Course Descriptions

GMS GC 601 Professional Issues in Genetic Counseling
This two-semester course addresses topics related to the development of a competent genetic counselor. Instructional content, combined with group discussions and student presentations, will cover the history and development of the profession, care across the lifespan, and ethical/social issues.

GMS GC 603 Embryology, Teratology, and Prenatal Genetics
This course will review human embryology, the teratogenic factors leading to abnormal development, and the common indications for prenatal genetic counseling, including advanced maternal age, abnormal serum screening, ultrasound anomalies, diagnostic procedures, and prenatal complications.

GMS GC 605 Clinical Applications in Human Genetics
This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and principles of human genetics and their clinical applications. Topics include the chromosomal, molecular, and biochemical basis of disease, prenatal diagnosis, genetic counseling, bioinformatics, and congenital anomalies.

GMS MH 703 Counseling Techniques
This course will provide an overview of diagnoses, demonstrates techniques for building a helping relationship, and treatment approaches for a wide range of disorders including depression, trauma, anxiety disorders, and problems of living. 

GMS GC 600 Genetic Diagnosis & Laboratory Methods
This course will provide students  the opportunity to learn laboratory techniques and methodologies relevant to the field of genetic counseling with multiple lectures/discussions related to results and interpretation from the genetic counseling perspective. Additionally, three lab tours are scheduled. 

GMS GC 602 Clinical Genetics
This course will provide information regarding etiology, features, testing, and treatment for a variety of genetic conditions. The topics are arranged by organ system to expand on the material covered in GMS GC603. Clinical case studies and presentations will supplement.

GMS GC 604 Cancer Genetic Counseling
This course introduces students to the specialty of cancer genetics, through topics such as the biology of cancer, current cancer statistics and epidemiology, risk assessment, pathology, testing for cancer susceptibility genes, hereditary cancer syndromes, testing methodologies, treatment options, surveillance, survivorship, and psychosocial issues.

GMS GC 711 Advanced Genetic Counseling
This two-semester course will cover advanced topics in genetic counseling, including research project design and implementation, personal growth, and professional development. It will build upon the students’ previous course work and clinical training to enhance their growing skill set as genetic counselors.

GMS GC 712 Metabolic Genetics/Advanced Risk Assessment
Section A covers screening, prevention, diagnosis, recurrence risk, treatment and prognosis for biochemical genetic disorders. Section B emphasizes mathematical techniques necessary for accurate genetic counseling, including empiric risk, probability, linkage, mapping, and Bayesian analysis.

GMS GC 714 Advanced Topics in Medical Genetics
This course will build from the basic genetic concepts covered in GMS GC605. Some of the topics addressed include autism spectrum disorders, direct to consumer testing, pain management, complex genetic mechanisms, chronic conditions, screening programs, pharmacogenetics, and emerging genetics specialities.

GMS GC 716 Social, Cultural, and Ethical Issues in Genetics
This course will address the social, cultural, and ethical issues encountered in genetics and genetic counseling.  Topics include: basic principles of biomedical ethics, different scenarios that a genetic counselor may encounter, legal cases that have impacted the field of genetic counseling, and the ethics of emerging genetic technologies and practices including direct-to-consumer testing and gene therapy.  Social and cultural issues in genetic counseling will be explored through case studies, addressing gender, race, religion, social class, disability, and sexual orientation.

GMS GC 700, 702S, 703, 704 Genetic Counseling Fieldwork I, II, III, and IV
The clinical and non-clinical fieldwork will provide student interaction with a wide array of genetic specialists. Direct patient contact in prenatal, pediatric, adult, cancer, and specialty genetics clinics will allow students to acquire cases for ABGC certification.

GMS GC 606, 607 Genetic Counseling Seminar
The objectives of this Seminar series include teaching students how to critique the medical and social science literature, orienting students to the complexities involved with case presentations, and enabling students to reflect and think critically about their clinical experiences.  Also included are case conference presentations from BU faculty, alums, or other area genetic counselors or professionals on interesting, challenging, or unique genetic counseling related cases or topics.  

*In addition, each student will take one BU graduate-level course in each of the following categories:

Research Design, Research Methodology, and/or Statistical Analysis

Counseling, Public Health, and/or Education


Students are also welcome to take elective courses throughout BUMC that align with their personal interests and professional goals.