Curriculum

The Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program at VCU is a full-time, on-campus program. As a part of their coursework, students begin shadowing within clinics at VCU Medical Center during their first semester in order to gain further knowledge and comfortability interacting with patients. During the spring semester of the first year, students begin clinical rotations that continue until the end of the second year. During the intervening summer between first and second year, students will participate in a 3 week long laboratory rotation within the Cytogenetics and Molecular Diagnostic Genetics departments at VCU Health System. Students are required to register for up to 5 credits during this intervening summer semester.

Requirements of the program include:

-Students must complete 60 total credit hours, traditionally over a 21 month time frame.

-students must maintain a 3.0 GPA for all semesters. (Students who fail to maintain a 3.0 GPA are permitted one semester to bring up their GPA average to the required level).


Below is a typical course schedule:

2017-2018 MS Genetic Counseling Program Curriculum

1st Semester 1st Year

HGEN 501

Intro to Human Genetics

3cr

HGEN 525

Practice of Genetic Counseling 

3cr

HGEN 690

Research Seminar

1cr

HGEN 615

Techniques in Genetic Counseling

3cr

HGEN 510

Classic Papers

1cr

 

Elective

2-3cr

Total 13-16 credit hours

 

2nd Semester 1st Year

ANAT 612

Human Embryology

2cr

HGEN 502

Advanced Human Genetics

3cr

HGEN 526

Practice of Genetic Counseling

3cr

HGEN 690

Research Seminar

1cr

HGEN 600

Clinical Rotation

3cr

HGEN 601

Research in Genetic Counseling

2cr

HGEN 697

Directed Research

1cr

OVPR 601/602

Scientific Integrity/ Conduct

1cr

 

Elective

3cr

Total 15-18 credit hours

 

May/June

PATH 691

Lab rotation (cyto & molecular)

1cr

Summer

HGEN

600 Clinical Placement (8 weeks)

3cr

 1st Semester 2nd Year

HGEN 527

Medical Genetics

2cr

HGEN 600

Clinical Rotation

3cr

HGEN 697

Directed Research

3cr

HGEN 690

Research Seminar

1cr

HGEN 619

Process in Genetic Counseling

1cr

HGEN 622

Cancer

3cr

 

Elective

3cr

Total 13-17 credit hours

 

2nd Semester 2nd Year

HGEN 528

Medical Genetics

3cr

HGEN 690

Research Seminar

1cr

HGEN 697

Directed Research

3cr

HGEN 600

Clinical Rotation

3cr

 

Elective

3cr

Total 13 to 15 credit hours

 

Completion of the degree requires 60 total credits. One 3 credit elective is required unless you are a LEND trainee. LEND students may often have more than 60 credits.

Comprehensive exams

Online comprehensive exams are given at the end of the first and second years of training. First year exams are generally composed of multiple choice questions and short answer questions. First year students must successfully pass both sections of this exam in order to matriculate to their second year.

Second year exams are more comprehensive and are modeled to help prepare students for the ABGC board exam. Second year students must successfully pass this exam in order to graduate. An exam writing committee at VCU routinely evaluates and updates comprehensive exams to make sure the questions are relevant, up to date and access the knowledge that each student should have mastered in their years of study.