Genetic Counseling, MSGC

The MSGC program provides a comprehensive educational environment for future genetic counselors that balances the importance of patient-focused care, scientific knowledge, research, and innovative technology. With an outstanding faculty and access to clinical opportunities at some of the nation's premier healthcare facilities, the program prepares students to be successful genetic counseling professionals in the rapidly evolving field of genetics.

Preparing to become a genetic counselor involves education in three areas: laboratory and clinical medicine, counseling, and research. Students in the University of Pennsylvania’s MSGC program will develop a comprehensive understanding of the complex clinical management of patients with genetic conditions as well as the options for diagnostic testing. Coursework in counseling helps students cultivate the knowledge and skills to address the needs of patients, families, community advocacy groups and other health professionals. The program has a strong emphasis on clinical, translational, and implementation research. Graduates will gain both the research and writing skills necessary to develop and publish literature relevant to the profession.

The University of Pennsylvania Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) through 2024. The program meets the requirements of the ACGC for curriculum content, clinical experience, and overall program design. Graduates of the program are qualified to sit for the certification examination offered by the American Board for Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and to apply for state licensure.

Curriculum

The program requires the successful completion of 14 required course units (with a grade of B- or higher in each) as well as clinical internships, genetic counseling rounds, two professional development seminars, advocacy experiences, and an individual research-based master's thesis. 

The curriculum covers advanced genetics, genetic testing technologies, clinical medicine and genetics, counseling techniques, case management, psychosocial assessment, principles of medical ethics and public health, patient advocacy, research design and professionalism. Many courses will have genetic counselors from Penn Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as course coordinators and lecturers. The core curriculum will provide the foundation necessary to prepare students for the ever-changing practice of clinical genetics.  

Year 1
Fall
Advanced Genetics and Genomics
Mechanisms of Disease
Introduction to Genetic Counseling
Foundations of Clinical Genetics and Genomic Technologies
Internship
Spring
Reproductive and Developmental Genetics
Cancer Genetics
Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice I
Introduction to Genetic Counseling Research
Internship
Year 2
Summer
Clinical Internship
Fall
Medical Genetics I
Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice II
Biochemical Genetics
Ethical Issues in Genetic Counseling
Professional Development I
Genetic Counseling Rounds I
Clinical Internship
Spring
Medical Genetics II
Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice III
Professional Development II
Genetic Counseling Rounds II
Thesis
Clinical Internship

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.