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Course content

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.

Overview

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

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. 

Career prospects

This programme is particularly suitable for those interested in pursuing a career as a genetic counsellor in the UK, as 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. The programme is accredited by the GCRB, so that the MSc qualifies trainee genetic counsellors to apply for Assured Voluntary Registration with the GCRB, which enables a trainee genetic counsellor (paid on Agenda For Change (AFC) band 6) to move into an AFC band 7 NHS post in the UK NHS. 

It is also suitable for those interested in pursuing a career as a genetic counsellor in Europe and internationally, as it is designed to meet the European Board of Medical Genetics (EBMG Genetic Counsellors division) educational requirement to submit a Notification of Intention to Register with the EBMG. The accreditation from EBMG means that the MSc qualification qualifies trainee genetic counsellors to apply for EBMG registration. 

Over 90% of graduates from the Cardiff University genetic counsellor training programmes have obtained employment as genetic counsellors since the course began in 2000. 

In the UK and in the USA, the demand for genetic counsellors has increased in recent years. 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.


Visit the Genetic and Genomic Counselling - MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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