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Masters Degrees (Genetic Counsellor)

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The primary aim of this course is to train graduates interested in the clinical application of advances in human genetics and genomics so that they can provide and critically evaluate genetic and genomic counselling services. Read more
The primary aim of this course is to train graduates interested in the clinical application of advances in human genetics and genomics so that they can provide and critically evaluate genetic and genomic counselling services.

You will be given a thorough grounding in human genomics, genetics, genetic analysis and bioinformatics, in communication and counselling skills, and in the skills required for you to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team providing genetic and genomic counselling for families. 

The course is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing a career as a genetic counsellor. It is designed to meet the UK Genetic Counsellor Registration Board (GCRB) Set ‘A’ educational requirement to submit a Notification of Intention to Register with the GCRB (see http://www.gcrb.org.uk/), as well as the European Board of Medical Genetics (EBMG Genetic Counsellors division) educational requirement to submit a Notification of Intention to Register with the EBMG.

Distinctive features:

The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is an innovative part-time, largely distance learning course.  Being a ‘blended learning’ course, this opens up our well established genetic counsellor training expertise to a European and international audience, as it removes the need for you to relocate to Cardiff for full time study to train as a genetic counsellor.  Instead, you will attend short intensive teaching blocks in Wales (UK) and engage in the online learning components throughout the remainder of each year.  Approved placement learning in your own location is also undertaken in year 2. 

We are committed to developing your practice in evidence-based genetic and genomic counselling, with a strong emphasis on preparing you to contribute to clinical and health services research in genetic and genomic counselling.  The programme team includes world-class researchers in genetic and genomic counselling and counselling skills are taught by an expert counsellor.

Structure

The MSc programme consists of two stages: The taught stage which lasts for a total of 24 months and the dissertation stage R which lasts for a further 12 months, following completion of the taught stages.  The total normal duration to complete the full MSc programme is three academic years, from the date of initial registration on the programme.

A placement module runs throughout Year 2 of the course.  This is supported by significant patient interaction.  Access to and concrete plans for your genetic counselling placement is a criterion for selection at interview. 

Core modules:

Introduction to Healthcare
Introduction to Genetic and Genomic Counselling
Counselling and Communication Skills
Research Methods
Introduction to Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Science and Bioinformatics
Applied Genetics and Bioinformatics in Clinical Care
Advanced Genetic and Genomic Counselling
Placement: Genetic and Genomic Counselling
Dissertation: Genetic and Genomic Counselling

Teaching

You will be taught through a combination of face-to-face and online lectures, tutorials, seminars, self-directed study and experiential learning on placement.

Lectures take a range of forms but generally they aim to provide a broad structure for each subject, to introduce key concepts, and to convey relevant up-to-date information.  In tutorials and seminars, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss particular genetic counselling and genomic counselling topics, to consolidate and receive feedback on your individual learning and to develop skills in oral presentation.  Tutorials will enable you to make individual contributions to group study, for example by summarising a particular genetic condition or your dissertation project for the group.

You will have the opportunity to practise and develop counselling, intellectual, team-working and presentational skills by participating in diverse learning activities, such as solving clinical problems, small-group discussions, debates, oral presentations, independent research tasks and written assignments as well as your practical placement activities in year 2. 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a combination of means including written work (blogs, essays), presentations, reflective pieces, video skills assessment and a dissertation.

Career Prospects

Career prospects for graduates with an appropriately accredited MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling are excellent.  In the UK and in the US, the demand for genetic counsellors has increased in recent years.  The US has seen, over the past 2—3 years, a rise in job postings from about 300/year (mirroring US graduate numbers) to over 600 in 2015.  Proportionately similar increases in job postings are being seen in the UK.  Graduates from existing UK MSc in Genetic (and Genomic) courses will be insufficient to meet the needs of the UK NHS over the next few years, as many UK genetic counsellors are approaching retirement.  The Transnational Alliance of Genetic Counsellors (a partnership of genetic counsellor educators from eighteen countries) have strongly emphasized the need for training more genetic counsellors to practice internationally, specifically across the EU, Asia and South America.

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The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is designed to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Genetic Counselling which will qualify them to practice as Genetic and Genomic Counsellors. Read more
The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is designed to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Genetic Counselling which will qualify them to practice as Genetic and Genomic Counsellors. The programme will be delivered by University of Glasgow staff in collaboration with NHS staff from the West of Scotland Genetics Service, so that a current perspective on both laboratory diagnostics and clinical services will be obtained. This programme is accredited by the UK Genetic Counsellor Registration Board.

Why this programme

-◾Teaching is based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), which includes adult services, children’s services and maternity services, as well as one of the largest diagnostic laboratories in Europe, and a new, purpose-built teaching and learning facility. The close collaboration between University and NHS staff ensures that the MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling provides a completely up-to-date representation of genetic services.
◾Counselling and psychology theoretical and research-focused courses are delivered by University staff trained in psychology, providing a firm foundation for the subsequent acquisition of knowledge and skills in genetic counselling facilitated by GCRB-registered Genetic Counsellors.
◾The University of Glasgow Medical Genetics Teaching Staff won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering), to recognise and reward excellence and good practice; they were also finalists in the 2013 awards and are finalists in the category of "Outstanding support for students" in The Herald Higher Education Awards for Scotland in association with UWS 2016.
◾You will develop your skills in problem solving, evaluation and interpretation of diagnostic data, communication of the results of genome testing to patients, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
◾The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.

Programme structure

Component courses are as follows:

Genetic Disease in Clinical Practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Clinical Genetics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease, and explore the links between genotype and phenotype.

Case Investigations in Medical Genetics

Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.

Distress or disorder: reactions to a medical diagnosis

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

This course outlines the process of psychosocial adjustment to a diagnosis or test result allowing participants to establish if and when a distress reaction develops into an adjustment disorder. The implications of diagnosis are explored and evidence considered allowing informed decisions about appropriate referrals to other agencies.

Patient empowerment: supporting decisions relating to new diagnoses

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

This course reflects on evidence and experience to explore the psychological and social impact of a diagnosis, or illness, and provides strategies to support resilience and coping in patients. Factors related to lived experience, personal beliefs and values, culture, adjustment processes, decision-making, misconceptions, secrecy and guilt are considered to equip participants in the promotion of patient-centred care.

Effective listening and communication skills

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

With a focus on experiential learning and student led study, this course outlines the role of counselling skills to facilitate adjustment and to allow an individual to come to terms with change in a safe way to minimise impact. The focus will be on the theory supporting counselling, developing key listening and communication skills and on establishing reflective practice.

Genetic counselling in clinical practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Clinical Service, and will be delivered by NHS staff, to provide students with in depth understanding of the practical skills required in genetic counselling. The course will facilitate development of appropriate critical understanding, reflective practice and skills in relation to genetic counselling for providing accurate complex genetic information for patients and their families.

Social science research methods

The research methods course will focus on developing students’ research skills primarily in questionnaire-based qualitative and quantitative observational research methods and students will be introduced to ethics procedures for the college of MVLS.

Community placements 1 & 2

These placements, for 16 days and 20 days respectively, will each take place in one or more care settings for individuals with complex needs (adults or children or both) to enable students to gain insight into effects of complex needs on affected individuals and on their family.

Genetic counselling placement 1 & 2

These placements, for eight weeks and six weeks respectively, in different genetics centres will allow students to observe clinical practice in a variety of contexts, and to undertake relevant tasks under supervision within a clinical team that is delivering a genetic service, to enable the student to develop their own skills as a future genetic counsellor. Following each placement students will discuss and share experiences, facilitated by one of the NHS lead team and a counselling supervisor, to further develop their ability to deal with practical and emotional challenges in genetic counselling.

Clinical genomics

This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussing the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Career prospects

The programme aims to provide students with skills to work as Genetic Counsellors. This programme is accredited by the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board (GCRB) producing graduates who are eligible for entry as a ‘trainee genetic counsellor’.

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Genetics and genomics have become an integral part of the healthcare service. Our modern programme, which we’re constantly adapting to reflect professional and technological changes, will advance your skills, knowledge and insight in the challenging sector of genetic healthcare. Read more
Genetics and genomics have become an integral part of the healthcare service. Our modern programme, which we’re constantly adapting to reflect professional and technological changes, will advance your skills, knowledge and insight in the challenging sector of genetic healthcare. Study part-time over three years and choose the modules you want to study. You’ll leave fully equipped to provide more effective, efficient and better quality practice for the patients who rely on you.

Key features

-Steer your career in the direction you want. We offer a wide range of modules, so you can choose to group modules together to create the combination that suits your previous education and experience and your career aspirations. Focused themes include practical genetics, genetic science and counselling skills.
-Engage with a course specifically designed to address the needs of professionals wishing to develop their careers in genetic counselling or genetic nursing.
-Learn from research-active staff at the forefront of knowledge, conducting research into Applied Health Genetics.
-Study four core modules shared by all our pathway awards: Health and Social Care Futures, Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 1 and 2, and the dissertation.
-Benefit from the flexibility our programme offers. You can take much of the course by distance learning. Modules taught face-to-face (such as counselling skills) are delivered in short, intensive blocks to enable you to complete them with minimum travel and time away from your work.
-Balance work and further education with our programme by studying part-time over three years.
-Our Genetic Science modules and the Counselling Skills modules are designed to satisfy the requirements of the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board for UK genetic counsellor registration.
-Achieve the European Core Competences for genetic nurses and genetic counsellors.
-Choose to study the Counselling Skills module and update and enhance your counselling skills.
-Develop practical skills and increase knowledge on all genetics modules by combining theory with an applied approach.
-Use your registration portfolio as a registered genetic counsellor to obtain credits towards the award via the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning system.

Course details

Postgraduate certificate - to achieve a postgraduate certificate, you will need to earn 60 credits. You’ll be able to study either two genetics modules at 30 credits each, or all three at 20 credits each – counselling skills for genetic healthcare, genetic science for health professionals and practical genetics for health professionals.

Postgraduate diploma - to gain a postgraduate diploma, you’ll need to earn 120 credits. 60 of these will be made up from the two or three core modules undertaken in Year 1, with 40 credits coming from the core modules in Year 2, advancing research knowledge in practice 1 and advancing research knowledge in practice 2. Depending on the modules taken during Year 1, you will either undertake the remaining genetics module worth 20 credits or another optional 20 credit module.

Master of Science - for a full masters degree, you will need to earn a total of 180 credits. You will study the same core modules as the postgraduate diploma, with the extra 60 credits coming from a research project in an area of study related to genetic healthcare.

Please note: availability of modules may vary according to demand; module dates are therefore subject to change.

Year 1
The Health Genetics pathway has three core specialist modules, which are all worth either 20 or 30 credits. Optional modules – you must complete two 30 credit options or all three 20 credit options.
Optional modules
-IMS550 Practical Genetics for Health Professionals (Advanced)
-IMS552 Counselling Skills for Genetic Healthcare (Advanced)
-IMS551 Counselling Skills for Genetic Healthcare
-IMS553 Genetic Science for Health Professionals (advanced)
-IMS536 Genetic Science for Health Professionals
-IMS549 Practical Genetics for Health Professionals

Year 2
Please note: you must choose the remaining 20 credit genetics module if two 30 credit modules were taken in Year 1.
Optional modules
-MCH501 Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 1
-MCH502 Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 2

Final year
-MCH504 Dissertation

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

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Genetic counsellors work in a multidisciplinary team with clinical geneticists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, communicating complex genetic information to individuals and families to facilitate decision making. Read more

Genetic counsellors work in a multidisciplinary team with clinical geneticists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, communicating complex genetic information to individuals and families to facilitate decision making. Genetic counsellors are employed in clinical genetics units and work in many areas including: cancer genetics, predictive testing, paediatric genetics, prenatal genetics, adult genetics. Genetic counsellors increasingly are involved in qualitative and quantitative clinical genetic research.

The Master of Genetic Counselling constitutes the professional qualification for entry into employment as an associate genetic counsellor, and for Board Eligible certification, awarded through the Board of Censors in Genetic Counselling (Human Genetics Society of Australasia).

The 2 year Master of Genetic Counselling is designed to build and increase skills and breadth in clinical practice and research, utilising the expertise of tutors who are clinicians, genetic counsellors, scientists, people with a disability and community members. The Masters is taught within the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services at the Royal Childrens Hospital Parkville Victoria. Students are encouraged to attend educational activities within Genetic Health including seminars, clinic meetings and journal club.

The Graduate Diploma is an exit point after 1 year of study in the Masters.

Internationally, genetic counselling is taught within a 2 year clinical Masters. The Masters program aims to increase research and employment opportunities for graduates through developing reciprocity with other countries. With well established links to overseas training programs there are international opportunities for students, through an active exchange program for clinical placements and research collaborations. Past graduates are employed throughout the world -including in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand. It is expected that graduates of the Melbourne Masters will be eligible to register to practise as genetic counsellors in the UK and Canada, further increasing employment opportunities.

The Master of Genetic Counselling will fulfil the requirements for certification and employment as a genetic counsellor in Australia and reciprocity with training overseas. The program teaches counselling skills, research skills and clinical genetics knowledge in small interactive student groups. Problem Based Learning is one mode of teaching in the genetics tutorials. This mode of teaching facilitates independent learning which equips the student to continue to develop professionally throughout their career. Students will complete a minor thesis with supervision, and have extensive counselling skills practice in varied clinical genetics and community settings. Assessment tasks mirror the skills needed in genetic counselling practice and for professional certification by the HGSA(Part 2)

Teaching staff are primarily practicing genetic counsellors, scientists and clinicians within the clinical genetics service.

Research and Evaluation Skills:

  • Understand the ethics committee process and develop an ethics proposal;
  • Undertake a critical literature review relevant to a particular topic of research;
  • Develop original research arising from clinical practice;
  • Present findings from an original research project at a professional forum;
  • Understand the principles of qualitative research, including research design and process in an ethical framework OR
  • Understand biostatistical concepts and methods and their application in the assessment and management of health conditions OR
  • Develop an understanding of the nature and purposes of health program evaluation.

Critical Reflection and Cognition Skills:

  • Develop counselling skills through application of models of practice, in supervised clinical placements;
  • Critically evaluate different models of practice through theory, observation and participation in genetic counselling interviews;
  • Respect differences in cultural, religious and socioeconomic beliefs in clients, through developing a critical understanding of difference through the literature and personal contact with clients;
  • Develop self-awareness through reflection and active participation in the process of supervision.

Communication Skills:

  • Analyse the genetic counselling process and the impact on families from a cultural, ethical and psychosocial perspective;
  • Understand and critically analyse the process of transference and countertransference in an interview;
  • Critically analyse the process of communication.

Ethical Skills:

  • Understand the ethical principles that guide and inform genetic counselling practice;
  • Consider personal, cultural and moral values which may impact on the individual practice of genetic counselling;
  • Recognise the ethical challenges that may confront clients;
  • Understand and identify the potential for ethical challenges in emerging genetic technologies;
  • Identify possible challenges to facilitating informed consent and maintaining patient confidentiality.

Genetics Knowledge:

  • Understand the principles of inheritance;
  • Understand chromosomal disorders and the genetic basis of disease;
  • Understand clinical genetic risk assessments for patients and families;
  • Elicit and document a family history and family pedigree, convey genetic information and discuss risk;
  • Understand the normal stages of human embryo development and have an awareness of how this can be disrupted;
  • Understand the role of genetics as the underlying cause of various disorders of the human body;
  • Understand the role of genetics in cancer;
  • Have an appreciation for the range of molecular, cytogenetic and biochemical laboratory tests utilised in clinical genetic practice;
  • Understand the genetic testing approach taken for specific genetic disorders;
  • Understand the treatment approach taken for specific genetic disorders;
  • Understand the issues relating to population based screening;
  • Understand the role of prenatal screening and testing in pregnancy management and care, and the options available when fetal abnormality is detected;
  • Understand the organisational and economic aspects of health care in Australia;
  • Understand the role of the genetic counsellor in the context of the multidisciplinary approach to clinical genetic health care;
  • Understand the principles of the legal and professional duties and the responsibilities of genetic counsellors as health professionals and members of a health care team.


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This MSc aims to provide medical and science students with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the field of prenatal genetics and fetal medicine, specifically human genetics, human embryonic development and fetal medicine. Read more

This MSc aims to provide medical and science students with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the field of prenatal genetics and fetal medicine, specifically human genetics, human embryonic development and fetal medicine. There is a strong focus on the development of key skills and careers advice in the programme.

About this degree

Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the field of prenatal genetics and fetal medicine, specifically in the areas of basic genetics and technology, genetic mechanisms, medical genetics, organogenesis and fetal development, gametogenesis and IVF, prenatal diagnosis and screening, fetal and perinatal medicine, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis and developing technology. They gain transferable skills including information technology, analysis of scientific papers, essay writing, seminar presentation, research techniques, peer review and laboratory skills.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of eight core modules (120 credits) and a research project (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma consisting of eight core modules (120 credits, full-time nine months, flexible study two to five years) is offered.

Mandatory modules

  • Basic Genetics and Technology
  • Gametogenesis, Preimplantation Development and IVF
  • Genetic Mechanisms
  • Medical Genetics
  • Organogenesis and Fetal Development
  • Prenatal Diagnosis and Screening
  • Fetal and Perinatal Medicine
  • Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Developing Technology

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake a clinical, laboratory, audit or library-based research project, which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical demonstrations in laboratories, observation days in fetal medicine and IVF units, and student presentations. There are a number of peer-led learning activities. Assessment is through essays, patient case reports, critical reviews of papers, online problem booklet, examinations and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine MSc

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

On completion of the programme, all students will have gained knowledge of both the clinical and laboratory aspects of prenatal genetics and fetal medicine. This will enable the science-orientated students to go on to pursue research degrees, further training for careers in prenatal diagnosis or embryology, or other careers in the field or in general science. Medically-orientated students will be able to develop their careers in the field of fetal medicine.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Doctor, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Senior Genetic Counsellor, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre
  • Trainee Clinical Embryologist, George's Memorial Medical Centre
  • Clinical Research Nurse, UCL
  • PhD in Prenatal Diagnosis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Employability

Throughout the MSc programme students learn key skills through peer-led activities, such as evaluating and presenting orally on patient cases and media coverage of scientific papers. Students learn how to write essays and patient case reports and how to critically evaluate papers. They also have the opportunity to take part in debates and ethical discussions and to learn basic laboratory techniques. We offer a comprehensive careers programme involving our alumni, covering job applications, CV writing, general careers in science and specific advice on careers in embryology, clinical genetics, medicine and research degrees.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute for Women’s Health delivers excellence in research, clinical practice, education and training in order to make a real and sustainable difference to women's and babies' health worldwide.

The institute's UCL/UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust collaboration provides an academic environment in which students can pursue graduate studies taught by world-class researchers and clinicians.

Our diversity of expertise in maternal and fetal medicine, neonatology, reproductive health and women's cancer ensures a vibrant environment in which students develop subject-specific and generic transferable skills, supporting a broad range of future employment opportunities.



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Genetic counsellors are health care professionals with specialized graduate training in the areas of medical genetics and counselling. Read more

Masters in Genetic Counselling

What is a Genetic Counsellor?

Genetic counsellors are health care professionals with specialized graduate training in the areas of medical genetics and counselling. Genetic counsellors usually work as members of a healthcare team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. Genetic counsellors work in a wide variety of settings, these include: general genetics, prenatal care and family planning, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, neurology, laboratories, research, education, public health settings, and corporate environments. (NSGC website, accessed Oct 7, 2012).

GENERAL PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Department of Medical Genetics, through Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) at the University of British Columbia, offers a unique two year graduate program leading to an MSc degree in Genetic Counselling. The program has full accreditation status by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). Students, upon graduating, will be eligible to apply for “Active Candidate” status for both the ABGC and the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) certification exams.

Six students are accepted into the Program each year to begin their studies in September. Genetic counsellors, geneticists, other healthcare professionals and UBC faculty members instruct and supervise students during their course of study.

The program balances strong academic grounding, direct clinical experiences and independent research to prepare graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counselling.

Academic coursework provides a comprehensive overview of:
- Molecular genetics and genomics
- Clinical genetics
- Counselling techniques and psychology
- Bioethics

Clinical experiences cover a broad range of specialties, preparing graduates for the expanding professional role. These include both private and public settings in the areas of:
- Prenatal genetics
- Pediatric and adult genetics
- Reproductive medicine
- Cancer
- Psychiatric genetics
- Focused practical rotations in embryofetopathology, fetal ultrasound and prenatal procedures, prenatal biochemistry laboratory, molecular biochemical and cytogenetic laboratories.

Interprofessional health education prepares graduates for a patient centred, team-based approach to healthcare delivery. Collaborating with the College of Health Disciplines, unique experiences include:
- Health Mentorship Program
- The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Passport
- Rounds and educational seminars held by the Department of Medical Genetics, Hereditary Cancer Program, Child and Family
Research Institute, BC Clinical Genomics Network and other departments within the hospital and university network.

While this is not a thesis program, all graduates complete an independent research project. The program provides mentorship, research skills development and encouragement towards contributing to the published literature in genetic counselling outcomes.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Genetic Counselling
- Subject: Health and Medicine
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework only
- Faculty: Faculty of Medicine

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The Master of Genomics and Health, the first such program in Australia, has been designed to prepare a workforce that is knowledgeable and skilled in practical, ethical and socially responsible implementation of genomics in health. Read more

The Master of Genomics and Health, the first such program in Australia, has been designed to prepare a workforce that is knowledgeable and skilled in practical, ethical and socially responsible implementation of genomics in health. Students will gain knowledge about genomics and engage in discourse around the current and potential impact on health and medicine brought about by advances in genomics and genomic technologies.

This course is designed to be available to students at different stages in their careers, including career starters and those with more established careers who wish to further their knowledge, skills and qualifications.

The Master of Genomics and Health requires completion of a total of 200 points of study and allows flexibility in subject choices to suit individual interests and study preferences. Students have the option of enrolling in a Master degree (200 points) or one of the nested awards - Graduate Diploma (100 points), Graduate Certificate (50 points).

Students undertaking the Masters program will be assisted with organising relevant internships and research projects. Successful completion of the research stream will provide adequate training for those who do not have Honours but may wish to undertake a PhD in future.

The program uses a blended learning approach with regular tutorials conducted in the Health Education and Learning Precinct of the Melbourne Children's Campus in Parkville. Students are encouraged to attend relevant seminars, journal clubs and meetings to complement their studies.

Career opportunities

Graduates will be well positioned to gain employment across a broad range of fields such as:

  • Public Health and Health Policy

Public health genomics is the use of genomic information to benefit public health. The program will provide a grounding for people who are interested in combining genomics knowledge with skills in public health to work in areas of public policy for government or across a range of healthcare sectors. This would suit graduates from science, biomedical science or health sciences who would undertake electives from the Master of Public Health and/or science communication with internships in government, health policy think tanks, hospital settings or community advocacy groups.

  • Science

Variant curation is a process of examining genomic data results and using literature and databases to provide evidence about whether a patient’s genomic results have clinical significance. There is a need for variant curator scientists working in clinical services or in research. This would suit a graduate of applied science, science or biomedical science who would undertake electives in bioinformatics, the research stream with internships with clinical laboratories including pathology services, or clinical services with a focus on learning hands-on variant curation.

  • Clinical trials and research

Coordination, patient recruitment and informed consent are critical to the success of clinical trials and research in which patients or the public are involved. This would suit graduates from science, biomedical science or health sciences who would undertake the research stream, electives from the Master of Public Health and/or science communication with internships in research organisations, clinical trials centres, and the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Medical and Allied Health Settings

Health practitioners whose disciplines are at the forefront of the genomics revolution and wish to be better prepared to incorporate this area into their practice. This includes, for example, specialist clinicians and nurses looking to upskill in genomics. In both cases knowledge and skills in genomics can applied to their everyday practice, or prepare them for more research or education based roles.

  •  Law

Given the advances in technology, medical law is an exciting field to be in. Ethical discourse and legal leadership often lag behind the introduction of new medical technologies, yet both are required to ensure safe, equitable and appropriate health system integration. This program will provide those from a law background with a level of specialist genomics knowledge and will allow students to tailor their studies to focus on legal research, or undertake a range of relevant electives to support more applied career paths.

 Who should apply?

  •  Qualified medical and allied health professionals who wish to upskill in the area of genomics and medicine.
  • Recent undergraduates in science (BSci) and biomedicine (BBiomed) who do not want a career in laboratory-based areas and who want to broaden their interest in genomics for the healthcare sector
  • Anyone with a suitable health background who wishes to seek employment in areas such as clinical trials, education, community-based organisations such as genetic support groups, government etc. or use the qualification as an entry point into a graduate research degree.

NB Completion of this course does not fulfil the professional requirements for employment as a genetic counsellor. Students who exit with a Graduate Certificate or a Graduate Diploma in Genomics and Health and who wish to apply for the Master of Genetic Counselling will need to meet all eligibility criteria for that program. Their application will need to demonstrate relevant volunteer work/experience and they will be ranked with all other applicants for that year. If they are successful at interview and are accepted into the Master of Genetic Counselling cohort they may receive appropriate credit for some subjects.



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