and specialty clinics will allow students to acquire cases for ABGC certification.

GC 655. Clinical Rotation V. 2 Hours.

Students will apply progressive genetic counseling skills in a clinical setting. Students will interact with an array of genetic specialists. Supervised and direct patient contact in prenatal, pediatric, adult, cancer and spcialty clinics will allow students to acquire cases for ABGC certification.

GC 698. Non thesis Research. 2 Hours.

Graduate level research project under the supervision of clinical faculty.

GC 725. Advanced Medical Genetics. 3 Hours.

Medical application of advances in genetics and genomics; chromosome structure and function and major types of chromosomal abnormalities, cancer genetics and cytogenetics; current strategies for detection of mutations associated with genetic disorders, genetic risk assessment and population genetics; genomic approaches to diagnosis and risk stratification.

Faculty

Descartes, Maria, MD, Medical Director and Associate Professor of Genetics
Holt, R. Lynn, MS, CGC, Program Director and Assistant Professor
Hurst, Christina B., MS, CGC, Assistant Program Director and Assistant Professor