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 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 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.