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 is one of two in the country, and 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 62 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 to be carried out for the completion of 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 are interested in the dual degree program will first be admitted into the genetic counseling training program via the NMS match. Admissions decisions regarding the dual degree program in bioethics do not take place until the spring of the first year of the genetic counseling program, and are made by the student, the bioethics department, and the genetic counseling program faculty.