MS in Genetic Counseling

Program Overview 

The Genetic Counseling Program balances rigorous academic coursework, direct clinical experiences and independent research to prepare graduates to become future leaders in the dynamic field of genetic counseling.  Located in the vibrant and diverse San Francisco Bay area, the two-year Master of Science Program is established as a unique collaboration between California State University-Stanislaus, University of California San Francisco, and Kaiser Permanente.  As an off-campus program through CSU Stanislaus, all the courses are taken in the Bay Area.  With classes at UCSF and Kaiser Oakland, students can expect to benefit from a rich community of genetic professionals with a long history of training genetic counselors. Our program is designed to reflect the view that genetic counseling involves a complex process of psychosocial and scientific communication, in which knowledge of clinical genetics must be coupled with an understanding of relevant psychological, social and cultural issues.

Curriculum 

The Genetic Counseling curriculum is a carefully structured sequence of courses, seminars and clinical rotations, occurring over two years.  Foundation courses in the first year are designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of the scientific principles governing genetic disorders as well as counseling techniques to be employed during internships in the second year. Classes at both the UCSF Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente afford students the unique opportunity to attend seminars taught by a wide range of medical professionals. Continued emphasis is placed on developing students’ awareness of the many social, legal and ethical issues that accompany contemporary practice in the field.                                                                           

Clinical and Community Experiences 

Fieldwork and clinical internships are an integral part of the Genetic Counseling Program. Multiple rotations across diverse clinical and industry settings provide students with the hands-on experience necessary to become effective professionals. Students participate in the Family Connections program which pairs students with families who have a child with a genetic condition or disability.  This experience not only expands the students’ understanding of the medical and disability-related issues, but also provides insight into the daily life and family dynamics impacted by the condition. Clinical sites cover the breadth of specialties as well as a variety of health care systems including university, community based hospitals and HMOs, which provide students with exposures to differing health care models.  By working directly with patients, their families and industry leaders, students have a unique opportunity to implement and refine skills developed during foundational coursework.  Our location in the Bay area affords students the opportunity to work with a wide range of culturally diverse patients who comprise the dynamic communities that we have a longstanding commitment to serving.   

Research Project 

Students are required to complete a research study of a selected genetic counseling issue or topic that is suitable for publication.  Students are paired with 3 research mentors whose expertise coincides with the thesis topic and receive continued support throughout the research process to ensure success.   Each research project must be approved by the Research Coordinator.   All students must pass an oral defense and submit a final approved written research paper prior to graduation.

Accreditation

Master’s in Genetic Counseling program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), located at 4400 College Blvd., Ste. 220, Overland Park, KS 66211, web address www.gceducation.org.  ACGC can be reached by phone at 913.222.8668.