Biology

M.S. Genetic Counseling


The mission of the Genetic Counseling program is to develop genetic counselors that have the knowledge, skill and experience to succeed in all areas of the field by providing comprehensive training emphasizing the scientific, clinical and psychosocial aspects of genetic counseling.  As genetic testing becomes more available and patients gain unprecedented access to information about the likelihood of diseases and medical conditions, the need for professionals who can help them understand and act on genetic test results is increasing rapidly.

The 46-credit Master of Science program in Genetic Counseling at LIU Post is committed to developing a new generation of genetic counselors with the knowledge and skill to help patients make the best decisions. With a diverse, interdisciplinary academic and clinical faculty, the two-year program is geared toward students who desire a rigorous and comprehensive training in the field of clinical genetics. Skills learned through classroom-based didactics pave the way for students to enter their clinical rotations for “real-world” training. Additionally, both classroom work and numerous supplementary activities ensure that students will be exposed to expanded roles in genetic counseling in addition to traditional, clinic-based careers.

The M.S. in Genetic Counseling at LIU Post is dedicated to training a diverse group of students to become leaders in the field of clinical genetics. We believe in embracing a supportive and collaborative atmosphere between our students and faculty. We encourage you to learn more about our program, and look forward to reading your application.

The LIU Post Genetic Counseling Graduate Program participates in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS) beginning with admissions for fall 2018. The GC Admissions Match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the ACGC. The Match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. All applicants must first register for the Match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to deadlines posted on the NMS website. The binding results of the Match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April.

Please visit the NMS website (https://natmatch.com/gcadmissions) to register for the Match, review detailed information about the matching process, and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.

Meet Our Students and Alumni

Check out the LIU Post Graduate Bulletin to learn about degree requirements, course descriptions, and more.


This program currently holds Probationary Accreditation through the Accreditation Council of Genetic Counseling.


Admissions Requirements

Applications to the M.S. in Genetic Counseling program are accepted for the fall semester on a full-time basis only. Online applications and all supporting credentials must be submitted and received by the Graduate Admissions Office on or before January 15.

The LIU Post Genetic Counseling Graduate Program participates in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS). The GC Admissions Match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the ACGC. The Match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. All applicants must first register for the Match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to the deadlines posted on the NMS website. The binding results of the Match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April.

Please visit the NMS website (https://natmatch.com/gcadmissions) to register for the Match, review detailed information about the matching process, and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.

In addition to registering for the Match (see above), applicants to the M.S. in Genetic Counseling program must complete the following requirements in order to be considered for admission:
• Application for Admission
• Application fee: $50 (non-refundable)
• Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Supplemental Application (including the Personal Statement describing your reasons for pursuing a career in genetic counseling)
• Official undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts from any and all college(s) or universities you have attended.
• Bachelor's degree with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Higher GPAs are preferred.
• Competitive scores on the general Graduate Record Examination (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing). Scores cannot be more than five years old at the time of the application.
• Successful completion of the following course work is required:
- Biology, two semesters including laboratory sections
- Chemistry, two semesters including laboratory sections
- Organic Chemistry, two semesters OR Organic Chemistry, one semester and Biochemistry, one semester, laboratory sections optional but recommended
- Genetics, one semester
- Statistics, one semester
- Psychology, one semester
• Successful completion of the following course work is suggested:
- Medical Embryology
- Calculus
- Epidemiology
- Physiology
• An understanding of the genetic counseling profession. Many successful applicants have accomplished this by shadowing or meeting with a genetic counselor.
• Advocacy and/or health care experience in a volunteer or paid position. This allows applicants to gain personal and professional insight into professions whose goals are to help people.
• Three letters of recommendation
• Students for whom English is a second language must submit official score results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The required minimum acceptable TOEFL score is: 79 Internet-based (213 computer-based or 550 paper-based), or minimum IELTS score is: 6.5.
• A criminal conviction and/or the use of illegal drugs may impede or bar entry into your chosen field of study. You should be aware that clinical and hospital sites may reject a student, or remove a student from their site if a criminal record is found or if a positive drug test is noted. Inability to gain clinical or field work will result in the inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. Inability to meet objectives and outcomes may result in your failure to complete the program requirements, thus requiring your withdrawal from the program. In addition, the presence of a criminal conviction may also prevent your completion of the required state or federal licensure, certification or registration process.

Application materials other than GRE scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation should be submitted online. Transcripts and letters of recommendation should be mailed to:

LIU Post
Graduate Admissions Processing Center
15 Dan Road, Ste. 102
Canton, MA 02021

For more information about the genetic counseling profession visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
For a listing of accredited genetic counseling graduate programs visit the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling.


Program Requirements

The Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program accepts students on a full-time basis only. The first year of the program involves a combination of coursework, professional activities and clinical activities. In addition to rigorous classroom training, students have one dedicated professional observation day per week. This day consists of varied experiences, including but not limited to observation in the following areas: cytogenetics lab, inpatient and outpatient medical clinics, surgical/medical procedural clinics, and molecular genetics labs. Additionally, students will interact with genetic counselors practicing in the field and will participate in seminars and journal clubs to complete the educational experience.

The second year of training is largely focused on clinical training, but also involves some coursework. Clinical training begins in the summer after completion of the first academic year and involves rotations in a number of different clinics. Clinical rotations will occur in prenatal, pediatrics, oncology, neurology and other medical clinics. We strongly encourage students to pursue one clinical rotation (generally in the summer) at an “away” site, for the sake of exposure to training in a different geographical region.

The purpose of the required research thesis is to expose students to the clinical genetics research process. Students may engage in a variety of research areas, including psychosocial, legal/ethical, clinical care, or basic science. Students will be required to submit their research to the Journal of Genetic Counseling or another peer-reviewed journal, though acceptance of the article is not a requirement for graduation. In their second to last semester, students will attend the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Conference. Registration costs for attending the conference will be covered by the program.

To receive the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling degree, students must satisfactorily complete 46 credits of classroom and research courses, and four clinical rotations.

First Year Classes:

Fall
Issues Confronting Genetic Counselors: Principles and Practices (ATCG 600)
Clinical Genetics in Practice I (ATCG 601)
Cytogenetics (ATCG 610)
Molecular Genetics (ATCG 613)
Human Development (ATCG 628)
14 credits total

Spring
Clinical Genetics in Practice II (ATCG 602)
Cancer Genetics and Genetic Counseling (ATCG 615)
Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum (ATCG 668)
Design and Analysis in Genetics Research (ATCG 701)
Clinical Genetics (BIO 530)
Pathophysiology (BMS 612)
14 credits total

Additional First Year Activities:

Introductory Rotations
Journal Club
Seminars

Summer Between First and Second Years:

Clinical Rotation (ATCG 702)

Second Year Classes:

Fall
Clinical Genetics in Practice III (ATCG 603)
Genetic Counseling Practicum (ATCG 669)
Design and Analysis in Genetics Research (ATCG 701)
Clinical Rotations (ATCG 702)
Biochemical Genetics (BIO 514)
12 credits total

Spring
Clinical Genetics in Practice IV (ATCG 604)
Clinical Rotations (ATCG 702)
Thesis (ATCG 708)
6 credits total

Additional Second Year Activities:

Journal Club
Seminars
NSGC conference

Program Costs

Item Cost
 Graduate tuition (per credit): $1225* x 46 credits** $56,350 
 University fee (per semester): $938 (full-time x 3) + $469 (part-time x 1)  $3283
 Clinical fee (per semester) = $200, total Clinical fee = $800  $800
 Total cost for the program  $60,433


All students must carry health insurance throughout the program duration. If not covered under a family or spousal plan, students can opt for health insurance through the University (2018-2019 cost per year = $3,233).

Students are responsible for additional costs related to travel and housing (if applicable) associated with their clinical placements.

*These rates are based on 2018-19 tuition costs and are subject to change.

**The program includes 46 credits of classroom and research courses, and 14 credits of clinical rotations, equaling 60 total credits.  Students pay only for the 46 credits stemming from didactic courses.

Please visit the LIU Post financial aid webpage for more information:
http://www.liu.edu/CWPost/Enrollment-Services/Financial-Aid


Course Descriptions

ATCG 600 Issues Confronting Genetic Counselors: Principles and Practice
This course is designed to expose students to issues confronting genetic counselors from a counseling perspective with a focus on exploring diverse counseling theories and assessing the need for psychosocial support.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 601 Clinical Genetics in Practice I
This course is designed to be a foundation course for genetic counseling with a focus on developing clinical knowledge and skills. Topics include genetics history, core ideas of the profession, understanding of the genetics team, referral patterns, basic counseling and interviewing skills, consult outlines and preparation, medical terminology and pedigree construction.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 602 Clinical Genetics in Practice II
This course is designed to explore the specific aspects of health care practice that genetic counselors confront in their careers with a focus on clinical knowledge and skill development. Topics include prenatal, adult and pediatric genetics, infertility genetics, hematology genetics, genetic testing based on ethnicity, newborn screening, neurological genetics, cardiology genetics, and Bayesian risk calculations.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 603 Clinical Genetics in Practice III
This course focuses on the legal and ethical issues in the practice of genetic counseling and clinical genetics. Genetic counselors and other health care professionals often work with physicians and the medical team in making crucial medical decisions based on genetic test results. Often, these decisions are controversial, and are surrounded by legal and ethical issues. This course will address some of the most common legal and ethical challenges faced in genetic counseling.
Fall (2nd Year), 3 credits

ATCG 604 Clinical Genetics in Practice IV

This course discusses the current state of the genetic counseling profession with a focus on professional issues. Topics will also directly apply to students’ thesis requirement and job search by guiding students in preparing to give a professional presentation, writing an abstract, interviewing, negotiating and establishing a professional development plan.
Spring (2nd Year), 3 credits

ATCG 610 Cytogenetics

The course will introduce topics of chromosomal structure and function, chromosome abnormalities and their clinical presentations, the chromosomal basis of cancer, and cytogenetic laboratory techniques.
Fall (1st Year), 2 credits

ATCG 613 Molecular Genetics
This course will emphasize understanding of the applications of the emerging techniques in molecular biology as they apply to genetics. Special emphasis will be on topics important to biomedical applications and to those presenting ethical considerations.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 615 Cancer Genetics and Genetic Counseling
This course will provide in-depth discussion of cancer genetics with a focus on clinical knowledge and skill development of the genetic counselor working in this specialty.
Spring (1st Year), 1 credit

ATCG 668 Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum
The client-centered counseling approach stresses the critical importance of three basic conditions: accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. This is an entry level counseling laboratory course designed to provide basic fundamental communication skills training to prospective counselors in the genetic counseling program.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 669 Genetic Counseling Practicum
This is an in-depth counseling practicum designed to provide supervised genetic counseling experience from a developmental, multicultural perspective. The main emphasis and focus of the course is on practice. Students will participate in role-plays and will participate in peer critique in a supervised and positive learning environment.
Fall (2nd Year), 5 credits

ATCG 701 Design and Analysis in Genetics Research
The class is intended to provide a broad understanding of the application of statistical procedures to the analysis of scientific data. The goal is for students to improve their ability to read, comprehend, and critically review relevant scientific literature in their field.
Spring (1st Year) and Fall (2nd Year), 1 credit each

ATCG 702 Clinical Internship
Students work under the supervision of genetic counselors/geneticists in a variety of genetics settings. Students will complete 4 rotations beginning in the summer semester – one rotation in the summer semester (7 weeks, full time)* and three rotations (10 weeks each, part time) during the second academic year in the program.
Summer (1st Year), 0 credits
Fall (2nd Year), 0 credits
Fall/Spring (2nd Year), 0 credits
Spring (2nd Year), 0 credits


ATCG 708 Capstone Project/Thesis
In this course, the student executes personal research under the supervision of the Program Director or Assistant Program Director and mentor. A written thesis and its oral presentation are required.
Spring (2nd Year), 3 credits

BIO 514 Biochemical Genetics

This course will focus on the biochemistry of genetic disorders resulting in metabolic problems with the processing and storage of amino acids, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.
Fall (2nd Year), 3 credits

BIO 528 Human Development
In this course we will cover human development. Special attention will be given to teratogens, diseases, and genetic conditions that cause particular developmental abnormalities during critical embryological periods.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

BIO 530 Clinical Genetics
This course will focus on genetics and genomics in human medicine. Students will learn about individual genetic disorders as well as screening techniques and fundamental concepts of inheritance. Ethical issues in medical genetics will also be covered.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

BMS 612 Pathophysiology II
Molecular, biochemical and metabolic events, which are associated with disease of several body systems, are presented.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

Clinical Rotations

For LIU Post Genetic Counseling Graduate Program clinical internships, students complete one seven-week full time rotation during the summer between years one and two, and three ten-week rotations (2–3 days per week) during the second academic year. This provides students approximately 1,000 hours of supervised clinical training. 

The clinical sites include a wide variety of genetics clinics on Long Island, in New Jersey, and New York City. For the summer rotation, we strongly encourage students to pursue a rotation at an “away” site, for the sake of exposure to training in a different geographical region.

The rotations are placed within hospitals, academic centers and private practices as well as laboratories and non-for-profit support organizations, and the students rotate through each type of setting. Students acquire logbook cases that meet defined ACGC (Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling) criteria during the clinical internships. 

Our clinical rotation sites are one of the greatest assets of our program and our students benefit from the expertise of the genetic counselors and medical geneticists that serve as their clinical supervisors during the course of the program.

CONTACT

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Nathaniel Bowditch, Dean

Joan Ruckel
Executive Assistant to the Dean