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Genetic Counseling

The MS in Genetic Counseling at Bay Path University is a 50 credit hybrid program. It incorporates courses from other graduate disciplines, including Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Physician Assistant Studies and Leadership & Negotiation. Our overall goal is to strike a good balance of counseling and medical genetics content areas.  The cross-disciplinary coursework benefits all students by creating exposure to allied health disciplines and a broader range of cases and perspectives in health care.  

• Coursework focuses on general genetics and counseling skills
• Clinical, laboratory, research, and community experiences complement the didactic curriculum
• During the second semester, students select a capstone project topic and begin their research 

• Study focuses on clinical experience and capstone project development
• Coursework covers more advanced topics in counseling techniques, medical genetics, professional issues, and genetic counseling sub-specialties
• The number of required credits is decreased during the second year, to allow students adequate time to complete their research projects, acquire a robust array of fieldwork experiences, and begin interviews for job placement

Program Pre-Requisites: Successful completion of the following courses (undergraduate or graduate level) or the equivalent: Biology, Molecular and/or Cellular Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Genetics, Psychology (general) Developmental Biology/Embryology, and Statistics

The Genetic Counseling Program will allow the transfer in of up to six credits from accredited institutions as per the Bay Path University graduate transfer policy. All questions about transferring credits should be discussed with graduate admissions.

Curriculum & Schedules

Code Course Name Credit Hours
GEN600 Foundations of Genetics and Genomics 3

This foundation genetics course will cover a myriad of topics from the cell to the whole person and population. Molecular and cellular genetics, cytogenetics, the relationships between DNA, RNA protein will be covered as well as current topics in epigenetics and other complex genetic topics. Population-based concepts such as Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and population genetics will be woven into real-life cases and family stories.

GEN601 Clinical Fieldwork 1

The experience introduces students to clinical training in the field. Activities will include readings and reflection.

GEN602 Clinical Fieldwork 3

Students participate in genetic cases on a rotating weekly schedule under the supervision of genetic counselors or other medical staff. This is an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with different components of the genetic counseling session, observe different counseling styles, and compare and contrast how different clinical sites operate. Clinics will include prenatal, cancer, metabolic and other specialty areas.

GEN603 Clinical Fieldwork 3

The experience provides students with hands-on clinical training and increasing case responsibilities. Training will progress from observation to full responsibility for assigned cases. A weekly online discussion will allow students to share and discuss their experiences.

GEN604 Clinical Fieldwork 3

This experience will provide a continuum for increasing the breadth and depth of genetic counseling skills. These responsibilities may include case preparation, including review of the medical records and literature, obtaining family, medical and pregnancy histories, providing inheritance counseling, presenting cases to the faculty/supervisor.

GEN605 Genetic Counseling: The Basics 1

This course will focus on the mechanics of genetic cases. From research and preparation to counseling and follow-up letter writing, students will learn about appropriate databases and websites to use, the goals for a genetic counseling session, and the continual assessment of patient and family needs. Through completion of practical activities and assignments, students will demonstrate their ability to research a case, to write chart notes, patient and physician letters, and letters of medical necessity. They will gain familiarity with medical terminology used in clinical genetics. Students will gain an appreciation of appropriate professional interactions and expand their understanding of the impact of genetic disease on families.

GEN610 Laboratory Class: Genomic and Molecular Techniques 1

This course will cover laboratory-based techniques used in all aspects of clinical genetics. Techniques and exercises based on real cases from referral to results will be discussed. Curation protocols will be shared.

GEN615 Pathophysiology 3

This course focuses on concepts of pathophysiology essential to understanding the genetic diseases and disabling conditions that can affect the body systems across the lifespan. Students will learn to explain genetic conditions associated with each system from a physiological standpoint. The signs and symptoms, diagnosis/treatment and inheritance patterns will be reviewed using specific cases.

GEN620 Genetic Counseling in the 21st Century 1

This course will focus on the Genetic Counseling profession. Topics will include professional relationships with physicians and other healthcare professionals, genetic counseling legislation, billing and reimbursement, and professional organizations involved in the profession. Alternative jobs descriptions and settings as well as counseling styles will be explored.

GEN630 Clinical Applications in Genetic Counseling 1

This course will go hand-in-hand with the clinical fieldwork as students complete mock cases along with the real ones they encounter in the clinic.

GEN640 Cancer Genetic Counseling 2

This course will provide students with an introduction to the medicine of hereditary cancers of breast, ovarian and colon, as well as genetic mechanisms of mutations that lead to the conditions. Other hereditary cancer-causing conditions will be reviewed, such as Li-Fraumeni, MEN and PTEN. Students will become familiar with the terminology and vocabulary associated with oncology, pathology and cancer genetic counseling. The students will learn family and medical history collection, pedigree interpretation and cancer risk model utilization. Testing criterion, presentation of testing options and interpretation of test results will be reviewed, as well as the psychosocial aspects of hereditary cancer syndromes.

GEN645 Genetic Counseling Skills and Techniques 1

Using various theories students will practice and determine the most appropriate theories to utilize, depending on the specifics of the case utilizing role-plays and standardized patients.

GEN650 Advanced Genetic Counseling Skills 2

Students will gain a deeper understanding of the psychological and counseling issues underlying genetic counseling. Students will gain experience presenting genetic counseling cases orally and in writing. Students will demonstrate an ability to integrate theory with a genetic counseling case.

GEN696 Evidence-Based Medicine 1

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental knowledge of evidence based medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics and to begin acquiring the skills of critically reading the medical literature and applying concepts to patient care. This course is designed for adult learners and will include, but is not limited to, independent, online and small group learning environments.

GEN697 Capstone 1

Students synthesize knowledge and skills obtained during the program through successful completion of a research project.

GEN698 Capstone 1

Students synthesize knowledge and skills obtained during the program through successful completion of a research project.

GEN699 Capstone 1

Students synthesize knowledge and skills obtained during the program through successful completion of a research project.

MLN620 Psychological Dimensions of Leadership and Negotiation 3

This course will focus on the psychological dimensions of leadership and negotiation. Emphasis will be placed on the intrapersonal realm and understanding oneself. Students will learn how the mind works in difficult situations, processes information from a myriad of sources, handles information that is contrary to other messages it receives, and other elements that make their way into leadership and negotiation.

PSY535 Ethics and Professional Conduct in Counseling 3

This course is designed to provide students with a practical awareness of ethical standards and codes of conduct in the field of psychology. Students will review and critically analyze case studies which incorporate such topics as ethical decision making, informed consent, confidentiality, boundary and relationship issues, professional competence, supervision, and multicultural and diversity issues. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the standards set by the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and of licensure and regulatory practices.

PSY550 Family Systems 3

This course will focus on family dynamics and family systems. Various family systems theorists such as Minuchin, Satir, and Haley will be reviewed and discussed. Specific attention will be given to issues of substance use within the family, including both working with someone with primary substance use and the effects of substance use on family structure. Students will be given the opportunity to practice various systemic interventions that promote healthy psychological development within the family system. The impact of culture, gender, and sexual identity will be examined.

PSY625 Applied Research Methods in Counseling 3

This course addresses research design and methodology as used by developmental psychologists. Emphasis is on the use of experimental and quasi-experimental designs, confounding factors that may bias results, assessment strategies, and data evaluation methods. By the completion of this course, the student will have formulated a research proposal, and will have completed a successful research project.

PSY660 Social and Cultural Foundations 3

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the various theories, issues and trends of providing counseling in a multi-cultural and diverse society. Foundational knowledge and skill needed to provide mental health counseling services to diverse populations in a culturally diverse manner will be the core structure of this course of study. Such theorists as Monica McGoldrick will be reviewed for impact on current thinking and implications for mental health counseling.

PSY662 Counseling Theory and Practice 3

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the theory and application of contrasting theoretical models of counseling and forming helping relationships. Students will examine the theory and application of various counseling models through lecture, presentations, group discussion, experiential activities, readings and reflection. This course will address the therapeutic process and practical elements of the counseling interaction, and assist students in strengthening their own personal approach to the helping relationship. In addition, it will challenge students to conceptualize their own qualities that support and hinder the therapeutic helping relationship.

PSY664 Counseling Skills and Techniques 3

This course will guide the students to a more refined level of the helping relationship while building on the skills learned in PSY 662. Students will develop a solid understanding of the helping relationship by learning intensive listening skills and the effectiveness of attending to the client. Students will also gain a deeper understanding of their own communication styles as they relate to such dynamics as culture, body language, vocal qualities and attitude.